Christianity and Buddhism





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In Buddhist thought, there is no supreme being, no Creator, no omnipotent omnipresent God, no loving Lord over his creation. Ultimate reality is an impersonal void or emptiness (Sunyata). Only the void is permanent.

How does Buddhism differ from Christianity?

There Is No God Void vs. Loving God (emptiness, apathy, ignorance)

In Buddhist thought, there is no supreme being, no Creator, no omnipotent omnipresent God, no loving Lord over his creation. Ultimate reality is an impersonal void or emptiness (Sunyata). Only the void is permanent.

To a Buddhist, saying that God exists is like saying that the void exists. Saying that God is loving and desires relationship with us is saying God is ignorance since all desire comes from ignorance. Saying that God created us and has a purpose for our lives is saying that God is karma, the cause and effect of our existence. Thus, in Buddhist thought, the concept of God is most closely equated to the void, ignorance, and karma.

So who are Buddhists bowing down and praying to in their temples? Remember that Buddhism has adapted and absorbed many other beliefs rooted in animism and ancestral worship.

Christ’s Deity Denied

If a Buddhist were asked who Jesus was, responses would likely include: a good man, a prophet, the founder of the Christian religion, a bodhisattva, the younger brother of Buddha. As it is hard for a Buddhist to understand the existence of God, it is inconceivable that Jesus is the incarnate Lord, God in the flesh.

Man Is Not A Spiritual Being

Mankind has no soul or permanence. In Buddhist thought, an individual consists of five skandhas or aggregates. These aggregates are disassembled at death and there is no longer a cohesive unit that can be identified as an individual person. People are impermanent and transitory, perpetually facing the problem of how to escape from suffering. All life is meaningless and without purpose. The ultimate hope lies in what is permanent: The Void. Before one can find permanence, one must disappear into the Void, that is, achieve nirvana.

Karma Is The Iron Law Karma vs. Mercy

Buddhists believe that the totality of one’s actions and the results of those actions determine one’s fate in subsequent reincarnations. This is the cosmic Law of Cause and Effect. Karma is the ultimate impersonal, unmerciful judge. Karma is unchangeable, cannot be undone, altered, avoided, or forgiven. What is done is done and cannot be undone, nor can you be forgiven or released from it.

Sin Has No Consequences

The two systems` concepts of sin stand in stark contrast. To Buddhists sin does not have any consequences before a holy God. It is not defined by doctrine, for to them existence is sin. They think that “desire” or transitory deception is sin. Popularly, sin is killing life in any form. I remember a Thai woman once saying to me, “I have never sinned.” It is difficult to help one who does not sense a need. At best, sin is an illusion, though the karmic consequences will accumulate for those who fail to break the endless cycles of reincarnation. The Christian identifies sin as a principle in all humankind, a flaw resulting from the fall. In practice, sins are violations of God`s character, an affront to him by missing the mark, and subsequently moral failures. (from Dr. Alex G. Smith)

Salvation Through Self, Merit vs. Grace

There is no savior. There is no grace or forgiveness. The Buddha said he could not help anyone; he could only point the way. One must overcome karma by one’s own merit and works.

Attain Enlightenment by Eliminating All Desire

In Buddhist thought, there is no difference between good desire and bad desire. Even to desire life itself is to not be enlightened.

Compassion, Not Love

Since the goal of Buddhism is to extinguish all desire, it focuses on compassion rather than love. Compassion to a Buddhist is to simply wish that all sentient beings be free from suffering. Benevolent action in behalf of those who are suffering is not a Buddhist value as such action would undo the consequences of negative karma.

Death, Not Life

To a Buddhist, hope lies in ending the cycle of suffering and reincarnation. There is no eternal life for the Buddhist, neither is there hell or no heaven. Hope lies in achieving nirvana. Hope lies in non-existence.