Christian Discussion Forum

Webmaster's Note: 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)

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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 page number.

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. 274.)

M. L'Abbe Huc, Nineteenth--Century Missionary Apostolic:

"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. 327.)

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...

  1. Both Buddha and Jesus were baptized in the presence of the "spirit" of G--d. (De Bunsen, p. 45; Matthew 3:16.)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.)
  5. Both were about the same age when they began their public ministry:
  6. Both were tempted by the "devil" at the beginning of their ministry:
  7. Buddha answered the "devil": "Get you away from me." (De Bunsen, p.38)
  8. Both experienced the "supernatural" after the "devil" left:
  9. The multitudes required a sign from both in order that they might believe. (Muller, Science, p. 27; Matthew 16:1.)
  10. Both strove to establish a kingdom of heaven on earth. (Beal, p. x; Matthew 4:17.)
  11. 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).
  12. 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)
  13. "Buddha taught that the motive of all our actions should be pity or love of our neighbor." (Ibid., p. 249)
  14. Buddha said: "Hide your good deeds, and confess before the world the sins you have committed." (Ibid., p.28)
  15. Both are said to have known the thoughts of others:
  16. 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.)
  17. 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; Matthew 26:20.)
  18. Both demanded that their disciples renounce all worldly possessions. (Hardy, Monachism, p. 6; Luke 14:33.)
  19. Both had a disciple who "walked" on water:
  20. "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)
  21. Each repeated a question three times:
  22. Both received similar receptions:
  23. Both had an archival:
  24. 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.)
  25. 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.)
  26. "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.)
  27. 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'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 discussion...

Your thoughts?

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.

Hello all...

Here are some more fascinating similarities:

  1. Buddha and Jesus all claimed to be of royal descent:
  2. 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.)
  3. Both were declared divine at birth:
  4. "Celestial bodies" announced both men's births. (De Bunsen, pp. 22--23, 33; Matthew 2:2.)
  5. When each was born, "angels" sang in heaven:
  6. Upon their births, they were supposedly presented with gifts:
  7. Both were supposedly miracle workers. (Muller, Science, p. 27; Matthew 4:23.)
  8. Both were "transfigured" before witnesses:
  9. Both are said to be part of a trinity. (John Francis Davis, The Chinese (New York, 1836), vol. 2, p. 104; Matthew 28:19.)
  10. They all "relieved" others of sins.
  11. Both were acclaimed as the Creator:
  12. "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. 33.)
  13. "[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).
  14. Both will "judge" the dead. (Mons Dupuis, trans., The Origin of All Religious Worship (New Orleans, 1872) p. 366; II Timothy 4:1.)
  15. Buddha's titles were:
  16. Jesus' titles were:
  17. 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")

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