Buddhism vs. Christianity

Buddhism
Christianity

Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, whereas Christianity is centered on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ. Buddhism is a nontheistic religion, i.e., it does not believe in a supreme creator being a.k.a. God. Christianity is a monotheistic religion and believes that Christ Is the Son Of God.

Buddhism is an offshoot of Hinduism and is a Dharmic religion. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and is an Abrahamic religion.

Comparison chart

Buddhism

Buddhism

Christianity

Christianity
Place of origin Nepal, India Roman province of Judea.
Place of worship Monasteries, nunneries, pagodas and temples. Church, chapel, cathedral, basilica, home bible study, personal dwellings.
Practices Practices of the Threefold Training: Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom. Prayer, sacraments (some branches), worship in church, reading of the Bible, acts of charity, communion.
Time of origin 2,500 years ago, circa 563 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) Approx. 33 AD.
Goal of religion To attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death, thus attaining Nirvana. To love God and obey his commandments while creating a relationship with Jesus Christ and spreading the Gospel so that others may also be saved.
Human Nature Ordinary human beings possess greed, anger, delusion, igorance, cravings, etc. and they were compared by the Buddha as 'the fools' and 'the blind'. (Ordinary human beings mean those who haven't walked or are not walking the Eightfold Path.) Man has inherited "original sin" from Adam. Mankind then is inherently evil and is in need of forgiveness of sin. By knowing right and wrong Christians choose their actions. Humans are a fallen, broken race in need of salvation and repair by God.
Names of God Brahma, Avalokitesvara God, Gud, Gott, Deo, Dios. Jehovah, YHWH, Eli Elohim, Allah, (depending on language Christians are of every language and culture around the world)
Use of statues, images Statues are commonly used as symbolic reminders while paying obeisance to the Buddha. some denominations regard It as forbidden and Idolatry. Anglicans and Lutherans allow pictures but forbid venerating them. Catholics encourage pictures and statues and venerate them. Orthodox encourage pictures and venerate them.
About Following the teachings of the Buddha Christianity broadly consists of individuals who believe in the deity Jesus Christ. Its followers, called Christians, often believe Christ is "the Son" of the Holy Trinity and walked the earth as the incarnate form of God ("the Father").
Religious Law The Buddha's teachings, the Dharma. Has existed among Catholics in the form of canon law.
Followers Buddhists Christian (follwers of Christ)
Confessing sins Not a part of (Theravada) Buddhism. The Buddha told us that we should strive hard ourselves to dismiss the bad deeds we have already done (except for certain bad deeds, e.g., matricide, etc.) and also showed us the way to do so. Protestants confess straight to God, Catholic confess mortal sins to a Priest, and venial sins straight to God (Orthodox have similar practice) Anglicans confess to Priests but considered optional. God always forgives sins in Jesus.
View of other Dharmic religions Believes absolutely that any other ideas and concepts rather than the Buddha's teachings will never be true or perfect in this world. N/A
God's role in salvation No God or gods. Salvation is not related to Buddhism at all. The Buddha also told us to depend on our own to attain nirvana (by practising the Threefold Training or the Eightfold Path). Humans cannot save themselves or ascend on their own to a higher level. Only God is good and therefore only God is able to save a person. Jesus came down from Heaven to save mankind.
Rites Generally common. Seven sacraments: Baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, matrimony (Catholic and Orthodox). Anglicans: Baptism and Eucharist. Other denominations: Baptism and communion.
Goal of Philosophy Buddhism is not a philosophy. It is the practical teachings of the Buddha and its goal is 'nirvana'. Objective reality. Worship of God who created life, the universe, and is eternal. Christianity has its own philosophy, found in the 66 books of the Bible.
View of other Abrahamic religions Being a Dharmic religion, Buddhism has no relative view of Abrahamic religions. Judaism is regarded as a True religion but incomplete (without Gospel, and Messiah) Islam is regarded as a false religion, Christianity does not accept the Qur'an as true.
Views on other religion Buddhism does not condemn any of other religions . Christianity is the True Faith.
Symbols Wheel. Cross, ichthys ("Jesus fish"), Mary and baby Jesus.
Promised Holy one. Meitreya Second Coming of Christ
Status of Vedas Gautama Buddha believed and preached that the Vedas were originally sacred texts that were corrupted by some Brahmins by introducing practices such as animal sacrifice. N/A.
View of Animistic religions Wholly rejects such kinds of concepts. The Buddha's teachings have nothing to do with these. Paganism is Heathenism. Witchcraft is communication and interaction with demons, fallen evil angelic beings. These have no real interest ultimately, in helping their worshipers. Demonic possession is common.
Offshoot religions Some branches of Buddhism like Mahayana, in which the teachings of the Buddha have been amended over and over again. Rastafarianism,Universalism, and Deism, and Masonry.
Legislation All the rules determined by the words of the Buddha. Varies through denomination.
Marriage and Divorce If one followed the Buddha's teachings, one would not need a divorce. However, if personal differences are so vast within a couple, divorce is permitted. Explained by Jesus in Mathew 19:3-9 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Therefore what God has put together let man not seperate.'
Saints No saints. Only upright or virtuous persons, Arhats, etc. those who follow exactly the Buddha's teachings. Catholics and Orthodox venerate very Holy people as Saints. Most Protestants do not do this.
sects Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana, and so on. Catholic, Protestant, & Orthodox.
War between two churches/ major sects Many mainline Buddhist sects deny Soka Gakkai as true Buddhism. Catholics & Protestants used to be at war in Norther Ireland; In USA, many fundamentalist Protestants vehemently deny Catholics are Christian.
Three Jewels/Trinity The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha. The Blessed Trinity: In the name of the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit

