Judaism and Buddhism: Similarities and Differences | Free Essay Example (2023)


The term religion is used to refer to the approach that human beings give to their spirituality as provided by their beliefs, symbols, narratives, and practices on a supernatural figure. Human beings express religious inclination through several ways; some of which include prayers, rituals, and music. There are different types of religions, varying far and wide but at the same time having some commonalities cutting across all of them. These different types of religious practices can be compared or contrasted in terms of their individual laws, lifestyle, ethics, traditions, mythology, and history (Brodd, 2003, 23-25.). The term is used in an overall sense to give reference to a shared conviction among a group of individuals as far as specific behaviors are concerned. This research paper will give some of the aspects common between Judaism and Buddhism as well as the areas where they have ideological and principle differences.

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The Differences and Similarities between Judaism and Buddhism in Relation to Their Origination, Foundation, Beliefs, Rituals, and Major Prophets


This is the Abrahamic religion; Abrahamic in the sense that it recognizes Abraham as the head Patriarch of their faith. The Judaism sacred text (The Old Testament of the Bible) holds that Judaism started after the covenant between God and Abraham in Circa 2000 BCE, which made Abraham ahead Patriarch. Two other patriarchates are also recognized in this religion is Isaac and Jacob. Their teachings follow the laws (The Ten Commandments) which they believe were given to Moses by God on Mt. Sinai (Gen. 20-NKJV). The holy book of Judaism (The Old Testament-as the Christians refer to it) is known as the Tanakh by the Jewish. The book is divided into three parts; the Torah, the Nevi’im, and the Ketuvim all making a total of 39 books. These three divisions are where the Jews draw guidelines by which they are required to live by within the society. The head of a Judaism religious organization is called a Rabbi. Some of the beliefs under this religious culture about God (their supreme being) include; He exists, He is Incorporeal, Eternal, One and he knows everyone’s needs. They also believe in the coming of the Messiah, Resurrection theory, and that the good deeds will be rewarded while the bad will be punished when the earth finally comes to an end.


Buddhism was first established in Northern India by Lord Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) in the 6th Century BCE. So far, it is the Fourth-Largest religious group in the World with a population of 365 million followers (6% of the world’s population). They refer to their spiritual leader as the Buddha and pray in a Synagogue. Buddhist base their teachings on the “Siddhartha Gautama Principles” who were their head Buddha and the founder of Buddhism. It is believed that through Gautama’s awakened knowledge, he managed to teach the Buddhists the true meaning of nature and how to live in harmony among themselves with good conduct and moral behaviors…by so doing, Buddhists considered him as a savior who delivered them from their uncertainty and sufferings. Buddhism is most common among the Asian countries where it first originated, but lately, the culture has spread and is found all over the world (McFarlane, 2001).

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Findings in (McFarlane 2001.) report that there was a time when Gautama came across a rotting corpse, a deceased man, an ascetic, and a very old man; he then came to realize how the society was full of evils and misfortune and decided to make these four scenarios the Buddhist’s Principles known as the “Four Sights”. It is these “four sights” that drove him into abandoning the royal life that he had all along enjoyed for 29 years in the palace and Instead he sought a spiritual quest which led him to being the spiritual leader of Buddhists.

To the Buddhists, Devotion to their beliefs is an integral and vital part of their worship. They do this by either bowing, giving offerings, chanting religious texts, and going on pilgrimage. This set of religious groups also have guiding ethics which involves adherence to purity indeed, an insult free speech, and purity in thought; these acts are believed to be able to promote peace and stability to their community. The Buddhists have drawn eight basic rules retraining their faithful from indulging into. The Buddhist faithful are advised to shun any act of violence, theft, immorality, lying, dancing, luxury, eating at the wrong time, and drugs


Despite the variance, these two religious groups share some concepts of beliefs; for instance, the belief that there is no need for a sinless Savior to lift man out of sin…Jesus is given no divine recognition in both Buddhism and Judaism, they also share the way they view the ethics of reciprocity, i.e. the rules and regulations that, govern human behavior towards one another in both Buddhism and Judaism are the same, belief in the existence of another life after death and finally is the common belief in the power of prayer.

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While Judaism believes in praying and fasting to strengthen their faith in God, the Buddhists on their side believe that such practices of physical molestation like fasting, holding one’s breath, do not have any spiritual benefit. They instead embrace meditation, which they call “The Middle Way” -a compromise position between the two extremes of self-motivation and self-indulgence. Contrary to Judaism who has the Old Testament of the Bible as their religious text, the Buddhists have no specific central text to which they make their religion’s reference. Most of their teachings are based on a more scholastic approach not spiritual…but a consensus is on the offing to synchronize the message in all the Buddhist available texts so that out of them a single text can be formed to unify the religion (Pascal 2001).

