I was wondering what main stream Buddhism think of Jesus, was he a buddha?
Can anyone tell me where Jesus fits into Buddhism?
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Buddhism teaches that all misbeliefs(beliefs that block the path to Nibbana) are variations of 2 fundamental misbeliefs.
What Jesus preached falls under Sasvatha Vada. Hinduism and Islam are also in the same category. So he couldn't have been even an average Buddhist teacher, let alone a Buddha. Besides, the next Buddha to appear is Maitreya Buddha, the last Buddha of this aeon. After that many aeons will come to pass without even a single Sammasambuddha. So there won't be another Buddha for a long time.
As a preliminary, there are two issues to deal with first that can hinder a search for linkages between Jesus and Buddhism.
First, it's important to note that the religion associated with Jesus -- Christianity -- is just as forked and complex as the "religion" commonly known as Buddhism. To insiders in both, there are many differences, both significant and otherwise, but to outsiders each one they can look like a single monolithic block (that's why we have a single name for each). In this respect, the last line of the question is a good one because it asks about Jesus and Buddhism, rather than about Christianity and Buddhism. Still, if we're looking for possible links, we can certainly look at the faiths themselves, provided we take care to look inside them and not just at each as a single whole (because in fact, they're not single wholes).
The second issue is that Christianity (I was a Christian, for over 30 years -- still may be one for all you know :-) ) does have a tendency to attack dissent. Catholicism is particularly prone to that. As a result, some groups may be considered "Christian" by outsiders, but insiders may respond "no, they're heretics, they're not Christians". For example, if one was to point to the work of Meister Eckhart as being similar to some aspects of Buddhism, one risks falling foul of very orthodox Catholics who would point out that Eckhart came under scrutiny by the Inquisition. And references to Quietism would get an even bigger slap down. Even today, many calling themselves Christian would not consider Mormons or Jehovas Witnesses to be Christian. In fact, some don't believe Roman Catholics to be Christian. But those critiques are critiques from the inside. For people looking objectively from the outside, a more dispassionate approach is probably wise.
In that light, here are some connections I personally find interesting and even potentially profound.
There's a talk by the late Ayya Khema, where she suggests a possible connection between some of the Buddhist meditation absorptions and the seven "mansions" mentioned by St Teresa of Avila in her "Interior Castle". The talk was on YouTube until very recently but has been taken down for copyright reasons.
There are also clear similarities between the experiences recounted in St John of the Cross's "The Dark Night of the Soul", and some of the stages of insight as described in the Visuddhimagga, especially as further described by Daniel Ingram in "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha".
Several ostensibly Christian works deal with the contemplative side of that religion, and include "The Cloud of Unknowing" and more recently works such as those by Thomas Merton and Fr. Thomas Keating.
Also, there's an interesting BBC-produced documentary (available on YouTube) that speculates about a possible link between Jesus and Buddhism. A point I found particularly interesting was their theory on who the "Three Wise Men" of Christian fame actually were. The documentary speculates they may have been Buddhists searching for the reincarnation of a prior leader or holy man.** The documentary is not all about the potential Buddhist link, but the main points it makes in that context are:
Then, broadening out from Christianity to the contemplative sides of other religion -- e.g. Jewish Kabbalah, Muslism Sufism -- Aldous Huxley's "The Perennial Philosophy" is a good argument on how once the societal trimmings are stripped away, the contemplative aspects of numerous religions seem to be plumbing precisely the same well. B. Alan Wallace talks about that book, as a follow on in his reading from Evan-Wentz's "The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation") in his videos on his "Buddhist Journey" (three parts on YouTube, starting here).
My overall conclusion is that it is credible that Jesus had developed an advanced capability in meditation/contemplation/prayer/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, and in compassion, and also had the charisma, ability, and timing to represent an effective teacher of those things. There are then several possible reasons we don't see that easily today. For example:
** That said, the facts that a. the most commonly seen examples of searches for reincarnations are in Tibetan Buddhism, and b. Tibetan Buddhism didn't arise until several centuries after the time of Christ, make less credible the theory that the three wise men were Buddhist. And in fact the most commonly accepted current view is that they were Zoroastrians.
I think when discussing this kind of thing it is to start seeing connections where there are none. However I would like to give a more positive response to the question. If I can address this side of the question
Can anyone tell me where Jesus fits into Buddhism?
When we meet someone overflowing with love and understanding [..] we know that they are very close to Buddha and to Jesus
While this doesn't point to an exact relationship between Buddha and Christ, it does draw our attention to a commonality between them, certainly in the opinion of Thich Nhat Hanh.
