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BuddhaVedanta and Buddhism are cousins.

The Buddha was born in India and created his theories of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path while a wandering monk there.

He was one of many monks wandering the hills and valleys at that time, all working from the same oral tradition known as the Vedas. From the Vedas came both Buddhism and Vedanta, although Vedanta is broad enough that it also encompasses Buddhism.

The Buddha is fundamentally a Vedantin, although his particular form of Vedanta has been re-labeled “Buddhism” and is so popular that there now are more people who consider themselves Buddhists than Vedantins. But Buddhism is just a practical Vedanta that avoids addressing the afterlife and the question of God (the Buddha noted that while God might exist, the topic causes more problems than it solves).

“Every one of Buddha’s teachings is founded in Vedanta,” noted the Vedanta monk and Ramakrishna Mission founder, Swami Vivekananda. “He was one of those monks who wanted to bring out the truths, hidden in those books and in the forest monasteries.”

From the Buddha’s teaching have developed elaborate systems, some that seem far from the Buddha’s original teaching.

This is because truth must be wrapped in a particular culture to find practical relevance. But the core teachings of the Buddha are easily found in Vedanta, and therefore the ancillary teachings of the various Buddhist schools that have grown out of it also are within Vedanta.

Buddhists will have an easy time connecting their spiritual understanding with Vedanta, especially if they understand that Vedanta is Buddhism that equates “nothingness” with God in His largest form.

The language and emphasis are different, but the truth is the same.

For more on why all religions lead to the same ultimate goal, read our essay on “One Truth, Many Paths.”


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