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Another notable difference between the Buddhists and Jews features in the belief in reincarnation, a concept that Jews wholly refute. Buddhists believe that once a person dies he is reborn several cycles; where he may reappear in entities different to the former self, thus there is no permanent extinction. In this context, Judaism holds it that the true believers who are righteous will resurrect and live an eternal life when the Messiah comes, while the evil will burn in hell. Some other divergent views by the two religious groups are as follows; To the Buddhists, there is no such thing as the Garden of Eden, the Flood during Noah times, and the end of the world…contrary to Judaism. Further, it is revealed that the Buddhist teachings are Non-Theists unlike the teachings of all other religious practices, including Judaism that teaches the belief in one Supreme God. Questions have been raised to this effect on whether Buddhism is really a religion or just a group of individuals seeking enlightenment. These teachings by the Buddha are also not based on the doctrines as with Judaism, but are focused on deeds and practice…they teach only what is seen executable by man, while Judaism stress on belief and mastery of the Ten Commandments.


This paper has conclusively illustrated that regardless of the religious inclination of an individual, all human beings are the same and they are seeking a common thing in religion. That is to try to find a balance point between nature’s sharp point definition of matters and the several meaningless generalities in life. All religious groups, particularly the ones that have just been discussed above are geared to monitor the behavior, values, and morals of their members through a set of religious laws/doctrines. From the revelations of this research paper, it can also be deriver that the sole reason that drove people to start religions was the belief that there exists some life after death so as to justify the benefit of good actions.

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Brodd Jefferey. (2003). World Religions. Winona, MN: Saint Mary’s Press.

Judaism 101: an “online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs.” (2009). Web.

Pascal Boyer. (2001). Religion Explained: The Evolutionary Origins of Religious Thought. Basic Books.

(Video) AP World Similarities and Differences paragraph model

Stewart McFarlane in Peter Harvey, ed. (2001). Buddhism. Continuum.

The teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. (2009). Web.

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What do Judaism and Buddhism have in common? ›

Both Judaism and Buddhism forbid murder, adultery, theft, and bearing false witness. In Buddhism, these comprise four of the five precepts, analogous to the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Commandments and also to the Third, Fourth, Fifth and Seventh Laws of Noah.

What are some similarities between Judaism and other religions? ›

Aside from being monotheistic belief systems that arose in the Middle East, Christianity, Judaism and Islam have a great deal in common. There are notable similarities in notions of sacrifice, good works, hospitality, peace, justice, pilgrimage, an afterlife and loving God with all one's heart and soul.

What are the similarities and differences between Judaism and Hinduism? ›

In Judaism God is transcendent, while in Hinduism God is both immanent and transcendent. Different Hindu sects have a variety of beliefs about the nature and identity of god, believing variously in monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, and panentheism.

What are some similarities and differences between Judaism & Christianity? ›

Christianity emphasizes faith in Jesus Christ, who gives grace, empowerment, and guidance for living the moral life. [2] Judaism teaches a life of holiness through performing mitzvot and emphasizes the importance of adhering to the Bible's standards of social justice as laid down by the Prophets.

Did Buddhism or Judaism come first? ›

The Major Faiths (concise table)
FounderThe Hebrew leader Abraham founded Judaism around 2000 B.C. Moses gave the Jews the Torah around 1250 B.C.Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha, in the 4th or 5th century B.C. in India.
How Many GodsOneNone, but there are enlightened beings (Buddhas)
4 more rows

Where are the world's major religions such as Buddhism and Judaism being practiced? ›

Asia is the largest and most populous continent and the birthplace of many religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism.

What is the difference between Judaism and other religions? ›

Jews believe in individual and collective participation in an eternal dialogue with God through tradition, rituals, prayers and ethical actions. Christianity generally believes in a Triune God, one person of whom became human. Judaism emphasizes the Oneness of God and rejects the Christian concept of God in human form.

What are 3 things all religions have in common? ›

We must stress the basic values that are common to all religions: compassion; solidarity; respect for the human person; the Golden Rule of “do as you would be done by”.

How are all religions similar? ›

The world's religions are similar in many ways; scholar Stephen Prothero refers to these similarities as “family resemblances.” All religions include rituals, scriptures, and sacred days and gathering places. Each religion gives its followers instructions for how human beings should act toward one another.

