Buddhism vs. Sikhism


Although Buddhism rejects the belief in a Supreme Creator Being, it accepts belief in numerous non-creator deities, and hence, is Polytheistic. By contrast, Sikhism believes in a Supreme Being, and worships Only One God, and hence, is monotheistic.

Buddhism was founded by Gautama Buddha some time around the 5th century BCE. Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak sometime around the 17th century CE.

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Place of origin Nepal, India Punjab, in an area which was partitioned into modern-day Pakistan. Sikhs are now predominant in Indian-Punjab.
Place of worship Monasteries, nunneries, pagodas and temples. Gurdwara for congregational worship. Anyone may enter a Gurdwara, however-no matter their faith, caste, or skin color. Personal worship can be done in any place at any time. God resides in everything and everyone.
Practices Practices of the Threefold Training: Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom. Daily prayers. The three pillars of Sikhism are: a) To remember God at all times which includes being thankful to God for what you have been given, b) To live your life honestly/with integrity and c) Sharing what you have with those less fortunate.
Use of statues and pictures Common Not allowed as considered Idolatry. Pictures of the Sikh Gurus are considered Idolatry and are not accepted from a religious perspective. Gurus maybe praised because they are equivalent to God.
Belief of God Buddhism does not believe in a Creator God. Monotheism
About Following the teachings of the Buddha A Religion spread by 10 Gurus to preach to worship one creator
Religious Law The Buddha's teachings, the Dharma. No necessary laws but a sikh may follow the 3 rules of their life such as 1)Naam Japna (remember/meditate on God) 2)Vand K Shakhna (give to those who need it) 3)Kirat Karna (earn by honest means).
Means of salvation Buddhism has nothing to do with "salvation". The only goal in Buddhism is to attain Nirvana. To do this, we should let go of our desires, cravings and attachments, and try to dispel our ignorance Worship God, do Good Deeds in the name of God, performing service for community. Fight 5 evils (5 sins) - Greed, Ego, Attachment, Anger, and Lust. Meditate, pray, and improve your relationship with God and God will forgive, cleanse, and save you.
Day of worship Instead of worshipping, Buddhists pay obeisance to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Every day Sikhs worship the one God at their homes, even with or without a Gurdwara service.
Life after death Until one has attained Nirvana, he or she will be reborn into any of the 31 planes of existence over and over again, due to his/her karma. A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached. Sikhs believe that there are 8,400,000 forms of life and that many souls have to travel though a number of these before they can reach Waheguru. The goal is to merge with God.
Clergy Monks and Nuns, who unitedly and exactly follow the teachings of the Buddha under the name 'Sangha'. The Granthi is appointed as one take care of Guru Granth Sahib besides No clergy. Raagi who sings the Granth Sahib Baani in Respective Raagas.
Definition Teachings of the Buddha Disciple, student or learner of God.
Principle This life is suffering, and the only way to escape from this suffering is to dispel one's cravings and ignorance by practising the Eightfold Path. The worship of the One God through prayer and devotion. Sikhs are required to meditate on God's name to clear their mind and eliminate the 5 evils. Meditation is also used to bring oneself closer to God.
Angels No angels accepted. N/A
Concept of God A God or gods have always been rejected wholly by Theravada Buddhists. Their only refuges are the three jewels: The Buddha, The Dhamma, and The Sangha. Self Created, Indestructible, Unborn, Creater of Universe, Guru Nanak is God and Manifest.
Founder Gautama Buddha (born as Prince Siddhartha) Guru Nanak Dev Ji
Goal of religion To attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death, thus attaining Nirvana. To merge with and have the greatest relationship with God possible. To love and obey God unconditionally. Guru Nanak Dev Ji stressed that we should not be afraid of God's wrath, but instead be afraid of not receiving the full benefits of God's love.
Human Nature Ordinary human beings possess greed, anger, delusion, igorance, cravings, etc. and they were compared by the Buddha as 'the fools' and 'the blind'. (Ordinary human beings mean those who haven't walked or are not walking the Eightfold Path.) People are essentially good; the divine spark within them needs only to be fanned into a flame of goodness. Sinning is following the veil of illusion "Maya". Karma is unavoidably paid f you sin.
Literal Meaning Buddhists mean those who follow the teachings of the Buddha Sikh means "Student" in Persian-Punjabi. It Means To Learn.Sikh means a person who learn all his life from others.
God's role in salvation No God or gods. Salvation is not related to Buddhism at all. The Buddha also told us to depend on our own to attain nirvana (by practising the Threefold Training or the Eightfold Path). God is generous and loving. mankind will reincarnate until he becomes a Sikh and achieves paradise.
View of the Buddha Founder of Buddhism or the Four Noble Truths There is an important person in Sikhism who is called Buddha.