Perhaps the parallels are more evident the nearer one comes to the original Christianity. For instance when I read parts of the Gospel of Thomas (an early Christian Gnostic text) parts of it resonated more than I thought it would - for instance
Rather the Kingdom is inside of you and it is outside of you. [...] When you come to know yourself, then you become known and you will realise that it is you who are the children of the living Father
In the introduction to the Living Buddha, Living Christ, Elaine Pagels the historian of early Christianity states
[Experienced meditators] will surely notice in those early Christian sources many more resonances [between Christianity and Buddhism], than I can mention here. Comparative study of Buddhism and early (Gnostic) Christianity has barely begun.
I think generally if Elaine Pagels and Thich Nhat Hanh find it profitable to look for similarities between the two religions then I would be inclined to think there is actually something there.
(I'm writing this in the spirit of providing a factual answer instead of preaching how people should strive to get along by seeing similarities in religions that may or may not be there.)
No. That's a different religion. We search for commonality amongst world religions so we don't have to hate on each other, but the religions are different.
To quote two relevant paragraphs from Donald Lopez & Robert E. Buswell:
Many think of Buddhism as a tolerant religion, one that recognizes the value of all religious traditions. In recent years, there have been growing numbers of Buddhist-Christian dialogues and Buddhist-Jewish dialogues. The Dalai Lama has even commented on the gospels. This might suggest that Buddhism holds that all religions are one, that all spiritual paths lead to the same mountaintop. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Buddhists have never proclaimed the unity of religions. Early Buddhist texts are filled with accounts of non-Buddhist masters claiming to have achieved enlightenment when in fact they have, at best, only achieved rebirth in the higher heavens of the immaterial realm
Now, if you specifically have in mind the syncretic Christian-Buddhist sangha in Baltimore, MD I've read about, then I imagine they have integrated the Buddha and Jesus into a common framework.
There's no official stance towards Jesus as far as I know, in any tradition. The reason is that these traditions were established well before Christianity's existence was even known. Christianity took thousand of years to reach East Asia, for instance.
But from my personal point of view (which is a Japanese Pure Land point of view) I will say that I believe Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Light, takes on many forms to reach people with the message that the fundamental reality is wisdom-compassion or love.
So I see all buddhas and bodhisattvas as discrete manifestations of Amida Tathagata. I consider Jesus Christ to be a discrete manifestation of Amida because he taught joy and faith and relying on love. However, as a Pure Land Buddhist, I still think that Christianity is not yet completely Other-Power faith, and so is still rooted in self-power (and therefore ego-attachment).
Even the monergistic forms of Christianity such as Calvinism that teach sole reliance on Other-Power still lack universal salvation. God chooses specific people to save, based on his arbitrary will. This is not the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism. In Mahayana all sentient beings (and in some readings, even insentient beings) will ultimately achieve full Buddhahood, without exception.
So, this spirit of universal salvation is the reason I think Christianity isn't the ultimate and why it is "not far from Buddhahood", yet still not fully there, as in the following story:
A university student while visiting Gisan asked him: "Have you ever read the Christian Bible?" "No, read it to me," said Gisan. The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these...Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself." Gisan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man." The student continued reading: "Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened." Gisan remarked: "That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood."
Gisan Zenkai (儀山 善来 1802–1878)
source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones
This question is answered in the Brahmajala Sutta of the Dighaikaya.
BUDDHA ON GOD
There comes a time, monks, sooner or later after a long period, when this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly reborn in the Abhassara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through space, glorious - and they stay like that for a very long time." "But the time comes, sooner or later after a long period, when this world begins to expand again [Com: known as 'Big Bang' in Western Science]. In this expanding world an empty palace of Brahma [Com: the Indian name for the highest God] appears. And then one being, from exhaustion of his life-span or of his merits, falls from the Abhassara world and arises in the empty Brahma-palace. And there he dwells, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through space, glorious - and he stays like that for a very long time." "Then in this being who has been alone for so long there arises unrest, discontent and worry, and he thinks: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ And other beings, from exhaustion of their life-span or of their merits, fall from the Abhassara world and arise in the Brahma palace as companions for this being. And there they dwell, mind-made, … and they stay like that for a very long time." "And then, monks, that being who first arose there thinks: "I am God, the Great God, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. These beings were created by me. How so? Because I first had this thought: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ That was my wish, and then these beings came into this existence!" But those beings who arose subsequently think: "This, friends, is God, Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. How so? We have seen that he was here first, and that we arose after him.
