In the sacred Hindu text of Mahabharata, Arjuna, a great Pandava soldier, is facing a tough dilemma. The warrior participates in a war, in which his immediate relatives, such as uncles and cousins, are the enemies. The battlefield is at Kurukshetra, where he is about to wage war on the Kauravas, his relatives. Arjuna has conflicting feelings because he aims at fighting against his blood kin whom he is unwilling to kill; meanwhile, he is confident in his prowess in battle and has the certainty of his victory (Valpey, 2013). However, will it be a victory if half of the casualties of war are his blood relatives? He remains alive owing to Lord Krishna, a great philosopher, who advises him to engage into battle. Krishna had provided Arjuna with the invaluable advice, further embodied and compiled in the sacred texts of Bhagavad Gita, known as “the manual of life.”
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The significant similarity between the teachings is the idea of Bhagavad Gita, presupposing that a person should obey the Sakshi Bhava, in which the person becomes a witness. The sacred texts of Buddha teach that being a witness is essential condition achievable through meditation; it comes from Krishna’s advice to Arjuna to surrender to him (Harris, 2018). During the war, Arjuna learns a technique of breath meditation that is similar to the Apana meditation from the Buddha’s teachings. Thus, the teachings of Buddha are comprehensive and covering all spheres of Hindu yoga.
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However, there is a significant difference between the Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist concept of karma. The notion of karma presents different annotations to both beliefs. Karma in Buddhism represents the link between the action and its consequences; it natively refers to Sanskrit (Harvey, 2018). Karma yoga is one of the fundamental principles taught by the Bhagavad Gita, meaning the Path of Work. It emphasizes that the divinity of a Hindu requires selflessness and action. What is right remains right; as a consequence, when Arjunas relatives rebelled, they broke the rules and thus deserved death. The Hindu ought to pursue the path of karma, disregarding of the probable consequences.
The notion of Dharma, or as referenced in Hinduism as Sanskrit Dharma, means the law illustrated by the situation when Krishna instructed Arjuna to instill Dharma on his relatives to correct their view of the rebellion. The case builds upon the basis of Buddhism religious duty, translated to Buddha-Dharma that refers to the maintenance of right conduct and social order (Whittemore, 2016).
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Buddhism is the most nonviolent form of religion, in which one of the main aspects is refraining from killing or harming any living creature. No Buddhist scripture tolerates violence in the form of war as a way to resolve conflicts in society (Thomases & Reich, 2018). The teaching of Buddha states that people should love their enemies, no matter how wrong treatment such people face; as a result, even in circumstances that allowed self-defense, they have no right to kill. Such an approach contradicts the instructions given to Arjuna, encouraged to fight against his relatives. The instruction was to uproot Adharma, considered treacherous, rebellious, and evil. The advice given to Arjuna was to fight in Pandava, destroy it, and kill the Kauravas. The Hinduism, in its Bhagavad Gita expression, tends to allow some level of violence as a way to solve societal problems.
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In conclusion, it is evident that the teachings of Krishna show no derivation from Buddha; furthermore, they are sufficiently complex to have their origin from a single source. While there are similarities, such as meditation, between the teachings of Bhagavad Gita and the Buddhist customs, the differences in terms of the notions of killing, war, and karma are significant.
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