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Comparison Between Buddhism and Jainism

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The religions of Jainism and Buddhism follow very similar paths but do have contrasting beliefs that makes them both very unique. The key founders of Jainism and Buddhism, Mahavira and Guatama, were contemporaries that came from the same social class. Their backgrounds and so similar which may explain with the religions share similar doctrines. Through researching their teachings and beliefs I will draw out the similarities as well as the distinctions that comprise Buddhism and Jainism.

Buddhism and Jainism share many attributes, as discussed previously their leaders come from similar backgrounds forming an undeniable bond. They also both originated in the same geographic region of India. Beyond this they both disputed the old Brahmanic religion, mainly detesting their animal sacrifices which were a central element of the religion. Buddhism and Jainism rejected the caste system, which eventually led to the formation of Hinduism. They also both rejected the existence of God, but acknowledge the presence of gods, who are higher than the status of humans but can change and evolve. Buddhism and Jainism recognize the universality of karma and its effect of human beings. Lastly, both of these religions practiced non violence and were in constant search for the improvement of themselves and the world around them.

There are also several distinctions of Jainism and Buddhism that makes them each a unique religion. Although they both began in the same region, Buddhism crossed into eastern countries like Nepal, and China, while Jainism remained relatively near its origin. The Jains believe in the Jinas or Kevalins who are higher beings and remain indifferent to our prayers and our problems stay unaffected; while the Buddhists believe in Bodhisattvas, who take interest in the welfare of the world and work for liberation.

The religions have different views on the evolution of individual beings. The Buddhists believe that there is no soul but if individuals followed the eightfold path they could achieve liberation and be freed from the cycle of birth and death entering a state of nirvana. Jains believed that after liberation the Jiva or soul continues to remain as an individual soul, but in the highest state of purity and enlightenment.

To further the contrasts, the Jains also believed in the presence of a living soul in every animate and inanimate object of the universe but they do not find any such individuality



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