Central Beliefs of Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism & Daoism

Statues of Buddha aren't worshiped, but serve as reminders to seek enlightenment.
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Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Daoism are eastern religions and philosophies that have been practiced by millions of people for centuries. While Hinduism is centered around a supreme being, Buddhism and Confucianism are centered around the teachings of a man and Daoism is centered around a concept, the religions share similarities. Each encourages moral behavior, charity and respect for the universe.

1 Hinduism

Hindus believe there is one supreme unifying force that creates, protects and preserves. There are many gods and deities in the Hindu religion, but they are all different facets of the one being. A person must be born a Hindu, they cannot convert. A person must live a good life and practice kindness and charity in order to attain the ultimate reward; that is joining with the supreme being. How one lives determines what happens to them, that is one's soul, when one dies. Bad deeds in one life are punished in the next life. The soul is reborn until all bad karma has been erased and it can be united with the supreme being.

2 Buddhism

Buddhism is more of a life philosophy than a religion. There is no god to be worshiped. Instead, Buddhists focus on attaining inner peace. Siddhartha Gotama, an Indian prince, founded Buddhism to teach enlightenment. The Buddhist philosophy teaches moral behavior, thinking before acting, considering consequences and gaining an understanding of life. According to Buddha, the four noble truths of life are that everyone suffers, we cause our own suffering, we should stop doing things that make us suffer and follow an enlightened path to end our suffering.

3 Confucianism

Confucianism is based on the teachings of Chinese philosopher Confucius. Confucianism, like Buddhism, is about following teachings rather than worshiping a deity. The teachings suppose that all humans are essentially good and this goodness must be practiced toward fellow humans. Politeness, virtue, righteousness, propriety and moral wisdom are essential components of a good person. Elders and ancestors are to be held in reverence as they give life to their children. Education and learning are also highly regarded.

4 Daoism

Daoism, or Taoism, is a Chinese philosophy Lao Tzu started around 500 B.C. The central theme of Daoism is balance. A person should strive to be one with Dao, living a simple life in harmony with nature. Dao is not a being, but a concept that is neither good nor evil. It creates the universe but does not try to interfere with or control it. Compassion for other life, living in moderation and having humility may lead you toward the Dao. Freeing oneself from desires and believing in the equality of man and nature may help one lead a peaceful and happy life.

Jill Kokemuller has been writing since 2010, with work published in the "Daily Gate City." She spent six years working in a private boarding school, where her focus was English, algebra and geometry. Kokemuller is an authorized substitute teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Iowa.