Influence of Buddhism and Jainism

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

Buddhism is a religion with a complex history and system of beliefs. Its four noble truths comprise the essence of Buddha's teachings. They are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

Even though the Buddha agreed with the doctrines of Karma and rebirth of Hinduism, he declined to speculate on Moksha and the doctrines of Atma and Paramatma. The equalization of castes and communities was stressed in Buddhism.

Jainism is a religion based on cosmic principles emphasizes on the perfect form of democracy. Its principles stress on the equality of opportunities to achieve perfect freedom and spiritual perfection for all. In this religion, more than physical form, the gunas or the virtues or the qualities are praised.

Jain Dharma is categorically different from Hindus and many other religions. The Jainism having remained in Indian religion for a long time has lot of common things mainly related to social institutions and ritual life. Today, Hindus tend to consider it a part of Hindu Sect. 

Both Buddha and Mahavira admitted the Brahmin ideal of Hinduism as the right one, but they led a crusade against certain aspects of Hinduism. The Hindus adapted many ideals and percepts of Buddhism and Jainism.

The animal sacrifice was replaced with the offerings of rice and milk. This is a compromise made in the Vedic ritualism based on the influence of Buddhism and Jainism. Even though the early Aryans were the meat-eaters, now many groups of Brahmins and non-Brahmins have become completely vegetarians.


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