This discussion on the comparison between the Buddha and Jesus is
selected from the Christian Forum (a sister forum of the Buddhism
Depot) between myself, a Jew, a liberal Christian, a not so
liberal Christian and participants of other faiths. All postings
are unedited in its original form. The similarities between the
two as described here are all correct and accurate.
Buddha vs. Jesus(Part 1 of 2)
Click here to continue. to page two of this discussion.
Posted by Warren
on Tuesday, 25 January 2000, at 12:39 p.m.
There has been some discussion in the posts below about
Buddhism versus Christianity. I'd like to point out a great deal
of similarities between the historical accounts of Buddha as well
as Jesus, and leave it up for discussion:
First, I'd like to make sure we agree that Buddhism existed
before Christianity so we don't get a bunch of "Buddhism
took it from Jesus" stuff...although, that would mean that
the opposite just may be the case (I said "may be the
case"...not "was the case").
Please note that once a reference is cited, I refer back to it
either with "ibid." or by the author's last name and
Here we go....
T.W.Rhys Davids, Nineteenth-Century Professor:
"There is every reason to believe that the Pitakas
[sacred books containing the legends of Buddha] now present
in Ceylon are substantially identical with the books of the
Southern Canon, as settled at the Council of Patna about the
year 250 B.C. As no works would have been received into the
Canon which were not then believed to be very old, the
Pitakas may be approximately placed in the fourth century
B.C., and parts of them possibly reach back very nearly, if
not quite, to the time of Gautama (Buddha) himself." (Rhys
Davids, Buddhism: Being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of
Gautama, the Buddha (London, 1894), p. 10)
Samuel Beal, Nineteenth-Century Professor:
"We know that the Fo-pen-hing [legends of Buddha] was
translated into Chinese from Sanskrit (the ancient language
of Hinduism) as early as the eleventh year of the reign of -
Wing-ping (Ming-ti) of the Hans Dynasty, i.e., 69 or 70 A.D.
We may, therefore, safely suppose that the original work was
in circulation in India for some time before this date."
(Beal, The Romantic Legends of Sakya Buddha from the
Chinese Sanskrit (London, 1875), p. vi.)
"These points of agreement with the Gospel narrative
arouse curiosity and require explanation. If we could prove
that they [the legends of Buddha] were unknown in the East
for some centuries after Christ, the explanation would be
easy. But all the evidence we have gone to prove the
contrary...." (Ibid., pp. viii-ix.)
Ernest de Bunsen, Nineteenth Century:
"With the remarkable exception of the death of Jesus
on the cross, and of the doctrine of atonement by vicarious
suffering, which is absolutely excluded by Buddhism, the most
ancient of the Buddhistic records known to us contain
statements about the life and the doctrines of Gautama Buddha
which correspond in a remarkable manner, and impossibly by
mere chance, with the traditions recorded in the Gospels
about the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ...." (De
Bunsen, The Angel Messiah of Buddhists, Essenes and
Christians (London, 1880), p. 50.)
Max Muller, Nineteenth--Century Professor:
"Between the language of The Buddha and his
disciples, and the language of Christ and his apostles, there
are strange coincidences. Even some Buddhist legends and
parables sound as if taken from the New Testament, though we
know that many of them existed before the beginning of the
Christian era." (Muller, Introduction to the Science
of Religion (London, 1873), p. 243)
Kenneth Scott Latourette, Twentieth Century:
"Approximately five centuries older than
Christianity, by the time of the birth of Christ, Buddhism
had already spread through much of India and Ceylon and had
penetrated into Central Asia and China."
(Latourette, A History of Christianity (New York, 1975), p.
M. L'Abbe Huc, Nineteenth--Century Missionary
"The miraculous births of Buddha, his life and
instructions, contain a great number of the moral and
dogmatic truths professed in Christianity." (Huc,
Christianity in China, Tartary, and Thibet (London, 1857), p.
T. W. Doane, Nineteenth Century:
...nothing now remains for the honest man to do but
acknowledge the truth, which is that the history of Jesus of
Nazareth[,] as related in the books of the New Testament, is
simply a copy of that of Buddha, with a mixture of mythology
borrowed from other nations." (T.W. Doane,
"Bible Myths" (New York, 1882), p. 286)
Now for the really interesting part...the similarities between
Buddha and Jesus...
