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Indian soteriology is based on the premise that human beings are part of a process of repeating birth and death that is called samsara, a phenomenon referred to in English as reincarnation. The goal of all the Indian religions is to escape this cycle. In Buddhism (a modern day representative of the ancient sramana tradition) a person who has achieved this goal is called an arahant (Pali; Sanskrit arhat). In Hinduism a number of equivalent terms exist such as jivanmukta (lit. 'liberated soul'), Kevalin (from Kaivalya, the term for liberation used in Classical Yoga, a school of Hinduism) and siddha, a term used in both Buddhism and Hinduism.
The term sadhana referring to the spiritual path or practice undertaken for the purposes of attaining liberation is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Integral to this path in both religions are practices such as samadhi, dhyana and brahmacarya.
The historical Vedic religion, Buddhism, Jainism, and the conceptual frameworks of the older Upanishads all share in their philosophies of spirituality a common cultural heritage which flourished in the north eastern areas of the Indian subcontinent, modern-day eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Nepal.
The mutual influence of the spiritual culture that produced the Upanishads and that which produced Buddhism and Jainism (sramanic culture) has been a subject of debate among scholars. While Radhakrishnan, Oldenberg and Neumann were convinced of Upanishadic influence on the Buddhist canon, Eliot and Thomas highlighted the points where Buddhism was opposed to Upanishads. Buddhism may have been influenced by some Upanishadic ideas, it however discarded their orthodox tendencies. In Buddhist texts he is presented as rejecting avenues of salvation as "pernicious views". Later Indian religious thoughts were influenced by this interpretation and novel ideas of the Buddhist tradition of beliefs.
The period between 5th and 9th century CE was the most brilliant epoch in the development of Indian philosophy as Hindu and Buddhist philosophies flourished side by side. Buddhism attained prominence in the Indian subcontinent, but was ultimately eclipsed in the 11th century CE at its point of origin by Hinduism and Islam. While Buddhism declined in India, Buddhism continued outside of India. Tibetan Buddhism is the predominant religion in the Himalayan region while Theravada Buddhism continues in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, and Mahayana Buddhism continues in India, East Asia and among the Chinese diaspora.
The land lying on the southern side of the Hindu-Kush Mountains was considered the land of the Hindus or Hindustan and the religion followed by the people there was known as Hinduism. Some Hindus regard Buddha as avatar of Lord Vishnu. Consequently the word Buddha is mentioned in several of the Puranas that are believed to have been composed after his birth. Certain Buddhist teachings appear to have been formulated in response to ideas presented in the early Upanishads – in some cases concurring with them, and in other cases criticizing or re-interpreting them.
In later years, there is significant evidence that both Buddhism and Hinduism were supported by Indian rulers, regardless of the rulers' own religious identities. Buddhist kings continued to revere Hindu deities and teachers, and many Buddhist temples were built under the patronage of Hindu rulers. This was because never has Buddhism been considered an alien religion to that of Hinduism in India, but as only one of the many strains of Hinduism. Kalidas' work shows the ascension of Hinduism at the expense of Buddhism. By the eighth century, Shiva and Vishnu had replaced Buddha in pujas of royalty.
The Buddha approved many of the terms already used in philosophical discussions of his era; however, many of these terms carry a different meaning in the Buddhist tradition. For example, in the Samaññaphala Sutta, the Buddha is depicted presenting a notion of the 'three knowledges' (tevijja) – a term also used in the Vedic tradition to describe knowledge of the Vedas – as being not texts, but things that he had experienced (these are not noble truths). The true 'three knowledges' are said to be constituted by the process of achieving enlightenment, which is what the Buddha is said to have achieved in the three watches of the night of his enlightenment.
Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म from the root kṛ, "to do") is a word meaning action or activity and, often implies its subsequent results (also called karma-phala, "the fruits of action"). It is commonly understood as a term to denote the entire cycle of cause and effect as described in the philosophies of a number of cosmologies, including those of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Karma is a central part of Buddhist teachings. In Buddha's teaching, karma is a direct result of a person's word, thought, and action in life. In pre-Buddhist Hinduism, karma has to do with whether the actions performed in rituals are done correctly or not. Therefore, there is little emphasis on moral conduct in its conception. In Buddhism, since a person's word, thought, and action form the basis for good and bad karma, sila (moral conduct) goes hand in hand with the development of meditation and wisdom. Buddhist teachings carry a different meaning from pre-Buddhist conception of karma.
Dharma (Sanskrit, Devanagari: धर्म or Pāli Dhamma, Devanagari: धम्म) means Natural Law, Reality or Duty, and with respect to its significance for spirituality and religion might be considered the Way of the Higher Truths. A Hindu appellation for Hinduism itself is Sanātana Dharma, which translates as "the eternal dharma." Similarly, Buddhadharma in an appellation for Buddhism. The general concept of dharma forms a basis for philosophies, beliefs and practices originating in India. The four main ones are Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism (Jaina Dharma), and Sikhism (Sikha Dharma), all of whom retain the centrality of dharma in their teachings. In these traditions, beings that live in harmony with dharma proceed more quickly toward, according to the tradition, Dharma Yukam, Moksha, or Nirvana (personal liberation). Dharma can refer generally to religious duty, and also mean social order, right conduct, or simply virtue.
Buddhism from other areas such as China, Kashmir, Japan entered the Himalaya and became the practice lineages of the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Geluk schools of Tibetan Buddhism, which in turn dialogued with the indigenous Bön traditions.
Yoga is central to Tibetan Buddhism. In the Nyingma tradition, certain practitioners progress to increasingly profound levels of yoga, starting with Mahā yoga, continuing to Anuyoga and ultimately undertaking the most subtle, Atiyoga. In qualification, the Nyingmapa do not equate a value judgment with the yana, one is not better than another, the yana most appropriate for a practitioner is determined by their karma, propensity and proclivity. The majority of practitioners stay within one yana for the duration of their lifetime. The Nyingmapa view all traditions, not just their own through the modal of the nine yana. The Bonpo have a comparable modal of nine. Elements of Adi Yoga for both the Bonpo and Nyingmapa are perceived in other traditions. Indeed, Nyingmapa and Bonpo are not the only source of Ati Yoga teachings as both traditions testify, as Adi Yoga is propagated in other worlds and dimensions. In the Sarma traditions, the Anuttara yoga class is equivalent to the three most subtle yana of the Nyingmapa. Other tantra yoga practices include a system of 108 bodily postures practiced with breath and heart rhythm timing in movement exercises is known as Trul khor or union of moon and sun (channel) prajna energies, and the body postures of Tibetan ancient yogis are depicted on the walls of the Dalai Lama's summer temple of Lukhang.
