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Buddhism and Hinduism

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Buddhism and Hinduism are the world's third and fourth largest religions. Together both religions would average about 1,337 million followers. That is a colossal piece of the world's population. Why, though, are these two religions so popular among the people of the world? What is the great appeal which draws so many people to their practices? Take a journey and discover the answers.

Start off the expedition by exploring Buddhism. The first Buddha, meaning one who has awakened, was an inhabitant of northern India around the sixth century BCE named Siddhartha Gautama (Robinson, 2009). According to White (1993), "To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or 'way of life'." Buddhism focuses on personal spiritual development. It teaches that all life is connected with everything else, making compassion an important part of its philosophy.

Buddhists believe that change is always possible and nothing is set in stone. They also believe in reincarnation, which is being reborn after death into a new body that is either human, animal, or a supernatural being. Yet, Buddhists do not teach the existence of the human soul (Robinson, 2009). "I teach suffering, its origin, cessation and path. That's all I teach", declared the Buddha 2500 years ago. These are the Four Noble Truths as taught by the Buddha and still taught in the present day as one of the major beliefs of Buddhists. The religion of Buddhism also believes in Karma, which says that a person's past actions are the cause of his present day repercussions. Basically, in layman's term, it means "what goes around comes around".

There are many reasons why the appeal of Buddhism is growing among the world's population the way it is. Pilgram (2005) stated that Buddhism is a religion of true peace. It is the only religion in history that has never had a holy war because Buddhists do not believe in violence. There is also no blind faith in Buddhism. Before acceptance of Buddhism, a person is able to "test drive" the religion, in a sense, and experience truth. Buddhism approaches people in a scientific manner with the Buddha teaching by His own examples.

Hinduism, however, is slightly different from other religions. For one, there is no founder. There is also no holy text and no moral code. According to Robinson (2009), Hindus allow freedom of beliefs and practices. Hinduism originated in India and spread world-wide. Today, its main locations are India, the United Kingdom and the United States.

There are an estimated 1.1 million Hindus in the United States and 157,015 in Canada (Jones, 2009). Many people are drawn to Hinduism because of its ease in which it accepts evolution (Rood, 2010). It appeals most to the people who are searching for true answers to their problems of inner harmony and peace. They are also attracted to its emphasis on purity and devotion to a



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