Why Jesus and not Buddha?
Some people say that all religious leaders are the same. They say that all paths lead to the same God. They say that all religions worship the same God and so on. I would like to begin with the thought that ‘All religious leaders are roughly the same’. Let’s compare just two of them - Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama a.k.a. Buddha.
. Jesus - When a person asked Jesus where he lived Jesus answered, "Even foxes have holes, but I the Son of God have no place to live." Jesus was born into poverty and spent his entire life on earth ministering to and serving the impoverished, the downtrodden and those on the fringes of society like prostitutes and criminals (both wealthy and street criminals). He made a point of associating with the kinds of people that the rest of us would rather ignore.
. Buddha was born into a rich family. He spent his youth living in luxury in the palace of his father, the warrior prince Suddhodhana.
. Jesus upheld the family unit, but he gave up many opportunities to marry so that he could more fully devote himself to his ministry of serving others. Jesus emphasised the importance of staying in a marriage and working out one’s issues. In no uncertain terms, Jesus stated, "I hate divorce." Jesus sacrificed his desires for intimacy to better provide for the good of others.
. Buddha - When Gautama was about 20 years old, he married the princess Yasodhara. He later abandoned his wife and infant son to seek personal spiritual enlightenment. His focus was on bringing himself a sense of peace.
. Jesus’ message of peace is totally radical when compared to any other religious leader. For example, he says, "Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you. If you only love those who love you, what good is that? Even the pagans do that much. If someone demands your shirt, give him your coat as well. If someone demands that you carry a load one mile, carry it two."
. Buddha, like all other religious leaders promoted peace, ‘where it makes sense to do so’.
. Jesus - The list of radical differences between what Jesus teaches (Christianity) and all other religions go on and on. One great difference occurs over the issue of choice and how that affects our after death experience. If Jesus is right in what He taught, the choices involved with rejecting or accepting Him will result, at the end of this life, in something either beautiful beyond description or catastrophic beyond imagination. Beyond eternal consequences, Jesus teaches that if we accept him and his message he will provide for us, during this one life on earth, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, value and worth, security and belonging, fulfilment, direction, meaning and purpose.
. Buddha’s followers, for thousands of years have correctly interpreted his life-view to promote a stoic attitude during "an endless cycle of rebirth and suffering." This is because bad karma reproduces much faster than good karma. Only in the west with our arrogant and corrupted self-love, do we believe that we are always progressing to a higher state.
. Jesus teaches that as God, he is worthy of worship, yet most people do not worship him.
. Buddha, being only a man, begged people to not worship him, yet many do.
. Jesus teaches his followers to go into the world to create peace among people.
. Buddha taught that people need to withdraw from the world to find peace in one’s self.-
. Jesus - Details of his life, from the town he would be born in, to the race he would be born into, to the type of ministry he would have, to the type of death he would suffer were described before he was even born. His birth, life and death were intricately documented by those who lived with him during his thirty years on earth.
. Buddha - Almost no authentic information exists about the details of Buddha's life. What we do know is not very flattering.
. Jesus was steeped in the religion of his forefathers from and early age. He was intimately associated with the poor, sick and spiritually needy. He didn’t seek enlightenment, he brought enlightenment. He did not, like a monk, withdraw from the world. Rather, he entered deeply into the world to minister to it. Jesus was a model of emotional, spiritual, social and mental stability.
. Buddha abandoned his family and walked away from the needy people of the world to become a monk. For six years, he sought enlightenment by practising extreme forms of self_denial and self_torture. He lived in filth and many days ate only a grain of rice. At one point he pulled out all the hairs of his beard, one by one. Today his family probably would have had him committed to a psychiatric unit in a desperate attempt to get help for him.
. Jesus teaches that there is nothing that we can DO to earn salvation. Rather, through pure grace he provides freedom and salvation for us by counting us as righteous since we cannot make ourselves righteous. He tells us in Romans 3:22 - "This righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, for there is no difference. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jesus promised us an assurance of salvation based on faith in what he has done for us.
. Buddha taught that to achieve nothingness (that’s the best that he could envision), people had to free themselves of all desires and worldly things. He is quoted as saying on his deathbed, "continue to work for salvation." All man-made religions are based on working for salvation. Those who follow their teachings can never be sure if they are doing enough.
. Jesus teaches that he came so that on earth we might have life and have it abundantly. He teaches that when we are in a healed, forgiven relationship with him, everything that we experience has meaning and context and purpose. When this life is over, for those who believe, Jesus promises to bring us to full awareness of ourselves spiritually, to bring us into absolute perfect peace in the presence of our Creator.
. Buddha’s vision of paradise is to one day achieve nothingness, emptiness, non existence. . Jesus allowed himself to be killed for our sins, and rose again from the dead. After His resurrection, Jesus was seen by at least five hundred different people on one occasion. On other occasions, over a period of forty days, he laughed, ate, and talked with his followers. This proved His victory over death.
.The grave of Abraham (Judaism) contains the body of Abraham.
.The grave of Mohamad (Islam) contains the body of Mohamad.
.The grave of Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. Buddha (Buddhism) contains his ashes.
.The grave of Jesus (Christianity) is empty. The proofs that Jesus has risen are indisputable to anyone who is honestly searching. The evidence of Jesus’ resurrection demands a decision of acceptance or rejection of the facts. It’s that simple.
. Buddha became ill and died. His ashes lie in a jar.
. Jesus teaches that the condition of your life now is based on the choices you make, including the choice to believe in him or to reject him.
. Buddha taught that the condition of your life now is determined by how someone lived in a life before you. You are rewarded for their good behaviour, and punished for their bad or selfish behaviour.
. Jesus teaches that we can find complete and total freedom in the midst of pain and suffering.
. Buddha taught that individuals can only be completely free from pain and suffering upon achieving nothingness after millions of, not years of living, but after millions of reincarnations and working and working and working towards being a better human being or whatever creature or thing that you are in the next life.
. Jesus teaches that there is an absolute code of right and wrong, based on the nature and character of God. He taught that life is very real and needs to be taken seriously.
. Buddha said that right and wrong are relative to the situation and all that we encounter in life is an illusion. Not to be too sarcastic, I suspect that if someone were to have poured boiling water on Buddha’s hand, or if someone cleaned out the bank account of one of his followers today, a concept of right and wrong would quickly emerge and what was once thought to be an illusion would take on brilliant reality.
Now, there is no doubt that Buddha presented a message with many good points. But as for me, if I’m going to ‘follow’ someone as my spiritual leader, I want someone with the character, integrity and solid history of Jesus.