Marriage Seen as a social convention and mainly a personal and individual concern, not a religious duty. Advice in the Discourses are on how to maintain a happy and harmonious marriage. Faithfulness and monogamy was encouraged. Marriage can be arranged or it can be a love marriage. Monogamistic, against premarital sex. Marriage is the merging of two souls as one.
Confessing sins Not a part of (Theravada) Buddhism. The Buddha told us that we should strive hard ourselves to dismiss the bad deeds we have already done (except for certain bad deeds, e.g., matricide, etc.) and also showed us the way to do so. As the Divine light is in all of us, God already knows of our "sins". We are to pray to God for God to forgive us and cleanse us. Only through God and doing Good Deeds in God's name in a way that God is pleased can we obtain salvation-escape from sin
View of other Abrahamic religions Being a Dharmic religion, Buddhism has no relative view of Abrahamic religions. All faiths will get what they work towards. Sikhism does not condemn others to Hell or say if you are not Sikh you are eternally damned. Sikhs prays for "Sarbat Da Bhala", meaning the good and prosperity of all Humanity regardless of differences.
Status of women No gender bias in Buddhism. In the Discourse related to householders, named 'Tein-gala-wada', certain duties and obligations were mentioned and applied to specific gender i.e. duties of a husband to a wife and vice versa, by the Buddha. Sikhism teaches that men and women are 100% equal in the eyes of God. Women have the exact same rights as men and are to be respected and honored. God loves both equally and neither is better than the other.
Rites Generally common. Amrit Sanchar (Being Initiated into the Khalsa. Equivalent to baptism).
Original Language(s) Original language is Magada, language used during the lifetime of the Buddha, which is the universal language (understood all over the universe) Punjabi was the original language in Sikhism and Persian also but Sikhs can learn as many languages as they want to learn.
Followers Buddhists Sikhs
View of other Dharmic religions Believes absolutely that any other ideas and concepts rather than the Buddha's teachings will never be true or perfect in this world. Sikhs respect other Dharmic religions.
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of Buddhists deny the existence of a God or gods. So Buddhism is not a religion, but the teachings of the Buddha. A person must believe in God to be a Sikh
Authority of Dalai Lama Merely belonging to Tibetan Buddhism and has no relevance to Theravada Buddhism. N/A.
Use of statues Used often. Forbidden
Names of God Brahma, Avalokitesvara Waheguru, Ik Onkaar, Sat Nam, Akhal Purakh.
Population 300-450 Million, but Theravada Buddhists: 100-150 million 30 million
Use of statues, images Statues are commonly used as symbolic reminders while paying obeisance to the Buddha. Forbidden.
Symbols Wheel. The Khanda ☬
Concept of Deity Instead of deities, Devas or celestial beings are accepted as those suffering in the samsara. Belief in one God and teachings of the Sikh Gurus. God is merged with the Gurus and the Gurus are Manifests of The Creator.
Time of origin 2,500 years ago, circa 563 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) 1469 AD.
Teachings about Behavior Never do what is evil; do what is good; keep your mind pure. (teachings of the Buddhas about behavior) Never Commit any sin always do good thing and praise god's name.
Can atheists partake in this religion's practices? Yes. Yes.
Three Jewels The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, which are the only precious refuges in the whole universe. Naam Japna (Meditate on God), Kirat Karni (To work and earn by the sweat of the brow, to live a family way of life, and practice truthfulness and honesty in all dealings), Vand Chakna (To share with others without expecting anything in return).
Legislation All the rules determined by the words of the Buddha. Panj Pyare, (Akal Takht is meeting place)
Holy days/Official Holidays Kasone Full Moon Day, Waso Full Moon Day, etc. No one day is deemed holier then another. However dates that have historical significance such as Vasaikhi and Gurpurabs are celebrated with Prayers in Gurdwaras.
View of Animistic religions Wholly rejects such kinds of concepts. The Buddha's teachings have nothing to do with these. Sikhism respects animistic religions.
Marriage and Divorce If one followed the Buddha's teachings, one would not need a divorce. However, if personal differences are so vast within a couple, divorce is permitted. One can marry peacefully and take Laavan (wedding prayer) in Gurudwara but if personal differences occur they can take divorce.
Saints No saints. Only upright or virtuous persons, Arhats, etc. those who follow exactly the Buddha's teachings. The Sikh notion of a saint or prophet is called a guru, meaning one who can offer salvation, and deliver a soul from darkness into light (Sanskrit: gu = darkness, ru = light).
Clothes No prohibitions made but one should distinguish between what is right and what is wrong according to the Buddha's guidance. Men should wear turbans and women are permitted to wear turbans or scarfs if they so desire, once baptized. In addition to that, they wear the five articles of faith: Kesh(uncut hair), Kanga(comb), Kara(metal bangle), Kirpan(dagger), Kachera(shorts).