BUDDHA ON JESUS
"And this being that arose first is longer-lived, more beautiful and more powerful than they are. And it may happen that some being falls from that realm and arises in this human world. Having arisen in this world, he goes forth from the household life into homelessness. Having gone forth, he by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attains to such a degree of mental concentration that he thereby recalls his last existence, but recalls none before that. And he thinks: ‘That Brahma, … he made us, and he is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, the same for ever and ever. But we who were created by that Brahma, we are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, fated to fall away, and we have come to this world.’
BUDDHA ON PROPHET LIKE JESUS
“Once, monks, there lived a master and a faith founder named Sunetta, who was free from greed for sensual pleasures. And there lived once a master and a faith founder named Mūgapakkha - Aranemi - Kuddālaka - Hatthipāla - Jotipāla - Araka, who was free from greed for sensual pleasures. This master however had many hundreds of disciples. And he showed the way to rebirth under the Gods of Brahma to his disciples [Comm: as "Angels in the vicinity of God" - an alternative translation closer to the understanding of the Western culture]. Those now, which did not show confidence, when the master pointed out the way to rebirth in heaven, all those arrived with the decay of the body, after death, into lower existence, on a suffering track, into the abysses, to hell. Those however, who showed confidence, all those arrived after the decay of the body, after death, on the lucky track, into heaven. What do you think, o monks? If someone insulted with malicious thought these seven masters and faith founders, who had turned away from sensual pleasures and who had hundreds of disciples, wouldn't such a one load a debt on himself? “ - “Certainly, o Blessed One.” - “Who insults however, monks, only one human being, who has realized Nirvana with malicious intention or defames him, loads a still larger debt on himself.
*Anguttara Nikaya.VII. 69 Defamation of the noble ones
quotes taken from "http://christianity.nibbanam.com/" but they are found in the Suttas
simply answer is No, Jesus is considered as son of God. Buddha was a human his parents are all human and he never reborn.
All Buddhas have certain features that are directly used to differentiate a Buddha from others. Those features will clear out your doubts. And the "Buddha" is a kind of designation, not a person.
I found a great answer here but its written in Sinhala. Can someone help me with translating this to English. "https://www.facebook.com/muduna/posts/699269543482977:0"
Also, there is a nice read at https://tibettalk.wordpress.com/2007/09/01/the-lost-years-of-jesus-in-tibet/ where it says Jesus learned Buddhism
Division is violence.
The mainstream of any religion tend to be pretty hard-core about the uniqueness of their belief system because they derive an identity from it, and most people will even share the food on their plate, but not their sense of identity. This is the basis for all religious conflict.
"All the adjectives and nouns that we use to describe waves cannot be used to describe God. We can say that this wave is high or low, big or small, beautiful or ugly, has a beginning and an end. But all these notions cannot be applied to water. God is neither small nor big. God has no beginning or end. God is not more or less beautiful. All the ideas we use to describe the phenomenal world cannot be applied to God. So it's very wise not to say anything about God. To me the wisest theologian is the one who never speaks about God."
Please read the books
both by Thich Nhat Hanh
In Going Home, he focuses on fundamental concepts that still drive a wedge between the two religions--such as rebirth vs. eternal life, God vs. nirvana, and so on. After praising the differences between Christianity and Buddhism, Nhat Hanh proceeds to dissolve them in virtuosic style. Not only did Jesus meditate, he says, but God is equivalent to nirvana. This effort to free us from limiting concepts is Nhat Hanh's way of paving a road back to Christianity for Christians who have been attracted to Buddhism but alienated from their original faith. In effect, Nhat Hanh is dressing up Christianity in the garb of philosophical Buddhism, which isn't too far off from what certain progressive Christian thinkers have themselves done in different terms. Mindfulness engenders concentration, concentration leads to understanding, understanding strengthens faith, and faith provides the energy to practice mindfulness. More conventional Christians may balk at this blending of traditions, but for many lost souls, it will be a beacon back to a warm hearth.
He considers it a waste of time to discuss "whether God is a person or not a person," although the Incarnation question carries profound weight in Christianity; he also asserts that "nothing can come from nothing," although creatio ex nihilo is a fundamental Christian tenet. Buddhism is better understood in these pages, but distinctive Buddhist beliefs can also stand in the way, says Hanh: individuals can become too attached to their own ideas of nirvana, forgetting that "nirvana means extinction of all notions."
If you believe in Shakyamuni Buddha the answer is No, because Buddha was clear about the previous Buddha Kassapa and the next Buddha Maytreia, but many people debate about Jesus being a boddisatva or an enlighted being, but it is just impossible for us to answer that, just keep in mind that both are great religions but they dont share 100% of their views.
