Ideas of Karma, Samsara, Reincarnation, and Enlightenment in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism

Topics: Karma

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism all possess the ideas of karma, samsara, reincarnation, and enlightenment. Karma can be seen as the cliché phrase, what goes around comes around. Samsara is the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, which also is called reincarnation. Enlightenment is the ultimate purpose of life within all these philosophies; Nirvana is what the practitioners of these religions are trying to achieve. Hinduism, one of the world’s oldest religions, is a religion of polytheistic gods with Brahma being the superior god and the creator of the reality.

Buddhism is related to Hinduism as Judaism is related to Christianity; although there are significant differences, there are factors that are similar in both religions.

One interesting belief in Hinduism is that Vishnu, a personal god and a protector of this realm, reincarnates multiple times to help the reality we’re in when it’s in a turmoiled state; it is claimed the Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was yet another one of Vishnu’s reincarnations.

A significant difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is that Buddhist don’t worship a whole set of gods; rather, they make offerings to various Buddhas, but don’t truly worship them as practitioners of Hinduism worship to their gods. One things that’s beautifully similar in both philosophies is that the gods in Hinduism and the Buddhas in Buddhism both exist in this reality and in a reality we don’t know of. For example, in Hinduism Vishnu reincarnates multiple times as different avatars, existing in our reality for the time being, and when he’s not reincarnated, Vishnu doesn’t exist anymore in this reality.

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However, the idea and the belief of Vishnu never leaves, so he still has a presence, although in a different reality.

Similarly, in Buddhism some Buddhas lived like the founder of Buddha did, which consisted of normal human lives within this reality, whereas other Buddhas lived in other realities. More than a religion, Buddhism is a philosophy that allows a person to get to know themselves by paving a pathway through conquering the realization of the human suffering, ego, desires, and wants one has. This challenging path leads one to the Nirvana if accomplished, and the Buddha’s Eightfold Noble Path as well as the Four Noble Truths are guidelines to live such a life, and the four truths of the reality we’re in, respectively. Similar to Buddhism, in Taoism simplicity was considered the ultimate secret to truth and freedom. As aforementioned, Buddhism included factors of one conquering their ego, wants, fears, and desires. Although there is no uniform meditation system for Buddhists to go by, it is suggested by the Four Noble Truth let go of the causes of suffering, such as unnecessary materialistic wants and needs.

The simplistic lifestyle promoted by Taoism also encouraged practitioners of Taoism to aim to be one with the nature, and to use the power found in one’s self and in the nature for good and love within the world. It’s beautiful how all these philosophies have positivity mainly emphasized within it. Although these philosophies focus on conquering some of the most challenging aspects in one’s life, such as getting rid of one’s wants and desires, and being without an ego, it ultimately is for being one with the universe, which is an aspect that sounds indescribably attractive for those who are ready for a challenge that’s worth a lifetime. Even in Hinduism, Shiva, the god who has immense powers of destruction and recreation, uses his powers “to destroy the illusions and imperfections of this world,” and not create a world of evil, as some other religions consist of doing. The overall point here is that these philosophies all aim to eliminate the problem of evil rather than encourage it. (Roca-Schuh, 2018, pg. 139, 141, 164-165

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Ideas of Karma, Samsara, Reincarnation, and Enlightenment in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. (2022, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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