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Explain The Main Idea’s Of Buddhism And Comment On Any Similaries With Christian Faith. Essay, Research Paper

Explain the main ideas of Buddhism and comment on any similarities with Christian faith.

Buddhism is one of the most widely practiced and highly respected religions in the world today. Conceived in the 5th or 6th century it is based on the life and teaching s of prince Siddhartha Guatama who later in life would be known as the Buddha or as he referred to himself one who is awake . Buddha s approach is set out in three sections, or a trinity if you will, these are samadhi (meditation), sila (morality) and panna (wisdom). Much like Christianity, Buddhism has diverged into three different forms or churches, Mahayana, Theravada, and Vajrayana (as opposed to Roman Catholic, Protestant and Eastern Orthodox), they all follow the same principle s but Mahayana and Vagrayana are the more colourful containing more dancing, movement, art and singing.

Buddhism contains it own creed, code, and ceremony. It s creed involves the four noble truths . They are (1) Everyone s life contains dukkha (suffering), “suffering” in Buddhism refers not only to physical pain, aging, sickness, and death, and to emotional pain like fear, loss, jealousy, disappointment, and unrequited love. Suffering, in the Buddhist sense, is a pervasive condition. No one escapes it. Even enlightened teachers grow old, suffer the pains of decay, and die. (2) Dukkha is caused by tanha (selfishness), a Buddhist s definition of selfishness extends far beyond the sense of “greed” or “clinging” to something closer to what the Christian tradition would call “pride”–a self-centred isolation, the separate selfhood, “ego” in the worst sense. (3) To stop tanha, we have to stop dukkha. If we could be released from selfishness, we would be released from suffering. When we fully face, accept, and lighten the self-amplified sufferings of our lives; when we begin to experience life beyond our delusions and confusions, a state of awakening, or as Buddhist s refer to it nirvana . (4) To stop dukkha, follow the Eightfold path . Buddha taught a method to lead away from self-sustained suffering toward a more enlightened and compassionate life–through the pursuit of morality, meditation, and wisdom, called the Eightfold path: right speech, right action, right livelihood, right concentration, right mindfulness, right effort, right understanding and right thought.

The Buddhist s code can be summed up in one word Kuruna (compassion). Throughout the history of the world s religions Buddhism has proven to be the least war-like and scandalous of all religions, with little evidence of any inquisitions, massacres or religious wars. Because it avoids the extremes of asceticism and indulgence in favour of a life of moderation, non-violence and consideration, Buddhism is also known as the “Middle Way . Buddhist s believe that no-one can truly be enlightened unless they show compassion to everyone.

Meditation is the key to Buddhist ceremony. Buddhist s practice meditation in different ways, according to the teaching of Budda, they are to be adapted to the psychic deposition of each individual . There are two different methods of meditation – the absorption method which directs the mind to a single object and the analytical method which concentrates on the awareness of mindfulness.

There are a lot of comparisons to be made between Buddhism and Christianity. On the surface both Jesus and Buddha s lives were similar, as Jesus was Jewish and Buddha was raised as a Hindu, and they were both dissatisfied with the religious options available to them and their countrymen and both set about doing something to change it. Thus, you could say both Budda and Jesus were religious reformers .

Both contain similarities in their doctrine, Christianity has The Ten Commandments while Buddhism contains The Ten Fetters of Existence, both these principles are a set of guidelines to help us achieve the ultimate . For Christians this means admittance to heaven, for Buddhist s enlightenment. Additionally, both endorse a passive approach to confrontation or turning the other cheek believing that it is better to concede defeat than to resort to violence to solve a problem or disagreement.

Together Buddhism and Christianity realise that the majority of the world s problems is caused by selfishness (although Christian s believe that selfishness is a lack of faith in God), and that the eradication of this selfishness is the only way to abolish human suffering.

The earlier mentioned Buddhist theory of Kuruna could be interpreted in the Christian catch-cry to love your neighbour just as much as you love yourself or have compassion for your fellow man which all Christians try to live by. Christians and Buddhists both believe that everything in the world should co-exist in harmony, co-operation, unity and that all should strive to make peace with everyone.

Christianity and Buddhism contain many quintessential teachings and examples that while at first glance may seem to be completely dissimilar from each other but upon closer inspection show a surprising similarity in both morality and beliefs.


- B. Hill, P. Knitter, W. Madges, Faith Religion & Theology, (1997), Mystic: Twenty-Third Publications.

- J. Van Ess, H. Von Stietencron, H. Bechert, Christianity and the world Religions, (1984), Munich: R. Piper Verlag.

- J. Hinnels, Dictionary of Religions, (1984), Middlesex: Penguin Books

- G. Beckerlegge, The World Religions Reader, (1998), London: Routledge

- Website – http://home.earthlink.net/ srama/index.html

- Dharma & Nirvana Website – http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/5215/

Catholic Encyclopaedia website -http://www.kniiiiight.org./advent/cathn/03028b.htm

- Buddhist studies virtual library – http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVL-Buddhism.html


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