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Subject refers, many people from other religions might think Buddha is a God or Buddhist is serving the lord of Buddhism (God alike) whom is the Buddha. This is creating discomfort feeling from them, i think somebody from Christian or Muslim background will understand this. Or they will think i am challenging /against what is written in Bible/Muslim Quran that they believe is written truths.

I am seeking for an "short/wisdom or effective answer" to purify their feeling. Longer explanation will trigger the discomfort/challenging/anxiety feeling from them.

These actions below may trigger discomfort where it has nothing to do with religion base on personal common sense and they will think i am serving God of Buddhism.

  1. Practicing vegetarian -> A way of compassion practicing and just simply being healthy?

  2. Yoga/Acupuncture has history relationship with Buddhism/Taoism -> This is just simply a good health exercise but they will think this is a gateway to the opponent religions from them self. Well, many Christian has also allowed even performing Yoga in Church but some had banned it.

  3. Visit a Doctor with strong Buddhism belief --> they will think this is a gateway to the opponent religions.

They might have all these misconception from the link below? https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/4-ways-christians-can-respond-to-a-satanic-statue

Well, i answered Mr. Gautama is not God, a human being like us and just a superior teacher? Mr Gautama doesn't need my service or "worship". I would rather think Mr. Gautama served me more than i serve him as i always used to go temple to eat free vegetarian or getting smart answer/solution (i.e. this forum) --> correct my statement if i am making un-wise or false statement.

Or can i call him Doctor Gautama? Sound better to others? Or Something more purifying?

  • the buddha is "above" god in a way yes, because he has achieved the fruit of the holy life and will not be reborn, same as an arahant. he's still located on earth, so i suppose you could think of him as in some sense less than gods. there's stories about the gods rejoicing etc.. but anyway, it's important to remember that there is no permanent, self caused or unconditioned God in Buddhism. that's a huge difference with the Abrahamic religions: does it make sense to say that one day you'll take God's place? – sorta_buddhist Jul 11 at 4:05
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    Yoga comes from Hinduism and not Buddhism. – Christian Jul 11 at 18:21
  • quite right, and i believe yogacarins deny the existence of their own buddhas @Christian see e.g. bhavaviveka's arguments for more on brahma – sorta_buddhist Jul 18 at 8:34
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You can portray Gautama Buddha as an ordinary man who lived 2500 years ago, who found the way to end suffering and attain true happiness.

He discovered that suffering is mostly a mental condition. Thus, Gautama Buddha became history's most illustrious psychologist.

To support this claim, you can quote the first 6 verses of the Dhammapada. Part of these verses sound similar to Jesus' turning the other cheek, thus making Gautama Buddha appear compatible with Jesus in just this way.

Also, statues of Gautama Buddha are just for inspirational purposes, similar to statues of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

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You might call him a "philosopher", and a great one. There are debates about whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy -- if it's a philosophy then he's a philosopher. SFAIK most mainstream Christians are OK with studying secular philosophy -- like Socrates, and who knows who else.

He was also a "teacher". And arguably "a holy man", both according to the form of the time (i.e. a homeless monk) and IMO by contemporary standards too according to the ethics he taught and practised.

He's earlier than Jesus, passing away approximately 400 BCE. I believe that Muslims for example are permissive of other people who were never Muslims, but, less tolerant people who were Muslims but who then left the faith (i.e. apostates).

You could say that Buddhism doesn't claim to be the Word of God in the Christian sense -- it's a study of human life, culture, wisdom.

You don't "serve" the Buddha -- you learn Buddhist doctrine and practice it because it's common-sense (it's practical, beneficial, well-explained, and so on).


https://erlc.com/resource-library/articles/4-ways-christians-can-respond-to-a-satanic-statue

So that's written by a Southern Baptist, eh? Oh well. Yeah apparently they're not keen on statues -- they are low church. Do you want to say which sect/denomination your girlfriend is, in case that helps to know?

Anyway I guess you're talking about this sentence in it:

“What the pagans sacrifice is to demons.” Every golden Buddha in your city is a statue to Satan, as well as every Hindu idol.

Do you "sacrifice" to the statue, worship it? People do, or seem to, in temples and with Buddhist shrines. I think the early Buddhist texts (the suttas) don't mention that kind of practice. There were lots of people being polite (reverential) to the Buddha and other monks socially i.e. when they were alive and having conversations. Maybe "sacrifices" in Buddhism tend to be not to statues, but instead or also donations (e.g. of alms food and other necessities) to the Sangha.

Possibly even Christians could approve of that: it's "Christian Charity" and the "Great Commandment" (love thy neighbour), which (see also the "Good Samaritan") Christ teaches one should love to give to any human, any neighbour, who needs it -- I'm pretty sure Jesus praised that kind of behaviour...

Still beware of trying to teach them their own theology. Jesus got into a lot of trouble himself, by doing that. Try to be more low-key about it, for example, "This isn't 'sacrificing' -- it's being 'charitable', and learning not be avaricious...".


Also I'm not sure that Buddhism is "an opponent religion". Read SN 7.2 again -- the Buddha doesn't get involved with opposing the brahman. Similarly I don't know that Buddhism has to be "opposed to" Christianity. In fact Buddhism (unlike some Christians) tends not to proselytise, isn't that so? Without there being opposition or competition, perhaps there should be no enmity.

I fear a lot of arguments come from "black and white thinking", "you're either with us or against us" -- which I don't think is sensible but I'm not sure how to solve it (ruben2020's answer already referenced the Dhammapada). Buddhism might teach a middle way -- avoiding the mistakes associated with extremism -- and warns that people get into sectarian disputes because they hold to specific views and so on (see the parable of the blind men and the elephant -- Ud 6.4)

See also:


Well, i answered Mr. Gautama is not God, a human being like us and just a superior teacher?

Maybe beware of using the word "superior". That's in your title as well -- "above God".

Having read this answer I associate comparisons with conceit (and "superior" is a comparison).

And "conceit" is associated with disrepect etc. -- read about Māna.

(I think "pride" is also the "original sin" according to christianity, even the reason for Satan's own fall from grace).

It may be safer (less confrontational) to say that he's "a teacher" not "a superior teacher".

Another thing that might be worth mentioning is that Christians seem to me to put a lot of emphasis on the person-hood of Christ (and the Trinity).

That's almost the opposite of what Buddhism teaches, e.g. that person-hood is mere convention. I think the Buddha also taught in various ways that what's important is the Dhamma, moreso than the Buddha -- see Reference request for "the Buddha takes the Dhamma as his superior" -- see also this from DN 16, nearly the Buddha's last words:

Now, Ānanda, some of you might think: ‘The teacher’s dispensation has passed. Now we have no Teacher.’ But you should not see it like this. The teaching and training that I have taught and pointed out for you shall be your Teacher after my passing.

IMO "Who is superior, is it Christ or Buddha?" is not a sensible question. It's better to focus on "What is the Dhamma?" and "What is good about the Dhamma?" -- or "What qualities, practices does Buddhism consider virtuous, skilful?" -- I think that's more beneficial, not a "my Dad is greater than yours" kind of argument.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – ChrisW Jul 11 at 17:50
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There is no single god-almighty-creator in buddhism. So neither is Shakyamuni Buddha, period.

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