Buddhism and Christianity

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by Azure24, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Azure24

    Azure24 New Member

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    I was looking in wikipedia when I came across something.

    Buddha and Jesus seem to be parallel in mant ways. Buddha and his disciples traveling preachers going into homes and preaching gospels to those who hear, is one obvious parallel of a literary motif not found in other traditions. Jesus too pursues this form of preaching and teaching.

    Buddha the new born prince is adored and predicted by seer Asita and gods celebrate his birth.(SN 3.11 Nalaka Sutta)

    Jesus the new born prince is adored and predicted by seers "from the east" who celebrate his birth. (Matthew 2)

    Buddha is Sinless:
    "stainless, you illuminate all the worlds." Sn 2.14 Dhammika Sutta

    Jesus is Sinless:
    "And in him is no sin." (1 John 3:5)

    Buddha: Nirvana is Deathless" (Dhammapada 2:21-23)

    Jesus: Everlasting Life:
    that God gave us everlasting life. (1 John 5:11)

    Buddha holds nothing back:
    there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back. (Digha Nikaya, Mahaparinibbana Sutta,32)

    Jesus holds nothing back:
    because a slave doesn't know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father. (John 15:15)

    MARA AND BUDDHA Then Mara, the Evil One, knowing with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One's awareness, went to him and on arrival said to him: "Exercise rulership, Blessed One! Exercise rulership, O One Well-gone!
    Mara leaves
    Then Mara the Evil One — sad & dejected at realizing, "The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-gone knows me" — vanished right there. (Samyutta Nikaya 4.20 Rajja Sutta)

    SATAN AND JESUS: And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6 and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7 If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8
    Satan leaves
    13 And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. (Luke 4:1)

    Buddha is the Truth and the Law: "He who sees the Dhamma, he sees me; he who sees me, sees the Dhamma."Kindred Sayings (III, Khandhaa-vagga, Middle Fifty, Ch 4, 87, Vakkali Sutta)

    Jesus is the Truth and the Law:Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh to the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

    Buddha lectures priest on bloodless sacrifice:
    "But, Reverend Gotama, is there any sacrifice that is more profitable than these four?" "There is, Brahmin."
    "What is it, Reverend Gotama?" "Brahmin, if anyone with a pure heart undertakes the precepts - to refrain from taking life, from taking what is not given, from sexual immorality, from lying speech and from taking strong drink and sloth-producing drugs - that constitutes a sacrifice more profitable than any of these four."(Kutadanta Sutta)

    Jesus lectures priest (Sadducees) on bloodless sacrifice:
    33And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mark 12:33)

    Buddha calls priests blind
    O Vasettha, those brahmins who know the three Vedas are just like a line of blind men tied together where the first sees nothing, the middle man nothing, and the last sees nothing (Tevijja-Sutta, Dighanikaya, 13:15).

    Jesus calls priests (Pharisees) blind
    Can the blind lead the blind? Won't they both fall into a pit? (Matthew 15:14).

    Buddha sends missionaries"Go forth, o bhikkhus, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, for the good, for the happiness of gods and men. Let not two go by one way. Preach the doctrine that is beautiful in its beginning, beautiful in its middle, and beautiful in its ending. Declare the holy life in its purity, completely both in the spirit and the letter.[Mahavagga Ch 5, Vinaya Pitaka]"

    Jesus sends missionariesTherefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19).

    Buddha helps outcastes (Thag 12.2), lepers (Ud 5.3) and the courtesan like Ambapali (Digha Nikaya 16: Maha-parinibbana Sutta)

    Jesus helps outcaste lepers (Luke 17:11-19) and "sinful women" like Mary Magdalene or Mary of Bethany (Luke 7:36-50)

    Buddha declares:
    Open are the doors to the Deathless to those with ears. Let them show their conviction.[Ariyapariyesana Sutta]

    Christ declares after defeating Satan:
    Repent! for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. —Matthew 4:17
    Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear."(Mark 4:23)

    Buddha can walk on water and walk through walls:
    He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. (Digha Nikaya 11:Kevatta Sutta)

    Jesus can walk on water and walk through walls:
    And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. Mat 14:25 "Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them." (John 20:26)

    According to American historian Kenneth Scott Latourette, by the time that Jesus was born, "Buddhism had already spread through much of India and Ceylon and had penetrated into Central Asia and China.

