2017-07-09

The Buddha-Christ parallels

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

by Neil Godfrey

Ancient Origins has an interesting article listing similarities between the Buddha and Christ and the early history of their two religions.

The Christ And The Buddha: How Can You Explain the Uncanny Similarities?

7 Comments

  • Bob Jase
    2017-07-10 20:18:57 UTC - 20:18 | Permalink

    But did either exist?

    • Greg Pandatshang
      2017-07-14 02:51:17 UTC - 02:51 | Permalink

      Daniel Drewes had a good paper on the historicity of the Buddha not long ago: https://www.academia.edu/24039898/The_Idea_of_the_Historical_Buddha_Updated_2017_

    • A Buddhist
      2017-07-15 19:41:12 UTC - 19:41 | Permalink

      I always recommend reading The Authenticity of the Early Buddhist Texts, by Bhikkhu Sujato & Bhikkhu Brahmali, as a useful argument about the historicity of the Buddha.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2017-07-15 19:50:39 UTC - 19:50 | Permalink

        What is it about these texts that you find worthy of recommendation? Is it really important to anyone — Buddhists included — if the Buddha existed as per the historical legends or not?

        • A Buddhist
          2017-07-16 01:55:16 UTC - 01:55 | Permalink

          The book I recommend because it provides a fascinating assessment of how Pali Buddhist texts are apparently fairly accurate reflections of Iron Age India – certainly more accurate than later Mahayana texts and general Buddhist hagiographies. See, for example, the discussion of the Vajji polity in the Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta (Sutta 16 in the Digha Nikaya), which makes it clear that the Vajjis were a republic.

          The Pali Buddhist texts are excellent in that they teach the origin of suffering, the way to end suffering, and the way to minimize suffering. At that level, it is certainly not important whether the Buddha Shakyamuni existed – I am aware of several Radical Buddhists who deny that he existed and yet regard the Buddhist teachings as very worthy and good, the product of a collection of samanas that was attributed to one person. This is admittedly a minority view among Buddhists, at least partially because the Standard Narrative of the Buddha Shakyamuni provides a powerful incentive for Buddhists to have faith in the Buddhist teachings in a way that these same teachings attributed to a collective would not. If the suttas deceive about the origin of the teachings, then people might wonder where the deception ends. And if no one person in one lifetime uncovered the teachings attributed to Shakyamuni Buddha, then following them becomes more intimidating for Buddhists.

          There are parallels here with the Need by almost all Christian scholars to believe in the historical reliability of the life of Jesus, but for them, the drive must be stronger because whereas the Buddha Shakyamuni allegedly gave many wise teachings that may be profitably considered when divorced from their context, the life of Jesus is much more defined by his deeds (suffering, crucifixion, and death).

  • Neil Godfrey
    2017-07-11 03:44:21 UTC - 03:44 | Permalink

    Coincidentally Hermann Detering has made available a paper in which he begins an examination of the evidence for Basilides that includes, if I understand correctly, reported links with Buddhism: https://www.academia.edu/33823226/Spuren_indischer_Philosophie_bei_Basilides_1._Teil_Basilides_referiert_S%C4%81%E1%B9%83khya_1

  • James D williams
    2017-07-11 04:49:31 UTC - 04:49 | Permalink
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *