What is sacred reality? In Hinduism and Buddhism, sacred reality refers to that which is holy and revered. This may encompass the natural world, deities, or other aspects of the divine. Hindus and Buddhists believe that by engaging with sacred reality, we can connect to the divine and achieve enlightenment.
Sacred reality is often seen as a source of power and strength. In Hinduism, for example, many gods and goddesses are seen as powerful beings who can help us in our lives. Similarly, in Buddhism, the Buddha is seen as a figure who attained perfect enlightenment through his own efforts. By connecting with these figures, we can tap into their power and learn from their example.
In both Hinduism and Buddhism, sacred reality is often seen as something to be respected and worshipped. Hindus typically worship their chosen deity or deities, while Buddhists may pay respect to the Buddha or to bodhisattvas (enlightened beings). By engaging in these practices, we can show our reverence for the sacred and receive blessings from it.
In The Sacred Quest, I define religion as “a set of ideas and/or practices that are considered sacred.” Due to the complexity of the word religion, there are many varied ways to understand what it actually is. It’s possible to conclude that holy actuality implies characteristics such as being particularly unique; outside human control; concerned with human well-being; and having a bearing on aspects of human life.
Buddhism and Hinduism are two religions that satisfy these characteristics in a variety of ways. To understand how each religion does this, we must first look at the history and beliefs of both Buddhism and Hinduism.
Buddhism originated in India during the 6th century BCE. The founder of Buddhism was Siddhartha Gautama, who later came to be known as “the Buddha.” Siddhartha was born into a wealthy family and had every material possession one could want. However, he was not satisfied with his life of luxury and decided to leave his home in search of truth and enlightenment.
Siddhartha wandered for many years, studying under various religious teachers; but he found that none of their teachings could bring him the peace and understanding he was seeking. Finally, Siddhartha sat down under a tree and meditated until he attained enlightenment. After his enlightenment, the Buddha began teaching others what he had learned. The Buddha’s teachings became known as Buddhism, and those who follow his teachings are known as Buddhists.
We live in a cosmos rife with religious traditions. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are frequently classified as religions of transcendence, implying that sacred reality is located beyond or “standing above” ordinary existence. Hinduism and Buddhism, on the other hand, are defined as religions of immanence since they do not depict God as all-powerful and superior to human comprehension.
Rather, these traditions emphasize an ultimate reality that is immanent within the phenomenal world. Buddhism and Hinduism both have thousands of years of history and tradition behind them, so it’s no surprise that they offer different perspectives on sacred reality.
In Hinduism, sacred reality is often personified as Brahman, the absolute or supreme being who is the source and goal of all existence. Brahman is often described as an impersonal force, and yet also as the absolute personal Godhead. This paradoxical nature of Brahman points to the inherent mystery at the heart of sacred reality in Hinduism. Hindus believe that everything in the universe is a manifestation of Brahman, and so ultimately everything is connected. This means that humans have the potential to realize their divine nature and achieve union with Brahman.
Buddhism also speaks of an ultimate reality, often referred to as Nirvana. Nirvana is not a place or a thing, but rather a state of being that is beyond all conditioned existence. It is the goal of the spiritual path, and it can only be reached through the total cessation of suffering. Buddhism teaches that everything is impermanent and in a constant state of flux, so attachment to anything merely leads to suffering. The way to end suffering is to let go of attachments and desires, which will allow the mind to be free and at peace.
Both Hinduism and Buddhism offer unique perspectives on sacred reality. In Hinduism, sacred reality is ultimately unknowable, while in Buddhism it is attainable through spiritual practice. What both traditions have in common is a recognition of the inherent mystery at the heart of existence. And ultimately, it is this mystery that makes the study of sacred reality so fascinating.
The sacred is all-pervading in these immanent religions, and it must be understood that the holy may be found within as well as beyond, and it is intended to assist humans in seeing things more clearly rather than aiming for something higher or away. The Brahman of Hinduism, according to its followers, is the ultimate reality. Brahman is said to be universal consciousness; truth, knowledge, and infinity are among its defining features. Everything in Hinduism has a trace of Brahman atma (soul), which remains always apart from the Brahman.
Buddhism has a similar idea in the doctrine of Anatta, or non-self. This is the belief that there is no permanent self or soul, and that everything is impermanent. Buddhism also teaches about dependent origination, which is the Buddha’s way of saying that everything arises due to causes and conditions and is interdependent with everything else.
These ideas of interconnection and impermanence help to create a sense of sacred reality within Buddhism. In both Hinduism and Buddhism, then, the sacred is something that is immanent in the world and in all beings, rather than being transcendent. It is an important part of reality that should be recognized, respected, and even worshipped.
All Hindus, however, aspire to achieve moksha or liberation, the true understanding of which is described in Upanishads. The Atman becomes aware of maya (the illusion of separation) and the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara is brought to an end when it understands this oneness.
Buddhism shares this ultimate goal with Hinduism, however the path to achieving it is different. In Buddhism, the path to moksha is through the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. The Four Noble Truths are that suffering exists, that suffering has a cause, that suffering can be ended, and that there is a path to the end of suffering. The Eightfold Path is a set of eight principles that lead to the end of suffering. These principles are right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
The main difference between the two paths is that Buddhism does not believe in Brahman or Atman. Buddhism teaches that there is no permanent self or soul, and that the illusion of separation is caused by ignorance. Once this ignorance is removed, suffering can end. In Hinduism, the path to moksha is through yoga, which means union. Yoga is a system of techniques and principles that leads to the union of Atman and Brahman.
The main difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is that Buddhism does not believe in a permanent self or soul, while Hinduism does. Buddhism teaches that the illusion of separation is caused by ignorance, while Hinduism teaches that it is caused by maya. However, both paths lead to the same goal: the end of suffering and the realization of unity.