Tibetan Buddhist doctrines unite a seemingly diverse group of practices to offer a variety of ways to truth (Sanskrit: satya; refer Two Truths) and enlightenment (Sanskrit: bodhi) in accordance with the different qualities and capacities of sentient beings. These practices involve the use of tantra and yoga. Yoga used as a way to enhance concentration.
In the 13th and the 14th centuries, the Sarma traditions developed a fourfold classification system for Tantric texts based on the types of practices each contained, especially their relative emphasis on external ritual or internal yoga. The first two classes, the so-called lower tantras, are called the Kriya and the Chatya tantras; the two classes of higher tantras are the Yoga and the Anuttara Yoga (Highest Yoga).
A mantra (मन्त्र) is a religious syllable or poem, typically from the Sanskrit language. Their use varies according to the school and philosophy associated with the mantra. They are primarily used as spiritual conduits, words or vibrations that instill one-pointed concentration in the devotee. Other purposes have included religious ceremonies to accumulate wealth, avoid danger, or eliminate enemies. Mantras existed in the historical Vedic religion, Zoroastrianism and the Shramanic traditions, and thus they remain important in Buddhism and Jainism as well as other faiths of Indian origin such as Sikhism.
The practice of Yoga is intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of both Hinduism and Buddhism. However there are distinct variations in the usage of yoga terminology in the two religions. In Hinduism, the term "Yoga" commonly refers to the eight limbs of yoga as defined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, written some time after 100 BCE, and means "yoke", with the idea that one's individual atman, or soul, would yoke or bind with the monistic entity that underlies everything (brahman). Yoga in Hinduism also known as being 'complex', based on yoking (integrating). Yoga defines a specific process, it has an emphasis on knowledge and practice, as well as being known to be 'mature' and difficult. The most basic meaning of this Sanskrit term is with technique. The technique of the different forms of yoga is what makes the practice meaningful. Yoga is not an easy or simple practice, viyoga is what is described as simple. Yoga is difficult in the fact of displaying the faith and meaning of Hinduism. Many Hindus tend to pick and choose between the five forms of yoga because of the way they live their life and how they want to practice it in the form they are most connected to. In the Vajrayana Buddhism of Tibet, however, the term "Yoga" is simply used to refer to any type of spiritual practice; from the various types of tantra (like Kriyayoga or Charyayoga) to 'Deity yoga' and 'guru yoga'. In the early translation phase of the Sutrayana and Tantrayana from India, China and other regions to Tibet, along with the practice lineages of sadhana, codified in the Nyingmapa canon, the most subtle 'conveyance' (Sanskrit: yana) is Adi Yoga (Sanskrit). A contemporary scholar with a focus on Tibetan Buddhism, Robert Thurman writes that Patanjali was influenced by the success of the Buddhist monastic system to formulate his own matrix for the version of thought he considered orthodox.
In the 1900 there was a man by the name of Swami Kŗpalvānanda who was considered "The Man behind Yoga". In 1977 Swami left his home in West India and traveled to Sumneytown, Pennsylvania where he could live in silence and continue his peaceful life practicing his particular style of yoga called präna-yoga. The Kripalu Yoga Centre founded by Swami Kŗpalvānanda is one of the largest and most successful spiritual centres in North America.
There is a range of common terminology and common descriptions of the meditative states that are seen as the foundation of meditation practice in both Hindu Yoga and Buddhism. Many scholars have noted that the concepts of dhyana and samādhi - technical terms describing stages of meditative absorption – are common to meditative practices in both Hinduism and Buddhism. Most notable in this context is the relationship between the system of four Buddhist dhyana states (Pali: jhana) and the samprajnata samadhi states of Classical Yoga. Also, many (Tibetan) Vajrayana practices of the generation stage and completion stage work with the chakras, inner energy channels (nadis) and kundalini, called tummo in Tibetan.
Zen is a form of Mahayana Buddhism. The Mahayana school of Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition rather than through faith and devotion and that is practiced mainly in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. 
Despite the similarities in terminology there exist differences between the two religions. The major differences are mentioned below.
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Gautama Buddha did not deny the existence nor forbid the worship of the popular gods, but such worship is not Buddhist and the gods are trapped in the same samsaric cycle as other beings but are in no way guides to religion, since they need instruction themselves. The focus of the Noble Eightfold Path is not about worshipping god, achieving heaven in the next life (perhaps for a number of lay devotees but not for bhikkhu / bhikkhuni), nor is it about experiencing Brahma consciousness in this life or the next. The reason is that in all these realms and beings are subject to rebirth after some period of time. It is like going around in circles in the round of rebirth despite all the effort and striving. Therefore, the purpose of the holy life in the Buddha’s path is about liberation from the cycle of rebirth and experience awakening in this very life (some might take longer, depending on the person). The Buddha himself realized awakening after about six years of practice. He entered into Sunyata, dwells in rapture, sukkha (happiness), tranquility, equanimity, and the like. Also according to the Pali Canon, he visits any realms he feels like in that lifetime after awakening. The Buddha was liberated from all rebirth in samsara after parinirvana.
The Buddha (as portrayed in the Pali scriptures, the agamas) set an important trend in nontheism in Buddhism in the sense of dismissing the notion of an omnipotent god. Nevertheless, in many passages in the Tripitaka gods (devas in Sanskrit) are mentioned and specific examples are given of individuals who were reborn as a god, or gods who were reborn as humans. Buddhist cosmology recognizes various levels and types of gods, but none of these gods is considered the creator of the world or of the human race.
Buddhist canonical views about God and the priests are:
13. 'Well then, Vasettha, those ancient sages versed in ancient scriptures, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose, ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the priests of today chant over again or repeat; intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited-to wit, Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, and Bhagu  – did even they speak thus, saying: " We know it, we have seen it", where the creator is whence the creator is?
Scholar-monk Walpola Rahula writes that man depends on this creation "for his own protection, safety, and security, just as a child depends on his parent." He describes this as a product of "ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire," and writes that this "deeply and fanatically held belief" for man's consolation is "false and empty" from the perspective of Buddhism. He writes that man does not wish to hear or understand teachings against this belief, and that the Buddha described his teachings as "against the current" for this reason.