Contents: Buddhism vs Christianity

Related Videos

Comparative analysis

This video compares the the beliefs of Christianity and Buddhism and draws parallels between the two religions.

Similarities in teachings

Christian scholar Marcus Borg found several similarities between the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.

Philosophical differences

In this New York Times article, Jay L. Garfield, who is the Kwan Im Thong Hood Cho Temple Professor of Humanities at Yale-NUS College in Singapore and the author of a book called “Engaging Buddhism: Why Buddhism Matters to Contemporary Philosophy.” describes how Buddhist philosophy is concerned about different questions than the philosophy of Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Judaism and Islam:

First, since Buddhism is an atheistic religion, it doesn’t raise questions about the existence of God that so dominate the philosophy of Abrahamic religions, let alone questions about the attributes of the deity. Buddhists do worry about awakening (Buddhahood). How hard is it to achieve? What is it like? Is a Buddha aware of her surroundings, or do they disappear as illusory?
Buddhists also worry about the relation between ordinary reality, or conventional truth, and ultimate reality. Are they the same or different? Is the world fundamentally illusory, or is it real? They worry about hermeneutical questions concerning the intent of apparently conflicting canonical scriptures, and how to resolve them. They ask about the nature of the person, and its relationship to more fundamental psychophysical processes. Stuff like that. The philosophy of religion looks different if these are taken to be some of its fundamental questions.

In this video a Buddhist contrasts Christian and Buddhist philosophies by narrating two stories about death.

Further Reading

For further reading, there are several books available on Amazon.com on Buddhism and Christianity:

References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Buddhism vs Christianity." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 25 Nov 2014. < http://www.diffen.com/difference/Buddhism_vs_Christianity >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »
Top 5 Comparisons

Comments: Buddhism vs Christianity

Comments via Facebook

Anonymous comments (15)

June 3, 2013, 4:36am

This is completely one sided.
The Chirstians get to do this, do Buddhists know who Jesus is?
No, they think he is a guy from Judea.
Christians also have like 3 more questions about Buddhists not knowing about them.
I don't see a question of what Christians know of Buddhists.
Heck, I know who jesus is even though I am Buddhist.
Take that!

— 71.✗.✗.53
2

May 12, 2013, 12:32pm

'View of other Dharmic religions' of Buddhism should be: 'Believes wholly that any other concepts rather than the Buddha's teachings cannot be entirely true or perfect in this world'.

— 122.✗.✗.7
2

December 3, 2011, 4:50am

Dear young man struggling with a relationship,
My best advice to you is run toward God and see who is running alongside you toward Him.