What are the similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism? ›

Hinduism and Buddhism both accepted the law of Karma, Dharma, and Moksha and believed in a cycle of rebirth. Hinduism and Buddhism both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens or higher and lower worlds. The founders of Hinduism and Buddhism are both unlike most major religions.

What are the differences between Hinduism and Buddhism? ›

Buddhism and Hinduism agree on karma, dharma, moksha and reincarnation. They are different in that Buddhism rejects the priests of Hinduism, the formal rituals, and the caste system. Buddha urged people to seek enlightenment through meditation.

Who is the God of the Judaism religion? ›

Israelite tradition identified YHWH (by scholarly convention pronounced Yahweh), the God of Israel, with the creator of the world, who had been known and worshipped from the beginning of time.

What do the Judaism believe in? ›

Jewish people believe there's only one God who has established a covenant—or special agreement—with them. Their God communicates to believers through prophets and rewards good deeds while also punishing evil. Most Jews (with the exception of a few groups) believe that their Messiah hasn't yet come—but will one day.

What are the similarities between Judaism Christianity and Islam quizlet? ›

WHAT ARE THE MAJOR SIMILARITIES BETWEEN JUDAISM, CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM? They all come from Abraham and his sons Ishmael and Isaac. They all share the Old Testament. They all believe in God.

Does Buddhism have a God? ›

Buddhists do not believe in any kind of deity or god, although there are supernatural figures who can help or hinder people on the path towards enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama was an Indian prince in the fifth century B.C.E. who, upon seeing people poor and dying, realized that human life is suffering.

What are the 3 main beliefs of Buddhism? ›

3 Buddhist Beliefs That Will Rock Your World (And Make You Much Happier!)
  • Dukkha: Life is painful and causes suffering. ...
  • How we can use this belief every day: Try not to buy into the idea that you're broken. ...
  • Anitya: Life is in constant flux. ...
  • Anatma: The self is always changing.
Oct 30, 2014

What religion was first? ›

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world's Hindus live in India.

Which religion is No 1 in world? ›

World's largest religion by population is still Christianity | Pew Research Center.

Which three religions have the same God? ›

The three religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam readily fit the definition of monotheism, which is to worship one god while denying the existence of other gods. But, the relationship of the three religions is closer than that: They claim to worship the same god.

What is the most practiced religion in the world? ›

Adherents in 2020
Christianity2.382 billion31.11%
Islam1.907 billion24.9%
Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist1.193 billion15.58%
Hinduism1.161 billion15.16%
18 more rows

What are the main differences between Judaism Christianity and Islam? ›

Judaism's views of Christianity and Islam

Jews do not believe in the prophets after the Jewish prophets, including Jesus and Muhammad. Therefore, they do not subscribe to the idea that Jesus was the Messiah and the son of God, nor do they believe in the teachings of Islam.

Is Judaism the first religion? ›

Modern Judaism evolved from Yahwism, the religion of ancient Israel and Judah, by the late 6th century BCE, and is thus considered to be one of the oldest monotheistic religions.
Origin1st millennium BCE 20th–18th century BCE (traditional) Judah Mesopotamia (traditional)
Separated fromYahwism
12 more rows

What are the similarities between Christianity and other religions? ›

Both religions share the belief in the virgin birth of Jesus, his miracles and healings, and they also share the belief that he ascended bodily into heaven.

What is the Golden Rule of Buddhism? ›

Buddhism: “Whatever is disagreeable to yourself, do not do unto others” (The Buddha, Udana-Varga 5.18 – 6th century BC).

How was Buddhism made? ›

Buddhism History

When Gautama passed away around 483 B.C., his followers began to organize a religious movement. Buddha's teachings became the foundation for what would develop into Buddhism. In the 3rd century B.C., Ashoka the Great, the Mauryan Indian emperor, made Buddhism the state religion of India.

What is a person that believes in God but not religion? ›

A theist is the opposite of an atheist. Theists believe in the existence of a god or gods. Like a theist, a deist believes in God.

What religion believes all religions are the same? ›

Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Omnism is the recognition and respect of all religions and their gods or lack thereof. Those who hold this belief are called omnists, sometimes written as omniest.

Can you have 2 religions at the same time? ›

Those who practice double belonging claim to be an adherent of two different religions at the same time or incorporate the practices of another religion into their own faith life. It is increasing with globalisation.

