Sample Essay on Buddhism vs Confucianism

Buddhism vs Confucianism

There are several religions in the earth today and they all share similarities because of their reference to specific religious practices. Nevertheless, the ways in which each religion is practiced differs and this creates marked differences amongst them. Some of the common religions include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. In particular, some popular Asian religions are Buddhism and Confucianism. Although both religions share the same view with regard to wisdom and gods, they have quite distinguishable practices and different histories. This paper seeks to examine the major similarities and differences between Buddhism and Confucianism with respect to their origin and practices.

Even though the religions of Confucianism and Buddhism are known to have different origins, their origin stories are quite similar. Geographically, despite being first practiced in China, Confucianism is a philosophy of religious nature that is practiced in most parts of East Asia. It dates back to over 2000 years ago, its practices are based on the wise sayings of Confucius, who is the Chinese founder of Confucianism. On the other hand, Buddhism, which is currently practiced in Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia, was founded in Nepal, India by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha).Currently, the practice is spread throughout Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Both religions are named after the names of their founders and they share indifference towards the gods as well as respect and observation forwisdom (Tarocco, 2012).

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Despite these similarities, these two religions differ markedly in their practices and this is evident from their foundations, whereby while Buddhism has a spiritual foundation,  Confucianism has a secular background.  Furthermore, Buddhism is anchored on Indian culture, while Confucianism is based on a Chinese culture. In principle, Buddhism believes that the only way to escape life’s suffering is by sacrificing one’s cravings and ignorance by following the Eightfold path. Morality, wisdom and concentration are the major practices of this religion. On the other hand, Confucianism believes in upholding humanism as a way of life and its major practices include frequent visits to the temple to pay homage, humanism, and meditation (Coogan & Narayanana, 2005).

Current day followers of Confucianism and Buddhism have devised different ways of practicing their respective teachings and beliefs. For instance, in the Buddhism religion, the practice of concentration is cherished and is achieved thorough various ways including mindfulness and meditation. Buddha recommends mindfulness as a necessity to achieving enlightenment, in which case a person is required to be attentive and aware of the real nature of things to avoid delusions. This can be achieved by paying attention and being conscious or aware of one’s mind, feelings, and body at all times (Tarocco, 2012). Meditation is a common practice in the current day Confucians and in this case one is required sit quietly and empty himself of all thoughts in order to enhance relaxation. The practice is a key underlying principle in Yoga, which is a form of physical and mental exercise that is aimed at relaxing the mind and enhancing the quality of life (Bell & Ham, 2003).

In brief, these two religions share certain similarities and dissimilarities. In terms of similarities, their origin follows the same path and they both uphold wisdom in their teachings. They further share a similar indifference to matters regarding God. On the other hand, the two religions are different because they are popularly practiced in different parts of Asia and are based on different cultures. While Confucianism is built on a Chinese tradition, Buddhism is founded on an Indian culture and they also have different practices. These different practices are still upheld by modern day followers of Confucianism and Buddhism in the form of meditation and mindfulness respectively (Coogan & Narayanan, 2005).

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Bell, D., & Ham, C. (2003). Confucianism for the modern world. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Coogan, M. D., & Narayanan, V. (2005). Eastern religions: Origins, beliefs, practices, holy texts, sacred places. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Tarocco, F. (2012). The cultural practices of modern Chinese Buddhism: Attuning the Dharma. New York: Routledge.