Difference between Buddhism and Jainism

What are the major differences between Buddhism and Jainism?

Buddhism and Jainism are two of the most widely practiced religions in the world. While both of them are religions, they have some major differences that set them apart.

Before we move to the differences, let’s understand what are Buddhism and Jainism:

  • Buddhism: Buddhism is a religion, philosophy, and way of life that originated in India and later spread to East Asia. It encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama (also known as the Buddha).
  • Jainism: Jainism is a religion that originated in India and spread to other parts of the world. It was founded by Mahavira, who was born in 599 BCE. The goal of Jainism is to achieve liberation from reincarnation through asceticism and self-control.

Major differences between Buddhism and Jainism

Buddhism Jainism
Buddhists believe that enlightenment can be achieved through meditation and living according to certain principles. Jains also believe that enlightenment can be attained through meditation but also by avoiding harming other living beings and treating them with compassion.
In Buddhism, karma is a neutral force that can be used for good or evil. In Jainism, karma is seen as a negative force that must be avoided at all costs.
There are two major sects of Buddhism: Mahayana (the “great vehicle”) and Theravada (“the lesser vehicle”). They differ primarily in how they understand Buddha’s teachings. Its followers are divided into two major sects: Svetambara (“white clad”) and Digambara (“sky clad”).
It is estimated that there are over 507 million Buddhists worldwide. There are about 6 million Jains worldwide today.
Followers of Buddhism can be found mainly in China, Mongolia, Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Japan, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong. Followers of Jainism can be found mainly in India but also lower Asian subcontinent throughout as well as America.

Final words

In conclusion, Buddhism and Jainism are both religions that center around the idea of ahimsa. However, their primary difference is that Buddhism is more focused on helping others achieve enlightenment by following the Eightfold Path, whereas Jainism focuses more on personal enlightenment.

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