Monday, February 28, 2005

Jesus and the Buddha

I am reading Huston Smith's The Illustrated World's Religions for my World Religions class. Such a good class. Such an informative (or enlightening?) book.

We just 'wrapped up' Hinduism and are now getting into Buddhism. Some interesting stuff in our reading today. Thought I'd share.

The six years that Gautama saught enlightenment were comparable to Jesus' 40 days in the desert. Tempted by the Evil One, Mara, but the temptations failed. Following his enlightenment, he entered his time of 'public minstry'... also similar to Jesus'.

Reading about this made me think of the time when the Pharisees are saying that Jesus is of the Devil, to which he turns around and says something to the extent of... "Really? You think that I, who am casting out demons, am of the Devil? That's ridiculous... it would be evil fighting evil."

I think about that because most people in the world of Christianity see most other religions as 'evil' or at the very least, 'not of God.' And I am thinking about how the Buddha fought off his own evil... his own Devil. Was he tapped into anything other than the Creator? Is there another source of Good? of Love? of Light? of Truth? I don't think so.

Something else... People toward the end of his ministry and life began asking him if he were a god or an angel or a saint and all he would say is that he was awake. He did not seek to be sainted or deitized. He was human and did not wish to be worshipped. He wanted to point to the worship/devotion of the Ultimate. I hear some of Jesus' words sounding like this, that he can only do what he sees his father doing, that it is not about him, it is about God... the Ultimate.

These are merely thoughts and comparisons, so please don't get your panties in a twist if you disagree.

2 comments:

brad said...

So practically all of my knowledge of buddism and hinduism come from secondhand stuff i read from you on this blog (not that I'm not interested, just that I haven't had or made the time yet in my life). And I recall one or two conversations we had in college about the whole "other paths to God" kind of thing. So I'm wondering if we are moving down the road to the whole one world religion thing. It sounds nice...like a starting point where we can all begin, and then hopefully intellectually, with passion that will not distort the truth head us in a direction of learning more true...or at least explore more possibilities. But of course even as I say that my mind harkens back to Christian Though II with Bailus. And the "current" way of reading Revelation. "One world religion bad - Jesus blowing up everybody that doesn't think like us good (grut grunt)."

So where do we go from here?

Jon said...

I don't disagree, Ryan. In fact, I can't tell you how much I agree! Some of my thoughts on it, in detail:
Buddhism and Christianity