Is Jesus considered to be a Buddha ? When Buddhism was introduced to the west many western teachers engaged in what can only be described as buddhist christianity. Main Christian thinking was blended with Buddhist concepts. The irony here is that Christian thinking and Buddhist thinking are each other opposites.
The Buddha ascribed the cause of suffering to a way of thinking that he called Papanca. Thanissaro Bhikkhu explains this kind of thinking as follows:
“...papañca begins when your thinking takes you, the thinker, as its object. And as we will see, this object requires other objects in order to survive. This is why “objectification” seems to be the best translation for the word. It’s from treating yourself and the world around you as objects—rather than as events or processes—that the perceptions causing inner and outer conflict derive.
The Canon contains several lists of these perceptions, and in every case states that they ensnare the mind in conflict and difficulty. For instance, AN 4:199 lists 18 “craving-verbalizations” that derive from this perception, verbalizations by which craving ensnares the mind:
“There being ‘I am,’ there comes to be ‘I am here,’ there comes to be ‘I am like this’ … ‘I am otherwise’ … ‘I am bad’ … ‘I am good’ … ‘I might be’ … ‘I might be here’ … ‘I might be like this’ … ‘I might be otherwise’ … ‘May I be’ … ‘May I be here’ … ‘May I be like this’ … ‘May I be otherwise’ 3 … ‘I will be’ … ‘I will be here’ … ‘I will be like this’ … ‘I will be otherwise.’”
MN 2 lists 16 questions that grow out of the thought, “I am”:
“‘Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?’ … ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?’” (source)
Christian, and for that matter western thinking is a pure example of Papanca. So, was Jesus a Buddha or did Jesus practice the Buddha’s teachings? The answer to this question can only be:
he couldn’t have been unless he was a very confused student
The book Jesus Lived in India speculated Christ was a disciple of Buddha but current form of teaching in the bible there is much divergence to believe this.
If this is the case and considering how he behave at the cross we can speculate that Christ might have been a Bodhi Sattva. This is speculation though.
In one Buddhist era there can only be one Buddha and the next is Mitriya. Thence, no Christ is not a Buddha but perhaps at most (if we were to speculate) a Bodhi Sattva or just a disciple.
The difference between Jesus and Buddha is the difference between a mystic and a master.
And that difference is meditation.
I see little evidence that Jesus was a meditative individual. Buddha left behind clear evidence of meditation, I find this lacking in Christianity.
The message of Buddhism is "seek within". It is a meditative message.
The message of Christianity appears to be "seek without". There is some idea that there is a 'God' outside of us. Some 'we/Him' duality.
If Jesus' message was indeed this, he was not fully awake and had not experienced his Buddha nature.
And if his message was really the same as that of Buddha, one has to ask: how come he was so absolutely unsuccessful in communicating his message? If Jesus was indeed enlightened, his message has become negated. Buddha was able to clearly broadcast his ideas, whereas Jesus's have been turned upside down from the beginning. Countless individuals attained to enlightenment through Buddha. But from Jesus, not a single one. Many Buddhas came from Buddha. But no Jesuses from Jesus. And certainly no Buddhas from Jesus.
The Christian notion of God is a projection of the notion of self. A kind of reflection/inversion/complement. A kind of 'best possible self'. When the idea of self is transcended, this notion also dissolves.
It seems to me that Jesus did attain a degree of enlightenment, but as a mystic not a master. A mystic lacks reason. But has transcended the self. Whatever they do is completely selfless, a pure channelling of the divine. And being in the presence of a mystic, your own sense of self will disappear, you'll find yourself ecstatic, Grace will enter, transformation will occur.
It seems to me that Jesus was a mystic, and touched those around him in this way.
However, Buddha worked at a higher level still, by bringing this energy to rest, by focusing it to a single point.
Jesus didn't exist during The Buddha's time, there are some Buddhists who consider Jesus to be at least a higher being, but it is uncertain if he actually was an arahant or Buddha.
He obviously can't be Maitreya Buddha, but he could be an arahant or pacceka Buddha.
It could be that he took birth from the Brahma worlds but is not actually an arahant or it could be that he really was an arahant or Buddha.
Some people think that Jesus traveled to India.
The Buddha (and many of his disciples) had superhuman abilities and walked on water, it's mentioned over and over again as one of the iddhis that people attain:
"When a monk has thus developed & pursued the four bases of power, he experiences manifold supranormal powers. Having been one he becomes many; having been many he becomes one. He appears. He vanishes. He goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, & mountains as if through space. He dives in & out of the earth as if it were water. He walks on water without sinking as if it were dry land. Sitting crosslegged he flies through the air like a winged bird. With his hand he touches & strokes even the sun & moon, so mighty & powerful. He exercises influence with his body even as far as the Brahma worlds." - Iddhipada-vibhanga Sutta (SN 51.20, recurs over and over again in the Pali canons)
Walking on water is one of the miracles Jesus is famous for, according to Christian scriptures he also performed many other miracles, but these were just normal things for arahants and disciples.
