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Hinduism's Concept of Atman

Discuss About The Hindu Theory Of Atman And Buddhism No-Self Theory?

This world consists of various religions that have different beliefs and values. Similar things are looked differently by the people who have different religious background. This is because the concepts and the teachings that have been taught to them by their religious teachers are different. The basis of the concepts remains same but the thinking and the viewpoints regarding that concept is different (Adhikary, 2010). The major concept that has been discussed by various religions is the Accounting of self. This is the concept that has frequent theories associated with it by different religion followers. No religion would be totally satisfied with the teaching and theories of the teachings and theories of self by other religion. The contradiction is observed in the Buddhism theory and the Hinduism theory (Klostermaier, 2007). Although, Buddhism is the part of Hinduism, still they refused to agree on the points Hinduism follow on the concept self that is also called as “Atman”. Hinduism believes that there is self in each of the human body that is called soul or atman. This is the basis of existence for humans in Hinduism and they claim that soul is what makes the humans how they are and not the body. Human body is just considered as the external container that holds the soul. Atman is not a physical element but is present in the human body. During incarnation of the human body, this soul leaves the body as soul cannot die according to the Hinduism theory (Narayanan, 2009). On the other hand, Buddhism is the religion that believes in the theory of “anatman”. Unlike Hinduism, Buddhism think that there is no self in the body that is required for the existence, but it is the cause and effects that are the basis of life on earth. The below discussion provides the information about both the concepts and beliefs of self and the judgment has been made in the end regarding the plausibility of one of the theory.

Hindu believes that there is soul in every body. The soul is considered as immortal, invisible and eternal in nature (Narayanan, 2009). The soul is called atman which breathes inside humans. Atman should not be confused with the mind or body as it is distinct from both. management to the theory of Hinduism, self-awareness is to be aware of the nature of the soul of the person and not the mind or body’s nature (Heimsath, 2015). This is the reason why self-awareness considered so difficult. It is this awareness that helps in distinguishing the great personalities from the normal personalities in Hinduism. A famous analogy is explained in order to explain the concept of soul in the human body by Hinduism. The analogy is driver in the vehicle. Here, the driver is considered as soul and vehicle is termed as body. As the car or the vehicle cannot run without the driver, likewise a body also needs the soul to function. When a car hits another car, the person sitting in one car says that “he hits me” instead, in actual, the car hits the car. Just like this concept, soul is not the body but it is assumed to be one. Driver of the car is bound to the laws and rules of driving the car on the roads; likewise the soul of the body is also restricted by some of the factors such as mind and heart of the body (Gandhi, 2017). When the child is small, he do not have knowledge about the rules and laws of driving and he may not have the knowledge that car needs driver to run. In same way, the people who do not have knowledge regarding the soul and the body thinks that soul and body are same. They generally fail to see the soul as distinct part of the body. Drivers can leave their one car and drive other cars. Just like the soul of the human body that can leave one and can enter to anther after the incarnation. This is the basis of rebirth concept that the Hindus believe in (Tweed, 2011). self-realization is thus a sacred practice that cannot be practiced by anyone. It is the actual realization of the soul that can be achieved only when the soul have its control the mind. When all the materialistic thinking vanishes from the mind of the human body, the only self-realization can be achieved.

Buddhism's Concept of No-Self Theory


On the other hand, Buddhism also made some of the arguments that are about the concept of no self-theory of Buddhism. The first argument that is made is about sufferings. According to Buddhism theory, the humans and animals have been given six senses in order to feel the sufferings they experience. They argue that anything that face sufferings cannot be ours thus, Business suggests that there is no soul but the body is the self. Buddhism teachings suggest that there are five skandhas that involves forms, sensation, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness. Form is about the physical form while sensation is about the feelings whether emotional of physical (Yao, 2012). The third skandha is about the thinking process the humans have to take and understands the concepts. Mental formations are about the habits of the people and the last one is about the awareness or the sensitivity of the different objects. The most important thing that needs to be understood about all these skandha is that they are empty in nature and thus the concept of no self-arises (Colzato, Zech, Hommel, Verdonschot, van den Wildenberg and Hsieh,  2012). This concept of Buddhism is also termed as “anatman or anatta”. Buddhism teachings suggest that the terms ego, soul, self, etc. are just the terms and they do not have any real identity. According to Buddhism, there is no reason to believe the fact that there is existence of an immortal soul. Buddhism suggests that it is better to strive for salvation rather than wasting time in researching about the soul and self-awareness.

