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 Buddha'
until he was in his thirties, after becoming awakened to the nature to
life. This revelation occurred to Gautama after sitting down to meditate
underneath a Bodhi tree. There, he resisted distraction to realize the
meaning of life. "The records offer as the first event of the night a
temptation scene reminiscent of Jesus' on the eve of his ministry." (Smith,
p86). When he arose from meditation, Gautama was awakened, and became 'the
Buddha'. Instead of entering nirvana (the release of the soul from earthly
bondage), the Buddha chose to remain on earth and spread enlightenment.
"The Great Awakening had arrived. Gautama's being was transformed, and he
emerged the Buddha...all created things...