Having recently finished the chapter in Huston Smith’s World Religions on Hinduism, I thought I’d share some observations. Hinduism seems like a great place start a book on world religion because Hinduism may be able to house all other religions. For example, there is a pursuit of liberation within Hinduism that focuses on loving and admiring God and therefore loving others. This love gives rise to acts of goodness. Sound familiar? Likewise, there are raja yogas that seem to pursue liberation in the fashion that I typically associate with Buddhism.
The most striking thing about Hinduism for me is that one is instructed to fulfill ones desires. Those desires have a definite order: pleasure, success, service, liberation. But the pursuit is the end not the means. Even though liberation (connecting to the infinite life, truth, and beauty thus being liberated from the finite world) sounds a lot like salvation or enlightenment, I think the purpose is different. Buddha was telling folks how to avoid suffering (I think) and Jesus was telling people how to avoid sinfulness (don’t cringe, sinfulness just means missing the mark).
4 replies on “Hinduism”
But I wonder how different Buddah's suffering and Jesus' sinfulness really are. I read Buddah and Jesus as being very close in their philosophies & values. You are holding a candle pretty high, shedding some blessed light on sinfulness as suffering. That might preach.
Since the source of suffering is selfish desire, and the second most important commandment is like the first, love your neighbor as yourself, I would say the philosophies do see to share much of the same focus.
From about age 16 to 18, I worked hard on the notion that all faiths were the same. That God was Alla or YHWH or Brahman or Nirvana. However, once at NU when I had the chance to meet and talk with Hindus and Buddahists, I realize how naive that point of view was. Even if the initial intuition wasn’t so far off–if you are sufficiently abstract all are seaking the same goal–the religions, the faiths, are fundamentally different. I also came to realize that I was really trying to say all these folks were unknowingly Christian, which requires a religious jingoism that I’m only know willing to publicly confess. Anyway, the adventure has caused me to since be very careful about drawing connections between Christianity and other religions. Even when you have instances like this one, where there are clearly very close.
Hinduism is really varied and you can find almost every aspect of religion expressed in it. Because of that I consider Hinduism more a family of religions than a single religion.
Many times it is difficult to find similarities between the different kinds of “Hinduism”.
“Hinduism seems like a great place start a book on world religion because Hinduism may be able to house all other religions.”
What you wrote is very true. Hinduism is the true culture of Indians in India. Many call it “A way of life.” It is not an organized religion like Christianity or Islam. It has no founder. It has no Pope. It has no hierarchy. Just a lot of scriptures.
It does NOT convert others to Hinduism since it is a Culture.
Hindu scriptures NEVER EVER STATED that Hinduism has monopoly on truth or God. Those things are universal.
You do NOT have to be a Hindu to attain salvation. Any one even an atheist who searches after truth will finally attain salvation