In later Mahayana literature, however, the idea of an eternal, all-pervading, all-knowing, immaculate, uncreated and deathless Ground of Being (the dharmadhatu, inherently linked to the sattvadhatu, the realm of beings), which is the Awakened Mind (bodhicitta) or Dharmakaya ("body of Truth") of the Buddha himself, is attributed to the Buddha in a number of Mahayana sutras, and is found in various tantras as well. In some Mahayana texts, such a principle is occasionally presented as manifesting in a more personalised form as a primordial buddha, such as Samantabhadra, Vajradhara, Vairochana, Amitabha and Adi-Buddha, among others.
In later tradition such as Mahayana Buddhism in Japan, the Shingon Fire Ritual (Homa /Yagna) and Urabon (Sanskrit: Ullambana) derives from Hindu traditions. Similar rituals are common in Tibetan Buddhism. Also see Shinnyo-en.Both Mahayana Buddhism and Hinduism share common rites, such as the purification rite of Homa (Havan, Yagna in Sanskrit), prayers for the ancestors and deceased (Ullambana in Sanskrit, Urabon in Japanese).
The Buddha repudiated the caste distinctions of the Brahmanical religion, and was as a result described as a corrupter and opposed to true dharma in some of the Puranas. In one sutta, the Buddha satirizes and debunks the brahminical claims regarding the divine nature of the caste system, and shows that it is nothing but a human convention.
Buddhism implicitly denied the validity of caste distinctions by offering ordination to all regardless of caste. The Buddhist writer Ashvaghosa directly opposed the caste system of Hinduism by drawing upon anomalous episodes in Hindu scriptures. While the caste system constitutes an assumed background to the stories told in Buddhist scriptures, the sutras do not attempt to justify or explain the system, and the caste system was not generally propagated along with the Buddhist teachings. The early texts state that caste is not determined by karma.
The notion of ritual purity also provided a conceptual foundation for the caste system, by identifying occupations and duties associated with impure or taboo objects as being themselves impure. Regulations imposing such a system of ritual purity and taboos are absent from the Buddhist monastic code, and not generally regarded as being part of Buddhist teachings.
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In Buddhist cosmology, there are 31 planes of existence within samsara. Beings in these realms are subject to rebirth after some period of time, except for realms of the Non-Returners. Therefore, most of these places are not the goal of the holy life in the Buddha's dispensation. Buddhas are beyond all these 31 planes of existence after parinibbana. Hindu texts mostly mentions the devas in Kamma Loka. Only the Hindu god Brahma can be found in the Rupa loka. There are many realms above the brahma realm that are accessible through meditation. Those in Brahma realms are also subject to rebirth according to the Buddha.
In Mahayana Buddhism, several Hindu gods and divinities are venerated and hold an important place in the rites and rituals: Brahma, Indra, Saraswati, Surya, Vayu, Varuna, Prithvi, etc.
To have an idea of the differences between Buddhism and pre-existing beliefs and practices during this time, we can look into the Samaññaphala Sutta in the Digha Nikaya of the Pali Canon. In this sutra, a king of Magadha listed the teachings from many prominent and famous spiritual teachers around during that time. He also asked the Buddha about his teaching when visiting him. The Buddha told the king about the practices of his spiritual path. The list of various practices he taught disciples as well as practices he doesn't encourage are listed. The text, rather than stating what the new faith was, emphasized what the new faith was not. Contemporaneous religious traditions were caricatured and then negated. Though critical of prevailing religious practices and social institutions on philosophical grounds, early Buddhist texts exhibit a reactionary anxiety at having to compete in religiously plural societies. Below are a few examples found in the sutra:
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives... are addicted to high and luxurious furnishings such as these — over-sized couches, couches adorned with carved animals, long-haired coverlets, multi-colored patchwork coverlets, white woolen coverlets, woolen coverlets embroidered with flowers or animal figures, stuffed quilts, coverlets with fringe, silk coverlets embroidered with gems; large woolen carpets; elephant, horse, and chariot rugs, antelope-hide rugs, deer-hide rugs; couches with awnings, couches with red cushions for the head and feet — he (a bhikkhu disciple of the Buddha) abstains from using high and luxurious furnishings such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives... are addicted to scents, cosmetics, and means of beautification such as these — rubbing powders into the body, massaging with oils, bathing in perfumed water, kneading the limbs, using mirrors, ointments, garlands, scents, ... bracelets, head-bands, decorated walking sticks... fancy sunshades, decorated sandals, turbans, gems, yak-tail whisks, long-fringed white robes — he abstains from ... means of beautification such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives... are addicted to talking about lowly topics such as these — talking about kings, robbers, ministers of state; armies, alarms, and battles; food and drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, and scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women and heroes; the gossip of the street and the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity [philosophical discussions of the past and future], the creation of the world and of the sea, and talk of whether things exist or not — he abstains from talking about lowly topics such as these...
