View Full Version : Yoga and Buddhism: Similarities and Differences

13 April 2011, 12:31 AM
'(Note: This article in various forms has been published by different magazines in the past like Yoga International and Hinduism Today, and been put on various websites.)

Yoga and Buddhism are sister traditions which evolved in the same spiritual culture of ancient India. They use many of the same terms and follow many of the same principles and practices. For this reason it is not surprising that many of us born in the West, particularly after an initial exposure, are apt to regard Yoga and Buddhist teachings as almost identical.

We may want to combine their teachings or practices accordingly, as if there were no real differences between them. The differences that have existed between the two systems historically, which have kept them apart as separate traditions, are less obvious to us in the West than are their commonalities. Or those who study one of these traditions may be inclined to see the other as a borrowing from it. Those who study Buddhism may find so much similarity in Yoga that they suspect a strong Buddhist influence on Yoga. Those who study Yoga may find so much similarity in Buddhism that they see a strong yogic influence on Buddhism.


This article is by David Frawley

24 November 2012, 01:16 AM
Sita Ram,

The link given just leads to the American Institute of Vedic Studies homepage. This link should lead to the article: http://www.vedanet.com/2012/06/yoga-and-buddhism-similarities-and-differences/

I found this article very informative, as Dr. Frawley succinctly states the key differences between the Yogic school of Hinduism and Buddhism and how they relate.

"Both systems recognize dharma, the principle of truth or natural law, as the basic law of the universe we must come to understand. Such dharmas are the law of karma and the unity of all sentient beings. Buddhism defines itself as Buddha dharma or the dharma of the enlightened ones, which is seen as a tradition transcending time or place. Yoga defines itself as part of the Hindu tradition called Sanatana Dharma, the universal or eternal dharma, which is not defined according to any particular teacher or tradition. Both traditions have called themselves Arya Dharma or the Dharma of noble men.

The main differences between the two systems are over their cosmic view and way of practice. Vedic systems are built upon fundamental principles like the Self (Atman), the Creator (Ishvara), and Godhead (Brahman). Buddhism rejects all such ontological principles as mere creations of the mind itself. In this regard Vedic systems are more idealistic and Buddhism systems more phenomenological."

The last section about honoring all paths and recognizing unity in multiplicity is especially brilliant.

While this article mainly dealt with comparing Yoga and Buddhism, I'm interested in the comparisons of Buddhism to the astika darsanas of Sanatana Dharma that are also atheistic such as Samkhya and Mimamsa.

Jai Sri Ram