Buddhism vs. 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




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.
Place of origin Nepal, India Roman province of Judea.
Use of statues and pictures Common In Catholic & Orthodox Churches.
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").
Means of salvation Buddhism has nothing to do with "salvation". The only goal in Buddhism is to attain Nirvana. To do this, we should let go of our desires, cravings and attachments, and try to dispel our ignorance Through Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection.
Belief of God Buddhism does not believe in a Creator God. One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Religious Law The Buddha's teachings, the Dharma. Has existed among Catholics in the form of canon law.
Belief The Buddha was the teacher to show us the four noble truths and the eightfold path (the path to nirvana or the way to enlightenment). The Nicene Creed sums up Christian belief in the Holy Trinity.
Day of worship Instead of worshipping, Buddhists pay obeisance to the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Sunday, the Lord's Day.
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.
Founder Gautama Buddha (born as Prince Siddhartha) The Lord Jesus Christ.
Prophets No prophets accepted in Theravada Buddhism. Prophets in the Bible are venerated.
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.
View of other Oriental religions Buddhists usually follow Oriental religions, as well as their own. 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.
Literal Meaning Buddhists mean those who follow the teachings of the Buddha Follower Of Christ.
Scriptures Tripitaka - a vast volume of 3 main sections: the Discourses, the Discipline and the Absolute Doctrine - which appeared only after the death of the Buddha, thanks to the monks who collected all the teachings of the Buddha. The Holy Bible
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.
Followers Buddhists Christian (follwers of Christ)
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.
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.
Marriage Seen as a social convention and mainly a personal and individual concern, not a religious duty. Advice in the Discourses are on how to maintain a happy and harmonious marriage. Faithfulness and monogamy was encouraged. A Holy Sacrament.
Promised Holy one. Meitreya Second Coming of Christ
Clergy Monks and Nuns, who unitedly and exactly follow the teachings of the Buddha under the name 'Sangha'. Priests, bishops, ministers, monks, and nuns.
Life after death Until one has attained Nirvana, he or she will be reborn into any of the 31 planes of existence over and over again, due to his/her karma. Eternity in Heaven or Hell, in some cases temporal Purgatory.
Legislation All the rules determined by the words of the Buddha. Varies through denomination.
Views on other religion Buddhism does not condemn any of other religions . Christianity is the True Faith.
Geographical distribution and predominance Theradava Buddhist countries, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka are the places of predominance of Buddhism. The Noble Truths are presently best heard in Myanmar only. Europe, North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand.
View of the Buddha Founder of Buddhism or the Four Noble Truths N/A.
Population 300-450 Million, but Theravada Buddhists: 100-150 million Over a billion adherents worldwide.
Definition Teachings of the Buddha Disciple of Jesus Christ.
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 the Bible. That philosophy is Salvation from sin, through the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Holy days/Official Holidays Kasone Full Moon Day, Waso Full Moon Day, etc. The Lord's Day; Advent, Christmas; New Year, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, everyday is dedicated to a Saint.
Symbols Wheel. Cross, ichthys ("Jesus fish"), Mary and baby Jesus.
Original Language(s) Original language is Magada, language used during the lifetime of the Buddha, which is the universal language (understood all over the universe) Aramaic, Greek, and Latin.
Views on the afterlife Cycle of rebirth and death in 31 realms, as determined by karma. Good karma can lead one to be reborn into any of the 26 realms of happiness. Evil karma will lead one to be reborn into any of the four nether realms of suffering. Eternity in Heaven or Hell; some believe in temporal suffering in Purgatory, before admittance into Heaven.
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.
Virtue on which religion is based upon Compassion Love.
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
Place and Time of origin Approx. 2,500 years ago, Jerusalem, approx. 33 AD.
Authority of Dalai Lama Merely belonging to Tibetan Buddhism and has no relevance to Theravada Buddhism. N/A.
Belief of God Buddhists do not believe in a Creator God, but, do have non-creator deities. One God: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Three Jewels The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, which are the only precious refuges in the whole universe. Christ, Grace, and Virtue
Virtue(s) on which religion is based upon Compassion Love.
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)
Religion which atheists may still be adherents of Buddhists deny the existence of a God or gods. So Buddhism is not a religion, but the teachings of the Buddha. No.
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.
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.
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.
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
Status of Elohim Buddhists do not believe in a Creator God. God
Use of statues Used often. Forbidden in Protestant denominations; icons are used in Catholic & Orthodox denominations.
What is it? Buddhism is a Dharmic religion that is centred on the teachings of the Buddha. Christianity is the religion Founded By Christ, to which He Is Central to.

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 author of the book 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:


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Comments: Buddhism vs Christianity

Anonymous comments (13)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 13, 2012, 9:32pm

Why is Jesus so often referred to as a lamb? Now, while I'm not an expert on lambs, but I have found that animal lacking a few deck cards.

— 76.✗.✗.27

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

July 1, 2012, 12:43am

Buddhism polytheistic??? Rites: samsara? Does this windbag know what he or she is talking about? Buddhism is non-theistic; samsara is suffering in cyclic existence...etc. Not all Christianity is sacramental. This is a failing grade 8 social studies project.

— 173.✗.✗.172

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


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