Buddhism


About 2,500 years ago, an Indian prince named Siddharta Guatama, dissatisfied with his spiritually barren life, left his home, his wife, and his son and set out to find enlightenment. After a period of period of six years spent in constant searching, Guatama finally reached enlightenment, or Nirvana, while sitting under a tree in a long, profound state of meditation. Henceforth he became known as the Buddha (Clarke,149).


In my religion Christianity, Jesus Christ was born on a “mission from God” as a man and God at the same time, and never had to go in search of his purpose or Nirvana. He was sent here by God the Father to save humanity, not to show them the path to enlightenment. He (Jesus) spent the last three years teaching and preaching that he was the fulfilling prophecy of the Old Testament. Through his death and resurrection, he would save the people of the world from their sins by shedding his blood. He was the only way to reach heaven or as the Buddhist would say, Nirvana.


One of the Buddha’s prime teachings was that suffering in life could be overcome by following the path to Nirvana. This is a state reached by all enlightened beings or “buddhas”. Nirvana, which by Buddhist standards resists verbal definitions and can only be suggested by analogies, is the ultimate state of pure being. For Buddhas there is no belief in, or worship of, a personal creator God, they do not claim to be possessor’s of any kind of revelation (La Fleur, 10). To reach Nirvana involves the development of morality, meditation, and wisdom – the very essence of Buddha (Clarke, 149). This is another clash with Christianity and Buddhism. My God is personal and approachable through humble prayer. We seek on Earth to be like his Son, with his Son’s help. Although we try to be like Him, we can not because sin is prevalent in our life. Only when we physically die or Christ returns to Earth can we be transformed into our “new” bodies. We must face the judgement seat of the Almighty God first and answer for every transgression that took place while we were in our mortal bodies for, “…it is appointed unto man to die once, after that the judgement”, New Testament). If we accepted His Son into our “heart” then he will, “…be faithful and cleanse from all unrighteousness”(New Testament, Romans).


Buddhism asserts, “…that even gods, if they exist, are dependent upon other things (La Fleur, 22). Therefore in Buddhist thought there is no one supreme deity, and that is a big difference that can not be overlooked or understated


Although Buddhism started in India, you would be hard pressed to find a practicing Buddhist there today. After the Buddha’s death his followers carried his teachings to other parts of India, adapting it to local cultures. Buddhism then spread south and east to what is now Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand and north into the Himalayan regions of modern Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim. From there it was taken along the silk route to China, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan. Buddhism has also been transplanted to Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia, and most recently, to the United States, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand (Clarke, 149). Here again Christianity differs from Buddhism in that it was spread throughout the world in a very short time. This was due to the Roman expansion of the greatest empire the world has ever seen. Rome’s roads extended to every part of its empire thereby making physical travel and the travel of “ideas” a reality. The apostle Paul was most responsible for bringing the gospel to the ancient world. He and the apostles acted like the Buddhist followers, in that they went around bringing their message of what they thought was the way to spiritual “enlightenment”. Paul had a great way of getting the word out because he made many missionary journeys to parts all over the Roman Empire. Instead of converting a few people here and there, he took it upon himself to start churches in the towns that he visited. Thereby having a way to perpetuate a following long after he had left that particular town or village.


One of the founding precepts that the Buddha taught was to