— 50.✗.✗.229
2

November 16, 2009, 2:56pm

Human works, while they may be intentionally good, are limited by human nature. History demonstrates that human nature falls short of perfection. Selfishness is at the root of human nature, which conflicts with either philosophy. Through grace we are free to choose between having God in our lives or having our own way. Refusing grace or Christ's sacrifice and offer of salvation we will get us just what we chose, a life without God. A life without God is limited to what we can achieve assuming that what we achieve won't be destroyed by others willing to gain at our expense.
An endless life cycle of trial and error, being unable to remember past life experiences, seems like an eternity of frustration with a chance of better things to come. Acceptance of Christ's sacrifice and God's grace comes with the assurance, not just a chance, of an endless life free from frustration, trial or error.
God sees the hearts of all people and only He determines our eternity. God's love or our works? <

— 98.✗.✗.206
2

March 19, 2013, 10:31am

The virtue upon which Buddhism is based is the threefold training, viz ethics, concentration, and wisdom (insight).
Dalai Lama does not belong to Theravada Buddhism. There is also no prophet in Theravada Buddhism. There are only monks and nuns (collectively known as Sangha), who follow Buddha's teachings unitedly.
In my opinion, Buddhism has nothing to do with those called 'saints'.
They may be related in some way to Christianity. Also, boddhisatvas (future Buddhas) cannot be referred to as saints. Buddhism deals with those who practise the threefold training laid down by Buddha. They can be referred to as upright, virtuous or wise persons (sages).
The teachings about behavior of Buddha are: to avoid all bad (evil) deeds, to do all good deeds, and to cleanse one's mind.

— 122.✗.✗.116
1

July 14, 2012, 6:08pm

no one has the right to impose ones truth to any one religion. it is about learning to live, love and accept other living beings with unconditional care. some people think that if you don't believe then u are doomed. well i say that all life has the right to bliss, its the things u do along the way that define u.

— 97.✗.✗.169
1

July 13, 2012, 9:42pm

It seems to me that those who wrote about Adam and Eve and the,err,devastating effect of "eating and apple from the tree of Knowledge Of Good and Evil should have spent less time in the hot sun and more time in a good university. Those who wrote these kinds of ideas did not even know what an atom was. Why would anyone worship a Creator of the Universe who then assigns a mortality table to all living energy. Kills all living energy off. Including my lovable dog. My dog nor any of his ancestors ate any such apple from the "Tree." You know, he does not even like apples. For those who love science, you know the "Creator" also destroys the sun and all the planets eventually burn up. Anybody ever hear of a Red Star? That is what first happens to our sun when the destruction happens.

— 76.✗.✗.27
1

July 2, 2012, 2:17am

I am not sure that one can fully explain Buddhist concepts in a small list. Because they are so foreign to Westerners. Buddhism has an array of practices. One cannot say all Buddhists practice the same way. Tibetan Buddhism is quite different from Theravada Buddhism. TO say they worship non-creator deities shows a lack of understanding of Buddhism. Research further please, as you don't show an objective or accurate view of Buddhism.

— 99.✗.✗.36
1

May 16, 2012, 4:11pm

I do not know if there is a God or not, I am still on the search as to whether the Bible is fiction or not. I do know this, from all I have read the books of faith mirror one another, I know that Buddhism is older than Christianity and that it is possible that Jesus, (if he did exist) could have learned from Egyptians, Indians, and other mystics. Jesus, speaks of caring for others, so does the Buddha. Jesus speaks of loving others not like us, and our enemies- and so does Buddha.

For me, I have practiced both the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha, and I am in peace. Doesn't God want us to be in peace? I have a theory that the lack of peace is from an Earthly realm to keep us from living in harmony with one another. Blessings, and awaken to the truth.

— 75.✗.✗.58
1

December 23, 2011, 12:25am

"With Buddhism, we love because we love, care because we care, help because we want to help and contribute because we want to." This is a quote from the writer on 1-28-2011. It is a meaningless, existential statement. It provides no possible explanation for why we love or why we care or more importantly, why we should do either one. The problem becomes more apparent when we change the words. We hate because we hate. we don't care because we don't care, we don't help because we don't want to. What moral authority compels anyone to choose one action over the other? Buddhism cannot explain the existence of evil nor does it have a way to say one action is right and one action is wrong. In the final analysis good and evil are the same. They become one with the universe. Christianity by contrast, assumes a personal infinite God who created all and is the source of love. The ultimate act of love was to give His creation choice. Love only can have meaning if freely given. Man rebelled and chose to go his own way. The result is evil in the world today. God did not create evil just as you do not create darkness and cold. Darkness is the absence of light and cold is the absence of heat. Evil is the absence of love.
These two competing philosophies play themselves out in the real world. You can empirically verify the results. Where in the Buddhist world do you find the hospitals, the universities, the food kitchens, the special clinics, the social interventions of every shape and color you can think of? They are practically non existent. Christianity serves a real and living personal God you can know. He can forgive and restore you to the proper relationship you were meant to have with your Creator. You cannot work for it .. it is freely given when you acknowledge Him. When you have the living power of God within your spirit you can do great things for your fellow man. When you love your Creator you want to work to please Him. You don't live by rules and regulations, you live life to the fullest as God intended and have the peace that passes all understanding.

