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Christian Perspective on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

Updated on December 17, 2013
Gautama Buddha, Gandhara was born 563 BCE in Lumbini, Nepal. He died of food Poisoning in 483 BCE at Kushinagar, India.
Gautama Buddha, Gandhara was born 563 BCE in Lumbini, Nepal. He died of food Poisoning in 483 BCE at Kushinagar, India.

Free Your Mind

You must first open up your mind.

I am sure that many Christian/Westerners, have no idea about or even heard about the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Since my own awakening experience, I have made it my personal crusade to inform and educate people of Eastern philosophies, which parallel the teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Four Noble Truths of Gautama Buddha

  • Many Westerners make the mistake like I did, in thinking that Buddhism is a religion. When in all actuality, it is a lifestyle. Better yet, it is a very detailed orientated, ancient, philosophy to living life correctly. What Christians, Jews and Muslims fail to realize is that there are many similarities, between our monotheistic, religious beliefs and Buddhism. For instance, the Four Noble Truths (as listed below) is one such comparison.
  1. Life is laborious, painful and challenging.
  2. Life is challenging, painful and laborious because we feel the need to nurture the craving of satisfaction and gratification. This innate desire leads us to an end with dissatisfying results.
  3. Probability exists within us to obtain freedom from life's hardships.
  4. The three training practices above are made into the Eight-Fold Path to Enlightenment: Compassion, Awareness, Mediation and Prayer.

The Christian Comparsions

As a whole, most world religions have a tendency to fail people. In some Eastern and Western religions, church dogma fails to make the worshiper, beholden to their own destiny, whereas Buddhism does make a person completely accountable. As within the realms of Christianity, a person only has to ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness, and miraculously all their daily sins are completely washed away. In the Christian faith people are almost encouraged these days, to keep sinning. The more sinners the faith has, the bigger the confers grow.

  • In Buddhism, the concept of needing to pray for forgiveness for committing a sinful act, is a life altering experience. For one to have even contemplated the act of committing a sin- is a horrific enough act- that keeps them from committing the sinful act in the first place. Christians do not think this way. Christians, do not think twice about being full of envy and pride. Which happen to be two of the seven deadly sins, of our religious philosophy, while "Pride" is considered the worse of the seven. However, here in America- pride is a celebrated and sought after enduring quality. Go figure. Americans covet their neighbors more than any other society. We are glutinous, sloths. Nevertheless, the same can not be said of Buddhists. The whole atlas of the Tibetan peoples, are as humble and peaceful, as a society can be. They are a shining example of what it is to be "Christ-like." One only has to compare our religious leaders to see the difference in our philosophies and beliefs. Moreover, is the sad reality that when we compare the Pope to the Dali Lama, there is nothing to compare. So they're both men of the cloth, but the Christian Pope, has never been a humble servant to his people. You won't see the Pope in a crack clinic, holding a crack baby while it suffers from withdrawals, but you could see the Dali Lama there. So what gives?

For all those who like to quote scripture, do you realize that Christ told Mary Magdalene that the only way unto him, was through enlightenment, meditation and prayer. Does that sound amazingly familiar, to a certain type of lifestyle I have mentioned here today? Yes- you know it does. Well those concepts are the same as the spiritual philosophies of Buddhism. When I realized this, I started reading more of Buddhism's religious findings and theories. I was amazed at the similarities of Christ's teachings and theirs. It is my personal opinion, that the ancient philosophy of Buddhism, was sent here by God, as a religious awakening to prepare us for Christ's birth. I feel that if we would combine the philosophies of Buddhism, with the teachings of Jesus Christ, many of our unanswered questions would find their meaning. Thereby, leading all of us wayward souls to the righteous path of spiritual understanding.

  • I truly appreciate that Gautama Buddha, never said that life is suffrage. Instead, he had the belief that life, has suffrage within it. Christ too, hung to this valve and belief. His holy doctrine and many parables deal with this thought process and reality. One of Christ most notable experiences of this concept, was his first hand account to his disciples, after spending 40 days and nights in the desert with Satan. Christ came out of the darkness humbled. There was no pride for surviving the ordeal. There was no envy for not having the luxuries of comfort. There was only peace, compassion, joy and love. That tells me, that the lifestyle of Buddhism is the path to true enlightenment in Jesus Christ. I have become a firm believer, that we should somehow incorporate these ancient Buddhist teachings, into our own religious lifestyles. Imagine the world Christ wanted for us, living in a harmony, with all walks of life. A life completely free of unnecessary, aggressive, hounding that plaques our society today. Christ speaks often about being true to our holy advocate- our soul. He gave us teachings that involved our inner emotions, and told us be at peace with ourselves. Those who lived with him were lucky. They could see, on a first hand basis, how to do that. Whereas, Christians today can only read what that means. Which causes people to fight, because seriously people, who wants their "right to sin" to be taken away from them? Therefore, people fight over interpretations. If someone really wants to see the face of Jesus Christ, and to be Christ like, they don't have very far to look. Christ is in every Buddhist Monk, mother, father, and child. Buddhism is the soul of our earthy society. There prayers, not our Christian selfish prayers, keeps us all from rolling downhill. I think if it weren't for the Buddhist, God would have lost faith in mankind long ago. Buddhism is the virtual reality of "brotherly love."

