Comparative Religion Between Hinduism and Jainism


Answer any four of the following questions (being sure to specify which). At least one must be from the Hinduism/Jainism questions, and at least one must be from the Buddhism questions.


  1. What effect does the absence of a common creed, single authoritative scripture and common religious authority have on Hinduism’s treatment of other religious traditions? Compare this with the treatment of other religious traditions in Christianity, Judaism or Islam.
  2. Compare and contrast the idea of Brahman from the Upanishads with God as understood by the shared beliefs of the western religious traditions.
  3. Given what you understand about Hinduism, should it be considered polytheistic, monotheistic or non-theistic? Justify your answer.
  4. Use the ideas of karma and dharma to explain how, according to standard forms of Hinduism, we can attain moksha (release from samsara—the cycle of rebirth).
  5. Explain how Jainism differs from Hinduism on the following issues: human nature, creation and the principle of ahimsa.
  6. Explain the relation between the varna and the Hindu treatments of karma and dharma.


  1. Compare and contrast the difference between Buddhist treatments of the Buddha, Muslim treatments of Muhammad and Christian treatments of Jesus.
  2. Explain Buddhism’s perspective on why human life is dukkha (suffering) and how we can overcome it to achieve nirvana/nibbana.
  3. One story about Buddha claims that was asked whether God existed, he replied that he did not know, but that he considered such questions fruitless. Given what you know about Buddhism, why do you think he would claim this?
  4. Explain the relationship between pratitya-samutpada (the doctrine of dependent arising) and the doctrine of anatman (no-self).
  5. Compare and contrast the Hindu conception of moksha with the Buddhist conception of nirvana/nibbana.

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