Buddha and Jesus: Spiritual Brothers

If Buddha met Jesus...

If Buddha met Jesus on the road, would they get along or would they argue? I think they’d each see a kindred spirit in the other one. Certainly there are aspects of Buddhism and Christianity that are irreconcilable (Buddhism is a Deity-less practice that focuses on personal experience for growth. Christianity focuses on worship of a divine creator) but that doesn’t mean that these two great teachers would be at odds. If you look at their words, there was quite a lot of similar wisdom. Some scholars have speculated that Jesus studied Buddhism during those formative “Lost years” from 18-30. Even his Holiness the 14th and current Dali Lama wrote about the virtues of Jesus’ teachings in his book A Good Heart.

The legends of their births are very similar (born to virginal women; visited by wise men) but it’s what they did when they grew that made for the more remarkable similarities. Both started a spiritual movement (called a “ministry” in the case of Jesus) at the age of 30, where they consorted with sinners and became champions of the poor, much to the ire of the ruling class. Both traveled, spreading the word of their teachings, often being given shelter in the homes of strangers. Both had a staunch and devoted group of acolytes or Apostles accompanying them and preaching their message. (Jesus’ ministry was much more short lived, lasting only three years until his crucifixion. Buddha’s lasted 50 years and he lived to be an old man.) Both of them had miraculous deeds attributed to them.

Both Buddha and Jesus taught about compassion, selflessness and tolerance. And both saw the benefits of poverty over avarice. Buddha recommended total detachment from all material things. Jesus taught “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Many of their sayings were very similar. Here are a couple of examples.

Jesus: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”

Buddha: “Consider others as you do yourself.”

Jesus: “If anyone should strike you on the cheek, offer them the other one as well.”

Buddha: “If someone strikes you a blow with a hand or a stick, you should abandon any desire for revenge and utter no evil words.”

Despite the fact that they lived 600 years apart, came from different cultures and spawned two very different religions, the two had a lot in common and the fundamental compassion of their teachings were undeniable.

If Jesus met Buddha on the road, would they be friends? What do you think?

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Comments 19 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

A very interesting comparrison. I was amazed how similar their lives were.


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 6 years ago

Blessings and Namaste'

Thank you for a wonderful, enlightenting, well-written Hub!!

They would be friends, of course!!

Blessings and Namaste' Always, EarthAngel!


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi HH. They did lead similar lives (except that Buddha was born wealthy and gave up his wealth, while Jesus was born poor) and had a lot in common. Thanks for reading.

Earth Angel. I agree. I think they'd be pals. Namaste.


IntimatEvolution profile image

IntimatEvolution 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

Rob, you know I think they most certainly would be friends. I wrote a hub not that long ago, which focuses in on how the four noble truths of Buddhism, works side by side with the preachings of Jesus Christ. In writing my article I discover so many unique ways that the two paralleled one another. It is as if Buddhism came about to prepare the Eastern hemisphere for a Messiah. Which brings me to another point, Buddhism is not free of a deity. They very much believe in God. Buddhism is a lifestyle, not a religion.

Great hub. I enjoyed the thought provoking idea.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks for the input, Intimate Evolution. It's true that Buddhism is more of a spiritual practice, not a religion in the classic sense. The big difference between Buddhism and most religions is that Buddhism looks inward instead of outward, because we believe we are connected to everything in the universe, and the answers are all inside us, waiting to be found. We Buddhists find the answers within ourselves rather than asking an external deity. Thanks for reading.


Apostle Jack profile image

Apostle Jack 6 years ago from Atlanta Ga

No comparison,one is from above and the other is from beneath.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

WOW-talk about a tough act to follow. HEY AJ: WWJD? OUR LORD would not seek to offend but would have been tolerant, kind and considerate of the beliefs of another.

At least, my Christian beliefs have taught me that. "And that's all I have to say about that" Forrest Gump

ROBWRITE - Jesus and Buddha could not have been friends.

Each abandoned friendship as part of the abandonment of materialism. Each chose companionship of their students, protoges, apostles/accolytes more similar to the practice of the Greek Philosophers. Socrates taught Plato who taught Aristotle. A lifetime is too short to allow one the luxury of family and friends competing against the needs of the mission of founding a new movement, faith or philosophy. They would have exchanged their thoughts, hospitality and kindness and then returned to their vocation. They would not have exchanged phone numbers or email addresses though their followers would likely have done so. Cheers.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi sligobay. You make a good point. Of course, I wasn't suggesting that Buddha and Jesus would become roommates and be life-long buddies. I guess I should have said "Friendly" instead of "Friends". Would they like each other if they briefly met and had a conversation?


sligobay profile image

sligobay 6 years ago from east of the equator

No Robwrite, they would love each other as kindred spirits born of virgin mothers. Horus, the Egyptian Sun God, was also noted to be born of a virgin. What's the chance of that happening today with DNA testing? I wonder why God cuts us ordinary guys out of the fathering process with the great ones.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Namaste, Rob - a very interesting Hub indeed. It's a subject that I have a real interest in and have a book by Jay G. Williams called "Yeshua Buddha" which he calls "An interpretation of New Testament theology as a meaningful myth." Very interesting stuff.

Love and peace

Tony


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Glad you liked it. Tonymac. I'll have to look into that Williams book. Thanks.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Interesting story - I think they would both get along as they both seek Peace... but then their deeper beliefs would be a little bit different. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

I agree, Lady E, that there are many differences between the philosophies they created. But as you say, they both wanted peace. I think that's the important part. Thanks for reading.


gg.zaino profile image

gg.zaino 6 years ago from L'America

Funny robwrite, but i just left a related return comment back to you on my latest hub. It's not so odd i guess, i don't believe anything is coincidental. I believe a universal order exists and in my world, 'like poles' attract. ha!:]

I will read some more of your writing on this subject of Buddha. The jesus comparison is intriguing!I have a sneaky suspicion, Jesus made it East before his ministry began.

Prophets and teachers not recognized in their own times - in their own lands...

Peace brother... gregZ


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Thanks, Greg. I definitely think that Jesus did head eastward and studied Buddhism (Which is the subject of another hub I wrote) during his lost years. And I agree, most great prophets are not recognized in their own time.

Peace, Greg.


tbag 5 years ago

I believe they would be very good friends. Both fantastic men that we should take a cue from. I also believe it is a lesson from god about tolerance. To see that although we are not identical, the way of peace will always prevail. Although i self identify as a christian, i do have "Budai" (The Laughing Buddha) and "Gautama Buddha" statues around my house. :)


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 5 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Jesus and Buddha both knew that, above all else, peace was the answer. Thanks for reading.


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 4 years ago from Yorkshire

HI robwrite,

I believe they would have definatly hit it off together. Jesus who was a Jew must have been taught an eye for an eye and that the LOrd was the one to take revenge. So where did Jesus get the strength and conviction to turn his own religion on its head. Because the Old and New Testimony are very different messages.

There is no reason to believe that he did not travel in those blank years until he began his mission. Joseph of Aramathea was allegedly his uncle and it is well known that he travelled and perhaps even came to England. So why not the Indus valley, they traded with Israel.

I believe the only way Jesus could have broken out of the jewish relious mould was to have been in contact with other thinkers.


Robwrite profile image

Robwrite 4 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY Author

Hi Tony. All good points. I agree with you.

Thanks for reading,

Rob

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