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...are addicted to running messages and errands for people such as these — kings, ministers of state, noble warriors, priests, householders, or youths [who say], 'Go here, go there, take this there, fetch that here' — he abstains from running messages and errands for people such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...engage in scheming, persuading, hinting, belittling, and pursuing gain with gain, he abstains from forms of scheming and persuading [improper ways of trying to gain material support from donors] such as these. "Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as: reading marks on the limbs [e.g., palmistry]; reading omens and signs; interpreting celestial events [falling stars, comets]; interpreting dreams; reading marks on the body [e.g., phrenology]; reading marks on cloth gnawed by mice; offering fire oblations, oblations from a ladle, oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil; offering oblations from the mouth; offering blood-sacrifices; making predictions based on the fingertips; geomancy; laying demons in a cemetery; placing spells on spirits; reciting house-protection charms; snake charming, poison-lore, scorpion-lore, rat-lore, bird-lore, crow-lore; fortune-telling based on visions; giving protective charms; interpreting the calls of birds and animals — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as: determining lucky and unlucky gems, garments, staffs, swords, spears, arrows, bows, and other weapons; women, boys, girls, male slaves, female slaves; elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, fowl, quails, lizards, long-eared rodents, tortoises, and other animals — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives... maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as forecasting: the rulers will march forth; the rulers will march forth and return; our rulers will attack, and their rulers will retreat; their rulers will attack, and our rulers will retreat; there will be triumph for our rulers and defeat for their rulers; there will be triumph for their rulers and defeat for our rulers; thus there will be triumph, thus there will be defeat — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these. "Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as forecasting: there will be a lunar eclipse; there will be a solar eclipse; there will be an occultation of an asterism; the sun and moon will go their normal courses; the sun and moon will go astray; the asterisms will go their normal courses; the asterisms will go astray; there will be a meteor shower; there will be a darkening of the sky; there will be an earthquake; there will be thunder coming from a clear sky; there will be a rising, a setting, a darkening, a brightening of the sun, moon, and asterisms; such will be the result of the lunar eclipse... the rising, setting, darkening, brightening of the sun, moon, and asterisms — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as forecasting: there will be abundant rain; there will be a drought; there will be plenty; there will be famine; there will be rest and security; there will be danger; there will be disease; there will be freedom from disease; or they earn their living by counting, accounting, calculation, composing poetry, or teaching hedonistic arts and doctrines — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as: calculating auspicious dates for marriages, betrothals, divorces; for collecting debts or making investments and loans; for being attractive or unattractive; curing women who have undergone miscarriages or abortions; reciting spells to bind a man's tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness; getting oracular answers to questions addressed to a mirror, to a young girl, or to a spirit medium; worshipping the sun, worshipping the Great Brahma, bringing forth flames from the mouth, invoking the goddess of luck — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
"Whereas some priests and contemplatives...maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as: promising gifts to devas in return for favors; fulfilling such promises; demonology; teaching house-protection spells; inducing virility and impotence; consecrating sites for construction; giving ceremonial mouthwashes and ceremonial bathing; offering sacrificial fires; administering emetics, purges, purges from above, purges from below, head-purges; administering ear-oil, eye-drops, treatments through the nose, ointments, and counter-ointments; practicing eye-surgery (or: extractive surgery), general surgery, pediatrics; administering root-medicines binding medicinal herbs — he abstains from wrong livelihood, from lowly arts such as these.
According to the Maha-Saccaka Sutta, the Buddha recalled a meditative state he entered by chance as a child and abandoned the ascetic practices he has been doing:
I thought: 'I recall once, when my father the Sakyan was working, and I was sitting in the cool shade of a rose-apple tree, then — quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful mental qualities — I entered & remained in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. Could that be the path to Awakening?' Then following on that memory came the realization: 'That is the path to Awakening.'
According to the Upakkilesa Sutta, after figuring out the cause of the various obstacles and overcoming them, the Buddha was able to penetrate the sign and enters 1st- 4th Jhana.
“I also saw both the light and the vision of forms. Shortly after the vision of light and shapes disappear. I thought, ‘What is the cause and condition in which light and vision of the forms disappear?”
“Then consider the following: ‘The question arose in me and because of doubt my concentration fell, when my concentration fell, the light disappeared and the vision of forms. I act so that the question does not arise in me again.”
”I remained diligent, ardent, perceived both the light and the vision of forms. Shortly after the vision of light and shapes disappear. ‘ I thought, ‘What is the cause and condition in which light and vision of the forms disappear?”
Then consider the following: “Inattention arose in me because of inattention and my concentration has decreased, when my concentration fell, the light disappeared and the vision of forms. I must act in such a way that neither doubt nor disregard arise in me again.”
In the same way as above, the Buddha encountered many more obstacles that caused the light to disappear and found his way out of them. These includes, sloth and torpor, fear, elation, inertia, excessive energy, energy deficient, desire, perception of diversity, and excessive meditation on the ways. Finally, he was able to penetrate the light and entered jhana.
The following descriptions in the Upakkilesa Sutta further show how he find his way into the first four Jhanas, which he later considered samma samadhi.
“When Anuruddha, I realized that doubt is an imperfection of the mind, I dropped out of doubt, an imperfection of the mind. When I realized that inattention ... sloth and torpor ... fear ... elation ... inertia ... excessive energy ... deficient energy ... desire ... perception of diversity ... excessive meditation on the ways, I abandoned excessive meditation on the ways, an imperfection of the mind.” When Anuruddha, I realized that doubt is an imperfection of the mind, I dropped out of doubt, an imperfection of the mind. When I realized that inattention ... sloth and torpor ... fear ... elation ... inertia ... excessive energy ... deficient energy... desire ... perception of diversity ... excessive meditation on the ways, I abandoned excessive meditation on the ways, an imperfection of the mind, so I thought, ‘I abandoned these imperfections of the mind. ‘ Now the concentration will develop in three ways. ..And so, Anuruddha, develop concentration with directed thought and sustained thought; developed concentration without directed thought, but only with the sustained thought; developed concentration without directed thought and without thought sustained, developed with the concentration ecstasy; developed concentration without ecstasy; develop concentration accompanied by happiness, developing concentration accompanied by equanimity...When Anuruddha, I developed concentration with directed thought and sustained thought to the development ... when the concentration accompanied by fairness, knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My release is unshakable, this is my last birth, now there are no more likely to be any condition.
According to the early scriptures, the Buddha learned the two formless attainments from two teachers, Alara Kalama and Uddaka Ramaputta respectively, prior to his enlightenment. It is most likely that they belonged to the Brahmanical tradition. However, he realized that neither "Dimension of Nothingness" nor "Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception" lead to Nirvana and left. The Buddha said in the Ariyapariyesana Sutta:
But the thought occurred to me, ‘This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding, but only to reappearance in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.’ So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.
Cessation of feelings and perceptions
The Buddha himself discovered an attainment beyond the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, the "cessation of feelings and perceptions". This is sometimes called the "ninth jhāna" in commentarial and scholarly literature. Although the "Dimension of Nothingness" and the "Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception" are included in the list of nine Jhanas taught by the Buddha, they are not included in the Noble Eightfold Path. Noble Path number eight is "Samma Samadhi" (Right Concentration), and only the first four Jhanas are considered "Right Concentration". If he takes a disciple through all the Jhanas, the emphasis is on the "Cessation of Feelings and Perceptions" rather than stopping short at the "Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception".
In the Magga-vibhanga Sutta, the Buddha defines Right Concentration that belongs to the concentration (samadhi) division of the path as the first four Jhanas:
And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first Jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the Second Jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the Third Jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the Fourth Jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration.—
The Buddha did not reject the formless attainments in and of themselves, but instead the doctrines of his teachers as a whole, as they did not lead to nibbana. He then underwent harsh ascetic practices that he eventually also became disillusioned with. He subsequently remembered entering jhāna as a child, and realized that, "That indeed is the path to enlightenment."