- Both Buddha and Jesus were baptized in the presence of
the "spirit" of G--d. (De Bunsen, p. 45;
- Both went to their temples at the age of twelve, where
they are said to have astonished all with their wisdom. (Ibid.,
p. 37; Luke 2:41--48.)
- Both supposedly fasted in solitude for a long time:
Buddha for forty--seven days and Jesus for forty.
(Arthur Lillie, Buddha and Early Buddhism (London, 1881),
p. 100, Matthew 4:2.)
- At the conclusion of their fasts, they both wandered to a
fig tree. (Hans Joachim Schoeps, An Intelligent
Person's Guide to the Religions of Mankind (London,
1967), p. 167; Matthew 21:18--19.)
- Both were about the same age when they began their public
- "When he [Buddha] went again to the garden
he saw a monk who was calm, tranquil,
self--possessed, serene, and dignified. The
prince, determined to become such a monk, was led
to make the great renunciation. At the time he
was twenty--nine years of age...". (Encyclopedia
Americana (New York: Rand McNally and Co., 1963),
vol. 4, p. 672.)
- "Jesus, when he began his ministry, was
about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23).
- Both were tempted by the "devil" at the
beginning of their ministry:
- To Buddha, he said: "Go not forth to adopt a
religious life but return to your kingdom, and in
seven days you shall become emperor of the world,
riding over the four continents." (Moncure
D. Conway, The Sacred Anthology (London,
1874), p. 173.)
- To Jesus, he said: "All these [kingdoms of
the world] I will give you, if you fall down and
worship me" (Matthew 4:9).
- Buddha answered the "devil": "Get you away
from me." (De Bunsen, p.38)
- Jesus responded: "...begone, Satan!"
- Both experienced the "supernatural" after the
- For Buddha: "The skies rained flowers, and
delicious odors prevailed [in] the air." (Ibid.)
- For Jesus: "angels came and ministered to
him" (Matthew 4:11).
- The multitudes required a sign from both in order that
they might believe. (Muller, Science, p. 27; Matthew
- Both strove to establish a kingdom of heaven on earth. (Beal,
p. x; Matthew 4:17.)
- Buddha "represented himself as a mere link
in a long chain of enlightened teachers." (Muller,
Science, p. 140.)
- Jesus said: "Think not that I have come to abolish
the law, and the prophets; I have come not to abolish
them but to fulfill them" (Matthew 5:17).
- According to the Somadeva (a Buddhist holy book), a
Buddhist ascetic's eye once offended him, so he plucked
it out and cast it away. (Ibid., p. 245)
- Jesus said: "If your right eye causes you to
sin, pluck it out, and throw it away;"
- "Buddha taught that the motive of all our actions
should be pity or love of our neighbor." (Ibid.,
- Jesus taught: "...love your enemies and pray
for those who persecute you" (Matthew
- Buddha said: "Hide your good deeds, and confess
before the world the sins you have committed."
- Jesus said: "Beware of practicing your piety
before men to be seen by them;" (Matthew
6:1) and "Therefore confess your sins
one to another, and pray one for another, that
you may be healed..." (James 5:16).
- Both are said to have known the thoughts of others:
- "By directing his mind to the thoughts of
others, [Buddha] can know the thoughts of all
beings." (R. Spence Hardy, The Legends
and Theories of the Buddhists Compared with
History and Science (London, 1866), p. 181.)
- "But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said:
`Why do you think evil in your hearts?' "
- After "healing" a man born blind, Buddha said:
"The disease of this man originates in his sinful
actions in former times." (Prof. Max Muller,
ed., Sacred Books of the East (Oxford: Clarendon Press,
1879--1910), vol. 21, p. 129f.)
- "As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind
from his birth. And his disciples said to him:
`Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that
he was born blind?' " (John 9:1--2).
- Both were itinerant preachers with a close group of
trustees within a larger group of disciples. (James
Hastings, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (New
York: Edinburgh T. & T. Clark, 1918), vol. 6, p. 883;
- Both demanded that their disciples renounce all worldly
possessions. (Hardy, Monachism, p. 6; Luke 14:33.)
- "The number of the disciples rapidly
increased, and Gautama sent forth his monks on
missionary tours hither and thither, bidding them
wander everywhere, preaching the doctrine, and
teaching men to order their lives with
self--restraint, simplicity, and charity." (Hastings,
vol. 6, p.883)
- "And [Jesus] called to him the twelve
[apostles], and began to send them out two by
two.So they went out and preached that men should
repent" (Mark 6:7, 12).
