The Purpose of Life

October 4, 2012
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No matter what religion one decides to follow, there is always an explanation as to why they choose that particular faith. The reasons could be as varied as the religions themselves. Perhaps they are simply following the faith they were taught as a child. Maybe they chose their religion because it best embodies what they want to accomplish spiritually in their lifetime. Or perhaps it is the number of higher powers that are worshipped or the strict guidelines they want to stand by. Whatever the reason may be, there are certain aspects of a religion that have a way of drawing people in. Regardless of how distinctively different each religion is, all religions have one thing in common: there is a shared goal that everyone tries to reach within their specific faith.

Buddhism and Hinduism have many differences, while still sharing the same overall message. Buddhism discusses how everyone is to be treated equally, with the same chance for breaking the cycle of rebirth and gaining union with the universe, or Nirvana. It also emphasizes the importance of meditation, as it leads to the enlightenment to understand the meaning of life. Opposite of Buddhism, Hinduism separates its followers into specific castes, saying that the higher social groups have a better change to achieve their goal of existence, Moksha. However, they are similar in the way that Buddhism was established based on some of the teaching from Hinduism, such as dharma, karma, reincarnation, and ahimsa. These two religions also strive to break to the cycle of rebirth, although it may take more than one lifetime to accomplish this.

Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity all have a system of rules they must follow in order to achieve their lifelong goal. Hinduism believes that the level of caste one was born into has to do with what kind of karma they possessed in their past life. Those who had poor karma were placed in a lower caste with the worst dharma, and vice versa if you received an honorable karma. Buddhism focuses more on meditation, equality, and how to deal with all of the pain and suffering in the world. There are two main beliefs of this religion, the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-Fold Path. The Four Noble truths are the explanation as to why there is suffering and explains that one has to overcome it. The Eight-Fold Path says to overcome this pain and sorrow, one must live a moral life and avoid any immoral words or actions. The main focus of Christianity is to follow the Ten Commandments and to always put the needs of others before their own. These ten laws, given directly from God, are used as instructions on how to live a life worthy of Heaven. They explain how to live a daily life while respecting God, one’s self, and others.
Each religion respects their own set of beliefs, all hoping to obtain an eternal bliss and union with their God or gods. As previously stated, Hinduism’s ultimate goal of existence is Moksha, which can be fulfilled by obeying one’s dharma and earning a good karma. Whereas Buddhism hopes to achieve Nirvana as they work to rid the suffering of world. Christianity also works to reach heaven by obeying the Ten Commandments and giving freely to others. These cultures may seem different, but in the end, the ones who follow them will find peace when their time on earth ends. They will know that they have lived a holy and moral life in order to have obtained this eternal peace.

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