Buddhism and Christianity

Buddhism and ChristianityIn looking at Buddhism and Christianity and their views of God, we can find tremendous diversity. Buddhists say there is no deity while Christians believe in God who is loving and approachable. In Buddhism, it is an individual quest at being free from desire. On the other hand, in Jesus’ teaching, there is a personal relationship with a personal God. Though the two religions are very different in certain sense towards the nature of God, the purpose of these two religions is very similar and very similar to other world religions: be good.
People outside of Buddhism often think that Buddhists worship Buddha. In fact, Buddhists do not worship any Gods. Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) never claimed to be divine, and Buddhists reject the notion of any supernatural power. The universe operates by natural law. Everyone is the same in the Universe, while everyone’s life constitutes the same thing that is suffering from pain. Life is seen as consisting pain: pain in birth, sickness, death, and continuous sorrow and despair. Everyone in the world suffers form the same pain; there is no one for who will suffer less pain than the others will. Even Siddhartha Gautama had suffered from pain before he became Buddha. The existence of Buddha does not suggest a God or a model for worshipping. Rather, how Buddha exists from the continuous pain is what Buddhists learn.
Contrary to the “godless” in Buddhism, there is an existent God in Christianity. This God is a loving God, Jesus Christ, who has revealed himself and can be personally known in this life. With Jesus Christ, the most important thing for Christians is to focus on enjoying a relationship with God and growing to know him better. Jesus Christ is the God that is in a human form; he performs miracles, forgives people of their sin and says that anyone who believes in him will have eternal life. In the Bible, in addition to the historical record of Jesus’ life, more significantly, the Bible reveals the God’s personality, his love and truth, and how everyone can have a relationship with him. This existent God is the one whom the Christians have relationship with in. This is how the Christian experiences joy and a meaningful life.
Rather than building a relationship with Buddha and pray to Buddha, Buddhists rely more on following a list of religious principles and intense meditation, a personal quest. When a Buddhist meditates, it is not the same as praying to the God but more of self-discipline. Through dedicated meditation, a person can reach Nirvana, “the blowing out” of flame of desire. Apart from meditation, there are also disciplines and directives that Buddhists live by, like: Do not destroy any living creature; abandon all sensual pleasures; abandon all evil qualities, and both joy and sorrow. The goal of meditation and these disciplines is to purify one’s heart and let go for all desires. Buddhists are not focusing on who the Buddha is or how one relate himself/herself wit the Buddha, but focusing on the ways to be a proper Buddhist.
On the other hands, it is very important for people to build relationship with Jesus Christ in Christianity. Whatever a circumstance a Christian is dealing with in his/her life, he/she can confidently turn to a wise and powerful God who genuinely loves all humankinds. It is very easy for anyone who is interested to connect with the God. Once a person sincerely asks God to come into his/her life, he/she begins a personal relationship with him. It is like a person has just met God and he wants to help the person grows to know him better, to know his love for the person, to guide the person with wisdom in whatever decision confront the person. So to connect with the God, all one needs to do is to be willing to connect with the God, and to pray to him sincerely. God will answer all prayers and that life takes on meaning as they live to honor him. He welcomes all to know him, to experience joy, and to have confidence in his love in the midst of life’s challenges.
Obviously, Buddhism and Christianity are quite unique. Buddha left his followers the ways to set free from continuously suffering while Jesus comes along side all human beings us as a comforter, counselor and powerful God who loves all his followers. Buddhists and Christians learn to be the good one through following religious disciplines and building relationship with the God respectively. Therefore, though the relationship between Buddha and Buddhists and the relationship between the God and Christians are very different, both Buddha and the God are leading their followers to be the good one.
This post originally appeared on http://www.essayblog.net/2010/01

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