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Comments: Buddhism vs Sikhism

Anonymous comments (5)

January 12, 2012, 10:39am

Even after Buddhism was marginalized in India by the Brahminical resurgence following the rise of Shankracharya's (900 AD), who created his new racist matths to compete and marginalize Buddhist Sanghas, Pakistan and Punjab were the places where Buddhist Sangha flourished. However the destruction of the area that happened with the arrival of Turkic and nomadic Muslims, which essentially destroyed the organized Buddhist activity the lay Buddhist still lived. This population which started getting absorbed in either Islam or into the Brahmanical system. But those who recreated the Sangha under the ten Sikh Gurus are now called the Sikhs. The Sikh theology is all that could be used to create a religious/political/spiritual/martial structure that could save the "Sangha" from extinction at the hands of Islam or gettting absorbed in the new castiest system of India. Sikhism and its theology are all a brave and intellectual effort to save the Sangha, or the Sangat, the spiritual path people walk together. The 10 Gurus are all Buddhas and Bodhisatvas.

— 202.✗.✗.20

December 5, 2013, 8:39am

This article needs to revise some of the stated standpoints of Sikhism. Firstly, it must clearly indicate that although respectful of others views, Sikhism does not look to Adam as the founder of all mankind. Secondly, it does not believe in salvation in the same form of Abrahamic religions, one is not saved by god for god is present everywhere, one wishes to become one with god, the universal consciousness. Thirdly, some elaboration is required concerning the salvation of non-Sikhs. Anyone who believes and has love for god can be a Sikh. A Sikh is a disciple of the Gurus who has chosen a specific path to god, but there are many paths to god and thus the cycle of reincarnation is broken through the realization of god and of relative closeness to the creator (People of various faiths can obtain oneness to god.) Fourthly, within this article, the Gurus are mentioned to be equivalent to god or of god manifested in human form. This is contrary to the teaching of Sikhism. God is present everywhere and within everyone, the gurus are merely enlightened men who are the spiritual leaders/teachers of Sikhism. They were not and can never be equivalent to the creator, they have merely suggested a path in which humanity can obtain oneness. Fifthly and lastly, under both the practices and principles portions of the chart, Sikhism requires its follows to contribute to society and to have love for god. One cannot achieve union with the lord without respecting and contributing to the society around them. If focused on mediation and only mediation, we neglect those around us and therefore spread negativity. A Sikh must contribute to society and attempt to be an active member - without this they cannot achieve oneness.
An additional note, the creator is perfect in every way. Universal Evil cannot exist because what is evil for some may be considered just by others, and thus evil is a matter of perspective and not in innate quality of the universe. In contrast, good is a defined as a supreme quality of god. The perfection of god, that exists without fear or hate, leads to god being the manifestation of true truth and goodness of all around us. Something that inflicts fear, hate, anger, lust or animosity (5 evils) on any living thing, takes us away from god and can thus be seen as bad. The before mention qualities are merely an expression of human consciousness. They are not qualities of the consciousness of the creator. In this way, we evoke a situation in which a universal good can exist, without the condemnation of an universal evil. The only true good is a love for god. With god being an innate quality of the universe, love for all things is the only true and universal good.

— 206.✗.✗.30

October 23, 2011, 10:16pm

Sikhs do not belive in Adam and Eve so that bit in the table is incorrect

— 86.✗.✗.92

March 1, 2011, 7:38pm

Buddhists believe in possible rebirth in a "god" realm; but when the good kharma that led to the rebirth is exhausted, the being may fall back into the "lower" realms. Since "gods" are not eternal and are subject to kharma, calling Buddhism polytheistic is misleading. Non-theistic is more applicable, since Buddhism rejects the concept of an eternal creator god.

— 75.✗.✗.155

June 29, 2010, 11:18pm

In Sikhism there is no clergy. The Gurus tried to move the Sikhs away from this idea of clergy as it was the corrupt Brahmans who were leading the masses astray. Sikhs do not need to rely on anyone for their worship (ie. there is no middle man between God and a person). The Gurus themselves have told us that when we pray we pray to God not the guru. The guru is only here to guide us towards that higher being as was the Buddha. Also, there are no real paintings of the gurus. We do not know what they looked like. They chose not to have paintings made of themselves. This was done so that after their passing Sikhs would not worship the pictures of the Gurus and forget about the worship on the one, formless, shapeless being. This is also the reason why Guruship was given to the Guru Granth Sahib, so that Sikhs would rather follow the teachings of the Guru to get closer to the divine and not worship the physical being of it.

— 207.✗.✗.25


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