The religion founded in the name of Jesus, Christianity, has a population of almost two billion making one out of three persons Christian (Prompt 2, p 194) in the contemporary period. While, the religion founded by Buddha- Buddhism- is the dominant religion in South and South East Asia (Prompt 1, p 96). In recognition of the vast influence of the teachings of these two great persons in the lives of many people across time and space, this paper will attempt to highlight some existing similarities and differences between Jesus and Buddha. And then utilize the understanding gained in elucidating my experience of religion.
The first similarity that is very much underlined between Jesus and Buddha is the fact that both men are called to greatness. Jesus coming into the world has been foretold by prophets and when he was born three kings or wise men came to visit him gave him gifts befitting a king. (Prompt 4, Matt 2: 1 – 12) While Buddha’s greatness had been foreseen by a soothsayer, his father was forewarned that Buddha was going to be either a great political leader or a homeless monk. (Prompt 1, p 83). Their prophesied future was a sign of their significant role in the story of humanity.
The second commonality that is present between Jesus and Buddha is that both of them before starting their mission or enlightenment was tempted by the devil. With Buddha, the goddess Mara appeared to him and tempted him but he remained steadfast. While with Jesus, the devil appeared and tempted him (Prompt 4, Matt 4: 1 – 11).
The third similarity between Jesus and Buddha is that they live a life shared with others. Both of them have disciples with whom they have passed whatever they have gained from their quest. All texts pertinent to their lives act as a witness to this truism.
The first noticeable thing that differentiates Jesus and Buddha from one another is their class or social status.