Here is some food for thought:

Is this a Buddhist saying or a Christian saying???

"Peace be with you all. Take my peace into yourselves; be watchful so nobody leads you astray claiming, 'Look there, look here.'"

Or this saying, which could be Taoism, Buddhism, or Christian???

"Matter; caused powerful passions to enter into you. Forces which come from its opposites in nature."

Sounds like Yin and Yang to me, and a little like Karma. But if you know that these are the words of Jesus Christ- you are correct. Christ said these things. Why is so much of what Christ said, ignored by Christians? These are but a few my favorite scriptures of Christ, that are rarely notice. Yet they are more important than John 3:16 will ever be. Why? Because they are little well-known verses, giving us a glimpse into the psyche of Christ. That's why.

Which makes me wonder, did Christ make a proclamation to future Christians, that Karma was real? Was he telling us to be mindful and aware of Yin and Yang? The second of the four truths speaks about this subject matter as well. Thereby, why is it so difficult for Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, etc..., to recognize; that within their faith lies doctrine such as this, so maybe God is trying to tell us all something? That is why I feel there is a need to combine East with West philosophical doctrine and spiritual text, and start going over the comparisons. How else are we supposed to achieve spiritual virtue and integrity? The one basic implications of life, is to be at peace. How can we possibly begin to understand the meaning of peace, when we cannot even agree on sin?

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Before this Hub, had you heard of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism?

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  • CatherineGiordano profile image

    Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

    You make many interesting points. Christianity did build upon the existing teachings of Buddha among other traditions. Truly, there is nothing new under the sun. Even Buddha based his teachings on that of teachers who preceded him. Philosophies are no so much invented as they are RE-invented.

  • PDPoole profile image

    PD Poole 6 years ago from Alexandria, Louisiana

    My reply is to the initial poster...No is odd that you start off with saying "with all due respect" yet immediately throw the "I'm right and you're wrong" pile of smelly stuff the law says you must pick up if your pet puts it refer to the buddha as " Mr. Buddha" shows a complete lack of correct knowledge of the subject, which makes a metaphysical analysis even MORE laughable.Don't worry about practicing Christianity...don't worry about practicing Buddhism...try practicing kindness instead, and the religious doctrines fade away like dew at dawn...

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thank you so much for sharing your personal journey with me.

  • Da Munkeh profile image

    Da Munkeh 6 years ago

    I made the choice to drop away with christianity when I found myself unable to connect with the faith given the exclusionism I was being raised to justify...and began to study a bit about buddhism as best as I could...I converted formally in 1974 in a puja ...that was 39 years ago and my practice grows wider and deeper with every passing moment. The value of any practice lies in it's ability to effect transformation in the life of the individual, and how that transformation can be utilized to end suffering in any way we can manage.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 6 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    I know exactly what you mean. I feel Christian's are the worse. Thanks for reading my article.

  • GNelson profile image

    GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

    Great hub. Religion is a real hot button issue. I have a hard time getting past how closed minded some religious people are. It takes a lot away from their religion and their thinking. It would be a better world if they acted like they say they believe.

  • profile image

    Paul Hursh 6 years ago

    I am prep Qing a sermon in the next few weeks which will parallel the tacking os Jesus to the Four Noble Truths. In my web search for background uncovered your excellent article - thank you.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Try, or Barnes and Noble Bookstore. Thank you for telling us your opinion on Buddha. I think our world cannot exist without Buddhism. Buddhism provides the spirituality that earth needs in order for us to survive. It is like the air we breath. Buddhism helps to replenish the oxygen tank for all humanity when it begins to run dry....

  • profile image

    Leo 7 years ago

    I find Buddhism the only truth among religions, because Buddha didn't claim that he was super-natural, he was a normal guy which wanted to change the way humans thought.

    I seriously want to get a book of four noble truths, but I don't know where to get it...

  • Jefsaid profile image

    Jefsaid 7 years ago from London, UK

    Interesting hub. The difference to Islam, Christianity and Judaism is that Buddhism and more so other Eastern philosophies, puts the onus on the individual to look within themselves for the oneness and the reality rather than focus on an imaginary god and mythical figure. It is the absence of human figures like Jesus and Mohamed that makes Eastern philosophies more attuned to reality.