In the suttas, the immaterial attainments are never referred to as jhānas. The immaterial attainments have more to do with expanding, while the Jhanas (1-4) focus on concentration. A common translation for the term "samadhi" is concentration. Rhys Davids and Maurice Walshe agreed that the term ” samadhi” is not found in any pre-buddhist text. Hindu texts later used that term to indicate the state of enlightenment. This is not in conformity with Buddhist usage. In " The Long Discourse of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya" (pg. 1700) Maurice Walshe wrote that:
Rhys Davids also states that the term samadhi is not found in any pre-Buddhist text. To his remarks on the subject should be added that its subsequent use in Hindu texts to denote the state of enlightenment is not in conformity with Buddhist usage, where the basic meaning of concentration is expanded to cover ‘meditation’ in general.—
Meditation was an aspect of the practice of the yogis in the centuries preceding the Buddha. The Buddha built upon the yogis' concern with introspection and developed their meditative techniques, but rejected their theories of liberation. In Buddhism, sati and sampajanna are to be developed at all times, in pre-Buddhist yogic practices there is no such injunction. A yogi in the Brahmanical tradition is not to practice while defecating, for example, while a Buddhist monastic should do so.
Religious knowledge or 'vision' was indicated as a result of practice both within and outside of the Buddhist fold. According to the Samaññaphala Sutta this sort of vision arose for the Buddhist adept as a result of the perfection of 'meditation' (Sanskrit: dhyāna) coupled with the perfection of 'ethics' (Sanskrit: śīla). Some of the Buddha's meditative techniques were shared with other traditions of his day, but the idea that ethics are causally related to the attainment of 'religious insight' (Sanskrit: prajñā) was original.
The Buddhist texts are probably the earliest describing meditation techniques. They describe meditative practices and states that existed before the Buddha, as well as those first developed within Buddhism. Two Upanishads written after the rise of Buddhism do contain full-fledged descriptions of yoga as a means to liberation.
While there is no convincing evidence for meditation in pre-Buddhist early Brahminic texts, Wynne argues that formless meditation originated in the Brahminic or Shramanic tradition, based on strong parallels between Upanishadic cosmological statements and the meditative goals of the two teachers of the Buddha as recorded in the early Buddhist texts. He mentions less likely possibilities as well. Having argued that the cosmological statements in the Upanishads also reflect a contemplative tradition, he argues that the Nasadiya Sukta contains evidence for a contemplative tradition, even as early as the late Rg Vedic period.
Buddhism does not deny that the Vedas in their true origin were sacred although have been amended repeatedly by certain Brahmins to secure their positions in society. The Buddha declared that the Veda in its true form was declared by Kashyapa to certain rishis, who by severe penances had acquired the power to see by divine eyes. In the Buddhist Vinaya Pitaka of the Mahavagga (I.245) section the Buddha names these rishis, and declared that the original Veda the Vedic rishis "Atthako, Vâmako, Vâmadevo, Vessâmitto, Yamataggi, Angiraso, Bhâradvâjo, Vâsettho, Kassapo, and Bhagu" but that it was altered by a few Brahmins who introduced animal sacrifices. The Vinaya Pitaka's section Anguttara Nikaya: Panchaka Nipata says that it was on this alteration of the true Veda that the Buddha refused to pay respect to the Vedas of his time.
The Buddha is recorded in the Canki Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 95) as saying to a group of Brahmins:
O Vasettha, those priests who know the scriptures are just like a line of blind men tied together where the first sees nothing, the middle man nothing, and the last sees nothing.
In the same discourse, he says:
It is not proper for a wise man who maintains truth to come to the conclusion: This alone is Truth, and everything else is false.
He is also recorded as saying:
To be attached to one thing (to a certain view) and to look down upon other things (views) as inferior – this the wise men call a fetter.
Walpola Rahula writes, "It is always a question of knowing and seeing, and not that of believing. The teaching of the Buddha is qualified as ehi-passika, inviting you to 'come and see,' but not to come and believe... It is always seeing through knowledge or wisdom, and not believing through faith."
In Hinduism, philosophies are classified either as Astika or Nastika, that is, philosophies that either affirm or reject the authorities of the Vedas. According to this tradition, Buddhism is a Nastika school since it rejects the authority of the Vedas. Buddhists on the whole called those who did not believe in Buddhism the "outer path-farers" (tiirthika).
Since the Hindu scriptures are essentially silent on the issue of religious conversion, the issue of whether Hindus evangelize is open to interpretations. Those who view Hinduism as an ethnicity more than as a religion tend to believe that to be a Hindu, one must be born a Hindu. However, those who see Hinduism primarily as a philosophy, a set of beliefs, or a way of life generally believe that one can convert to Hinduism by incorporating Hindu beliefs into one's life and by considering oneself a Hindu. The Supreme Court of India has taken the latter view, holding that the question of whether a person is a Hindu should be determined by the person's belief system, not by their ethnic or racial heritage.
Buddhism spread throughout Asia via evangelism and conversion. Buddhist scriptures depict such conversions in the form of lay followers declaring their support for the Buddha and his teachings, or via ordination as a Buddhist monk. Buddhist identity has been broadly defined as one who "takes refuge" in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, echoing a formula seen in Buddhist texts. In some communities, formal conversion rituals are observed. No specific ethnicity has typically been associated with Buddhism, and as it spread beyond its origin in India immigrant monastics were replaced with newly ordained members of the local ethnic or tribal group.
Early Buddhist scriptures do not mention schools of learning directly connected with the Upanishads. Though the earliest Upanishads had been completed by the Buddha's time, they are not cited in the early Buddhist texts as Upanishads or Vedanta. For the early Buddhists they were likely not thought of as having any outstanding significance in and of themselves, and as simply one section of the Vedas.
The Buddhist texts do describe wandering, mendicant Brahmins who appear to have valued the early Upanishads' promotion of this lifestyle as opposed to living the life of the householder and accruing wealth from nobles in exchange for performing Vedic sacrifices. Furthermore, the early Buddhist texts mention ideas similar to those expounded in the early Upanishads, before controverting them.
The old Upanishads largely consider Brahman (masculine gender, Brahmā in the nominative case, henceforth "Brahmā") to be a personal god, and Brahman (neuter gender, Brahma in the nominative case, henceforth "Brahman") to be the impersonal world principle. They do not strictly distinguish between the two, however. The old Upanishads ascribe these characteristics to Brahmā: first, he has light and luster as his marks; second, he is invisible; third, he is unknowable, and it is impossible to know his nature; fourth, he is omniscient. The old Upanishads ascribe these characteristics to Brahman as well.
