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Buddhism and Christianity, Not So Different

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Buddhism and Christianity, when looked at separately, are very different religions from each other but they have many similarities. Many of the core fundamentals of both these religions harmonize with each other but, there are also stark contrasting values that make them distinct. To showcase Buddhism and Christianity, multiple documents including The Buddha, Setting in Motion the Wheel of the Law, Tales of Guanshiyin, The Gospel of Saint Matthew, and Saint Paul, Epistle to the Romans will be used to prove that there are both similarities and differences between the two religions in question. Although a comparison of Buddhism and Christianity showed many differences, there are more similarities between them.

Buddhism and Christianity have some striking similarities despite having been founded on very different principles. In both religions, there is a central figure that was the founder of the belief system, Buddha and Christ. The teachings of both the fathers of the religions were written down many years after their deaths and could have been wrongly interpreted as they were passed down through the years of oral teachings. The fundamentals of the beliefs were taught through simple stories that promoted moral lessons. Both Christ and Buddha were attempting to reform religious practices that had become more ritualistic and no longer had spiritual meanings. Compassion and ethical living are important factors that are stressed in both religions. Hate is told to be overcome by love. In the text The Gospel of Saint Matthew, written by Saint Matthew to show that Jesus was the Messiah and had the teachings of God. He states, “You have heard that is was said, ‘you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven.” Meaning that he wanted everyone to be kind to each other, even in the face of hatred. The teachings of Buddha say that hate cannot be beaten with hate which is a similar philosophy to the teachings of Christ. There was the belief that everyone is equal and everybody can worship at the same level and reach the same spiritual perfection no matter what class or social status they might have. Both philosophies encourage betterment of the individual and to be charitable with the less fortunate. The spiritual values of the religions have a small amount of overlap in regard to the Five Precepts of Buddhism (harming living things, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, lying or gossip, taking intoxicating substances) which Christians would also agree are important to their philosophy. There is a strong sense of devotion for their creators, Buddha and Christ and an aim for spiritual perfection. This devotion can be shown is the text Tales of Guanshiyin written down by monks and laypeople that wanted to preserve the stories of Guanshiyin’s miraculous interventions in the lives of people that had completely devoted themselves. In one tale it sys “He drew his bow and shot it, and it fled, injured; but there was another tiger that chased him down and crushed both his arms with its fangs, and still would not let him go. Tao suddenly remembered having once heard a monk speak of Guanshiyin, so he now took refuge in and meditated on [the Bodhisattva] with a perfect mind. The tiger at once let him go, and he was ablate get up.” This short tale shows that devotion is a big part of the Buddhism worship practices. Christianity has similar stories about how devoting prayer to Christ has a positive impact on the life

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