Buddhism vs Christianity

Sam Shropshire posted on Facebook to ask what word other than “crime” is adequate to describe all the creatures dying from the oil spill.

Here is my response:

Sam, I am going to respond to this thread with an answer which is from the heart but which very few here could really understand. I spent a few years reading everything I could get my hands on regarding every form of Buddhism (and there are many.) One Buddhist monk writing in the mid 20th century commented that the greatest sin of all, perhaps the only sin, was our very existence as a species because our existence and sustenance entails untold suffering for a myriad of other sentient beings. As I came to understand the Jain/Buddhist views (as much as one can hope to understand anything as an “outsider”) I came to realize that one day the human species will go extinct and when that day comes the universe will be a better place. We are basically scorpions but some of us are eloquent scorpions with a PhD. My response will be hard to take for cultures who consider mankind to be “a little lower than the angels” (to quote one Psalm.) Those various sci-fi movies where humans create a super-cyber intelligence which then comes to see humanity as a virus to be extinguished has perhaps had some influence on me. I was probably one of the few kids in the audience who rooted for the aliens to win.

The BEST single example I ever came across on the Internet which sums up the difference between Buddhism and Christianity goes something like this (paraphrased from memory): Siddhartha Gautama spends years trying to determine the source of suffering and comes to realize that it is desire itself (we desire things which we do not have and we have things [like cancer] which we do not desire.) Then Siddhartha confronts Mara (the devil) and says “I have discovered the architect of this house on fire (namely Buddha’s own mortal body, condemned to be reborn again and again)…. I have discovered the architect of this house on fire and it shall not be built again.”

Now Jesus says, “I come to give you life… and life more abundantly.” The Buddha offers Nirvana (in Pali: Nibbana) which means “extinguishment” (like snuffing out a candle)… i.e. you ALREADY have eternal life in the form of continual rebirth… and the Buddha suggests a way to GET OFF the merry-go-round of the great circle of birth-death-rebirth. Jesus offers life everlasting… unending consciousness with the Father in his mansions (which we get a glimpse of in The Book of Revelation.)

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One Response to “Buddhism vs Christianity”

  1. Robert West Says:

    This is a completely backwards understanding of Buddhism, which is understandable since the author is not a Buddhist. In fact, nirvana is often considered to be equivalent to what Jesus meant by the kingdom of heaven. Extinguishing refers the extinguishing what keeps us from nirvana, which is constant cycle of desire and suffering. Buddhism, therefore, can be viewed as offering insights and practices that can help Christians to know the kingdom of heaven. Many Christians follow Buddhist practices and find them very helpful

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