In the Buddhist texts, there are many Brahmās. There they form a class of superhuman beings, and rebirth into the realm of Brahmās is possible by pursuing Buddhist practices. In the early texts, the Buddha gives arguments to refute the existence of a creator.
In the Pāli scriptures, the neuter Brahman does not appear (though the word brahma is standardly used in compound words to mean "best", or "supreme"), however ideas are mentioned as held by various Brahmins in connection with Brahmā that match exactly with the concept of Brahman in the Upanishads. Brahmins who appear in the Tevijja-suttanta of the Digha Nikaya regard "union with Brahmā" as liberation, and earnestly seek it. In that text, Brahmins of the time are reported to assert: "Truly every Brahmin versed in the three Vedas has said thus: 'We shall expound the path for the sake of union with that which we do not know and do not see. This is the correct path. This path is the truth, and leads to liberation. If one practices it, he shall be able to enter into association with Brahmā." The early Upanishads frequently expound "association with Brahmā", and "that which we do not know and do not see" matches exactly with the early Upanishadic Brahman.
In the earliest Upanishad, the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the Absolute, which came to be referred to as Brahman, is referred to as "the imperishable". The Pāli scriptures present a "pernicious view" that is set up as an absolute principle corresponding to Brahman: "O Bhikkhus! At that time Baka, the Brahmā, produced the following pernicious view: 'It is permanent. It is eternal. It is always existent. It is independent existence. It has the dharma of non-perishing. Truly it is not born, does not become old, does not die, does not disappear, and is not born again. Furthermore, no liberation superior to it exists elsewhere." The principle expounded here corresponds to the concept of Brahman laid out in the Upanishads. According to this text the Buddha criticized this notion: "Truly the Baka Brahmā is covered with unwisdom."
The Buddha confined himself to what is empirically given. This empiricism is based broadly on both ordinary sense experience and extrasensory perception enabled by high degrees of mental concentration.
In Hindu philosophy, especially in the Vedanta school of Hinduism, Ātman is the first principle, the true self of an individual beyond identification with phenomena, the essence of an individual. Yajnavalkya (c. 9th century BCE), in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, uses the word to indicate that in which everything exists, which is of the highest value, which permeates everything, which is the essence of all, bliss and beyond description. While, older Upanishads such as the Brihadaranyaka, mention several times that the Self is described as Neti neti or not this – not this, Upanishads post Buddhism, like the Maitri Upanishad, define Ātman as only the defiled individual self, rather than the universal self. Taittiriya Upanishad defines Ātman or the Self as consisting of five sheaths (kosha): the bodily self consisting of the essence of food (annamaya kosha), the vital breath (pranamaya kosha), the mind or will (manomaya kosha), the intellect or capacity to know (vijnanamaya kosha) and bliss (anandamaya kosha). Knowledge or realization of the Ātman is seen as essential to attain salvation (liberation):
If atman is brahman in a pot (the body), then one need merely break the pot to fully realize the primordial unity of the individual soul with the plentitude of Being that was the Absolute.
Schools of Indian philosophy, such as Advaita (non-dualism) see Ātman within each living entity as being fully identical with Brahman – the Principle, whereas other schools such as Dvaita (dualism) differentiate between the individual atma in living beings, and the Supreme atma (Paramatma) as being at least partially separate beings. Unlike Advaita, Samkhya holds blissfullness of Ātman as merely figurative. However, both Samkhya and Advaita consider the ego (asmita, ahamkara) rather than the Ātman to be the cause of pleasure and pain. Later Advaitic text Pañcadaśī classifies the degrees of Ātman under three headings: Gauna or secondary (anything other than the personality that an individual identifies with), Mithya or false (bodily personality) and Mukhya or primary (the real Self).
The concept of Ātman was rejected by the Buddha. Terms like anatman (not-self) and shunyata (voidness) are at the core of all Buddhist traditions. The permanent transcendence of the belief in the separate existence of the self is integral to the enlightenment of an Arhat. The Buddha criticized conceiving theories even of a unitary soul or identity immanent in all things as unskillful. In fact, according to the Buddha's statement in Khandha Samyutta 47, all thoughts about self are necessarily, whether the thinker is aware of it or not, thoughts about the five aggregates or one of them.
Despite the rejection of Ātman by Buddhists there were similarities between certain concepts in Buddhism and Ātman. The Upanishadic "Self" shares certain characteristics with nibbana; both are permanent, beyond suffering, and unconditioned. Buddhist mysticism is also of a different sort from that found in systems revolving around the concept of a "God" or "Self":
If one would characterize the forms of mysticism found in the Pali discourses, it is none of the nature-, God-, or soul-mysticism of F.C. Happold. Though nearest to the latter, it goes beyond any ideas of 'soul' in the sense of immortal 'self' and is better styled 'consciousness-mysticism'.
However, the Buddha shunned any attempt to see the spiritual goal in terms of "Self" because in his framework, the craving for a permanent self is the very thing that keeps a person in the round of uncontrollable rebirth, preventing him or her from attaining nibbana. At the time of the Buddha some philosophers and meditators posited a root: an abstract principle all things emanated from and that was immanent in all things. When asked about this, instead of following this pattern of thinking, the Buddha attacks it at its very root: the notion of a principle in the abstract, superimposed on experience. In contrast, a person in training should look for a different kind of "root" — the root of dukkha experienced in the present. According to one Buddhist scholar, theories of this sort have most often originated among meditators who label a particular meditative experience as the ultimate goal, and identify with it in a subtle way.
Adi Shankara in his works refuted the Buddhist arguments against Ātman. He suggested that a self-evident conscious agent would avoid infinite regress, since there would be no necessity to posit another agent who would know this. He further argued that a cognizer beyond cognition could be easily demonstrated from the diversity in self existence of the witness and the notion. Furthermore, Shankara thought that no doubts could be raised about the Self, for the act of doubting implies at the very least the existence of the doubter. Vidyaranya, another Advaita Vedantic philosopher, expresses this argument as:
No one can doubt the fact of his own existence. Were one to do so, who would the doubter be?
