People sometimes get confused about the difference between Buddhism and Jainism. Well, they are likely not to be blamed because the two religions have several similarities in as much as there are keynote differences. The two religions also came to existence almost at the same time and at the same place; India. Even the Buddhist calls Mahayira (the founder of Jainism) as the enlightened one ‘“ a contemporary of Buddha.
In terms of similarities, the concept of Nirvana is quite the same between the two. Buddhists believe that Nirvana is a state of freedom. It is when a being turns into a non-being like turning something into nothing. Jainism declares Nirvana as a state of Moksha. The being will tend to lose its identity. In addition, both religions emphasize the practice of meditation and yoga. It is an exercise to focus more on one’s inner self. Yoga is needed for one to be purified and feel liberated. More importantly, the two highlights non-violence.
With regard to their disparities, the foremost difference is on their view on Karma. Although both religions believe in the concept of Karma’s universality, Jainism specifies that Karma is not the effect or result of the person’s actions. Karma is perceived as a true substance that freely flows throughout the human body (jiva). Buddhism concretely believes that karmais the direct effect of one’s own action.
The two religions also have differing views about the soul. The soul, according to Jainism is more universal. It is present in all things may it be the living and non-living things. All elements in the universe wind, earth, fire and water also have their own respective souls. Buddhism believes otherwise because the soul is said to reside in living things only like animals and plants and that inanimate objects don’t have any.
Thirdly, the two have different interpretations with the evolution of each person. In Buddhism, the soul will be gone after Nirvana; what’s left is the individuality of the person that passes through a state of nothingness. This state is indescribable. For Jainism, the soul still continues to thrive after Nirvana. This soul remains to be in its purest form and is in its enlightened state.
· Jainism believes that Karma is not the direct effect of the person’s actions while Buddhism believes that it is.
· Jainism believes that the soul is present in both living and non-living things. Buddhism believes that the soul is only present in living things.
· Jainism believes that the soul continues even after Nirvana but Buddhism believes that the soul will be dissolved into nothingness after Nirvana.
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