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Karma and Rebirth in Hinduism and Buddhism Religions


In many cases people face difficulties trying to differentiate between Hinduism and Buddhism religions. The two share many similarities though they are not identical but only have Indian origin. Besides, each religion teaches its followers to separate doctrines and values. According to Romero (n.d.), Buddhism is one of the oldest faiths in the world with a greater influence on many Asian cultures. It is currently gaining membership across the U.S. and other westerns nations. Further, both Hindus and Buddha believed in rebirth and karma (Romero, n.d.). Therefore, this paper will address the comparisons between the concepts of Karma and rebirth.

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Karma and Rebirth

Rebirth is a concept derived from a Latin word that means “to take on the flesh again.” Besides, both rebirth and Karma in the Buddhist and Hinduism religions connect believers with an emotional and intellectual description of suffering and evil unlike in other religions (Stclair, n.d.). The ultimate goal of these two faiths is to reach Nirvana. Thus, Nirvana is the endpoint of the reincarnation cycle and how one arrives there depends on their deeds or Karma.

Karma and Rebirth in Hinduism Religion

In the Hindu religious beliefs, rebirth or reincarnation is the soul after the natural death. It comes back again in the form of an animal or an even spirit depending on an individual’s previous deeds. On the other hand, Karma is understood as actions having consequences (Petkova, 2018). In other words, Karma means “to do” and that every action has specific results. Hindus believe that Karma controls the cycle of rebirth and death or samsara (Petkova, 2018). A person can have either good or bad Karma, and those acts will be used to determine the afterlife of a person. Because of ignorance or Karma, one is prevented from reaching Nirvana and is stuck in samsara or death.

If a person reincarnates many times while attempting to look for greatness, it can lead to dissatisfaction. Hence, they will not have to reincarnate again while looking for pleasure but will receive moksha or liberation at the end (Petkova, 2018). The desire for Hinduists is to attain moksha status where there are no more suffering harsh realities. It teaches that the Upanishads state is where one can avoid ego and selfishness but embrace a clean heart.

Rebirth and Karma in Buddhism

The concepts of Karma and rebirth are also rooted in Buddhism beliefs. Unlike Hinduism, where they believe an individual’s soul or spirit is born again, Buddhism has a deeper recognition of the “stream of consciousness” that connects one life to another (Barker, 2017). Consequently, the only difference is that Buddhists disagree that people do not have souls and that habits and traits continue in rebirth (Barker, 2017). They use the term Anatman to mean that there is no self or soul.

Moreover, Buddhists believe that when a follower practices good Karma and still leads the ways of the noble, it will result in Nirvana or inner peace. Nirvana is a state where all life suffering is eliminated (Barker, 2017). The final goal of every Buddhist is to attain inner peace and happiness. The eight noble folds comprise the right intention, action, effort, work, understanding, the right speech, contemplation, and the right meditation.

Similarities and Differences

Both religions believe in the principles of rebirth and Karma but differ in many ways. Equally, both believe that Karma is responsible for suffering and rebirth. The last resolve to Karma is attaining moksha and liberation in Hinduism and Nirvana for Buddhism (Barker, 2017). Karma is seen as having concealed consequences without material basis by both religions. To deter followers from Karma outcomes, they must address their causes, either good or bad.

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When dealing with Karma and rebirth, there are several differences between Buddhism and Hinduism. Hinduism relates Karma to mortal beings that generate consequences. They have to agonize over them, and Karma does not bound the gods because they are immortal. However, in Buddhism, the gods are mortal, and they cannot escape Karma’s consequences (Barker, 2017). Buddhism believes that only verbal, mental, and bodily Karmas can be resolved by practicing the eightfold. Thus, the Buddha’s worship of gods and divinities will not prevent one from all the consequences of Karma.


Hinduism and Buddhism have many similarities and differences of the same concepts. The principles of Karma and rebirth provide an emotional and intellectual account of suffering and evils in both religions. They see Karma as responsible for suffering and reincarnation, and the final goal is to achieve liberation. All the suffering is associated with evil deeds that occurred earlier in life. Because of Karma, there is no bad act that will go unpunished.

Finally, I learned that both religions teach that bad consequences and vice versa must accompany a bad action. On the other hand, Buddhists consider the intention behind an action while Hindus consider actions alone. For instance, if a person assists a homeless individual with food, they will receive good Karma. If one gave food intending to look better in the Buddhist faith, it would end with bad Karma.


Barker, S. (2017). Narrating karma and rebirth: Buddhist and jain multi-life Ssories, by Naomi Appleton. Buddhist Studies Review ISSN.

Petkova, D. (2018). Death, after-life and rebirth: Cultural transfusion of ideas. Journal of Narratives and Social Sciences, 2, 8-20. Web.

Romero, J. (n.d.). The Differences between Buddhism and Hunduism. The Buddha Garden.

Stclair, A. (n.d.). Buddhism vs. Hinduism. The Creativity.

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