- Both had a disciple who "walked" on water:
- To convert skeptical villagers, Buddha showed
them his disciple walking across a river without
sinking. (Lillie, p. 140)
- "He said: `Come.' So Peter got out of the
boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus,
but when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and
beginning to sink he cried out: `Lord, save me!'
" (Matthew 14:29--30).
- "One day Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, after a
long walk in the country, meets with Matangi, a woman of
the low caste of the Kandalas, near a well, and asks her
for some water. She tells him what she is, and that she
must not come near him. But he replies: `My sister, I ask
not for your caste or your family, I ask only for a
drought of water. She afterwards became a disciple of
Buddha." (Muller, Science, p. 243)
- "There came a woman of Samaria to draw
water. Jesus said to her: `Give me a drink.' For
his disciples had gone away into the city to buy
food. The Samaritan woman said to him: `How is it
that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of
Samaria?' For Jews have no dealings with
Samaritans" (John 4:7--9).
- Each repeated a question three times:
- "The Buddha next addressed the bhikkhus and
requested them three times to ask him if they had
any doubt or question that they wished clarified,
but they all remained silent." (Encyclopedia
Britannica (New York: William and Helen Benton,
1974), vol. 2, p. 373.)
- "[Jesus] said to him the third time: `Simon,
son of John, do you love me?' Peter was grieved
because he said to him the third time: `Do you
love me?'" (John 21:17).
- Both received similar receptions:
- "The people swept the pathway, the gods
strewed flowers on the pathway and branches of
the coral tree, the men bore branches of all
manner of trees, and the Bodhisattva Sumedha
spread his garments in the mire, [and] men and
gods shouted: `All hail.' " (Hardy,
- "And they brought the colt to Jesus, and
threw their garments on it; and he sat on it. And
many spread their garments on the road, and
others spread leafy branches which they had cut
from the fields" (Mark 11:7--8).
- Both had an archival:
- "[Buddha's] chief rival was Devadatta, a
cousin of the Buddha, who is represented as being
jealous of his influence and popularity, and as
repeatedly seeking to compass his death."
(Hastings, vol. 6, p.883)
- "While [Jesus] was still speaking, Judas
came, one of the twelve, and with him a great
crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief
priests and the elders of the people. Now the
betrayer had given them a sign, saying: `The one
I shall kiss is the man; seize him!' And he came
up to Jesus at once, and said: `Hail, Master!'
And he kissed him" (Matthew 26:47--49).
- Before his death, Buddha said to his disciple:
"Ananda, when I am gone, you must not think there is
no Buddha; the discourses I have delivered, and the
precepts I have enjoined, must be my successors, or
representatives, and be to you as Buddha."
(Hardy, Eastern Monachism (London, 1860), p. 230.)
- Before his "ascension," Jesus said to
his disciples: "Go, therefore, and make
disciples of all nations, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you; and, lo, I
am with you always, to the close of the age"
- When Buddha died: "The coverings of [his] body
unrolled themselves, and the lid of his coffin was opened
by supernatural powers." (De Bunsen, p. 49.)
- When Jesus died: "And behold, there was a
great earthquake; for an angel of the L--rd
descended from heaven and came and rolled back
the stone, and sat upon it" (Matthew
- "In the year 217 B.C. Buddhist missionaries were
imprisoned for preaching; but an angel, genie or spirit
came and opened the prison door, and liberated
them." (Thomas Thornton, A History of China from
the Earliest Records to the Treaty with Great Britain in
1842 (London, 1844), vol. 1, p. 341.)
- "They arrested the apostles and put them in
the common prison. But at night an angel of the
L--rd opened the prison doors and brought them
out" (Acts 5:18--19).
- Both men's disciples are said to have been miracle
workers. (Maria L. Child, The Progress of Religious
Ideas Through Successive Ages (New York, 1855)vol. 1, p.
229, Acts 3:6--8.)
So...what do you all think? Pretty interesting...you've got to
admit. Now please understand that I am NOT making any claims
here...I'm just pointing it out and putting it up for
All the best,
(Webmaster's Note: It is one of
Buddha's senior students, Aniruddha, who lost his eyes sight -
but he got a wisdom eye later aftre he attained arhatship)
Re: Buddha vs. Jesus
Posted by Stoic on Tuesday,
25 January 2000, at 1:00 p.m., in response to Buddha
vs. Jesus, posted by Warren on Tuesday, 25 January
2000, at 12:39 p.m.