It is important to note that merely having iddhi powers doesn't mean that someone is actually a Buddha or even an arahant, but someone who is an arahant should be able to (if he desired) to gain iddhi powers.
It is quite obvious that in this modern world there must be few known arahants, it should be easy for a real arahant to obtain iddhi powers. Many people who believe themselves to be arahants or Buddhas are not.
It also important to note that arahants and Buddhas teach differently depending on the environment they arise in, the people they appear to and the method by which they personally achieved enlightenment.
According to Christian scriptures Jesus was higher than the angels, according to the Pali canons Buddha was superior to the devas and the Brahmas in the universe.
In the earlier Pali canons arahants are equal to Buddhas, but predictions of next Buddhas in the earlier Pali canons do not recur so it is uncertain to me if they are accurate like how other things recur over and over again.
In the earlier Pali canons the distinction between an arahant and Buddha is only that the Buddha is the supreme teacher. An arahant can teach and give teachings, but a Buddha is the supreme teacher.
There can be many arahants and pacceka Buddhas that arise in the world that are technically equal to the Buddha, but not the same as the Tathagata.
The Buddha referred to himself as an arahant and after enlightenment prior to the request from Brahma Sahampati gave teachings to people he encountered even when he hadn't opened the doors to immortality.
So it's possible that there were many beings in the past who were arahants or pacceka Buddhas that didn't open the doors to immortality but gave teachings to the people they encountered since The Buddha himself gave teachings prior to opening the door to deathlessness.
'All-vanquishing, all-knowing am I, with regard to all things, unadhering. All-abandoning, released in the ending of craving: having fully known on my own, to whom should I point as my teacher?
I have no teacher, and one like me can't be found. In the world with its devas, I have no counterpart.
For I am an arahant in the world; I, the unexcelled teacher. I, alone, am rightly self-awakened. Cooled am I, unbound.' - Ariyapariyesana Sutta, MN 26
It seems to me like most mainstream forms of Christianity lead to the Brahma worlds or even perhaps the Pure abodes but not towards arahantship here and now, kind of similar to lay Buddhism.
In my opinion it is not good to speak about things unknown. Either Jesus was a higher being (since he had iddhi powers) or he was an arahant or Buddha.
Who actually knows who Jesus really was or what level he actually attained? Perhaps if I achieve higher states and limitless concentration I can finally discover the truth.
Jesus can not be considered Buddha because Jesus teaches love and acceptance of things as they are. Whereas Buddha teaches making self effort to avoid suffering.Buddha doesn’t accept the things as they are. Buddha preaches escape from the whole mass of suffering. Buddha also preaches that escape from suffering is not possible without being righteous. Buddha asks to develop compassion so that we can become fit for the ultimate goal Nirvana. Jesus gives heaven to those who believe in him. For Christianity the ultimate goal is heaven. Therefore it is inappropriate to consider Jesus as Buddha.
Ooh touchy subject.
According to my teacher, Jesus achieved a level of Awakening and opened up a lot of his chakras including his Throat Chakra (which is really hard to open).
He did not achieve Buddhahood or Arhatship but achieved powers that happen due to the 2nd training in Buddhism (concentration).
One of these is the nirmanakaya manifestation body which is why he could manifest a body even after he left his crucified body.
And you know.. you can't be too harsh to Jesus's teachings.
A lot of the religious teachings (including Islam) are wrong by the highest standards (Buddhism) but perhaps such Awakened "prophets" created such teachings to help improve people's karma (restrictions on behavior, the 1st training of Buddhism) and to help focus their minds.
Without such primitive religions, the warmongerers among us may have taken over and destroyed any chance for truly integrated understanding we have today.
Based on the gospels, Jesus was not a Buddha for the following reasons:
Jesus coveted another religion, as shown by the report of entering the Jewish temple and violently turning over the tables of the money-changers. Both the covetousness and violence is not the serene & perfect conduct of a Buddha.
Jesus used supernormal miracles to covert people, which is forbidden in Buddhism. The Buddha compared such behaviour to a prostitute exposing her vagina for a silver coin.
Jesus did explicit not teach the Four Noble Truths, Three Characteristics and Emptiness.
Jesus did not establish a Vinaya (Code of Conduct), which is why Christian clergy can engage on sexual misconduct, war & other crimes without expulsion.
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