Similarities between Buddhism and Islam
Buddhism and Islam are two religions that are the most dominant in Asia. They have a lot in common. The followers of both of them believe there is one Supreme Being which oversees the activities of the people on the earth. Moreover, the two religions started with a man who found divine relations, which the people of their age did not have. Furthermore, they started as personal inspirations to understand the huge underlying power that governed the earth. Later, these incentives turned out to be directions about how human beings should behave towards each other. The individuals set out to spread the gospel they had received through revelations to alert their communities about the eternity after death. The latter was divided into two parts: heaven for the righteous people and hell for the evil ones. The disciples of both religions follow their respective models who received the divine insights for the appropriate way of life. Thus, Buddhism and Islam are similar in very many ways, and the following essay will analyze the features that are the alike concerning the religions under consideration: the belief in a Supreme Being, divine enlightenment, one-man divine revelation, emulating the models for the way and the belief in the hell and heaven.
First of all, Buddhism and Islam originated from men who had divine revelations about how life should be spent. Speaking about Islam, Muhammad Ibn Abd Allah, who was born in 570 in western Arabia, was fond of meditation, and during one of his contemplations, started receiving revelations from a supernatural voice (Donner 1). At first, Muhammad could not understand why he was getting the messages and tried to get help from his wife. As time went by, the visions still were persistent, and he started to accept them and the role he was given by the source of the revelations that was to convey them to the rest of the community. However, the information Muhammad had received was controversial to what the society knew and believed in. He learnt from the insights that human beings should only pay homage to only one god, the supreme god of heaven, the creator of all things. Muhammad’s work was to put this message across to his people and warn them of the coming end (Donner 2). According to the revelations, the man was to warn human beings that their lives were short, and they should live them with dignity.
Similarly, Buddhism started with one man who received enlightenment through searching the depths of nature. Having attained Buddhahood, the individual had to shun all earthly desires and live following the true wisdom. According to Buddha, human beings live like ignorant sons who have a rich father that can afford to provide them with everything that they need. However, their nescience bars their rationale, and they end up striving for the negligible things that they can easily get from their fathers. Therefore, people should live in search of the true Supreme Being demonstrating audacity, and they will receive all the things that they require. In Buddhism, one who resists the worldly desires, attains enlightenment and leads others to it is worth of every good thing. These inspirations about good living virtues were revealed to Buddha due to long meditation and natural superior intelligence. To be able to perceive the concepts religion, one must have natural talent, which allows him to think beyond other human beings. In both religions, the people adorned with the ability for enlightenment are the chosen ones to convey and deliver the will of the Supreme Being to the lesser intelligent community. The revelations of the Supreme Being to Buddha and Muhammad are the foundations of the Buddhism and Islam respectively.
Secondly, Buddhism and Islam believe in a supreme being. Muhammad taught his followers that there was only one god (Donner 3). Similarly, Buddha taught his disciples that there was one Supreme Being, the Bodhisattva Perceiver of World’s Sounds (Guanyin). In both cases, the Supreme Being is responsible of everything that happens on the earth and can manipulate human lives beyond people’s understanding. Moreover, both religions argue that the followers should venerate the Supreme Being without wavering or swaying from the faith. The Supreme Being is able to protect human beings in different ways and offers help when the need occurs, and they ask for it. Finally, both Islam and Buddhism claim that people have to fulfill their duty living virtuous lives.
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Thirdly, the disciples of both religions believe in the attainment of enlightenment. According to Buddhism, a person reaches it when he can live a worthwhile live not striving for the vile things of the world. An individual who lives in accordance to the teachings of Buddha and abandons all the desires attains enlightenment. Similarly, Muslims believe that a person gets a stroke of insights if he fulfills the teachings of the Quran, or the revelations Muhammad received from the god. Living a dignified live with total humility, keeping distance from the opposite sex and giving alms to the unfortunate also lead to the enlightenment. As for the state itself, it means being absolutely free from the influence of the world. As a result, such a person lives for the purpose of the peace, dignity and good, but not for pleasure, wealth or fame.
Further, Muslims and Buddhists have models to learn from and who attained enlightenment. In Islam, Muhammad is the ideal paradigm of the religion. Everyone who seeks to be a true Muslim must follow his footsteps. First of all, one must learn the Quran, the guiding principles that Muhammad left for his followers, by heart (Donner 34). In their opinion, Muhammad was the god’s prophet; thus, he is the true model of what they should live to be.
Similarly, Buddhists emulate Buddha as their model of virtue and worthwhile life. Buddha lived a life that everyone who wants to be a true Buddhist should aspire to lead. They should forego all pleasures that may lead them astray from the right course. Buddha avoided every evil thing and everything that could avert him from his religious and righteous life. Through following Buddha’s exemplary life, Buddhist can easily reach the enlightenment. Thus, followers of both religions have a set way of life that they should adhere to in order to be considered true to the religion. Interestingly, the religions do not allow for innovations, changes and new ideas meaning that their disciples should seek to fulfill the true traditions of the religions without averting to the right or the left. The beauty and faith of the religions lies in following their pioneers, their originators to the letter.
Lastly, both Buddhism and Islam followers believe in spreading the message of worthwhile lives. They are sure that there is a better place of eternity after the life in the world ends. In connection to this belief, they need to urge others to lead a decent life and warn that the failure will cause the damnation. Moreover, both religions state that the end of those who do not live following the teachings of their pioneers is worse than that of the most worthless thing. Muslims believe in the eternal hell, where those who do not fulfill the commandments of the Quran will endure endless fire and damnation (Donner 26). Buddhists are confident that those who live their lives in pursuit of world’s pleasures, trying to influence others through fame, will have a terrible end, which is worse than everything that is imaginable. Such a finale in Buddhism is equal to the eternal damnation because the soul of the individual will not know the light or epiphany forever.
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In conclusion, Buddhism and Islam are closely related as they believe in the Supreme Being, damnation and enlightenment, have paradigms to learn from and started through one-man revelation. The pursuit of world pleasures and wealth are the causes of the evil. As a result, according to both religions, for a follower to achieve salvation, he or she must shun all worldly desires and live a respectable life. Furthermore, both Islam and Buddhism argue that it is inevitable for an individual to adhere to the ideologies of the founders to have a truly decent life. Trying to reinvent the religion or accommodate the external ideologies is wrong. Human beings should live in accordance with a set way of life that will accord them freedom from the worldly enslavement. In the light of both religions, human beings should be dedicated towards improving their end rather than their present. They consider the present of humanity as negligible when compared to the eternity of the soul after death. Therefore, human beings should live pious lives in search of the truth, enlightenment and salvation of the eternal soul, which is far beyond the physical body. The soul can only be saved through eternal endeavors which are opposed to the worldly desires. Additionally, in both religions, it is the duty and responsibility of the human being to seek after the Supreme Being and know the ultimate will, which will lead to the salvation and enlightenment.