Buddha was just a philosopher who urged men to be selfless.
Jesus was just a philosopher who urged men to be selfless.
Love is just another word for selfless.
More Similarities re: Buddha vs. Jesus
Posted by Warren
on Tuesday, 25 January 2000, at 1:35 p.m.,
in response to Buddha vs. Jesus, posted
by Warren on Tuesday, 25 January 2000, at 12:39 p.m.
Here are some more fascinating similarities:
- Buddha and Jesus all claimed to be of royal descent:
- "The ancestry of Gautama Buddha is traced
from his father, Sodhodana, through various
individuals and races, all of royal dignity, to
Maha Sammata, the first monarch of the
world...." (Doane, p. 291.)
- Jesus' genealogy consists mostly of kings
(Matthew 1:6--16), and he is traced back to Adam,
the first man (Luke 3:38).
- Both are said to have been born of a virgin, and through
the holy spirit. (Thomas Maurice, History of
Hindostan (London 1798), vol. 2, p. 310; Matthew 1:18.)
- Both were declared divine at birth:
- Following the Buddhist tradition, (Godfred
Higgins, Anacalypsis: An Enquiry into the Origin
of Languages, Nations and Religions (London,
1836) vol. 1, p. 157.), Matthew records that
wise men proclaimed the infant Jesus divine. (Matthew
- "Celestial bodies" announced both men's births.
(De Bunsen, pp. 22--23, 33; Matthew 2:2.)
- When each was born, "angels" sang in heaven:
- For Buddha, they sang: "Today, Bodhisattva
is born on earth, to give joy and peace to men
and Devas [angels], to shed light on the dark
places, and to give sight to the blind." (Beal,
- For Jesus, they sang: "Glory to G--d in the
highest, and on earth peace, goodwill among
men" (Luke 2:14).
- Upon their births, they were supposedly presented with
- Buddha received gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
(De Bunsen, p. 36; Amberly Viscount, An Analysis
of Religious Belief (New York, 1879), p. 231.)
- Jesus received costly jewels and precious
substances (Matthew 2:11).
- Both were supposedly miracle workers. (Muller,
Science, p. 27; Matthew 4:23.)
- Both were "transfigured" before witnesses:
- For Buddha and Jesus, this occurred on a
mountain: "A flame of light encircled
Buddha's head and shone as the sun or moon."
(De Bunsen, p. 45; Beal, p. 177.)
- "And [Jesus] was transfigured before them,
and his face shone like the sun, and his garments
became white as light" (Matthew 17:2).
- Both are said to be part of a trinity. (John Francis
Davis, The Chinese (New York, 1836), vol. 2, p. 104;
- They all "relieved" others of sins.
- Buddha said: "Let all the sins that were
committed in this world fall on me, that the
world may be delivered." (Prof. Max
Muller, History of Sanskrit Literature (London,
1872), p. 80.)
- Of Jesus it was said: "In him we have
redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of
sins, according to the riches of his grace which
he lavished upon us" (Ephesians 1:7--8).
- Both were acclaimed as the Creator:
- "Buddha, the Angel messiah, was regarded as the
divinely chosen and incarnate messenger, the vicar of
G--d, and God Himself on earth." (De Bunsen, p.
- "[Jesus] is the image of the invisible G--d, the
first born of all creation; for in him all things were
created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or dominions, or principalities, or
powers, all things were created through him and for
him" (Colossians 1:15--16).
- Both will "judge" the dead. (Mons Dupuis,
trans., The Origin of All Religious Worship (New Orleans,
1872) p. 366; II Timothy 4:1.)
- Buddha's titles were:
- Savior of the World (Child, vol. 1, p. 247.)
- God of Gods (Samuel Johnson, Oriental
Religions and Their Relation to Universal
Religion (India) (Boston, 1872), p. 604.)
- Anointed/Christ (De Bunsen, p. 18.)
- Messiah (Ibid.)
- and Only Begotten (Ibid.)
- Jesus' titles were:
- Christ (Matthew 11:2)
- Messiah (John 4:26)
- Son of G--d (Mark 1:1)
- Only Begotten (John 3:18)
- Lord (John 14:5).
- Personally...I think the similarities are kinda freaky...
(Webmaster's Note: the Buddha never
claimed himself as "God of Gods" - he did however
called himself "Teachers of Gods")
Click here to continue. to page two of this discussion.