One thing you’ll notice right off the bat when stepping into Southeast Asia are the similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism. Don’t forget, Buddha was born into a Hindu society, much like how Jesus was born into a Jewish community. And haven’t you noticed the similarities (and and subtle differences) between those two faiths? Let’s go straight in and see the similarities and differences between the Buddhist and Hindu faiths.

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Karma is central to both teachings. That means every action comes a reaction, kind of like a cause and effect theory.The idea of reincarnation is key to both religions.The concept of several hells and heavens are central to both teachings.Both believe that you have to detach yourself from the materialistic world as a precondition to enter the spiritual realm.Both religions believe in several spiritual practices in attempts to get beyond the thinking mind and into a state of relaxation and awareness.Both religions adhere to a variety of different gods on different planes (but each religion views them differently, see the differences below).

Now that we know the similarities, let’s take a look at the differences. There are some subtle ones that you may not know about but also glaring ones that make each unique religion unique from the other.


As mentioned earlier, both religions adhere to the same gods. In Hindusim, they are divine and powerful deities; they are acknowledged in Buddhism and viewed with a subordinate stance.Buddhism does not believe in a god (Buddha is not a god). Hinduism, as mentioned earlier, believes in many.Hinduism was not founded by a prophet. However, Buddhism originated from the Buddha.Hinduism adheres to the Veda, a holy scripture, (much like Christianity’s Bible). Buddhism, however, does not follow the Veda or any Hindu scripture.In Hinduism, Buddha is an incarnation of Vishnu (one of Hinduism’s gods). In Buddhsim, nothing is equal or greater to Buddha.

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These are just a few pointers. But this can pretty much give you an idea of what these two religions share and don’t. A lot of Buddhism’s art and architecture is influenced by Hinduism. You’ll see nagas (serpent deities), apsaras (beautiful supernatural dancing women), and a whole set of other deities that are central to both religions in different ways. Why not compare and contrast each religion’s take on the arts in our Southeast Asia tour? This is a comprehensive journey into one of the world’s most exotic regions and a haven for holiday goers. Look into our multi-country tours for other options into this part of the world.