Similarities Between Jesus and Buddha

This video seems to show similarities between Jesus and Buddha.

youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=n6XNO6Jv3q0#t=0

The host is Dr. Robert Beckford who is a Christian theologian.

Now if somebody could answer this.

Could these similarities help in our journey toward salvation?

Do these similarities weaken or strengthen Jesus?

I’ve read the Dhammapada (a central text of Buddhism) several times through. It’s striking how similar the two are - the Buddha actually uses even the same metaphors as Jesus - like the house built on sand.

In Orthodoxy (I am not sure if it’s also in Catholicism), we have this idea of pre-Christian sages who intuited knowledge of God through nature (since God is “everywhere present and fills all things” according to Ephesians), even if they never made contact with Jewish society. St. Justin Martyr called these people “pre-Christ Christians” and named Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle among them. Other saints also name Heraclitus, since he philosophized about the “Logos”. Abbot Damascene (a priest-monk in Alaska) most recently named Lao Tzu, author of the Tao Te Ching in this same category.

About the Buddha, I don’t know of any saints who speak about his ideas, or current theologians. But from reading the Dhammapada at least three times and the 101 Zen Stories ( 101zenstories.com/ ) at least twice, it is clear that the vast majority of our ideas are the same. I would say those stories have helped me on the path to salvation - especially when I nitpick a certain article of our Orthodox Faith and lose the “Spirit” of the law; the Buddhist interpretation helps give me some perspective. I’ve found it helpful but others might not.

Does this strengthen Jesus? I think it does. If there is one overall truth, it’s probable that many different groups have stumbled upon parts of it in different places: Lao Tzu recognized the unspeakable, unfathomable nature of God and expressed it in Taoism (“The Tao that can be talked about is not the eternal Tao”). Buddha recognized so many other things about this Way, like how hatred does not cancel out hatred, or how we all fear harm, so we should not inflict it on others. However, the one thing that our religion has which the others do not is the Incarnation of God (the Logos) in the flesh. The idea that God is three people (the Trinity) in one could only be given to us by God’s revelation, since this mystery is not something that human reason and logic could arrive at.

Very enlightening response thank you. :thumbsup:

I too think the similarities help strengthen my faith in Jesus.

A couple of years ago a woman entered the Church at our parish. She converted from Buddhism. I will offer you something she said:

“Buddha taught me many good things, but he didn’t die for me.”

Other faiths may arrive at parts of the truth, but there is only one place where it can be found in its entirety, and nowhere outside of Christianity can you find anything like Jesus and what he did for us on the Cross.

Whatever is true in other religions doesn’t weaken Christ. One hopes, in fact, that what is true in other religions will lead people to Christ and his Church where the fullness of truth can be found.

Very good answer thank you for responding. :thumbsup:

That quote from the woman was very inspiring. It shows how Jesus truly can fulfill.

Many men would try to become like a god but only one God would become man.

On my blog recently I wrote about this. One of my more relevant comments was-

There have been many attempts to draw parallels between the lives of Jesus and the Buddha. In particular the narratives about the birth and early lives of these two figures have been compared. The argument essentially is that many of the elements found in the stories of the Buddha can also be seen in the much later figure of Jesus. The inference being that the Gospel authors borrowed the legends and incorporated them into their narratives. That being so it casts grave doubt on the reliability we can place on these documents as being at all historically accurate since they contain fabulous elements within them.

The problem with this approach is that it assumes that since the Buddha pre-dates the Messiah then so to do the legends and stories surrounding him. That, I think, is far from certain. The Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke received pretty much their final form and were circulated within a century of the events they describe. The provenance of the Buddha legends is less clear and it has been suggested that some of them post-date Jesus thus demolishing the argument.

And the point about Buddha not dying for us is key too.

Many Buddhists believe that the Messiah is the coming Buddha Maitreya. It is because it is said that the Last Buddhas Path to Nibbana was based on Intellect but the next Buddhas path will be based on Love.

It is believed that Jesus was in India during his lost years and learned a lot from the mystics there (among other things how to walk on water) which would explain a lot of the similarities of what he said to that of the Buddhas teachings.

