What is the ultimate religious goal for Hindus and Buddhists, and why do they seek it?  What is the ultimate religious goal for Hindus and Buddhists, and why do they seek it?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that both methods of religious worship are very similar, but I also believe that one makes a slight mistake in combining the two.  The absence of creative deities in one and their dominant presence in the other might help to bring some distinction between the two.  Indeed, there is a similar understanding of comprehending existence as one where one's modern state is a reflection of past lives or previous forms of existence.  The ultimate religious goal in this realm is to understand who we are in light of who we were and act accordingly so that we do good works in this life that can help us recognize the universal Atman that awaits later on in next lives.  What we do in this life will have meaning towards our soul's journey or recognition towards this universal soul and the closer we can move to it in this life, the greater the chance our soul will experience Moksha, or liberation.  This becomes the ultimate religious goal, although both forms of worship have slightly different understandings about the role of the divine and specific deity worship in such a process.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Buddhist philosophy as propounded by by Gautama was a different interpretation or stream within the Hindu philosophy. I am using the word philosophy rather than the word religion to differentiate the ritualistic practices that may be followed by large number of practitioners of these religions. These rituals may be followed by people tempted by things like pleasures of heaven or some other form of gifts received from gods in return for their ritualistic actions. However, these are not the aims of either the Hindu or Buddhist religions as envisaged by their underlying philosophy.

Both these religions accept the existence of a soul that is different from the human body, and the purpose of the religious practices such as meditation and austerities of bodily disciplines is intended to help the soul realise its true nature. It is believed that the soul suffers along with body, because in a dreamlike state the soul identifies itself with the body. The primary aim of of these religions is to awaken the soul from this state and become conscious of its nature. Such an awakening, it is believed will deliver the soul from all sorrows of this world, just as waking up from sleep a person realises the falsehood of dream and stops suffering from it.