Asia

Hinduism + Buddhism

Buddhism developed in reaction to the established religion in India at the time—Hinduism.

6th century B.C.E. - present

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Hinduism and Buddhism, an introduction
Hinduism and Buddhism, an introduction

Hindus and Buddhists share a vocabulary but differ in their interpretations of dharma, karma, and salvation.

Images of enlightenment: aniconic vs. iconic depictions of the Buddha in India
Images of enlightenment: aniconic vs. iconic depictions of the Buddha in India

An empty throne, footsteps, and a wheel—rather than represent the Buddha directly, sculptors relied on symbols.

<em>Seated Buddha</em>
Seated Buddha

An inscription on the back of this sculpture identifies this as the earliest dated Buddha from China.

Hindu temples
Hindu temples

Often covered with figural sculpture, these dwelling places of the gods draw worshipers to their inner sanctuaries.

Beliefs made visible: Buddhist art in South Asia
Beliefs made visible: Buddhist art in South Asia

Buddhism thrived in India for over a thousand years. Discover important sites in the life of the Buddha.

Beliefs made visible: Hindu art in South Asia
Beliefs made visible: Hindu art in South Asia

Described as a “museum of religions,” Hinduism encompasses many beliefs and accepts a pantheon of deities.

Four Buddhas at the American Museum of Natural History
Four Buddhas at the American Museum of Natural History

This video decodes the hand gestures, symbols, and styles of Buddhas from Thailand, Pakistan, Japan, and China.

The historical Buddha
The historical Buddha

Despite a princely upbringing, Siddhartha insisted he was just a man—albeit one who attained perfection.

Buddhist monasteries
Buddhist monasteries

From simple assembly halls to expansive rock caves, buildings for Buddhist monks grew in complexity over time.

The stupa
The stupa

A mound of dirt or the body of the Buddha? These sacred sites give practitioners insight into the Four Noble Truths.