In a previous post I observed that Hinduism shares many features at a fundamental level with Christianity. If this is so, then one would expect that Christianity also shares important features with Buddhism since that religion developed out of Hinduism and retains many Hindu characteristics. And indeed this is so, but this comparison is a more complex and nuanced one. Buddhism is very often likened to Christianity in terms of its ethics, its emphasis on altruism and peace. This is accurate, but superficial. My aim is to draw out some more specific contrasts in terms of the central formulae of Buddhism.
Thinking about religion it is easy to be impressed (if that’s the right word) by the wide diversity of religious traditions and beliefs. The most general categories we use for talking about religions are ‘western’ and ‘eastern’, and our most historically significant examples of each of these are provided by Christianity and Hinduism. It may be surprising then, just how similar the two monolithic systems of the supposedly divergent traditions are.