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Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, Similarities and Differences


 

Buddha and Christ, the two personalities that have rerouted the course of human history; Both were born in the Asian continent, both destined to instill light and love to this world. One influenced the eastern hemisphere and the other the western hemisphere of earth. The simple human mind sees only the differences in their teachings without realizing that they were dealing with entirely different religious belief and cultural settings. This post is not meant to find the similarities but only plan to compare these two personalities on several aspects. Some aspects of them seems similar and others totally different. But in a bigger picture their purpose was the same; to instill love and light to this world.

 

Several years back as I was reading the story of Buddha. As I came across the part where Buddha attained enlighten. I saw striking similarity between this and the story of the ‘temptation of Christ’. That was one incident that sparked interest in me to know more about my own religion; Christianity. This post will compare and contrast the two most influential personalities in the known human history; Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha.

Lived During

Buddha Christ
563 BCE to 483 BCE (approximate) 1 AD/CE – 33 AD/CE (approximate)

Prophesies About

Buddha Christ
As seers and spiritual masters of the land came to pay homage to the new born prince, the hermit seer Asita announced that the child would either become a great king (chakravartin) or a great holy man. Kaundinya the youngest, and later to be the first arahant other than the Buddha, was reputed to be the only one who unequivocally predicted that Siddhartha would become a Buddha (The enlightened one). Jewish prophets prophesied the birth of Messiah, the king of the Jews, who will liberate them from their enemies.

Bible talks about 3 wise men from the east who came to pay homage to Jesus. They refer to Jesus as the King of the Jews. Jesus must have been between 1 and 2 years old then as King Herod after carefully inquiring about the child to the 3 wise men ordered his soldiers to kill all children under 2 years of age in Bethlehem.

Buddha during his last hours tells his disciple Annanta that neither is he the first Buddha on earth nor will he be the last. In due time another supremely enlightened Buddha will arise. He will be known as Metteyya, which means ‘he whose name is kindness’.

Parents

Buddha Christ
Father: King Suddhodana
Mother: Queen Maha Maya
NB: They did not have children for twenty years into their marriage.
Father: Joseph (Carpenter)
Mother : Mary

NB: Mary became pregnant while she was engaged to Joseph. Jesus birth is believed by Christians to be a virgin birth. In Greek  ’a virgin’, also implies “a young woman in her mid to late teens.” The Gospel of James give a totally different account. Marry is said to be a temple girl given to Joseph for safe keeping at the age of 12. Read Early Life of Virgin Mary Till The Birth of Jesus Christ for more information

Conception

Buddha Christ
One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas (spirits) to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. After bathing her in the lake, the devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers. Soon after a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared and the queen awoke, knowing she had been delivered an important message, as the elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal. The next day, early in the morning, the queen told the king about the dream. The king was puzzled and sent for some wise men to discover the meaning of the dream.
The wise men said, “Your Majesty, you are very lucky. The devas have chosen our queen as the mother of the Purest-One and the child will become a very great being.” The king and queen were very happy when they heard this.
The angel appeared to Mary and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jammanuel (god is with us). He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of

The Most Loved Disciple of Jesus

When you read the title of this post you must have already been preoccupied with some names of disciples whom you think is the closest to Jesus. You must most likely be expecting Simon Peter and John to be the ones. Peter is a candidate because Jesus called him “The Rock” on which he would build his Church [Mat 16:18]. Peter was the one to give the right answer “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” for the question “Who do you say I am?” by Jesus [Mat 16:16].  In the last part of the gospel of John Jesus asks Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” and Jesus puts him in charge of his disciples. The claim for John is his own gospel where in the last chapter it identifies the disciple that Jesus loved the most as the author of the gospel [John 21:20-24].

Gospel of John is interesting in many respects. First of all unlike the other gospels it starts with unusual idea; an idea that is philosophical. Second, it plays hide and seek with the identity of Jesus most loved disciple instead of explicitly naming him. Third, John alone had omitted what could be called the pillar of Christianity and Eucharistic celebration; the blessing of the bread and wine by Jesus at the last supper.

Before we go any further we must understand the fight between the good and the bad are going on at all levels. The dark side is very quick to extinguish any trace of light that had been lit on this planet. What are the tools of darkness to fight light? They falsify the past, corrupt the scriptures to twist the facts, eliminate true sources of knowledge, wipe-out the cultures and civilizations that are the guardians of light by portraying them as heretic. The light gets around it by being one step ahead. It doesn’t directly engage in conflict with the dark but however finds ways to present and preserve its essence despite all the destruction. Gospel of John is a good example of such an effort. Despite the gospel reveling the truth to its seekers, managed to find its way into the holy bible by hidden the truth from plain sight. Not only that many gospels couldn’t find its way into the holy bible but many more were destroyed as they were considered heretic.

Often when a society is immature to accept a new idea it need to be introduced in a acceptable form however without loosing its essence. Much the same way when a child refuses to take the medicine the mother have to mix it with the milk and feed it to the child. The teachings of the religious teachers are only meant to guide mankind from one point in time to another with an ultimate goal of liberating us from our delusions. Their teachings were best formatted to the time and situation they were in. Its our duty to continue the search and go beyond what the teachers of humanity had taught us.

According to the Gospel

Now lets get back to our search on the real identity of the most loved disciple of Jesus. The gospel of John alone mentions the term ‘the most loved disciple’. The gospel starts mentioning this phrase at the last supper where Jesus predicts his betrayal. According to the accounts from the gospel:

[21] After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” [22] His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. [23] One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. [24] Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” [25] Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” – John 13:21-25 (NIV)

[23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. [24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. [25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? – John 13:23-25 (KJV)

Its quiet unusual for a man to lye on another man’s chest, let-alone for a disciple to lye on his teachers chest. Here I am not jumping to any conclusion so lets continue looking at other places in Gospel where it mentions more about the loved disciple of Jesus.

At Crucifixion

[25] Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. [26] When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said