After reading Guru Nanak’s story in Sikhism, what dawned upon me was the fact that how there are many similar elements in that story and the story of Lord Buddha. It is interesting how Nanak lost interest in the mundane world and gained an interest in the spiritual way of things. This is the same idea that occurred to Gautama Siddhartha when he was a young man. Also how Guru Nanak went into the stream and emerged “enlightened” is also interesting. This is similar to how Lord Buddha achieved the state of enlightenment under the fig tree, as a result of a solid effort.
Also it is intriguing how Guru Nanak was opposed by the Muslim judge in Mecca. After Nanak performed the “miracles”, the judge, overwhelmed, “prostrated himself” against the floor. This is the same thing that happened when Lord Buddha was opposed by adversaries. One time, a famous Brahman challenged Lord Buddha for a debate. And Lord Buddha accepted the challenge kindly, without any malicious feelings. As a result, in the end, Lord Buddha was able to explain the dharma and the Brahman accepted Buddhism as his religion.
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And the other similar element that I found was how the ultimate goal of Sikhism is to reach Mukti (to achieve the release from the round of rebirths). This is the same goal that Buddhism introduces, except it is called achieving the state of Nirvana. Moreover, Sikhism expounds the idea of an ultimate being (a god). This god is described as both immanent and transcendent. Although god is formless, he is described as personal. Further, it states that god is not wholly beyond human comprehension, and if the man worships him, he can come into a relationship of oneness with God.
But in Buddhism, it completely negates these divine intervention concepts. What Buddhism explains is that everything happens because of Karma. In other words, individuals don’t suppose to expect divine intervention to “save them” from various perils. It is the particular individual’s responsibility to understand the Dharma and use it as a weapon for all sorts of situations. In addition, Sikhism explains how “mukti” can be achieved by faith in god.
But Buddhism stresses out the fact that Nirvana (which is the equivalent for mukti) can be achieved by personal truth. That is, one must be in constant meditation in order to achieve these stages. Moreover, faith in oneself is also required. This gives the individual the opportunity to find his own salvation. And this process will be made easier if that particular individual abides by the principles taught by Lord Buddha. Also to put it in another way, fear in god in Sikhism resembles the fear in Karma in Buddhism.