What do the 5 major religions have in common? ›

The five great world religions — Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism — all believe in some version of a “self”, variously named, which mostly survives death. But they imagine its origin, journey, and destination in some quite different and distinctive ways.

What are the 3 main beliefs of Buddhism? ›

Buddhism is one of the world's largest religions and originated 2,500 years ago in India. Buddhists believe that the human life is one of suffering, and that meditation, spiritual and physical labor, and good behavior are the ways to achieve enlightenment, or nirvana.

What are similarities between Hinduism and Buddhism? ›

Hinduism and Buddhism both accepted the law of Karma, Dharma, and Moksha and believed in a cycle of rebirth. Hinduism and Buddhism both believe in the existence of several hells and heavens or higher and lower worlds. The founders of Hinduism and Buddhism are both unlike most major religions.

How is Christianity and Buddhism similar? ›

Similarities Between Buddhism and Christianity. Founded by a spiritual Master who accepted disciples. Taught through the use of simple parables. Both Jesus Christ and the Buddha sought to reform existing social/religious practises which had denigrated into ritualistic forms with no spiritual meaning.

Who is the God of the Judaism religion? ›

Israelite tradition identified YHWH (by scholarly convention pronounced Yahweh), the God of Israel, with the creator of the world, who had been known and worshipped from the beginning of time.

What is one of the most important beliefs in Buddhism? ›

One central belief of Buddhism is often referred to as reincarnation -- the concept that people are reborn after dying. In fact, most individuals go through many cycles of birth, living, death and rebirth. A practicing Buddhist differentiates between the concepts of rebirth and reincarnation.

Does Buddhism believe in god? ›

Buddhist teachings state that there are divine beings called devas (sometimes translated as 'gods') and other Buddhist deities, heavens, and rebirths in its doctrine of saṃsāra, or cyclical rebirth. Buddhism teaches that none of these gods is a creator or an eternal being, though they can live very long lives.

What are the most important beliefs of Buddhism? ›

Widely observed practices include meditation, observance of moral precepts, monasticism, taking refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, and the cultivation of the Paramitas (perfections, or virtues).

What are 2 similarities and 2 differences between Hinduism and Buddhism? ›

Both believe in a continuing cycle of life, suffering, death, and rebirth, but for Buddhists the goal of enlightenment is call nirvana, while it is called moksha in Hinduism. Hinduism and Buddhism are like twins sharing a lot of the same terminology and concepts, but each has its own distinguishing features.

What are 5 differences between Buddhism and Hinduism? ›

Buddhism and Hinduism agree on karma, dharma, moksha and reincarnation. They are different in that Buddhism rejects the priests of Hinduism, the formal rituals, and the caste system. Buddha urged people to seek enlightenment through meditation.

How is Buddhism different from other religions? ›

The Sri Lankan monk Aryadasa Ratnasinghe wrote: “Buddhism differs from other religions because: 1) it does not believe in a Creator or an Almighty God who is responsible for all our actions; 2) Buddhism, in actual sense, is not a religion, though people generally call it so, because there is no belief in, recognition ...

What are the main differences between Buddhism and Christianity? ›

There are inherent and fundamental differences between Buddhism and Christianity, one significant element being that while Christianity is at its core monotheistic and relies on a God as a Creator, Buddhism is generally non-theistic and rejects the notion of a Creator God which provides divine values for the world.

Do Buddhist believe in good and evil? ›

In cultures with Buddhist spiritual influence, both good and evil are perceived as part of an antagonistic duality that itself must be overcome through achieving Śūnyatā meaning emptiness in the sense of recognition of good and evil being two opposing principles but not a reality, emptying the duality of them, and ...

What were the most important differences between early Buddhism and early Christianity? ›

Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who came to be known as the Buddha — the enlightened one, or one who is awake — whereas Christianity is centered on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.

What are 10 facts about Judaism? ›

Top 10 Judaism Facts for Kids
  • The Jewish day of worship is known as Shabbat (or Sabbath). ...
  • At age 13, Jewish boys take part in a ceremony called a bar mitzvah. ...
  • Many Jewish people eat a kosher diet. ...
  • The six-pointed star called the 'Star of David' is a symbol of the Jewish people.
Feb 10, 2022

What is the real name of God? ›

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the tetragrammaton.

Who founded Judaism? ›

According to the text, God first revealed himself to a Hebrew man named Abraham, who became known as the founder of Judaism. Jews believe that God made a special covenant with Abraham and that he and his descendants were chosen people who would create a great nation.


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