The Buddha denies the existence of the cosmic Self, as conceived in the Upanishadic tradition, in the Alagaddupama Sutta (M I 135-136). Possibly the most famous Upanishadic dictum is tat tvam asi, "thou art that." Transposed into first person, the Pali version is eso ‘ham asmi, "I am this." This is said in several suttas to be false. The full statement declared to be incorrect is "This is mine, I am this, this is my self/essence." This is often rejected as a wrong view. The Alagaduppama Sutta rejects this and other obvious echoes of surviving Upanishadic statements as well (these are not mentioned as such in the commentaries, and seem not to have been noticed until modern times). Moreover, the passage denies that one’s self is the same as the world and that one will become the world self at death. The Buddha tells the monks that people worry about something that is non-existent externally (bahiddhaa asati) and non-existent internally (ajjhattam asati); he is referring respectively to the soul/essence of the world and of the individual. A similar rejection of "internal" Self and "external" Self occurs at AN II 212. Both are referring to the Upanishads. The most basic presupposition of early Brahminic cosmology is the identification of man and the cosmos (instances of this occur at TU II.1 and Mbh XII.195), and liberation for the yogin was thought to only occur at death, with the adept's union with brahman (as at Mbh XII.192.22). The Buddha's rejection of these theories is therefore one instance of the Buddha's attack on the whole enterprise of Upanishadic ontology.
The Buddha redefined the word "brahman" so as to become a synonym for arahant, replacing a distinction based on birth with one based on spiritual attainment. The early Buddhist scriptures furthermore defined purity as determined by one's state of mind, and refer to anyone who behaves unethically, of whatever caste, as "rotting within", or "a rubbish heap of impurity".
The Buddha explains his use of the word brahman in many places. At Sutta Nipata 1.7 Vasala Sutta, verse 12, he states: "Not by birth is one an outcast; not by birth is one a brahmin. By deed one becomes an outcast, by deed one becomes a brahman." An entire chapter of the Dhammapada is devoted to showing how a true brahman in the Buddha's use of the word is one who is of totally pure mind, namely, an arahant. However, it is very noteworthy that the Bhagavad Gita also defines Brahmin, and other varnas, as qualities and resulting from actions, and does not mention birth as a factor in determining these. In that regard, the chapter on Brahmins in the Dhammapada may be regarded as being entirely in tune with the definition of a Brahmin in Chapter 18 of the Bhagavad Gita. Both say that a Brahmin is a person having certain qualities.
A defining of feature of the Buddha's teachings is self-sufficiency, so much so as to render the Brahminical priesthood entirely redundant.
Upanishadic soteriology is focused on the static Self, while the Buddha's is focused on dynamic agency. In the former paradigm, change and movement are an illusion; to realize the Self as the only reality is to realize something that has always been the case. In the Buddha's system by contrast, one has to make things happen.
The fire metaphor used in the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta (which is also used elsewhere) is a radical way of making the point that the liberated sage is beyond phenomenal experience. It also makes the additional point that this indefinable, transcendent state is the sage's state even during life. This idea goes against the early Brahminic notion of liberation at death.
Liberation for the Brahminic yogin was thought to be the permanent realization at death of a nondual meditative state anticipated in life. In fact, old Brahminic metaphors for the liberation at death of the yogic adept ("becoming cool", "going out") were given a new meaning by the Buddha; their point of reference became the sage who is liberated in life. The Buddha taught that these meditative states alone do not offer a decisive and permanent end to suffering either during life or after death.
He stated that achieving a formless attainment with no further practice would only lead to temporary rebirth in a formless realm after death. Moreover, he gave a pragmatic refutation of early Brahminical theories according to which the meditator, the meditative state, and the proposed uncaused, unborn, unanalyzable Self, are identical. These theories are undergirded by the Upanishadic correspondence between macrocosm and microcosm, from which perspective it is not surprising that meditative states of consciousness were thought to be identical to the subtle strata of the cosmos. The Buddha, in contrast, argued that states of consciousness come about caused and conditioned by the yogi's training and techniques, and therefore no state of consciousness could be this eternal Self.
Both the Buddha's conception of the liberated person and the goal of early Brahminic yoga can be characterized as nondual, but in different ways. The nondual goal in early Brahminism was conceived in ontological terms; the goal was that into which one merges after death. According to Wynne, liberation for the Buddha "... is nondual in another, more radical, sense. This is made clear in the dialogue with Upasiva, where the liberated sage is defined as someone who has passed beyond conceptual dualities. Concepts that might have some meaning in ordinary discourse, such as consciousness or the lack of it, existence and non-existence, etc., do not apply to the sage. For the Buddha, propositions are not applicable to the liberated person, because language and concepts (Sn 1076: vaadapathaa, dhammaa), as well as any sort of intellectual reckoning (sankhaa) do not apply to the liberated sage.
The word nirvana (Pali: Nibbana) was first used in its technical sense in Buddhism, and cannot be found in any of the pre-Buddhist Upanishads (It can be found in Jain texts). The use of the term in the Bhagavad Gita may be a sign of the strong Buddhist influence upon Hindu thought. Although the word nirvana is absent from the Upanishads, the word itself existed prior to the Buddha. It must be kept in mind that nirvana is one of many terms for salvation that occur in the orthodox Buddhist scriptures. Other terms that appear are 'Vimokha', or 'Vimutti', implying 'salvation' and 'deliverance' respectively. Some more words synonymously used for nirvana in Buddhist scriptures are 'mokkha/moksha', meaning 'liberation' and 'kevala/kaivalya', meaning 'wholeness'; these words were given a new Buddhist meaning.
At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded.
According to the biography of the Buddha, he was a Mahapurusha (great being) named Shvetaketu. Tushita Heaven (Home of the Contented gods) was the name of the realm he dwells before taking his last birth on earth as Gautama Buddha. There is no more rebirth for a Buddha. Before leaving the Tushita realm to take birth on earth, he designated Maitreya to take his place there. Maitreya will come to earth as the next Buddha, instead of him coming back again. Krishna was a past life of Sariputra, a chief disciple of the Buddha. He has not attained enlightenment during that life as Krishna. Therefore, he came back to be reborn during the life of the Buddha and reached the first stage of Enlightenment after encountering an enlightened disciple of the Buddha. He reached full Arahantship or full Awakening after became ordained in the Buddha's sangha.
