There was, in fact, no such thing as "Hinduism" at the time of the Buddha. The Buddha Gautama (the former Prince Siddhartha of Shakya Land, the foothold/territory or janapada of the Sakas) was not a Hindu. "Hinduism" only came to be systematized under Sri Shankara many centuries later.
Why did Hinduism's founder reject Buddhism?
|Shankara with Disciples (Raja Ravi Varma, 1904)|
He wrote copious commentaries on the Vedic canon (Brahma Sutras, Principal Upanishads, and Bhagavad Gita) in support of his thesis. His works elaborate on ideas found in the Upanishads. Shankara's publications criticized the ritually-oriented Mīmāṃsā school of Hinduism ("How Adi Shankara Acharya united a fragmented land with philosophy, poetry, and pilgrimage"). Shankara also explained the key difference between Hinduism and Buddhism by stating that Hinduism asserts that "atman (soul, self) exists," whereas Buddhism asserts that "there is no soul, no self" (anatta). More
- Sri Adi Shankara (8th century CE) consolidated the doctrine of Advaita Vedanta and is credited with unifying and establishing the main currents of thought in Hinduism.
|The One Who Knows and Sees|
- NOTE: In spite of it being ultimately that there is no self, there is still personal karma and continual rebirth even without there being some one, ultimately, who is being reborn again and again. Learn more about Buddhism to see how this apparent paradox is not a paradox at all. The Buddha was very wise and interested in people gaining enlightenment and final liberation as soon as possible. He would not have spent so much time teaching this subtle doctrine were it now key to wisdom, compassion, and freedom.