In the sixth century BCE and the preceding era, when both the schools of thought were developing and spreading their horizon, no rivalry seemed to have existed between them. This was because of the fact that both the religions almost believed in the same facts and philosophy of life. However, both differed on some of the views such as salvation and soul which led to their separate ways.
Similarities Between Buddhism And Jainism
- Buddhism : The original Buddhist doctrine does
not entail any godly figures, though the later Buddhist sects introduced
some Godly figures. The Buddhists believe in the Godlike figures or the
Bodhisattvas, who take interest in the welfare of the world and work for
- Jainism : Alike Buddhism, Jainism also denies the existence of God, though they acknowledge the presence of the Jinas or Kevalins, who are higher than human beings in status but subject to change and evolution. However, unlike the Bodhisattvas, the Kevalins are rather indifferent to the prayers and problems and remain unaffected.
- Buddhism : In Buddhism, nirvana is freedom from
the cycle of rebirth, when a being turns into a state of non-being, or
Sunya, looses its identity and becomes nothing.
- Jainism : In Jainism, nirvana is a state of moksha, where a being looses its identity and is free from the cycle of birth and death.
- Buddhism : The path of liberation in Buddhism
goes through good conduct and good deeds, as mentioned in Eightfold
path, Four Noble Truths, Five Preceptions and other moral conducts.
- Jainism : Similarly, the path of liberation in Jainism is to follow right perception, right knowledge, and right conduct. One has to overcome the worldly desires and feelings to attain liberation or to become a perfect soul.
On Yogic Practices
- Buddhism : Buddhism emphasises on the practice of
mediation and other forms of Yoga to concentrate on inner self.
- Jainism : In Jainism as well, meditation and other yogic practices are essential for self purification and liberation.
- Buddhism : Buddhism is a peaceful religion with
non-violence at the heart of its thoughts and behaviour.
- Jainism : Non-violence followed in action, thought, and speech is the highest morale in Jainism.
Difference Between Buddhism And Jainism
- Buddhism : Buddhism believes in the universality
of Karma, which is a result of one's action.
- Jainism : Jainism also believes in the universality of karma and its effect on human beings. But, unlike Buddhism, karma, according to Jainism, is not a mere effect of one's actions, but a real substance that flows into each individual body or jiva. This karmic substance remains with a being until good conduct and self purification eliminates them.
- Buddhism : According to Buddhism, soul is an
individuality that does exist in plants and animals, but not in
non-living or inanimate things.
- Jainism : According to Jainism, soul is present in every animate and inanimate object of the universe including its elements - earth, water, wind, fire and air.
On The Status And Evolution of Individual Beings
- Buddhism : After Nirvana, there is no soul, but
the individuality of an individual that passes into nothingness, which
is beyond any description and speculation.
- Jainism : After Nirvana, the soul continues to
remain as an individual soul, but in the highest state of purity and
- Survival And Disappearence : Over a period of
time, while Buddhism disappeared from the Indian soil, Jainism survived
in India, with its teachings intact, mostly untouched by the
overwhelming philosophy and practices of Hinduism, at the same time
imparting to the later some of its noblest ideas.
Besides, a major difference lies in the dominions of both the religions. Though both, Buddhism and Jainism, originated and developed individually in the same geographical area of India, but difference lies in their spread. While Buddhism crossed the frontiers of its motherland and went to other parts of the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, far eastern countries, and parts of North America and Europe as well, whereas Jainism, on the other hand, remained confined to India, the land of its origin.