Major Religions & Spiritual Beliefs
Buddhism and its relation to other major religions
Buddhism and its relation to other major religions. Some Hindus (primarily in the northern regions of India) believe that Gautama is the 9th incarnation (see avatar) of Vishnu; there are accounts of the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu that are pro- and anti-Buddhist (i.e., either Vishnu "really meant" what he said while incarnated as Buddha or he was just messing with the Nastikas). This is not a majority view, however.
Traditionally, there has been a sharp distinction between Buddhism and what is today called "Hinduism"; this distinction is more accurately between Astika and Nastika philosophies, that is, philosophies in India which either affirmed the Vedas as divinely revealed scriptures or else regarded them as fallible human inventions. Thus Buddhism is essentially a heresy vis ŕ vis orthodox Indian philosophy, though there are many syncretic or ecumenical tendencies within either group which are accepting of the beliefs and practices of the other.
In the Japanese religion of Shintoism Buddha is seen as a Kami (god). The Bahá'í Faith states he was an independent Manifestation of God. Siddhartha Gautama is thought to have been sanctified by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Josaphat based on a mistaken account of his conversion to Christianity. Some Muslims believe that Gautama Buddha is Dhul-Kifl, one of the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an.
Jainism is an Indian school of thought that was founded prior to Buddhism. One of its two most prominent teachers, Mahavira, was a senior contemporary of the Buddha whose philosophy, sometimes described as dynamism or vitalism, was a blend of the earlier Jain teacher Parsvanatha's asceticism and the naturalistic teachings of the Ajivikas. Dialogues between the Buddha's disciples and Mahavira are recorded in Jain texts, and dialogues between Mahavira's disciples and the Buddha are included in Buddhist texts, however there is no evidence the two teachers actually met.