  • pennyofheaven profile image

    pennyofheaven 7 years ago from New Zealand

    I heard it said somewhere, it is the similarities that unite us and the differences that make us unique. I do agree. Your hub explains this very well. I enjoyed it very much thanks!

  • profile image

    10800 7 years ago

    Lady, Is there some specific topic or practice that you know or do particularly well?

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

    10800 said "Lady, I did not mean that in a snobby way... I don't claim to know everything about Buddhism but I do understand some Buddhist doctrines,"

    I don't know but you telling her that she don't know anything and her information is wrong sure sounds like you think that you know everything.

  • profile image

    10800 7 years ago

    Making comparison is fine but when you making a comparison about ideas that are not lucid or factual you misinform people.

    "But I don't need YOUR interpretation of Buddhism. I have my own."

    Interpretation? There is no interpretation just the way it is... I have not stated any opinion on what Buddhism is to me. For example, You can say that gravity is a repelling force, when in fact we all know it to be an attracting force. There is no interpretation just the way it is.

    All in all I just wanted to point out the errors I saw in your information, pertaining only to Buddhism, and I will leave it at that.

    Lady, I did not mean that in a snobby way... I don't claim to know everything about Buddhism but I do understand some Buddhist doctrines, from a conscious point of view of course, and what IE is saying is not correct about Buddhism...

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    THanks Lady. I just think they missed the mark.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 7 years ago from West By God

    Some people can be so arrogant and isn't Pride/EGO the cause of a fall? Really, writing a hub FOR you! Get a grip. I think you did a wonderful job.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Okay 10800- after further thought- I decided to give you the benefit of the doubt. It is quite clear that you think this hub is full of lies and bullshit.d Well whatever. The bottomline for me is that I want Christians to open their eyes, and try to learn something about themselves and the people we share this planet with.

    You have your definition of Buddhism. I'm not disputing that. However, to banter back and forth over your opinion isn't worth my time. Especially when it has nothing to do with the message of this hub. Which is suppose to be tolerance of other people's faith.

    I do appreciate your comments. I appreciate the time you spent in writing them. But I don't understand why in the hell you want to waste your time arguing something, when it has NOTHING to do with the message of the article. If you disagree with the message of the article, lets talk about that.

    But I don't need YOUR interpretation of Buddhism. I have my own. Thank you for your efforts, I just think you got side track from the real message, which is that Christians should be tolerant and look to other religions as a source to draw upon. If you disagree with this statement, then by all means let's get ready to rumble.


  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    All this coming from somebody who thinks making love is sexual misconduct. Thanks, but I'll pass.

  • profile image

    10800 7 years ago

    I will I will write a hub on the four noble truths for you! : )

    Although this would be a better explanation:

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    They are both about living right! You took the comparison way too literal. Which tells me that you didn't actually read my hub, because if you had you would have read the connection being made.

    In regards to living right, finding peace and warning us on what life is about and how to live; YES the two are very much alike indeed. So do tell me, how is my information seriously flawed again?

  • profile image

    10800 7 years ago

    I do agree with the relationship between buddhisim and christianity. But.. and I mean no offense to you, your information concerning buddhisim is seriously flawed.

    "Buddhism is the soul of our earthy society."

    "As you can read, the Four Noble Truths' are much like the "Seven Deadly Sins""

    What do these statements mean? The four noble truths are nothing like the seven deadly sins!

    Where are you getting your information? The four noble truths are the foundation of the teachings and are available all over the internet. Wikipedia has a good bit to say about it.

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

    Hi IE! I see I've been here before...sorry, I've read sooo many hubs. ;) Now that you've pointed this one out to me and I am in a more open frame of mind, I really enjoy your point of view. 'Combining' Western and Eastern philosophies is an unorthodox yet fascinating idea. I think the one difference you pointed out at the start is that of personal accountability. That is why I am so interested in Buddhism-I am not comfortable in Christianity. I 'feel' that I should be accountable for my every action and not go to a Christian church for assumed forgiveness. I've never felt at home there.

    Thanks for the reread-I appreciate your words in the forums.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Yet so many try to deny that reality. Thank you for commenting. Again, you always offer up really interesting points.

  • ledefensetech profile image

    ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

    Of course Orthodox Churches, of whatever denomination, are bloated and corrupt. That's because most people look for the easy answer not the right one. I think the Gnostics were on to something when they talked about "hidden" or, as I like to call it, "higher" truth. I'd also be wary about making the mistake of thinking all Eastern religious thought has been free of violence and strife. The various Buddhist military orders of ancient Japan come to mind.

