Buddhism and Christianity: Similarities and Contrast

             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
             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 ...

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