Both the religions have their own concepts and beliefs. However, it is difficult to find out that whose concepts re better justified. It has been analysed that Hindus justifies their concept of soul and atman. The analogy has been framed for justifying the concept of soul with the driver and the vehicle. This defines the concept of soul. As far as the Buddhism arguments are considered, it is more related to the modern world and is related to science. Thus some of the people believe in this concept. Hinduism claims that body and soul are distinct part; Buddhism says that soul does not exist and the concept of soul and self is non-existent. There is no thing called soul on their earth. It is only the sufferings and the senses that made the body and the self. It has ben analysed that the features of bot the teaching are very much contrasting. Hinduism claims are very different from the Buddhism claims. However, Hinduism has very intelligently justified their beliefs by making such analogies but Buddhism has only provided the statement that there is no reason for them to believe in atman (Young, Morris,  Burrus, Krishnan and Regmi,  2011). There is no proper justification of what they are claiming. In addition to it, they even do not have any contrasting claim that can cut the claim of the Hindus. Buddhism are only giving statements in their teachings that soul is not present but they do not have any proof to that and they have not even proved that Hindus are wrong in their beliefs. They are just denying the religious teachings of Hindus without any proof. Every religion has their own concepts and beliefs and thus has their own plausibility. According to Buddhism, human are process and not the self while Hinduism gives humans a life (Menon, 2013). Analysing the arguments of both the religions, it has been identified that plausibility is found more in Hinduism rather than in the concepts of Buddhism. Examining both the sides, it has been analysed that Buddhism has logic behind its concepts but Hinduism has justifies their concepts with the theoretical aspects without any practical logic of modern world (Chan, 2008). With due respect to both the religion, it has been suggested out of the study that every religion has their own beliefs that needs to be respected by the other religion followers. This is because no religion can be wrong; it is just that the views and the thinking process of the people and the followers are different.

References:

Adhikary, N.M., 2010. Sancharyoga: Approaching communication as a vidya in Hindu orthodoxy. China Media Research, 6(3), pp.76-85.

Chan, W.S., 2008. Psychological attachment, no-self and Chan Buddhist mind therapy. Contemporary Buddhism, 9(2), pp.253-264.

Colzato, L.S., Zech, H., Hommel, B., Verdonschot, R., van den Wildenberg, W.P. and Hsieh, S., 2012. Loving-kindness brings loving-kindness: The impact of Buddhism on cognitive self–other integration. Psychonomic bulletin & review, 19(3), pp.541-545.

Gandhi, M.K., 2017. Hindu dharma. Diamond Pocket Books Pvt Ltd.

Heimsath, C.H., 2015. Indian nationalism and Hindu social reform. Princeton University Press.

 Klostermaier, K.K., 2007. A survey of Hinduism. SuNY Press.

Menon, U., 2013. The Hindu concept of self-refinement: Implicit yet meaningful. Psychology and Developing Societies, 25(1), pp.195-222.

Narayanan, A.S., 2014. A Dialogue On Principles And Practice Of Hinduism. ?????? ??????? ????, ????.v

Narayanan, V., 2009. Hinduism. The Rosen Publishing Group.

Tweed, T.A., 2011. Theory and method in the study of Buddhism: toward'Translocative'analysis. Journal of Global Buddhism, 12, p.17.

Yao, Z., 2012. The Buddhist theory of self-cognition. Routledge.

Young, M.J., Morris, M.W., Burrus, J., Krishnan, L. and Regmi, M.P., 2011. Deity and destiny: Patterns of fatalistic thinking in Christian and Hindu cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 42(6), pp.1030-1053.

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