Last Updated 02 Aug 2020

Christianity and Buddhism

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Two different faiths; Christianity and Buddhism. These two religions that have pillars centered on Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha respectively. Christianity has had a wide influence, stretching across the world and with leading figures like President George Bush (USA), Senator Hillary Clinton, and even the Pope, a spiritual leader of the Catholic Church and head of the Vatican sate. Buddhism, though mostly predominant in the orient world, has penetrated the Western cultures, Hollywood’s Richard Gere, Tina Turner, and L. A Lakers coach, Phil Jackson have identified with the Buddhists Faith through its spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

These two faiths have parallels. In contrast or comparison the two faiths meet and also depart at the foundational level of the very pillars of Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha. The Differences At the very moment of birth Jesus Christ was born in a manger in the midst of want and desolation. According to biblical scriptures he was born among the poor. Gautama Buddha on the other hand, was born in a palace where his father who was the ruler of a region within present day Nepal, made sure that he lived within the pleasures and wealth of his empire.

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In addition, Buddha lived as a prince, as royalty whereas Christ was born into a family where the father figure was a carpenter and he had to learn the skills of carpentry. The divinity of Jesus Christ has a divergence from that of Buddha. Jesus Christ claimed that he was the only Son of God. The bible in many of its texts reaffirms this divinity; to a tune of calling Jesus Christ, the “presence of God” as man. Buddha However, claimed no divinity in person. Only that about 700 years after Buddha passed on, Mahayana Buddhism attached divinity to the character of Gautama. .

Buddha worked out no miracles, signs or wonders. The bible however, in the New Testament is wrought with events of miracles of Jesus Christ. From the beginning of the synoptic Gospel or Matthew, through Mark, Luke and John, the Lord Jesus Christ healed the afflicted stopped and calmed a raging sea among other miracles. Jesus Christ, speaking on the mount espoused and blessed “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied”. He encouraged his followers to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things would be added unto them (who believed)”.

However Buddha saw the need of eliminating craving and desire and as such attains enlightment. Jesus Christ said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”. Buddha however, took the role of a guide, a religious “Way Shower”. Buddha had a means to the nirvana for the believer, but each believer had to find his or her own path Buddha is buried in the Himalaya Mountains, at Kusinara. He never resurrected. After crucifixion and death, Christ resurrected on the third day triumphing over death and sin. The Similarities

The Buddhist scriptures tell of Buddha’s mother, Mahamaya, being made to carry child Buddha in her womb through the power of the “holy Spirit”. Also a “heavenly messenger’ informed Mahamaya of the way she was to bear the “son of the highest kings. ” Many other events followed the birth of Buddha like the appearance of the “flower Star” in the East, and also a group of angelic messengers celebrated the birth of Buddha. The birth of Christ is foretold in the scriptures of the bible as the mother Mary was made to conceive through the “immaculate conception” of the Holy Spirit.

Angels also ministered unto Mary telling her that she would bear a son who would redeem the world. In addition the star of the east shone bright and did guide the three Magi to see and proclaim the birth of the “king of Kings”At the birth of Jesus Christ King Herod set out to kill all the male firstborns with a view of eliminating any possible challenger to his throne. Not forgetting that Virgin Mary Mother of Jesus had to run and hide the kid Jesus from the executioners. For the case of Buddha he was born of a Virgin called Maya. King Bimbasara wanted him dead as he thought that Buddha would one day ascend the throne.

Buddha amazed the wizened old men and priests of the temple just as Jesus Christ did to the Pharisees and teachers of the Mosaic Law; both achieved this at the age of 12. James Hastings, in the book encyclopedia of religion and ethics page 883 tells of Buddha demanding of his disciples that they renounce all forms of worldly possessions. “The number of the disciples increased rapidly, and Gautama sent forth his monks on missionary tours hither and thither, bidding them wonder everywhere, preaching the doctrine, and teaching them to order their lives with self restraints, simplicity and charity”.

