Did Jesus know of Buddha?

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Ben W, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Ben W

    Ben W
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    I have been having a look at aspects of Buddhism, and I am a little surprised that there seem to be some parallels between the teachings of Buddhism and Christianity. Would Jesus have been familiar with Buddhism and its teachings in his time where he lived?

    Here is an example of what I have found.

    Jesus - "Do to others as you would have them do to you". Luke 6:31

    Buddha - "Consider others as yourself" Dhammapada 10:1

    Jesus - "Love your enemies, do good to those that hate you, bless those that curse you, pray for those that abuse you. From anyone who takes away your coat do not even withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again". Luke 6:27-30

    Buddha - "Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating but by love; this is an eternal truth.... Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good. Overcome the miser by giving, overcome the liar by truth". Dhammapada 1:5&17:3

    Jesus - "This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for his friends". John 15:12-13

    Buddha - "Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world". Sutta Nipata 149-150
     
  2. LorrieGrace

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    I heard somewhere that Jesus supposedly spent time learning Buddism. I don't believe it.
     
  3. av1611jim

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    Of course Jesus would have known about Budda. Or any one of a miriad of other false religions. Jesus knoweth all things.
    Just because Budda seems to be similar to some of Jesus' teachings; it does not mean that they are in any way, shape or form the same.
    IMO; when looking at things like this one must keep in mind that "that great deceiver" is a master at counterfeit.
    What is your point?
    In His service;
    Jim
    In His service;
    Jim
     
  4. mioque

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    There was trade between the Roman Empire (were Jezus lived) and India were Buddhism originated (there were still lots of practicing Buddhists in India back then). There was noticable cultural crosscontamination between Persia, Imperial Rome, India and China. I know of at least one statue of Buddha that was influenced by the conventions used by Greek sculptors.

    Amusing anekdote, the RCC used to have a garbled recollection of Buddha on it's list of saints (Saint Josaphat).

    Sidenote: It has been theorized that Buddha is one of those prophets of God (Allah) listed in the Koran (Qur'an) that nobody on the Judeo-Christian side recognizes.
     
  5. Johnv

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    Whether Jesus (the man) knew of Buddha is not really relevent. Many of the world's religions share common traits. Why? Becaue we're all created by the same God, and we're all born with the same desire to seek Him out. I'm not in any way endorsing non-Christian faiths, but it should not be surprising to us that many of the world's religions attemept to seek the same thing.
     
  6. donnA

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    If it isn't in scripture you shouldn't beleive it.
     
  7. Marcia

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    Ben, though Buddha supposedly lived hundreds of years before Christ (and there is disagreement as to who he really was and if he really existed as most of the stories of about him are mythlike and are not historical), the earliest writings of Buddha's teachings, the Pali Canon, were not written until the 1st century AD.

    As JohnV points out, many religions share similar ethical teachings so it is not surprising some of the Buddhist teachings are similar to what Jesus taught (and some later forms of Buddhism most likely copied some teachings of Christianity, especially Pure Land Buddhism). In fact, these similarities mirror Romans 2 where God tells us that we can all know right and wrong because he has given us all a conscience.

    An important point to keep in mind is this: The context of these Buddhist sayings is quite different from the Biblical context. Buddha did not even teach there is a God, but a "buddha nature" that resides in all. It is our task, according to Buddhism, to uncover this buddha nature and through our own works, strive for enlightenment so all can come to enlightenment. (Buddhism is complex and has many varieties, so that's just a summary and generalization).

    This is quite different from Jesus' ethical teachings representing the righteousness of a living God and how ethical works cannot save us. This is the kind of reply I give to many who email me about this topic. I was into Zen Buddhism for a number of years before being saved by Christ.
     
  8. Marcia

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    I also wanted to point out that a number of non-Christian books have come out trying to show parallels between Jesus and Buddha (a book by Marcus Borg -- Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings -- who is, I believe, part of the very liberal Jesus Seminar, and bookx by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhatt Hanh, Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers and Living Buddha, Living Christ .

    Christians encountering non-Christians who buy into this can use this as a springboard for evangelism as it gives you the immediate opportunity to discuss Christ and why He differs from Buddha.

    A good book to get for this topic might be Ravi Zacharias' The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha. I have not read it, but it addresses Christianity and its differences with Buddhism.
     
  9. Ben W

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    It is particurly prevalent down here in the Southern Hemispere that Buddhism is popular throughout Asia. What amazes me is how Hudson Taylor was able plant the church in China in the middle of Buddhism. Yet he was able to make the distinction between what is the gospel and what is culture and how those things are reconciled.

    Actually in our modern times, I have heard that Watchman Nee was also able to plant churches in heavily Buddhist areas with some measure of success.
     
  10. LorrieGrace

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    Ben W, isn't it AMAZING what the Lord can do in any situation??? God IS good!!!!!!!! Praise the Lord that there are people who can be used by God to go to these places and make a difference. Missionaries rock!!!!!!!
     
  11. Charles Meadows

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    Buddha (Siddhartha gautama) was born around 500 BC - so his teachings certainly were existent.

    It shouldn't be surprising that many "religions" have moralistic teachings similar to Christianity. Man knows in his heart that he is a created being and by his nature searches for God - fruitlessly in the case of Buddhism.
     
  12. Ben W

    Ben W
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    Can man truly "Overcome Evil with Good"?
     
  13. Marcia

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    As a believer, yes. I don't think we can overcome all evil or conquer it -- that will happen later at the Judgment. But believers can overcome our own fallen nature tendencies because of the HS and the new creature we have become. We can nip things in the bud. We can turn an enemy into a friend and deflect their bad intentions - not all the time, but it happens.
     
  14. Stacie

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    I personally think that Satan takes some teachings and puts them into his false gods/false relgions to make them seem right. But at the core they are all wrong. I mean I'm researching Mormonism so that I can witness to Mormons and there are a lot of things that they teach that are right, but their core doctrine is wrong.

    Stacie
     

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