    What do you think?
     
  2. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    I think the Buddha reflected the Divine Light of God, and brought those teachings to India (later, spreading to most of the Asian world and beyond). I don't think they were the same, nor do I think it is likely that Jesus knew about the Buddha (wasn't like they had the WWW back then).

    While there are many parallels I see in the teachings when I read the Teachings of Buddha, the Buddha has several obvious differences in belief that are not captured in this summary. The nuances of good and evil are quite different in Buddhism than modern Christianity, because the earliest form of Buddhism was atheistic. Good and evil were not embedded in "real" persons like Satan and God. There is no Satan and there is no God in Buddhism.

    Secondly, there is no eternal soul in Buddhism. The goal is nirvana- an ending of one's cycle of birth and rebirth. This is not the same as heaven. It is preferable to the suffering of birth and rebirth, but traditionally, because there is no eternal soul to survive, it is more like a blowing out of a candle than the Christian idea of resurrection. Reality as we experience it is perceived as illusory, and the closer you get to enlightenment, the more the suffering of this illusory world and your illusory self loses its grasp on you. You can act in loving-kindness toward others, even becoming a bodhisattva to return until other beings are enlightened, but you yourself are at peace and without suffering because you realize it is all an illusion and that you don't even really exist. Once your work is done and your body dies, "you" effectively cease to exist and thus the suffering ends.

    My conclusion is that I have seen parallels in the teachings, just as I have seen parallels when comparing Jesus' message with say, the Tao Te Ching. There are lots of books out there that discuss these as well. But at the end of the day, Buddhism (Theravada, the first version- not Mahayana or the Westernized, Christianized version you get in some places in the US) is really, really different from Christianity.

    Personally, I think it is a result of two different expressions of contact with the Divine One (God). People all over the world get glimpses of God and experience the touch of the Divine. But how they interpret it depends on their cultural lens and personality, which acts as a veil between them and God.
     
  3. Azure24

    Azure24 New Member

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    There is more...

    Buddha
    "Consider others as yourself." (Dhammapada 10:1)

    Jesus
    "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Gospel of Luke 6:31)

    "If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words." (Majjhima Nikaya 21:6)

    "If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also." (Luke 6:29)

    "Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good ... Overcome the miser by giving, overcome the liar by truth." (Dhammapada 1.5 & 17.3)

    "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. From anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them back." (Luke 6:27-30)

    "If you do not tend one another, then who is there to tend to you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick." (Vinaya, Mahavagga 8:26:3)

    "Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me." (Gospel of Matthew 25:45)

    "Abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gautama dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword." (Digha Nikaya 1:1:8)

    "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take the sword shall perish by the sword." (Matt. 26:52)

    Just as rain penetrates a badly-covered house, so passion enters a dispersed mind. Just as rain does not penetrate a well-covered house, so too does passion not enter a well-developed mind (Dh 1:13-14).

    Everyone who hears my words and does them is like a man who built a house on rock. The rain fell, a torrent broke against the house, and it did not fall, for it had a rock foundation.
    But everyone who hears my words and does not do them is like a man who built a house on sand. The rain came, the torrent broke against it, and it collapsed. The ruin of that house was great (QS 14).

