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?