Buddhism and Christianity: Similarities and Contrast

Length: 6 Pages 1489 Words

Buddhism and Christianity are both religions that have a rich history and millions of devout followers throughout the world. In some ways, the two religions are similar, being based largely on the teachings of a single man; the Buddha in the case of Buddhism, and Christ in the case of Christianity. "How many people have provoked this question - not 'Who are you''...but 'What are you''...Only two: Jesus and Buddha." (Smith, p82). There are many differences however, in their interpretations of the world and the afterlife, that make each religion unique. Buddhism was founded upon the teachings of the Buddha, who was born (most likely) in the 5th century BCE, to a noble family in northern India. "The infant was born in the royal palace in Lummini, according to the tablet found by the archaeologists in 1896; and there he was named Siddhartha Gautama." (Gaer, p40). Being of high birth in a Hindu society with an established caste system, Gautama lived the first decades of his life in luxury and comfort. A confrontation with an old, sick man left Gautama disillusioned about the nature of life, and he left his life of comfort to live as a monk. In contrast to Christianity, Gautama did not become 'the Continue...


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When he arose from meditation, Gautama was awakened, and became 'the Buddha'. "Jesus stood in the Jewish tradition of Spirit-filled mediators. In terms of this exile, as well, there are parallels with the Buddha's life. Like Buddhism, the development of Christianity over the centuries has led to a divergent path of worship and belief for many Christians. Additionally, just as the Buddha was very much a product of his Hindu society, so too was Jesus the result of birth into an oppressed Jewish state. The Fourth Noble Truth lays out the way to escape from desire, via the Eightfold Path. The Path of right conduct finds a parallel in the Ten Commandments of Christianity. The eight areas of concern dealt with are; right views, right intent, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Unlike the Buddha, Jesus did not acquire his revered status later in life, Jesus was born divine. In the short time of his ministry, estimated to be between one and three years, Jesus drew a following and many supporters. The main distinction made between Buddhist practitioners is between the Greater Vehicle (Mahayana) and the Lesser Vehicle (Hinanyana or Theravada).

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