Jesus And Buddha Shake Hands
Both the Christian religion and the Buddhist faith are based on the principles of love. If Buddha and Jesus were to meet I believe they would not try and convert each other but rather shake hands and smile. The parallels between the two faiths are impressive. In this essay I will outline the two faiths with their similarities and differences. Topics covered in this essay include life after death, suffering, and morality which is good and evil. My belief is that the two religions complement each other.
Christians believe in life after death as written in the Bible, from Jesus’ resurrection. He is seated at the right hand of his father, God. Buddhist believe in a Wheel of Rebirth or Reincarnation. Both religions emphasis the importance in doing good for others in this world to make it into the next world (Heaven or Nirvana). The Buddhist viewpoint is a six spoked wheel, held by the jaws of a fearsome beast, representing death. Each six sections of the wheel are the realms of god, titian, humans, hungry ghosts, animals and hell. According to Buddhist belief each time someone dies their spirit is reborn into one of these realms. Where they end up depends on Karma (how much good they have done in the world). The karma is measured by how much you have tried to overcome greed, hatred and ignorance. After suffering on earth, the final goal of the wheel of reincarnation, is to escape the wheel and reach Nirvana. The Christian viewpoint is the image of beautiful Heaven, where your soul will go after death. The alternative for evil done on earth, is to go to Hell. Image of Hell in the Gospels is one of an underworld of darkness and fires. Both religions teach us that the final destiny lies in a world beyond death. Both religions give a message of being a good, righteous person on earth, leading to a destination of a reward, in Heaven or Nirvana, thus, achieving peace. I believe there is life after death and what we do on earth does matter and count towards our final judgement.
Both religions believe suffering must happen on earth in order to reach the next resting place. Buddha delivered his First Sermon under the tree at Bodhgaya. This Sermon is known as the Four noble Truths, which represent the essence of Buddhist believe. The First Noble Truth says that human existence is full of suffering (dukkha). The Second Noble Truth identifies the cause of all suffering. This is that the one can never full satisfy the human mind or heart. This binds Buddhist to the Wheel of Reincarnation. The Third Noble Truth is hope of liberation (nirvana) from the cycle of cravings that bind us to the wheel. The Fourth Noble Truth outlines eight strategies that one should do to progress to Nirvana. The Noble Truth is the way to cease all suffering. The Noble Eightfold path includes: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. Christians believe many are people experience suffering. Jesus healed the suffering and the sick. This is evident in the miracle stories of the Bible. Jesus shows his followers how he suffered on the cross before rising from the dead. The Easter Passion story in the bible talks about Jesus arrest, torture and crucifixion. The Stations of the Cross are also acted out in many Christian churches at Easter Time. Reenactment includes the final walk of Jesus from Pontius Pilate’s court to the Hill of Calvary. These themes show the suffering and death of Jesus. I believe there is a great deal of suffering and injustices in the world today. People were suffering both in the times of Buddha and Jesus. I agree that all suffering will end, and we will find peace in Heaven. I do not believe in reincarnation. However, I agree with the karma principle do good in the world and it will come back to you.
Both Christian and Buddhists religions have guidance to give about morality or good versus evil. The Buddhist moral viewpoint is found in the Three Baskets or Tipitaka. Both Buddhist and Christian teachings started off as an oral tradition. The stories and teachings were passed through the generations and finally written down. Most Buddhist schools believe that Buddhas throughout the ages, are beyond any moral fault and contain goodness and virtue. Buddhist literature outline moral principles that provide practical guidance for people in their daily lives. The Four Noble truths speak of being right and just. For example, right speech demands that one’s words are not deceitful, abusive or divisive. Right action is a call to live within all aspects of morality. Buddhists prefer to speak of actions as skillful (Kausalya) or unskillful (a Kausalya) rather than right or wrong. It is not that a Christian act has broken the laws, sent down to Moses by God. It is more that a certain act will contribute to freeing from the enslaving wheel. An action is carried out with pure intention and brings positive effects such as happiness and harmony. The Ten Commandments are found in the Bible in the Old Testament Stories. One of the scribes in the temple questioned Jesus about the Commandments. “Which is the first of all?” Jesus replied, “the first is to love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind; and the second is love your neighbor as yourself. There are no other commandments greater than these.” (Matthew 22:26-40). This tells Christians they should be good and do good, towards their neighbors, friends, family and even enemies. God defines what is to be observed by humans, what is good and evil, what is the moral duty of the faithful. However, Jesus did teach us that God will forgive those who have done wrong. They need to ask for forgiveness and repent their sins. The Christian moral viewpoint is found in the Bible which is made up of two books – the Old and New Testament. How to obey God is by, following Jesus. He is a central role in Christian morality. Both Jesus and Buddha provide a powerful source of inspiration to their followers. Like Buddha, Christ is without sin and a perfect role model for all to follow. Jesus and Buddha both taught about a range of morality issues. Meditation is a necessary means to liberation from the Wheel of Reincarnation. In recent times, Christians have adopted the power of mediation to be still and think about of God. I believe you should be a good person as both Christianity and Buddhism state.
What matters is not the differences between Buddhists and Christians but they both offer to us direct teaching, practices and ways to conduct our lives and free our hearts. Both complimenting one another. Jesus and Buddha are saying to us “follow me”. They both emphasize the bonds of love and universal wisdom from both may bring us to sacred blessings. When we listen to the words of Jesus and Buddha, we find that in many ways they speak to us with the one handshake, and the one heart.
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