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.
|Practices||Meditation, the Eightfold Path; right view, right aspiration, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration||Prayer, sacraments (some branches), worship in church, reading of the Bible, acts of charity, communion.|
|Place of origin||Indian subcontinent||Roman province of Judea.|
|Use of statues and pictures||Common. Statues are used as meditation objects, and revered as they reflect the qualities of the Buddha.||In Catholic & Orthodox Churches.|
|Life after death||Rebirth is one of the central beliefs of Buddhism. We are in an endless cycle of birth, death and re-birth, which can only be broken by attaining nirvana. Attaining nirvana is the only way to escape suffering permanently.||Eternity in Heaven or Hell, in some cases temporal Purgatory.|
|Belief of God||The idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent creator is rejected by Buddhists. The Buddha himself refuted the theistic argument that the universe was created by a self-conscious, personal God.||One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Trinity.|
|Founder||The Buddha (born as Prince Siddhartha)||The Lord Jesus Christ.|
|Clergy||The Buddhist Sangha, composed of bhikkhus (male monks) and bhikkhunis (female nuns). The sangha is supported by lay Buddhists.||Priests, bishops, ministers, monks, and nuns.|
|Human Nature||Ignorance, as all sentient beings. In the Buddhist texts, it is seen that when Gautama, after his awakening, was asked whether he was a normal human being, he replied, "No".||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.|
|Scriptures||Tripitaka - a vast canon composed of 3 sections: the Discourses, the Discipline and the Commentaries, and some early scriptures, such as the Gandhara texts.||The Holy Bible|
|Literal Meaning||Buddhists are those who follow the teachings of the Buddha.||Follower Of Christ.|
|Followers||Buddhists||Christian (followers of Christ)|
|Holy days/Official Holidays||Vesak day in which the birth, the awakening, and the parinirvana of the Buddha is celebrated.||The Lord's Day; Advent, Christmas; New Year, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, every day is dedicated to a Saint.|
|Original Language(s)||Pali(Theravada tradition) and Sanskrit(Mahayana and Vajrayana tradition)||Aramaic, Greek, and Latin.|
|Means of salvation||Reaching Enlightenment or Nirvana, following the Noble Eightfold Path.||Through Christ's Passion, Death, and Resurrection.|
|View of the Buddha||The highest teacher and the founder of Buddhism, the all-transcending sage.||N/A.|
|Geographical distribution and predominance||(Majority or strong influence) Mainly in Thailand, Cambodia, Sri lanka, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, Japan, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Vietnam, China, Mongolia, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Other small minorities exist in other countries.||As the largest religion in the world, Christianity has adherents are all over the world. As a % of local population, Christians are in a majority in Europe, North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand.|
|Goal of Philosophy||To eliminate mental suffering.||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.|
|View of other Dharmic religions||Since the word Dharma means doctrine, law, way, teaching, or discipline, other Dharmas are rejected.||N/A|
|Confessing sins||Sin is not a Buddhist concept.||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.|
|Marriage||It is not a religious duty to marry. Monks and nuns do not marry and are celibate. Advice in the Discourses on how to maintain a happy and harmonious marriage.||A Holy Sacrament.|
|Symbols||The conch, endless knot, fish, lotus, parasol, vase, dharmachakra (Wheel of Dharma), and victory banner.||Cross, ichthys ("Jesus fish"), Mary and baby Jesus.|
|Population||500-600 million||Over two billion adherents worldwide.|
|Place and Time of origin||The origin of Buddhism points to one man, Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, who was born in Lumbini (in present-day Nepal). He became enlightened at Bodhgaya, India and delivered his first set of teachings at a deer park in Sarnath, India.||Jerusalem, approx. 33 AD.|
|Religious Law||The Dharma.||Varies among denominations. Has existed among Catholics in the form of canon law.|
|Religion which atheists may still be adherents of||Yes.||No.|
|Authority of Dalai Lama||Dalai Lamas are tulkus of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. They are cultural figures and are independent of the doctrinal basis of Buddhism.||N/A.|
|Status of Vedas||The Buddha rejected the 5 Vedas, according to the dialogues seen in the nikayas.||N/A.|
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.
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.
For further reading, there are several books available on Amazon.com on Buddhism and Christianity: