Buddhism Vs. Islam Essay

1613 words - 7 pages

The Islamic and Buddhist faiths are vastly different. So distant from each other, it is hard to draw parallels between the two religions. The Islamic religion is exactly that; a monotheistic religion that believes in heaven, hell, and earth. However, the Buddhist religion is almost not a religion. The Buddhist faith rejects the idea of an afterlife and also rejects the idea of deity. Instead Buddhism focuses on reaching nirvana. The Islamic religion is a monotheistic religion that stems from the Judeo-Christian origins and believes in Allah, a supreme being that must be worshiped by his followers; Buddhism is a system of beliefs focuses on reaching a state of enlightenment known as nirvana, ...view middle of the document...

There are two main divisions within Buddhism. One is named Mahayana Buddhism the other is called Theravada Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism is dominant in southern Asia, especially in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. Theravada Buddhism is sometimes referred to as Southern Buddhism because of its popularity in southern Asia. Theravada Buddhists believe that they more closely follow the teachings of Buddha than any other division of Buddhism. The main goal of a Theravada Buddhist is to become arhat, or a perfect saint who has reached nirvana and will not be reborn. Theravada Buddhism’s approach is slightly more philosophical that religious because of this. Mahayana Buddhists refer to Theravada Buddhists as Hinayana or “lesser vehicle” while referring to themselves as “great vehicle.” The biggest philosophical difference between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhists is that Mahayana Buddhists believe that all things are deprived of self-nature. Another major difference between the Buddhist sect’s is that Mahayana Buddhists believe in postponing entry into nirvana until all other human beings have also reached nirvana.
In third century B.C an Indian Emperor named Asoka who deeply supported Buddhism came to power and began to promote Buddhism. Asoka greatly strengthened Buddhism in terms of numbers of supporters by sending messengers and missionaries as far away from India as Syria. However, because of the Hindu revival movement, Buddhism started to gradually decline in India. The Hindu revival movement, invasion of the Muslims, and the invasion of the white Huns caused

Buddhism to become virtually non-existent in India, its country of origin by the thirteenth century. However, because of Emperor Asoka’s efforts to spread Buddhism in the third century Buddhism had spread far beyond India into the surrounding area. Sri Lanka was converted to Buddhism at the same time Asoka was the leader of India by his missionaries. Ever since, Buddhism has been the national religion of Sri Lanka. In about the seventh century Buddhism entered Tibet where the religion has flourished and become extremely popular. Tibetan Buddhism has mainly drawn its inspiration from Madhyamika and Tantra. Madhyamika the idea that everything is void and empty of independent reality. Tantra are Buddhist literature concerning the ritual acts of body, speech, and mind.
Buddhism arrived in South East Asia at various points within the first five centuries A.D. At first many different sects of Buddhism were established throughout South East Asia. However, today mostly only Theravada Buddhism survives throughout the region. At about first century A.D Buddhism began to spread into China through trade routes from central Asia. Through the work of a great translators named Hsuan-tsang and Kumarajiva Buddhist concepts were translated better which made the concepts better interpreted. However, in the sixth century Chinese Buddhism began to encounter resistance...

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