Various Hindu Indian scholars believed that Buddhism is a reformation of Hinduism. That the Buddha only wants to reform some of the malpractices within Hinduism, that is all. And they also assumed that he never wanted to create a new religion. In short, according to them Buddhism is correct Hinduism without any malpractice and evils. And that what is now called Hinduism is malpractice and distorted form of the Vedas. There is the trend of incorporating a certain principles of the Buddha's teaching, while leaving out many other aspect of his teachings unpracticed, or adding various practices from existing belief into the formula. For example, the practice of caste discrimination, aiming to achieve Brahma consciousness in the holy life, emphasis on rituals, etc. It is impossible to preserve his teaching in its pristine form without establishing an independent religion. The establishment of an independent religion is for the benefit of countless beings who have confidence in his teaching to carry them to Awakening, for generations to come. The dhamma is a gift for anyone who wish to benefit from it regardless of the creed they are following. If someone from a certain belief can only handle taking up a few teachings from him while keep practicing tantra, rituals, and the like, the person is more than welcome to do that. But the establishment of the new religion is for those who are ready to practice the path as he taught it and experience the intended outcome of the path. Therefore, the Buddha established a new religion when he was alive. In the days of the Buddha, he himself already referred to his teaching and sangha as " this Religion". He entrusted the sangha he established to preserve his teaching in its undiluted form so that it will remain effective for later generations.
Furthermore, the Buddha also laid down specific Patimokkha (basic code of monastic discipline) for those who want to take up the training as taught by him. It was recorded in the Vinaya Pitaka. On the new-moon and full-moon uposatha days, his ordained disciples would assemble to recite the Patimokkha rules. When each of the seven sections of the rules is recited amidst the assembled Order, if anyone among those present has infringed any of those rules, the person should confess and undergo any the process of correcting the behavior. Silence implies absence of guilt. The Buddha forbid his monks from showing off psychic powers to the laity for the sake of fame. The Parajika containing rules about expulsion from the sangha. That means there is a distinct and established sangha to be expelled from. It is not the case that he simply tries to reform some of the malpractices within Hinduism and say that it is okay for disciples to practice anything else they wanted out there while living in the holy life of his path.
For example :
"Should any bhikkhu -- participating in the training and livelihood of the bhikkhus, without having renounced the training, without having declared his weakness -- engage in the sexual act, even with a female animal, he is defeated and no longer in the sangha."
"Should any bhikkhu sit in private, alone with a woman, it is to be confessed."
Before dying the Buddha also said :
Monks, abide becoming a light and refuge to yourself, not searching another refuge, consider the Teaching as a light, a refuge, and do not search another Teaching
The Buddha's dharma is for all, regardless of the faith they belong to. Setting up a religion is simply a way to preserve the teaching in its purest form and reduce the possibility of dilution so that it will remain effective for later generations when they want to experience liberation through his teaching.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan has claimed that the Buddha did not look upon himself as an innovator, but only a restorer of the way of the Upanishads, despite the fact that the Buddha did not accept the Upanishads, viewing them as comprising a pretentious tradition, foreign to his paradigm.
Hinduism is a religion both of Eternity and Time, while Gautama looks upon Eternity alone. it is not really fair to Gautama or to the Brahmans to contrast their Dharma; for they do not seek to cover the same ground. We must compare the Buddhist ethical ideal with the identical standard of Brahmanhood expected of the Brahman born; we must contrast the Buddhist monastic system with the Brahmanical orders; the doctrine of Anatta with the doctrine of Atman, and here we shall find identity. Buddhism stands for a restricted ideal, which contrasts with Brahmanism as a part contrasts with the whole.
He also maintained:
The more superficially one studies Buddhism, the more it seems to differ from Brahmanism in which it originated; the more profound our study, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish Buddhism from Brahmanism, or to say in what respects, if any, Buddhism is really unorthodox.
Some Hindu scholars have also accepted Buddhism as a fulfillment of Sanatana Dharma philosophy:
The relation between Hinduism (by Hinduism, I mean the religion of the Vedas) and what is called Buddhism at the present day, is nearly the same as between Judaism and Christianity. Jesus Christ was a Jew, and Shakya Muni was a Hindu. The Jews rejected Jesus Christ, nay, crucified him, and the Hindus have accepted Shakya Muni as God and worship him. But the real difference that we Hindus want to show between modern Buddhism and what we should understand as the teachings of Lord Buddha, lies principally in this: Shakya Muni came to preach nothing new. He also, like Jesus, came to fulfill and not to destroy.
Steven Collins sees such Hindu claims regarding Buddhism as part of an effort – itself a reaction to Christian proselytizing efforts in India – to show that "all religions are one", and that Hinduism is uniquely valuable because it alone recognizes this fact.
Alan Watts wrote the following:
Being a Hindu really involves living in India. Because of the differences of climate, or arts, crafts, and technology, you cannot be a Hindu in the full sense in Japan or in the United States. Buddhism is Hinduism stripped for export. The Buddha was a reformer in the highest sense: someone who wants to go to the original form, or to re-form it for the needs of a certain time... Buddha is the man who woke up, who discovered who he really was. The crucial issue wherein Buddhism differs from Hinduism is that it doesn't say who you are; it has no idea, no concept. I emphasize the words idea and concept. It has no idea and no concept of God because Buddhism is not interested in concepts, it is interested in direct experience only.
Buddhist scholar Rahula Walpole has written that the Buddha fundamentally denied all speculative views, such as the doctrinal Upanishadic belief in Atman.
B. R. Ambedkar, the founder of the Dalit Buddhist movement, believed that Buddhism offered an opportunity for low-caste and untouchable Hindus to achieve greater respect and dignity because of its non-caste doctrines. Among the 22 vows he prescribed to his followers is an injunction against having faith in Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. He also regarded the belief that the Buddha was an incarnation of Vishnu as "false propaganda".
According to "Hinduism and Buddhism An Historical Sketch", Sir Charles Elliot who was a British diplomat mentioned that this correlates with the Rig Veda of Hinduism. Both texts mentioned that Vishnu and Shiva are minor deities instead of the Lords of the Universe as popularly known by worshippers:
Vishnu and Rudra (Shiva) are known even to the Rig Veda but as deities of no special eminence. It is only after the Vedic age that they became , each for his own worshippers, undisputed Lords of the Universe... The Pali Pitakas frequently introduce popular deities , but give no prominence to Vishnu and Siva. They are apparently mentioned under the names of Venhu and Isana, but are not differentiated from a host of spirits now forgotten. ...The suttas of the Digha Nikaya in which these lists of deities occur were perhaps composed before 300 B.C.—Sir Charles Elliot
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