Lv 4

Comparison of buddhism and christianity?

On the one hand, Christianity and Buddhism do have fundamental differences such as the belief of a 'God' and their views on souls and such.

However, I would like to hear well supported opinions on the idea that christianity and buddhism also share several similarities. To start with, their teachings on the way we should live are very similar, to live virtuously and that temptation (in christianity) or desire (in buddhism) is the root of evil, or suffering, and should be resisted.

Secondly, I think that the belief of hell is perhaps over simplified. People in the middle ages believed hell was below the ground and had other stupid ideas. Obviously, none of this is true, however an idea of a punishment after death is similar to the belief of karma, where people's bad actions lead to their own suffering or punishment in a future life.

People think of God as a man in the sky, but again I believe this is definitely over simplified, and is rooted in the limited imaginations of people in the middle ages etc. God is love, nothing more.. Buddhism believes in the eventual elevation to nirvana.

Are these two religions comparable?


There are two things I left out not to make the questions too long, but i feel are necessary now..

The bible says that after death we will be judged. We will then go to hell, pergatory or heaven. Surely this is comparable to karama?

Also, the bible says somewhere that in forgiving your tresspasser, you are shovelling hot coals onto his head (or something along those lines). In other words, you will make his punishment from God worse. To me this could mean, that if you do not punish his actions in this life, then he will have more to answer for in his next life. This is also comparable to karma.

8 Answers

  • 9 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Some shared beliefs:

    Life continues in some form after death:

    Almost all religions teach that a person's personality continues after death. In fact, many religious historians believe that this belief was the prime reason that originally motivated people to create religions. However, Christianity and Buddhism conceive of life after death in very different forms:

    Buddhism teaches that humans are trapped in a repetitive cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Each successive rebirth may be into a better, a worse life, or a similar life, depending upon the person's Karma -- the sins and merits that have accumulated during their present and previous lives. One's goal is to escape from this cycle and reach Nirvana. Once this is attained, the mind experiences complete freedom, liberation and non-attachment. Suffering ends because desire and craving -- the causes of suffering -- are no more.

    Christianity has historically taught that everyone has only a single life on earth. After death, one's beliefs and/or actions are evaluated in the Final Judgment. An eternal life awaits everyone. Depending on the judgment, it will be either in Heaven or Hell. There is no suffering in Heaven; only joy. Torture is eternal without any hope of cessation for the inhabitants of Hell.

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  • 9 years ago

    You suffer due to craving and clinging, to what? Ideas. i learned alot from buddhism, this religion is not even a religion. This doesnt tell you to worship a god just for a heck of it, but to be enlightened himself. Did we ever prove there was a god? (dont mean to offend other religion) Buddha was actually a human, but almost a perfect human. Bc of buddha's wisdom and nonattachedment to the materialist world, he elimnated sufferings bc he dicovered the truth and the real meaning of life and attained nirvana. You know how modern science and technology are advancing, people now are questioning if religions are true, but actually its just a way of people filling in gaps of missing questions bc of their lack of understanding. But you know what? As we get into more of science, we get closer to buddha. Scientist approve of his religion, even Einstien(: They are surprised how 2000 years ago, his teachings relate to science now. As people say, the Buddha saw it all. You should read more about him if you want to elinmate suffering.We suffer from craving, greed, hatred and delusion. The thing is, we CRAVE* for praises and when people blame us, we get unsatisfied. We crave for all the sensual pleasures and happiness due to the external world, but really what about our internal mind and body? Peaceful minds can come across anyhing without fear or unsatisfactory. When people asked Buddha, are you a God? He said no. Are you a teacher? No. Are you a savior? No. Then what are you? "I am awake." Dont blame others for your sufferings, man himself fights himself and if he overcomes himself, that is the hardest and best accomplishment and no one can steal it. (unlike material things that we THINK make us happy)

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  • 9 years ago

    All the religions in the world are teaching the same thing, same idea but in different forms. You need to choose the one that suits you, that you feel closer to your soul. Furthermore, the most beneficial thing for you to do is to study all of them, or most of them, because there's truth in each one. Remember, it's about how YOU will interpret it.

    In relation to Buddhism and Christianity - Buddhism is more about your own evolution, the evolution of your soul, teaching you to understand how the university works and how to become an active part of that mechanism; whilst Christianity is more understandable to most of the people, but it's been changed too much in time.

