Sacred Reality in Hinduism and Buddhism
In regards to the definition of religion given in The Sacred Quest, we find that due to the complexity of the term religion there are many different ways to satisfy what it actually is. It can be recognized that sacred reality indicates the characteristics of being specially distinctive; beyond human control; concerned with human welfare; and determinative of aspects of human existence. In a world of diverse religious traditions, we are offered distinct perceptions of sacred reality. For example Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are usually categorized as religions of transcendence, defining sacred reality as being beyond or “standing over” ordinary existence. Meanwhile, Hinduism and Buddhism are considered religions of immanence, meaning they do not portray sacred reality with an all-powerful God who is eternal and surpassing of human understanding. In these religions of immanence it is important to realize that the sacred is everywhere, including within, and meant to be a way of seeing reality more clearly rather than attempting to reach something that is above and beyond. The sacred reality found in Hinduism is the Brahman. Brahman is described as universal consciousness; it is truth, knowledge, and infinity. In Hinduism everything has its own spark of Brahman, Atman, which is never actually separate from the Brahman. Ultimately all Hindus intend to achieve moksha, or liberation, the realization of the unity between Brahman and Atman. By realizing this unity the Atman becomes aware of maya, the illusion of separation, and the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara is ended. Buddhism’s approach of sacred reality is very similar to that of Hinduism, this is due to the fact Buddhism was formed in response to Hinduism. The sacred reality of Buddhism is known as Nirvana. In Buddhism the Four Noble Truths provide the basis that life is suffering (dukkah); suffering is caused by attachment (tanha); suffering can cease...
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