The Power Of Karma In Buddhist And Hindu Cultures

691 words - 3 pages

“Why are you acting like that? Don’t you want to go to heaven?” Chances are we have all heard something like this at some point in our lives because in Western society the dominant religion is Christianity. This religion brings the promise of heaven and eternal life to its greatest followers. However, this is not the case in the Eastern world particularly in India where Hinduism brings the promise of moksha to its followers and Buddhism brings the promise of nirvana to its followers. Since Buddhism originated during the time of Hinduism dominance there are some core similarities.
Both believe in the positive or negative effects of karma on past, present or future lives. The way to accumulate “good” karma is through good actions the opposite of which will give you “bad” karma. To get to either moksha or nirvana you have to have a lot of good karma which brings better lives as opposed to bad karma which brings worse lives. Ultimate freedom comes when karma ceases to operate and you are no longer living more lives. Moksha and Nirvana promise to break the cycle of constant rebirth that plagues human existence as well as end suffering for humans. These concepts imply liberation from human emotions and provide insight and inner peace.
Hinduism works with the caste system in which the order from lowest to highest is the untouchable, the peasant, the merchant, the warrior-noble, and the priest. People don’t choose their caste they are simply born into them and they can only move up or down by having their souls reincarnated. People follow the caste system in hopes they will reach moksha after Brahmin or priest which is the highest class in the caste system. In addition, the Upanishads insist that deep down we are all parts of a single divine reality or Brahman. “Often the term Brahman refers to the experience of the sacred within nature and the external universe, while Atman refers to the experience of the sacred within oneself.”(Molloy 84) “When insight and kindness the pain of rebirth ends;...

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