On the other hand Jesus Christ called “to himself the twelve disciples sending them out two by two. So they went out and preached that men should repent Mark 6:7-12”. According to the book of Mathew 28:19, Jesus Christ was part of a trinity. The Chinese (1836) alludes to the fact that Buddha is part of trinity. Indeed the two are part of trinities expressed in both religions. At birth Buddha was declared divine as was Jesus Christ. The book of Mathew, tells of the Magi who came to present Jesus with gifts and worshipping him as divine.

On the other hand the divinity of Buddha was bestowed on him according to the Buddhist faith. The book of Matthew 2:2 has an angel announcing the birth of Jesus Christ. Buddha’s birth was also foretold by a celestial body. They both claimed to be royal descent. Jesus Christ traced his bloodline to that of King David. Buddha, whose father is Sodhodana, has the royalty also traced to the first dynasty of Maha Sammata. At the birth Christ was presented with gifts of myrrh, frankincense and gold. On the other hand, Buddha received precious substances and priceless Jewels.

The synoptic gospel of Matthew tails of the transfiguration of Jesus Christ on the mountain. For Buddha, it also happened on a mountain where “A flame of light engulfed his head, shining as the sun or moon”. The scriptures tell of the “angels” praising in heaven at their birth. For Jesus, the bible records, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill among men”. For Buddha it is written “Today, Bodhisattva is born on earth, to give joy and peace to men and Devas (angels), to shed light on the dark places, and to give sight to the blind".

De Bunsen, in page 45 notes that Buddha was baptized in the presence of the spirit of God. Jesus Christ in Matthew 3:16 is baptized in the presence of the spirit of God. According to Max. Muller in the book ‘Introduction to the Science of Religion’, two very similar incidences happened in the lives of Jesus and Buddha. Muller explains “Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, after a long walk in the country, meets with Matangi, a woman of the low caste of the Kandalas, near a well and asks her for some waters. She tells him what she is and that she must not come near him.

Ananda replies “my sister, I ask not for your caste or family, I ask only for a drought of water. She afterwards becomes a disciple of Buddha. ” The bible on the other hand tells the story of the Samaritan woman. According to the book of John 4:7-9 “there came a woman of Samaria to draw water Jesus said to her; “give me a drink” for his disciples had gone to the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him “how is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria? ” for Jews have no dealing with Samaritans, They launched their careers at an almost similar age.

It’s at age 29 that Buddha “went to the garden, saw a monk who was calm, tranquil, self possessed, serene and dignified. The prince, (Buddha, determined to become such a monk”. The Christian book says “Jesus, when he begun his ministry, was about 30 years of age”. Both were tempted by the devil. In Matthew 4:10, “All these I will give you if you worship me” Christ was told. And Buddha was told” go not forth to adopt a religious life but return to your kingdom and in seven days you shall become emperor of the world, riding over four continents”.

Both celebrated overcoming evil, for Jesus, according to Matthew 4:11 the “angels come and ministered to him”. For Buddha, “The skies rained flowers, as delicious odors prevailed in the air” EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Perhaps the best conclusion to these differences and similarities are the actions made in the lives and times of these men. And this has to do with expressing faith where skepticism abounds. So another similarity among the two men is; “come”, so Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus, but when he saw the wind he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out.

“Lord, save me! ” as shown in Matthew 14:29-30. Buddha showed skeptical villagers his disciple walking across a river without sinking”. In addition some incidences attest to the similarity of their situation like the time that Buddha took a purifying birth in the river Nerajara, just as Christ Jesus too was baptized in the river Jordan. The bible recounts the journey of Christ riding on a donkey with fronds of palm spread out for him on the way. Though slightly different the story of Buddha is centered on his riding a horse, with flowers being tossed by angels.

Jesus Christ was poor, lacking in earthly possessions and encouraging the wealthy to “sell all they had and follow him. ” Buddha was no different; he took an oath of embracing poverty and even wondered home Less, advising his disciples, who were 12 as those of Jesus, “to travel without money, trusting to the aid of providence”. 1. http://www. probe. org 2. http://www. lucidcafe. com 3. http://www. encyclopedia. farlex. com/buddhist. 4. http://www. moonpointer. com 5. http://www. songha. org/index. html

Christianity and Buddhism essay

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