So even though Jesus still relies on God and has not found his own Path to Nibbana yet he could in essence be a Bodhisattva and destined to become a Buddha in the future.

EDIT: My last comment came out very wrong. So I erased it.

I just meant to say that there are very many similarities between Gotamas teaching and Jesus teaching that sheds light on the path from different angles. And sometimes from the same angle.

Peace
Victor

There have been many attempts to draw parallels between the lives of Jesus and the Buddha. In particular the narratives about the birth and early lives of these two figures have been compared. The argument essentially is that many of the elements found in the stories of the Buddha can also be seen in the much later figure of Jesus. The inference being that the Gospel authors borrowed the legends and incorporated them into their narratives. That being so it casts grave doubt on the reliability we can place on these documents as being at all historically accurate since they contain fabulous elements within them.

The problem with this approach is that it assumes that since the Buddha pre-dates the Messiah then so to do the legends and stories surrounding him. That, I think, is far from certain. The Gospel accounts of Matthew and Luke received pretty much their final form and were circulated within a century of the events they describe. The provenance of the Buddha legends is less clear and it has been suggested that some of them post-date Jesus thus demolishing the argument.

But there is little or no doubt that the core of the Dhamma was written down at least a 100 years BC.

Also this argument builds on the assumption that oral transmission is less valid than written. Why would that be? The tradition of orally transmitting the teaching was very ritualized and used both rime and tempo to make the remembering easy. This tradition remains intact even to this date and can be studied in the Buddhist countries for anyone that doubts its validness.

Another assumption that can be challenged is that the Gospel or New Testament was written down and thereafter not changed. That is most definitely not accurate.
It seems that it was changed even in some important parts (IMO)

nola.com/religion/index.ssf/2011/03/changes_to_the_bible_through_the_ages_are_being_studied_by_new_orleans_scholars.html

But it would be interesting to try and compare relevant similarities. I am game if someone will pick something relevant to compare and pinpoint the date that was written down in the New Testament. Then I will do my best to pinpoint the origins of the Buddhist phrase.

/Victor

I’ve thought of this before. Without going into theology. I see one difference

Buddha lived a life of sin, and then founded a path.

Jesus lived a sinless life.

And Jesus is the Path.

The Buddha lived a life of sin? Where did you get that?

He did live the life of a prince - a life of comfort and leisure.

It is as accurate as to say that Buddha found a path to total skillful living while Jesus led a unskillful life his entire life. Or to say that the Buddha found a path to the deathless, while Jesus lives and therefore will obviously die again.

But I cannot see how any of that is a Similarities Between Jesus and Buddha as this thread suggests the topic should be?:wink:

/Victor

I thought you guys believed that Jesus was one Path since obviously the Catholic church acknowledges that people that have not heard the Gospel still can come to God?

Or else are those that were born before Christ doomed?

/Victor

I was very careful to not suggest that the doctrines of the Buddha were a late addition. Some of the stories and legends surrounding his mother, his birth and his early childhood, none of which are doctrinally significant, are, however, possibly very much after the event.

Ok. It was only a intellectual adventure in any case. I have been looking for a challenge to learn more about the temporal sequance of the Dhamma texts. So I am still game. :).

In reality the validity of the message of the bible or the dhamma cannot (should not) be decided by its age but by its validity in the here and now.

/Victor

I went to your blog to understand what you were talking about and almost spewed my juice when I saw your most resent topic headline. That was 5 seconds that I could have done without until I read the first lines in the text and understood what it was about. :D.

But I see what you are getting at (With the similarities in the legends). It was very interesting. Thanks.
/Victor

Intriguing titles are helpful in getting people to actually read what is underneath. Glad you liked the blog.

There is no reason to believe this. Jesus is better understood within his own Jewish context.

Yes, if you read the whole Old Testament then you see just how thoroughly Jewish our Lord actually is. Also the school of Rabbi Hillel produced an outlook very similar in many ways to that of Jesus. And the radical ideas of the Essenes would have had some traction in the Holy Land during His time. The idea of Jesus in India is the product of a faulty understanding of 1st century Judaism.

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