Buddhism is one of the most popular religions in our modern world,especially in the Asia regions. It is unique because unlike other religions,Buddhism does not have the practice of worshipping gods. (Reynolds, 2018)Instead, the core teachings of Buddhism revolve around the beliefs of theBuddha (“enlightened one”), a man named Siddhartha Gautama who lived innorthern India presumably between the mid-6th and the mid-4th centuries beforethe Common Era. (Reynolds, 2018) The Buddha was borninto the then ruling Shakya clan and lived a luxurious life, oblivious of thenegative aspects of the world such as old age, sickness, and death due to hisfather’s protection. However, at the age of 29, he was taken aback by the sightof suffering of the world during his chariot rides out of the palace andresolved himself to give up his life of royalty to live the life of an ascetic,to find a way to be freed from suffering.
(Reynolds, 2018) He practisedmeditation over the next six years and lived a life of severeself-mortification. (Reynolds, 2018) He meditated under atree and achieved enlightenment through the understanding of the Four NobleTruths. The Buddha then spent the next 45 years of his life sharing histeaching throughout north-eastern India and at the age of 80, he contracted aserious illness and passed on into Nirvana. (Reynolds, 2018) The teachings of theBuddha are based on human suffering and the dissatisfaction of life, as”Existence is painful”. Buddhists also believe in the never-ending cycle ofreincarnation.
(Reynolds, 2018) Thus, the goal ofBuddhism is to achieve enlightenment through meditating and learning theteachings of the Buddha, so that they can free themselves from thisnever-ending cycle and pass on into Nirvana. (Reynolds, 2018) Buddhists commonlyvisit temples to learn more of the Buddha’s teachings to guide them on the pathto enlightenment. What is Christianity? Christianity is the largest religion in the world withapproximately two billion followers and its largest groups are the RomanCatholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox churches, and the Protestant churches. (Crow, 2017) Unlike Buddhism,Christianity is not a system of ideas but a religion, a way of salvation.
Christianity is a religion of faith that revolves around the life,teachings and death of Jesus Christ, also known as Jesus of Nazareth. (Crow, 2017) Jesus was bornbetween the late 5 BC to early 4 BC to Saint Joseph and the Virgin Mary in thetown of Bethlehem of Judea. The Old Testament, which is a collection of HolyScriptures believed to be the Word of God, prophesied the birth of the Son ofGod. (Crow, 2017) During his lifetime,Jesus preached about the Word of God and performed miracles such as turningwater into wine. However, after a last supper with hisdisciples, he was betrayed by one of them, Judas Iscariot, and was sentenced to an unfair death byCrucifixion. (Crow, 2017) Christians believethat he was then resurrected three days later after his death. His death iscommemorated as Good Friday and His resurrection is commemorated as EasterSunday.
In John 3:16 of the Holy Bible, it is written that “For God soloved the world, thathe gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish buthave eternal life.”. That Bible verse means, whoever believes in the teachings,death and resurrection of Jesus Christ will be granted eternal life in heavenafter death. Christians commonly attend Church services on Sundays to learnmore about the Word of God and worship Him. Similarity #1: Life after death The firstsimilarity between the two religions, is the belief that there is a form oflife after death.
(Robinson, 2010) Buddhists believe ina never-ending cycle of reincarnation after every death as evident in: “Thecycle of rebirth, called samsara (literally”wandering”), is regarded as a domain of suffering, and the Buddhist’s ultimategoal is to escape from that suffering.” (Reynolds, 2018). On the other hand,Christians believe in eternal life after death, as evident in: “Christians whohave already died will rise again and, as resurrected ones, share in theKingdom upon Earth.” (Crow, 2017). Similarity #2: Sacred places ofworship The second similarity is that both Christians and Buddhists have asacred place of worship. Christians commonly visit churches, which arebuildings used for religious activities such as worship services.
Churches canbe distinctly identified by a Christian cross on the exterior of the building.On the other hand, Buddhists commonly visit temples, which represents the calmand peaceful environment of the Buddha and symbolises the five elements: fire, water, earth, air andwisdom. Temples usually contain a picture or statue of the Buddha. Difference #1: The practice of worshipping Moving on to differences, the first difference between the tworeligions is in the practice of worshipping. Christians worship an omnipotentcreator of the world known as God to praise Him and ask for favours. On theother hand, Buddhists do not worship the Buddha in that way but instead, paytheir respects to him out of admiration. The major difference between the twois how God and Buddha are perceived by their respective followers.
Difference #2: Future of the religion The second difference is the belief of the continuation of thereligion in the future. (Robinson, 2010) The goal ofChristians is to continue spreading the Word of God around the world. By doingso, eventually the whole world will adopt the same Christian ideology. (Robinson, 2010)On the other hand, Buddhists believe that nothing in the world is everlastingand anything can be subjected to change, as evident in: “… there is no fixedunderlying entity.” (Reynolds, 2018). Because of this,Buddhists believe that Buddhism will eventually disappear and in the future,another person will achieve enlightenment and start a whole new religion allover again.