— 98.✗.✗.159
1

January 27, 2012, 4:38am

All life is precious. Here is the thing. I walked away from my loving Christian church because I was not feeling the love. I have endured division and unhappiness from the people who proclaim to love one another and care. Well I find that Christians are conditional. The name it and claim it prosperity is not what spirituality is about.

I have not regretted walking away. I have read many books, and spiritual readings. You know I think that most religions promote (allegedly) Peace, charity, and Forgiveness. WE all want the same thing- to be acceptable to one another and to GOD. I have an Aunt that picked a church to further her husbands career, is the reason to go to church? I do not think so. I thought the reason to go to church was to be closer to GOD and to practice the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus never condemned others, nor did he say YOU will go straight to HELL if you do not believe like me. He gave them truth and it was the individuals choice.

So, Buddhism or Christianity? Or Christianity or Muslim? Do we not want the same things? Only Buddhist have a record of no war against other religion, why? Tolerance, Compassion, Respect for ALL life. Religion is knowledge and wisdom, being spiritual is being one with the GOD. Be still and know that I am GOD. If we are never still and listen to GOD then how can we say that we know GOD? Still the mind, meditate, and pray. Practice right behavior, speech, livelihood, contemplation, concentration, intent, and believe in TRUTH. Do all possible to end suffering. Think on what is most important in this world. Desires bring suffering. Less is more. Be happy with what you have and share compassion with those in need. I think Jesus would agree.

— 99.✗.✗.57
0

March 7, 2014, 11:32am

buddism is a religion that was made by a man christianty is a religion created by a god

— 122.✗.✗.222
-1

July 7, 2013, 7:43am

maybe the the best thing to do is relaxing and smiling on each other. Cheers angry guys. bs

— 112.✗.✗.72
-1

April 6, 2013, 12:24pm

I worship God my creator by studying (meditating on) his ENTIRE creation—which IS the only miracle I need or recognize. I see life as the natural product of nature, and intelligence as the natural product of life. I believe God is perfect and so wouldn't throw arbitrary rules out to trip us up; all the rules I see are for our own good. I believe my primary purpose here is to help others and to benefit the human race; not just to help myself into heaven. God smiles at me from the sunrise in the morning and puts me to bed at night. I cannot know who created the Bible, but I know who created the trees. I know Jesus not as a distant savior, but as an ever-present friend, as is Buddha, and my friends and relatives who have gone before me. I can’t see Heaven as a distant place, because it wouldn't be much of a heaven if I were separated from the people and places I love. I am a Christian who worships as a Buddhist, mainly because Christianity provides little guidance for the type of worship that “makes sense in my own mind”; as Buddha puts it. There is no conflict in my heart or my mind between Christianity and Buddhism. For those who would call me a heretic I offer a parable by Arthur Conan Doyle:

The cheese-mites asked how the cheese got there,
And hotly debated the matter;
The Orthodox said that it came from the air,
And the Heretics said from the platter.
They argued it long and they argued it strong,
And I hear they are arguing now;
But of all the choice spirits who lived in the cheese,
Not one of them thought of a cow.

I do not attempt to speculate about the nature of God, his methods, or his motives as my Christian clergy does; to do so would be not only absurd but heretical. Thank you.

— 184.✗.✗.254
-1

February 11, 2013, 12:13am

I am a Christian, as many other people here are, and I do respect other religions as well. I've learned how religions have started, like Buddhism, and I see the logic in all of it, why people would follow it. I really think people should learn how to respect other people's beliefs before talking bad about them. In the end, we're all people, and I'm pretty sure most people like to live in peace without having others talk bad about what they believe in.

— 24.✗.✗.184
-1

share

Up next

Buddha vs. Christ