    I think what we can say with any certainly is that in any population there are a few who constantly seek for higher truth. And I don't think there is a single one of us who isn't surprised at what we find as we seek truth.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thanks gentlemen. I really enjoyed writing this hub, and reading your remarks. Glad both of you stopped by!

  • Sufidreamer profile image

    Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

    Great Hub, IE - There certainly is an overlap, especially if you get away from the dogma. The Orthodox church here has had a lot of Eastern influence over the years and has more of a psychological, introspective slant than the Western Churches. They encourage people to look inside and strive to become a 'Little Jesus.'

    Sadly, this is only at the fringes - the main church is as bloated, dogmatic and corrupt as any other. I suspect that if you look at the mystic fringe of most religions, such as the Gnostics, Kabbalists and Sufis, there is an element of Eastern thought and philosophy in there. History shows that they are often the first to be persecuted :(

  • ledefensetech profile image

    ledefensetech 7 years ago from Cape Girardeau, MO

    I'm rather partial to Zen myself. One of the interesting things about Hinduism and Buddhism is that a Christian or a Jew or a Muslim can be said to following Hindu or Buddhist teaching by following the teachings and traditions of Christ, Moses or Mohamed. Certainly food for thought. Indeed I think it was the Boston Brahmins who started what become the ecumenism movement in Christianity.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thanks KJ, glad to have you onboard.

  • HealingSpirit profile image

    HealingSpirit 7 years ago

    Thumbs up! Thank you for such food of and for thought.



  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Because my self portrait is featured on another hub account of mine. Thank for the insults, not insults, and all round fun comment to read.

  • profile image

    American Tiger 7 years ago

    Fascinating hub, Evo. It provides a poor view of the greater truths available in Christianity, presumes Islam will listen to any truth not originated in Islam, and generally raises man to godlike status by calling Buddhism mankind's soul.

    It also asks a few choice non-sequiters like "how can we know peace if we cannot define sin?" May as well ask how we can turn on the television if we cannot find the shampoo.

    All of which I'm willing to overlook, in light of your youthful enthusiasm. I love that you're at least looking for truths, even if you seek in a number of wrong places.

    However, this all begs the one simple question: Why does a seeker of Greater Spiritual Truths have a heavily made-up naked chick for a profile pic?

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 7 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thanks Deborah! Glad to see that you stopped by.

  • Deborah Demander profile image

    Deborah Demander 7 years ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

    Great hub. There are many paths to enlightenment, if one will only choose to listen. For christians, they fear the unknown, and block themselves off from many channels of perennial wisdom. Thanks for writing.


  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thank you Lady. Glad to see you around.

  • Lady Guinevere profile image

    Debra Allen 8 years ago from West By God

    What Christians don't want to beleive by what their clergy teach them is that Jesus went to India to learn and teach. He also went to Avalon and the other Isles to learn and to teach from the Druids. Oh they will tell you that you areliars for sure. I am going to ad your hub to my hubpage, The Long and Winding Road. I voted it up and awesome.

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 8 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    Thanks lorlie6! I'm so glad you stopped by.

    Same for you Robwrite! I am glad to read of your open-mindness.

  • lorlie6 profile image

    Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

    Sorry, IntimateEvolution, but I can't help but respond to no body up there. People like you give Christianity an odor, a reek that drives reasonable human beings from rooms gagging in disgust. The condescension is dripping off your faith system and I hope God has mercy on your soul.


    Hey, IntimateEvolution! Pardon my outburst, but, know. Your hub is fabulous for this still-searching individual and I commend you for it!


  • Robwrite profile image

    Rob 8 years ago from Oviedo, FL

    I've been a practicing Buddhist for 6 years and I've tried to follow the path of the middle way as best I can. The 8 fold path is difficult to walk, but I think it's the best way toward enlightenment. It's a relief to find a belief that says we can control our own spiritual destiny, rather than looking for salvation from some outside deity.

  • no body profile image

    Robert E Smith 8 years ago from Rochester, New York

    With all due respect to Mr Buddha, there is only one way to heaven and that is Jesus Christ. I hate to be so narrow minded but the Bible is only so thick. That is the width of my thinking. There is too much evidence that the Bible is the word of God. You know how I feel about people in general. You know each person has a right to believe what he or she wants and I respect each man's journey to find truth but the problem is that each man has only so long to find out that Jesus is the only way. I don't fault them for their journey and the path it takes but I fault them for when they hear what is true and reject it. So I pray for them all and love them all and hope I can say or do something to sway them to what I know to be true. Love ya Julie. And as a faithful reader of everything you write I never have have lied to you and what you know of me is always true. I ams what I ams.


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