    It's easy to see the errors of others, but hard to see your own. You winnow like chaff the errors of others, but conceal your own — like a cheat, an unlucky throw. If you focus on the errors of others,
    constantly finding fault, your effluents flourish. You're far from their ending. (Dhammapada Mahavagga 252-253)

    "Why do you see the speck in your neighbor's eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, "Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye," when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor's eye." (Luke 6:41-42)

    Do not look at the faults of others, or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done." (Dhammapada 4:7)

    He said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:4-7)

    But these three things, monks, shine openly, not in secret. What three? The moon, the sun, and the Dhamma and Discipline... (Anguttara Nikaya 3:129)
    "That great cloud rains down on all whether their nature is superior or inferior. The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low." (Sadharmapundarika Sutra 5)

    "Your father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous." (Matt. 5:45)

    "Let us live most happily, possessing nothing; let us feed on joy, like the radiant gods." (Dhammapada 15:4))

    "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)

    "The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond." (Dhammapada 13:11)

    "If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (Matt.19:21)

    ...when a tathagatha arises in the world,.. then there is the manifestation of great light and radiance: then no blinding darkness prevails. (Samyutta Nikaya 56:38; V442)

    Jesus is the light of the world - John 8:12
    Those who do the truth come to the light - John 3:17-21

    Plucking out her lovely eye, with mind unattached she felt no regret.
    'Here, take this eye. It's yours.'
    Straightaway she gave it to him. Straightaway his passion faded right there, and he begged her forgiveness. (Therigata 14.1 Subha and the Libertine)

    "And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. (Matt. 5:29–30).

    Keeping in mind Buddhism (supposedly) existed before vefore early Christianity both roughly 400 years.

    Did Buddhism inspire the Gospels?
     
  4. flowperson

    flowperson Oannes

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    Path...I totally agree with your viewpoint.

    Having had the "veil lifted" for me a few times for whatever reasons, I still anticipate it happening again. It has been a while since I have been so enlightened.

    It's very hard, if not impossible, to do it for yourself. A trusting and loving relationship with another helps sometimes. But I have found that patience and quietude are the watchwords when it comes to encountring the "divine".

    It's always on His/Her terms, not yours.

    flow....:)
     
  5. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Just in case someone may be tempted to overlook the obvious...

    Most of Siddartha Guatomo's teachings were absolutely beautiful. (personally, I think if the timing were better, he would have been a Christian :D)... but alas he died. CHRIST LIVES!

    (if someone pointed this out in an earlier post, please excuse me. I only scanned.)
     
  6. Saltmeister

    Saltmeister The Dangerous Dinner

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    It is still a young thread.
     
  7. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Cultural lenses need to be well respected, although an honest introduction to Christ can be most appreciated.
    It's a good thing Jesus tore that veil right in half. (Top to bottom, not bottom to top, like some like to think.)
     
  8. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    What I meant was that even Christians vary quite a bit, and much of this variety is due to differences in upbringing and their (sub)culture of origin. This difference is even greater among people who may all be experiencing God, but have not heard about Christ.

    I don't mean we should avoid telling people about Christ, but rather that I recognize that these cultural differences are a primary reason why there are a lot of religious differences and rather inescapable. I recognize that I can know Christ, experience Him, be saved by Him... and still be trapped somewhat in my cultural lens, unable to see the world (spiritual and otherwise) as clearly as I would like. If we could, then all of us would agree because we would all see the same Truth in every detail.

    As for the veil, I agree that Christ became the bridge to unite humanity and God. However, while we are incarnated in bodies, there are still barriers. We may get glimpses and experiences of God, but we are not perfected until after death. For this reason, even Christians still exist with a temporary veil between ourselves and God. We get closer to piercing that veil the closer we draw to Christ and let Him fill us, dying to self and living in Him. However, that all must be experienced through our brains and bodies, which make all sorts of mistakes in processing information, means we will only be able to have experiences and then imperfect expressions of and theories/doctrines about these experiences.
     
  9. Azure24

    Azure24 New Member

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    But does no one understand what i am saying? why are they so simular?

    Did one (text) inspire another?
     
