Core spiritual ideas of Buddhism | World History | Khan Academy

Posted By on September 26, 2019

– [Instructor] What I’d
like to do in this video is explore the core
spiritual ideas of Buddhism. And we’re going to do it relative to the core spiritual ideas of Hinduism as described in the Upanishads. One, because there are
significant parallels and also because Buddha and Buddhism grew out of a Hindu tradition. So in both belief systems,
there’s this notion that the reality that we
are in is a quasi illusion. In the Upanishads it’s described as Maya. That there’s a true self. That there’s this atman,
which is of the same substance as the true nature of reality, of Brahman. That all things are actually connected. This notion of the individual
is just an illusion and it’s illusion given
to us by this Maya. And the Maya isn’t just
our sensory perception, it’s even our notions of ego and possibly even
time-space and causality. In Buddhism, there is a parallel notion. That all of what we consider to be reality is just happening in our mind. There isn’t anything more real than that. And we are subject to this reality because of our constant craving for that which is impermanent. This craving is called Trishna,
which is the Sanskrit word, or Tanha, which is the Pali
word, the language of Buddha. Now because of this craving, it leads to this constant suffering, this Dhukka, which is really this reality that we are subjecting ourselves to. Now in either case, we take action and that action leads to consequences. And so in both traditions,
we have this notion of Karma. And that the Karma, the
actions with consequences, lead to further actions and consequences, not just in this life,
but in future realities, in whatever next Maya or reality or life that we take on. And this constant cycle
of birth and rebirth is referred to as Samsara
in both of the traditions. So you see this commonality. Now, in Hinduism there’s this idea of trying to escape from
Samsara through meditation, by being able to see through the Maya and merge your atman with
Brahman, seeing that all are one. In Buddhism, there is a similar idea. Through meditation, through
following the eightfold path, by recognizing the Four Noble Truths you should escape from this
craving of impermanent things. And in either tradition as you do that, you escape from the Samsara. And when you escape from the Samsara and this cycle of Karma
leading to more and more and the Maya and the Dhukka disappear, in Hinduism the term is Moksha, you have freed yourself from this cycle. In Buddhism, the Sanskrit
word is actually Nirvana, which literally means blown out, but it’s merging with the emptiness. So even though officially,
a Hindu might say, through the Moksha your atman is merging with the ultimate reality of Brahman, while in Buddhism, when
you achieve Nirvana, you have recognized your nonself and it has merged with the emptiness, with the non-being. Now there is debate. Is Buddhism saying that
you should try to achieve a state of non-existence? Many people would disagree. They would say Nirvana is
actually the ultimate bliss, to recognize your nonself. Some would say, hey this is just a matter of what words you use. In either case, you are recognizing that there isn’t the individual, that you are merging
with the true reality. That you are merging with the universe, whether you consider the
universe to be Brahman or whether you consider the
universe to be emptiness. But in either tradition, this is viewed as a state of release, as a state of ultimate bliss and something that you should try to get to through practice.

Posted by Lewis Heart

This article has 16 comments

  1. there is nothing in buddhism which is not described in hinduism.rules of "dharma" is same weather it is in the form of hinduism,b uddhism,jainsism,sikkhism that is peace and love for all with good karma.

  2. After watching all these videos of religions, I feel that they all teach the same. They all have some similarities in their beliefs. You should probably make a video on how they all are same. Finally its the supreme nature which has time and again destroyed, preserved and created .

  3. The thing is that Buddhism can be considered Hinduism, the core concepts are same as the Advaita(non-dualist) Upanishad a sect of Hindu Philosophy. The difference between the two is that their approach to the truth is a bit different but the truth is one and the same.

  4. So this makes sense. Studying Hinduism first and then Buddhism without seeing really how Buddhism is affected by Hinduism made me soo confused

  5. Wrong video ..moksha and nirvana are totally different. ..moksha means getting ur atma with brahma god…and in buddhism it is called anatma (non self) and nirvana means realisation of emptiness (sunyata )…

  6. Hindu is a region not a religion ..lot of people i think do not know that in the ancient india there were 2 main traditions ..1)vedic -which today so called hindusim is influenced by. ..and second is 2) Shramanic which included buddhism, jainism and both of these tradition were completely diffrent….infact buddha rejected the vedas because of its rituals animal sacrifice , caste system and heavily relying on gods……
    Biggest difference is that vedic tradition is polytheist /pantheistic while Shramanic tradition is non theistic..
    Sramana tradition is one of the most overlooked traditions of india by Western media…

  7. First of all thank you for doing the comparative analysis of both. It's perfect way to look at views in logical manner. While it might look like both Hinduism and Buddhism are similar it is not. At the time of Buddha the prevalence was Vedic tradition as you mentioned, and Buddha did study under the Vedic masters of that time, so it might look like it. In actuality Buddhism is a sharmana tradition (just like Jainism) which is considered as non-Vedic tradition.

    Second Buddha never agreed with the notion of everything is “leela or maya or dream”, he said eveything is “like a dream” not everything “is a dream”. Like a dream and being a dream is completely different from each other. Because in Vedic system you are in a dream and once enlightened the smaller self Meyers with the bigger Bharma and Moksha occurs. So everything around you is a dream, but in Buddhism everything is like a dream because if you suffer you will feel hurt you won’t be going oh I don’t feel anything. The first response will be bloody hell, but in Vedic system it was not considered that way. So like maya and is a maya are different meanings.

    Third point the concept of karma is different in Buddhism and Hinduism. Hinduism the concept of karma is based on once actions and has direct correlation, and it need to be through physical actions. Like you need to act it out rituals etc. In Buddhism the principle of karma is based on intention and actions, but your thoughts shape your actions. Karma is consider to be linear in the Hindu or Vedic tradition. That means if you do something good/bad the consequences is based on that one cause, but in Buddhism it is non-linear so although there might be the effect it will never be one to one relation it will have various causes and conditions for that effect to manifest (mind plurality of the words I said causes and conditions , not cause and condition). So ones intention is more what forms the karma, and karmas effect is not linear but depends of billions of causes and conditions acting together for it to happen.

    Fourth concept of non-self isn’t there in Hinduism. The concept of ataman or self is non changing and constant, but in Buddhism there is no concept of self it is all non-self and it always impermanent. So the enlightenment that upanishad is saying is completely different from Buddhist enlightenment. As in Upanishad the smaller self is merged in to the bigger-self, but in Buddhism the self is experienced through insight mediation aka ‘vipassanna’ which literally means looking at one the nature of self. Then through the understanding of none self of your own mind and outside you come to the understanding of enlightenment. Enlightenment in Buddhism is the combination of awareness and emptiness. Not just emptiness alone. Again another thing is emptiness doesn’t mean void or nihilism. It means everything in the world when seen with experience doesn’t have true existence that is because everything in the world forms because of various causes and conditions, but we are the ones when we perceive it or see it, we impute the existence through labeling it. “Because I am, it is”. That is why the core principle is completely different than that off Vedic or Hindu tradition. Vedantic, Sufism, and some mystic Christian tradition do come close the concept of understanding that oneness, which seems to be kind of same with Buddhism, but all of them revolve around the notion of self or I. But because the concept of nonexistent or imputed existence or no self is deep that is what makes it completely different then any other views. As none-self or the view that nothing truly exists and it is because of your own ignorance you create this truly existing self and then create a truly existing universe around you. So you look at it or see the world with the concept of impermanence, non-self,suffering, and emptiness 24/7. Then you right now can be a Buddha. Simple !

    So something to thing to clarify on @khanacademy, but thank you for doing the world history. I extremely appreciate your effort.


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