Buddhism and Yoga are initially practiced on 2 different countries, one from China and the other from India, but the two are actually “sister” traditions as they hold the same spiritual culture. They have many terms used that are the same with one another and their practices are also quite similar. For this reason, people who are not familiar with the two may consider both as one and the same.

In fact, Buddhism and Yoga have more similarities than differences that people studying Buddhism would think that Yoga is influenced by Buddhism and the Yogis would also think that Buddhism is influenced by Yoga. The Dalai Lama, a refugee from Tibet paved the way for dialogues between Buddhism and Hinduism that made them respect one another. The Buddhists from Tibet are often seen attending religious gatherings of Hindus.

 yoga, Buddhist, statue, old

From history, Buddha was believed to have been born as a Hindu and that Buddhism was only born after Buddha himself had died. In Indonesia, there was a Shiva-Buddha study and teaching which made it hard for Yogis to figure out if they are a form of Hindu or Buddhism. Buddha was also accepted in Vishnu when Buddhism was also a part of India. They accept Buddha but don’t necessarily mean they accept all the teachings of Buddhism.

Buddhism and Hinduism have many similarities but disagreements and differences were also present and were common in their history. Up to this day, Buddhism and Hinduism are still separate.

Buddhist yoga is practiced without, or barely, practicing the physical posture as taught by Patanjali for Hindu Yoga. In schools for Buddhism, they employ Indian philosophies that share ideas with the Vedic spirituality such as rebirth and karma. Though they share in some principles, the Buddhist schools had rejected some Vedic principles and did not accept their authority over them. Buddhist practice meditation and sometimes some Yogic practice are also followed. The mix of meditation of Buddhism with the addition of some Yogic practices is called in the modern times as Buddhist Yoga. Buddha himself is considered as a great Yogi but the word “Yoga” was never included in the ancient texts of Buddhism.

Buddhism was inspired with Hinduism and it was its base of study. Indian Buddhism as well as Tibetan Buddhism had included several Hindu beliefs and studies such as Ayurveda, Sanskrit and astrology. They also have similar forms of temple worship among other things. Tara is a goddess that appears both in Hinduism and Buddhism.

As for today’s generation, when we say of Yoga, we consider the yogic postures which made it very popular and visible. Yoga inculcates breathing with posture while we consider Buddhism as a form of meditation but in reality, Yoga was traditionally defined as a form of meditation rather than a form of posture and breathing. The Westerners are the ones who are primarily confused between the two as they only see Yoga as depicted with breathing and conscious about the posture while Buddhists always meditate.