Recently, the BBC did a documentary on the life of Buddha. I think that this truly is a great documentary. It is mostly an acting out of the Buddha’s life and even has some expert commentary. I felt very inspired after watching it. Great acting and great commentary. It’s fifty minutes so you’ll have to dedicate a bit of time to it, if you wish.
Siddhartha Gautama was a fascinating individual to say the least. I’ve read countless biographies about his life and studied Therevada Buddhism in detail as well as Mahayana. I visited Thailand in the 90’s and found it quite stimulating. If you want to read a great companion book that will teach you EVERYTHING about Buddhism, read “What the Buddha Taught” by Walpola Rahula. One of the greatest books on Buddhism ever. Also, “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves was a cool flick about Siddhartha’s life.
Yeah, the story of his life is very compelling. A very interesting Biography.
[quote=]I’ve read countless biographies about his life and studied Therevada Buddhism in detail as well as Mahayana. I visited Thailand in the 90’s and found it quite stimulating. If you want to read a great companion book that will teach you EVERYTHING about Buddhism, read “What the Buddha Taught” by Walpola Rahula. One of the greatest books on Buddhism ever. Also, “Little Buddha” with Keanu Reeves was a cool flick about Siddhartha’s life.
Sounds like a good book. I’ll check it out and see if I like it. Thanks a lot. Are you a former Buddhist? Or just a Catholic who is fairly knowledgeable?
Since you seem to know a lot about Buddhism I was wondering if you’ve noticed the somewhat disturbing parallels between Buddha’s life/teaching and Jesus’ life/teaching . Someone once told me that Jesus, in his early years, went to study Buddhism somewhere around Tibet or India. After studying it for many years he tried to “meld it” with Judaism. Hence his own philosophy was some kind of Buddhist/Judaism hybrid which ignored the obvious contradictions.
Some have also suggested that much of the Christian scriptures came from Buddhism. There is a very similar “woman-at-the-well” story, as well as some other disturbing parallels in sayings and parables. There is an anti-Jesus website that points out these parallels in detail:
Now, I know this is controversial, but controversy is not my aim here. Let me state right now that I believe Jesus is the Son of God and nothing I read is going to change that. I also understand that this is a terrible web site written by people who want to destroy other’s faith. The reason I’m bringing it up is because I’ve noticed some strong parallels between Buddha and Jesus and I’m wondering if anyone has a good answer explaining these parallels besides coincidence.
I honestly don’t see any parallels of any substance between Our Lord and the Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama taught essentially the notion of extinction of the notion of selfhood. He denied the idea of a soul and that really was the core of what it was to be a Buddhist, not believing in the objective self, the Atman, as it were. Gautama believed that all life is suffering. Our attachments to this world and to the idea of being unique and having an ego are what make us suffer. Being attached to my wife, my kids, my home, my job, feeling that I am unique and an individual soul with attachment is what nurturs suffering and continues a cycle of death and rebirth. Freedom from the idea of self, learning that each person is nothing but a bundle of energies and perceptions and reactions to external reality will bring one to Nirvana, in essence, a self-extinction, an oblivion.
Siddhartha also taught an agnosticism. He neither confirmed nor denied the supernatural or deities. He felt they were inconsequential and unnecessary in extinguishing the “illusion” of the self.
Jesus Christ not only proclaimed God He said He is God. Jesus didn’t seek to end suffering but to face it head-on and teach a pennitent heart, laying down one’s life for others, etc. Jesus taught about a firm afterlife that is tangiable and real, a resurrection, and the Christian faith is based on supernatural events, faith, and hope. Buddhism denies all three really. Buddhism is centered on the individual. Each man is his own saviour. Christianity is the polar opposite.
Christ was raised in poverty, Siddhartha in lavishness. The idea of atonment, justification, faith, all these things are the heart of Christianity. In Buddhism they are considered a toxin.
The elements of loving one’s neighbor, charity, helping the orphans and widows and hungry, forgiveness, kindness, tolerance, those exist between Christ and Gautama but then again they are common to most faiths.
As a young man in my teens, I was a Buddhist really yes. I was into the Therevada school then Mahayana. I put “Buddhist” down on my SAT test under “religion” and my mom’s eyes bugged out.
Over time I came to know the Lord and rediscover Christianity. The Holy Spirit really called me back to my faith. I never really rejected Jesus openly or consciously. I just liked the teachings of Gautama, the amazing asthetics and lifestyle and aura of Buddhism, etc. I went to Thailand and dated a Thai Buddhist girl, really got into it. In the end it left me empty and I realized that in my personal opinion, it was not for me at all. Long story you probably wouldn’t want to hear! lol
I still find it fascinating and exotic but I am a Christian to be sure. Thanks for asking!
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