  10. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    No wonder I enjoy yacking with Buddhists so much. :)

    Another interesting parallel between Buddhism and Christianity is the the idea of freedom and liberation.
     
  11. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    Romans 2:
    1 Therefore, anyone of you (A) [a] who judges is without excuse. (B) For when you judge another, (C) you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the same things. 2 We know that God's judgment on those who do such things is based on the truth. 3 Do you really think—anyone of you who judges those who do such things yet do the same—that you will escape God's judgment? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His kindness, (D) restraint, (E) and patience, (F) not recognizing [b] that God's kindness (G) is intended to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hardness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath (H) for yourself in the day of wrath, (I) when God's righteous judgment is revealed. 6 He will repay each one according to his works : (J) (K) 7 eternal life (L) to those who by patiently doing good (M) seek for glory, honor, (N) and immortality; (O) 8 but wrath and indignation to those who are self-seeking (P) and disobey the truth, (Q) but are obeying unrighteousness; 9 affliction and distress (R) for every human being who does evil, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek; (S) 10 but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek. 11 There is no favoritism with God.(T) 12 All those who sinned without the law (U) will also perish without the law, and all those who sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For the hearers of the law (V) are not righteous before God, but the doers of the law will be declared righteous. [c] 14 So, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, instinctively (W) do what the law demands, they are a law to themselves even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law [d] is written on their hearts. (X) Their consciences testify in support of this, and their competing thoughts either accuse or excuse them [e] 16 on the day when God judges (Y) what people have kept secret, according to my gospel through Christ Jesus. (Z)

    <...>

    Circumcision of the Heart

    25 For circumcision benefits you if you observe the law, but if you are a lawbreaker, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. (AJ) 26 Therefore if an uncircumcised (AK) man keeps the law's requirements, (AL) will his uncircumcision not be counted as circumcision? 27 A man who is physically uncircumcised, but who fulfills the law, will judge you (AM) who are a lawbreaker in spite of having the letter [of the law] and circumcision. 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, (AN) and [true] circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. 29 On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, (AO) and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. (AP) [h] His praise [i] is not from men but from God. (AQ)​
     
  12. path_of_one

    path_of_one Embracing the Mystery

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    Thanks, SG- that's what I was trying to say too. The drive to seek God is in all of us, and if we follow it, we reach similar conclusions in terms of right thinking and right action.

    There are parallels like the ones between Buddhism and Christianity when you compare most religions. It is not that one text influences another. It is that all people who sincerely seek after God find Him, but they interpret their experience in different ways.
     
  13. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Do I see a parallel here?

    Jesus the human lived and died; Christ is eternal.

    Siddhartha the human lived and died; Dharmakaya is eternal. (In the Lotus Sutra the historical Buddha explains that he has always and will always exist. This eternal aspect of the Buddha is the Dharmakaya, the Dharma body which lies beyond all dualities and conceptions; one of the three bodies of Buddha. A trinity in fact…)

    s.
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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  15. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I think the “original” Theravadan "goal" for nirvana seemed rather selfish to those who later became known as the Mahayana. Thus they emphasized the bodhisattva path, one who delays final parinirvana until they have helped all sentient beings realise enlightenment.

    s.
     
  16. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Dharmakaya? Perhaps just an eternal existence.
    Nice try, but no go.
     
  17. bob x

    bob x New Member

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    "Just" an eternal existence???
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    I think what I posted is correct so what is it that you mean by "nice try, but no go"? Do you know a better statement of Dharmakaya? I was simply drawing a comparison; no need to get defensive quite so soon, Patti. :)

    s.
     
  19. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    I see you don't appreciate my sarcasm. Pity.
     
  20. pattimax

    pattimax Somewhat returning

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    Oh Snoopy, it is an automatic reflex. Buddhism and Christianity are NOT on the same playing field and I wasn't getting defensive. I did think it was a nice try. (but no go):)
     

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