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  • ouch
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    i've got self belief that each has a objective to coach and supply kindness to others. as quickly as I met my husband he substitute right into a Buddhist, I a Catholic. this is important for Christians to be like Christ and love and welcome all and sundry no count their ideals or previous. With surely no rigidity on my area he grew to become a Catholic. The bounce isn't too confusing whilst the bridge is LOVE.

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  • Mark T
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    No. There is no comparisson. The roots of all faiths should be about the same.

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  • We (Buddhists and Christians) CANNOT agree on truth, but we can agree somewhat on value. But even then there are differences. Also, the whole desires are bad thing, thats not universal in Buddhism. It is better to put the cause of suffering on ignorance, hatred, and greed. Desire is a part of Buddhahood, and you can turn a negative desire into a positive one.

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  • GG
    Lv 4
    9 years ago

    Yes they are.But not doctrine.

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  • juexue
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    At a basic level, which for a Buddhist means you're striving to live morally pure life, cultivating love and compassion and learning how to avoid hurting others, the difference is not very important, since they teach the same ethical message, about compassion, altruism, loving-kindness, humility, and so on. The main differences at that level are:

    1. They both agree on what a morally pure life would be (being kind, loving, compassionate, generous; avoiding killing or harming others, lies, stealing, and so on), with the main difference that Christians mainly include human beings while Buddhist try to cultivate the same attitudes and actions toward all living beings.

    2. One obvious difference is, however, that Christianity merely endorses those qualities, while Buddhism is more like a practical toolbox that actually teaches effective methods on HOW to develop those desired qualities, like how to decrease hate, anger, miserliness, pride, egotism, and instead increase love, compassion, generosity, patience, tolerance, humility, and so on.

    3. Another obvious difference is that Christianity teaches that you actually can't fully develop those qualities (by your own power), and that you in the long run can't liberate yourself, whereas Buddhism on the contrary teaches that only you yourself can change yourself and liberate yourself, that you and everyone else really have the capacity to do so, and that there is no use in trying to look for help from the outside.

    Taken together, this means you can be a fully faithful Christian and still use the methods (but not all of the beliefs) in Buddhism. From a Buddhist perspective that's no problem at that level - as long as your Christian beliefs help you develop the love, faith, harmony and good qualities you need, it is nothing but a good thing. From a Christian perspective there can be no fault whatsoever in applying effective methods for developing morally good qualities, so the combination is not only possible, but often a strong one.

    A few more principal differences are these:

    1. The Buddha said there is true hope for everyone. We all have the Buddha-nature, i e the ability to reach enlightenment. In the end, everyone will become a Buddha. No eternal hell and condemnation. The main difference is that hell (and heaven) in Christianity is eternal, whereas in Buddhism it is only temporary. After some time in a hell (or in a heaven), you will be reborn again and continue your way towards final liberation and buddhahood.

    2. The Buddha's teachings are possible to try out in order to see if they are good or not. On the contrary, Jesus' teachings are to a great extent a revelation from a source that you can never prove or disprove - just a matter of belief.

    When you have travelled far on the Buddhist way and have reached the levels where you want to strive for liberation from Samsara, for wisdom and for full buddhahood for the sake of liberating all living beings from suffering, then there are more contradictions that more clearly show they are based on fundamentally different philosophical worldviews. Just to name a few:

    1. You can't, when you delve deeply into the philosophies, combine the Buddhist teachings of emptiness and selflessness with the Christian beliefs in an eternal creator God, an eternal soul and the belief in absolute truths.

    2. You can't at the same time say you rely only on God for your salvation and say no one but yourself can do the work.

    3. The Christian views of sin and punishment, good and evil, creation from nothing, time, eternity, faith in a higher being, revelation, commandments, and so on, are very difficult to harmonize with a Buddhist worldview (you can reinterpret them in a Buddhist way, but the question is if you're then still a Christian).

    To be more specific on the question you asked about judgment and karma: On the practical level I agree the effect is quite much the same, in that you do good things because they lead to good results for yourself and others, and you avoid bad things because they will lead to bad results. On the theoretical level, however, the difference is very big: the Christian judgment is executed by an outside power (God), who evaluates your life and deeds, gives his sentence, and executes the eternal punishment or eternal reward; whereas the theory of karma is nothing but a way of describing (and theorizing over) the law of cause and effect, totally without any judge or executor. See more in my answers to these questions:



    Nevertheless, it's fully possible (and increasingly common) to be for instance a Christian and at the same time draw meaningful inspiration from Buddhist thinking and Buddhist methods. See more in my answer to this question:


    Source(s): Buddhist, ex-Christian. Studied Christianity and Buddhism both at university and through religious institutions.
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