Differences between Buddhism vs Confucianism

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Buddhism and Confucianism are two different religions that have very different beliefs, values, practices, and goals. Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who was born in Nepal around 2,500 years ago. It has no set theology or god figure but instead teaches the idea of karma which is an important principle in some Buddhist traditions. The goal of Buddhism is to achieve enlightenment through meditation and by following the “eightfold path” which includes right views (seeing reality as it is), right thoughts (eliminating negative thoughts), right speech (speaking carefully with sincerity), right conduct (acting honestly without harming others) and so forth. On the other hand, Confucianism was founded by Kong Qiu, known as Confucius, who was born in China around 2,500 years ago.

Both Buddhism and Confucianism are rooted in the idea of an eternal soul, but they differ on what this means for their respective followers. Buddhists believe that all souls will go through many reincarnations until they reach enlightenment. This is not the case with Confucians, who believe that human beings only have one life to live before moving on to heaven or hell. There are other major differences between Buddhist and Confucian beliefs as well. For example, Buddhists do not adhere to any strict moral code as Confucians do. Instead, Buddhists focus more on accumulating good karma through actions like generosity and kindness towards others.

Comparison between Buddhism and Confucianism

Parameters of Comparison  BuddhismConfucianism
BelieveBuddhists believe in reincarnationConfucians do not
PopulationThe Buddhist population of the world is more than 1 billion peopleConfucian population of the world is only 100 million people.
Schoolfour main schools of Buddhismthere are no corresponding schools for Confucianism
LiveMost Buddhists live in Asia or North Americamost Confucians live in East Asia

What is Buddhism?

Buddhism is the world’s fourth-largest religion, with over 500 million followers. It originated in India around 2,500 years ago and has since spread to most of Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. 

Buddhists believe that life does not have any intrinsic meaning or value but our actions give it meaning and value. They also believe that suffering can be eliminated by following a specific path which includes meditation practices such as mindfulness of breathing (Pali: Anapanasati). The goal is to reach enlightenment (Nirvana) to escape from this endless cycle of rebirths (Samsara). To reach Nirvana one must follow the Noble Eightfold Path which consists of right understanding; right thinking; right speech; right action; right livelihood; right effort; right mindfulness and right concentration.

Buddhism is a religion and philosophy that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs, and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha. Buddhism originated in India sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, and it continues to be practiced by around 350 million people worldwide. While there are many different schools of Buddhism, all share some common core beliefs, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. In this post, we’ll explore some of the basics of Buddhism, including its history, main teachings, and key concepts.

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What is Confucianism?

Confucianism is a philosophical and ethical tradition that has had a significant influence on Chinese and East Asian life and culture for more than 2,000 years. The system of thought is based on the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551-479 BC), who emphasized personal and governmental morality, the correctness of social relationships, justice, and sincerity. In the early 21st century, there were an estimated 200 million followers of Confucianism around the world. 

Confucianism has been described as humanistic, pragmatic, and tolerant. It does not claim to be divinely revealed like some other religious traditions but rather sees itself as a practical guide for living a good life. In particular, it teaches that people should strive.

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10 Differences between Buddhism and Confucianism

1. Buddhism is a religion that originated in India, while Confucianism originates from China.

2. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, while Confucians do not.

3. The Buddhist population of the world is more than 1 billion people, while the Confucian population of the world is only 100 million people.

4. There are four main schools of Buddhism – Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana, and Zen – but there are no corresponding schools for Confucianism.

5. Most Buddhists live in Asia or North America, but most Confucians live in East Asia.

6. Many Buddhists have taken vows to abstain from meat consumption or any type of intoxicating substances such as alcohol and drugs; however many Confucians consume these types of things openly without concern for their well-being.

7. Buddhists believe that there are many paths to enlightenment and the goal of all Buddhist practice is to end suffering (Nirvana), while Confucians believe that one can only achieve enlightenment through self-cultivation.

8. The concept of “enlightenment” does not exist in Buddhism because it’s more about finding inner peace rather than achieving some higher state, whereas the idea of “perfection” exists in Confucianism as a way for people to find their true selves and reach full potential.

9. In Buddhism, followers take refuge from worldly life by following the Eightfold Path – they don’t have any gods or deities they worship; instead, they follow teachings from Buddha which includes meditation and mindfulness practices; on the other hand, Confucians typically follow a five-step system called Wu Wei where each step has its meaning such as being respectful with others or having integrity when making decisions.

10. The main difference between these two religions is that Buddhists focus on how an individual can escape suffering while seeking nirvana after death, whereas Confucians.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Buddhism

1. Buddhism is an Eastern religion.

2. It has been around for over 2,000 years.

3. The word “Buddha” means “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.

4. There are about 350 million Buddhists in the world today.

5. Buddha was born as Prince Siddhartha Gautama and lived from 563 BC to 483 BC.

6. He taught a philosophy called dharma which is based on the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path that can lead to enlightenment, release from suffering, and nirvana – a state of being free from suffering.

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Confucianism

1. Confucianism is the most influential of East Asian religions.

2. Confucius was born in 551 BC, and his teachings are still studied today.

3. The first person to write about Confucianism was Zhu Xi, who lived from 1130-1200 AD.

4. The four virtues of Confucianism are benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and wisdom.

5. Mencius is one of the most famous philosophers of all time. 

6. There are five ways to become a sage according to Mencius.


Buddhism and Confucianism are different religions that have many similarities, but also some key differences. Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama who was born in 563 BC in Nepal. Buddhists believe that all life has inherent value and it’s important to detach oneself from desires because they lead to suffering (Dukkha). They follow eight precepts that outline how followers should act like monks or nuns. These include not killing any living things; abstaining from taking what isn’t given; avoiding sexual misconduct; speaking truthfully; refraining from intoxicants such as alcohol or drugs (including caffeine); avoiding eating meat except for fish, poultry, eggs, honey bees, vegetables, dairy, and nuts; abstain from wearing jewelry and perfumes, etc.


Resource 01: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/buddhism/#:~:text
Resource 02: https://asiasociety.org/education

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