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Religious Texts, Wikimedia

Sept 24, 2016: Every religion have their own definition, they have their own viewpoint and their own value system. Similarly, each religion has its own scriptures and sacred texts, doctrines,rites and rituals, customs and practices. There are many exciting similarities but the fundamental level i.e. faith is different. Although we celebrate and rejoice in our similarities and shared values, we should not forget and overlook the differences because it is over the differences that misunderstandings develop, and if avoided, the unpleasant troubles will flare up.


In the context of pluralistic living, interfaith dialogue and engagement, it is of prime importance to understand one important fact that every religion explains and defines itself differently than other religion. People need something to believe- something that fills up their mind and lifts them from this tedious reality. People feel a sense of security in belonging to a group institution.

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Islam and Buddhism were founded more than thousand years apart in very different parts of the world. Buddhism was founded in fifth century B.C. in Nepal. Islam founded in the seventh century in Arabia. Buddhism affirms with incarnation in truth,there is no God, whereas Islam believes God should be the sole focus of the people.

Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha, who renounced his royal heritage to find the cause of human suffering. When seated under the famous Bodhi tree, where he had been for several years, the Buddha attained enlightenment. The Buddha’s teachings are summed up in the Four Noble Truths: Suffering is inevitable in life, desire is the cause of suffering, suffering can end and there is a specific path to end suffering — by following the ethical standards of the Eightfold Path and attaining enlightenment.


Statue of Buddha, Wikimedia

Islam was founded by the Prophet Muhammad, who received revelations from the Angel Gabriel. These revelations are collected in the Quran, which is the Muslim holy book. The core of Muslim theology is that there is only one God, eternal and indivisible and that Muhammad was the last prophet of God — following other prophets such as Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims believe that humanity will be resurrected on Judgment Day, living on with an eternal reward or punishment.

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While Muslims live and shape their entire life around God- praying to him, reading his words in the Quran and following his law in their day to day lives. Muslims pray to God and look to him for peace. Buddhists are not concerned with the notion of God, they rely on themselves, on wisdom and the teachings of Buddha.

The core difference between Islam and Buddhism thus stands, Islam is an aggressive political ideology, the zeal showed by Islamists is very similar to the fired-up fans of football teams opposing the enemy in shirts of different colours. On the other hand, the art of consciousness is found in true Buddhism, not in religion. Buddhism has no link to a God or supernatural being, but it is firmly based in reality, it believes in the openness of mind.

-Prepared by Enakshi Roy Chowdhury of Newsgram. Twitter: @enakshirc58


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