Difference Between Buddhism and Sikhism

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It is an individual’s choice to follow a religion and believe in its teachings. Two such religions are Buddhism and Sikhism. Both these religions rank as the world’s largest religions. However, they also vary at some points.

Key Takeaways

  1. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Gautama Buddha and focuses on the path to enlightenment.
  2. Sikhism, founded by Guru Nanak, emphasizes the importance of devotion to God and serving humanity.
  3. Both are Eastern religions with unique beliefs, practices, and spiritual goals.

Buddhism vs Sikhism

The difference between Buddhism and Sikhism is that the foundation of Buddhism is based on the teachings and preachings of Gautama Buddha. In contrast, the foundation of Sikhism is based on the teachings and preachings of Guru Nanak, followed by his nine successors. While Buddhism believes in the Eightfold Path, Sikhism holds a belief in the Five Ks.

Buddhism vs Sikhism

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Buddhism refers to an Asian religion where people follow the teachings of Gautama Buddha.

Buddha believed in the Eightfold Path, which includes right understanding, right speech, right thoughts, right action, right livelihood, right mindfulness, right effort, and right concentration.

The main practices revolving around Buddhism include mindfulness and meditation.

Originating from northern India, Sikhism refers to a monotheistic religion based on the teachings of Guru Nanak. Khalsa refers to the common community, including both women and men.

To join the Khalsa community, an individual needs to adopt and follow the religion’s Five Ks of the religion.

These Five Ks are Kesh, which refers to uncut hair, Kachera, which refers to cotton underpants; Kangha, a wooden comb; Kirpan, an iron dagger; and Kara, which refers to an iron bracelet.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBuddhismSikhism
FounderThe founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.The founder of Sikhism is Guru Nanak.
GoalImparting a life of unconditional and lifelong happiness to all people is the main goal of Buddhism.The reunion of a human soul with God to attain Mukti from the cycle of rebirths forms the main goal of Sikhism.
House of WorshipBuddhists had no single place for worshipping God. They visited Buddhist temples and monasteries to worship god.Sikhs worshipped their God in Gurudwara.
Holy BooksThe holy books of Buddhists are the three volumes of The Tripitaka.The holy book of the Sikhs is Granth Sahib.
BeliefsBuddhists believed in the Eightfold Path and The Four Noble Truths.The Sikhs believed in the 5 Ks and the Three Golden rules.

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism, ranking fourth in the list of the world’s largest religions, has over 7% of its population under its umbrella. It’s a philosophical and religious tradition where people believe and abide by the teachings of Gautama Buddha.

It started in ancient India somewhere between the fourth to sixth centuries BCE. In no time, it encompassed the whole of Asia, thereby gaining a massive number of followers today, known as Buddhism.

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha started this religion. Buddha belonged to the royal blood and decided to sacrifice all luxuries of life at 29. After leaving his royal palace at that age, he started his mission to search for the truth.

After six years of continuous meditation under a fig tree, he achieved his mission. Throughout this search for truth, he understood the Four Noble Truths and became enlightened.

These four noble truths became the core part of Buddha’s first sermon. 

The truth of suffering is the first noble truth. In normal life, suffering is the main part. Happiness never comes from materialistic possessions in life.

Now, the second noble truth is the origin of suffering, which says that human desires are the reason behind the prolonged suffering and sadness of life. The thirst of our demands is never satisfied, which ultimately leads to disappointment, suffering, and pain. 

The third noble truth says that all the suffering of life comes to an end after the attainment of nirvana. The fourth noble truth says that one can attain nirvana by following the Eightfold Path.

What is Sikhism?

Sikhism, fifth in the list of the world’s largest religions in terms of organizations, originates from the Indian state of Punjab. The Sikhs believe and follow the teachings of Guru Nanak along with his nine successors.

It’s believed that after the demise of Guru Gobind Singh, the last Sikh guru, the holy soul passed from the human bodies of Sikh gurus to their holy scripture, Guru Granth Sahib. In simple terms, the word “Sikh” refers to a learner. 

Sikhism believed in the existence of one god and was, thus, monotheistic. All humans, irrespective of their gender, are equal in the eyes of Sikhism.

The three guiding principles of Sikhism include meditation and chanting God’s name, making a living by honest means and hard work, and sharing the results of hard work with others.

Sikhism believes in service to humans based on humanity and disregards all beliefs and discriminations based on caste, colour, and creed. 

Sikhs believed that Gurudrawa was the only place of worship. Even in their holy place, they had no special reservations for dignitaries. They believed that God didn’t live in isolation.

He lives along with his believers like a family member. It becomes why a Sikh is considered a student of God. Overall, Sikhism has a practical humanitarian and pragmatic mindset.

Main Differences Between Buddhism and Sikhism

  1. The followers of Buddhism are known as Buddhists. In contrast, the followers of Sikhism are known as the Sikhs. 
  2. Buddhism originated in 500-600 BCE. On the other hand, Sikhism originated in 1500 BCE.
  3. Buddhism proclaims that an individual attains salvation only through a regular meditation practice such as samadhi and vipassana. However, Sikhism proclaims that an individual attains salvation only through the lifelong practice of good deeds and community service. 
  4. While Buddhism has about 520 million Buddhist followers, Sikhism has about 30 million Sikh followers. 
  5. Buddhists were mainly categorized into three sects: Theravada, Vajrayana, and Mahayana. In contrast, Sikhs were mainly categorized into four sects, namely, Udasis, Nirmala, Akali Nihangs, and Sewapanthis.
Difference Between Buddhism and Sikhism
References
  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-017-2618-4_6
  2. https://academic.oup.com/socrel/article-abstract/78/3/340/3940212
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