Christ Buddha And Christ Jesus Compared
"The more I learn to know Buddha the more I admire him, and
the sooner all mankind shall have been made acquainted with
his doctrines the better it will be, for he is certainly one
of the heroes of humanity."
The mythological portions of the histories of Buddha and Jesus are,
without doubt, nearer in resemblance than
hat of any two characters of
antiquity. The cause of this we shall speak of in our chapter on "Why
Christianity Prospered," and shall content ourselves for the present by
comparing the following analogies:
1. Buddha was born of the Virgin Mary,[289:1] who conceived him without
1. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, who conceived him
without carnal intercourse.[289:3]
2. The incarnation of Buddha is recorded to have been brought about by
the descent of the divine power called the "Holy Ghost," upon the
2. The incarnation of Jesus is recorded to have been brought
about by the descent of the divine power called the "Holy
Ghost," upon the Virgin Mary.[289:3]
3. When Buddha descended from the regions of the souls,[290:1] and
entered the body of the Virgin Maya, her womb assumed the appearance of
clear transparent crystal, in which Buddha appeared, beautiful as a
3. When Jesus descended from his heavenly seat, and entered
the body of the Virgin Mary, her womb assumed the appearance
of clear transparent crystal, in which Jesus appeared
beautiful as a flower.[290:3]
4. The birth of Buddha was announced in the heavens by an asterim
which was seen rising on the horizon. It is called the "Messianic
4. The birth of Jesus was announced in the heavens by "his
star," which was seen rising on the horizon.[290:5] It might
properly be called the "Messianic Star."
5. "The son of the Virgin Maya, on whom, according to the tradition, the
'Holy Ghost' had descended, was said to have been born on Christmas
5. The Son of the Virgin Mary, on whom, according to the
tradition, the 'Holy Ghost' had descended, was said to have
been born on Christmas day.[290:7]
6. Demonstrations of celestial delight were manifest at the birth of
Buddha. The Devas[290:8] in heaven and earth sang praises to the
"Blessed One," and said: "To day, Bodhisatwa is born on earth, to give
joy and peace to men and Devas, to shed light in the dark places, and to
give sight to the blind."[290:9]
6. Demonstrations of celestial delight were manifest at the
birth of Jesus. The angels in heaven and earth sang praises to
the "Blessed One," saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and
on earth peace, good will toward men."[290:10]
7. "Buddha was visited by wise men who recognized in this marvelous
infant all the characters of the divinity, and he had scarcely seen the
day before he was hailed God of Gods."[290:11]
7. Jesus was visited by wise men who recognized in this
marvelous infant all the characters of the divinity, and he
had scarcely seen the day before he was hailed God of
8. The infant Buddha was presented with "costly jewels and precious
8. The infant Jesus was presented with gifts of gold,
frankincense, and myrrh.[290:14]
9. When Buddha was an infant, just born, he spoke to his mother, and
said: "I am the greatest among men."[290:15]
9. When Jesus was an infant in his cradle, he spoke to his
mother, and said: "I am Jesus, the Son of God."[290:16]
10. Buddha was a "dangerous child." His life was threatened by King
Bimbasara, who was advised to destroy the child, as he was liable to
10. Jesus was a "dangerous child." His life was threatened by
King Herod,[291:2] who attempted to destroy the child, as he
was liable to overthrow him.[291:3]
11. When sent to school, the young Buddha surprised his masters. Without
having ever studied, he completely worsted all his competitors, not only
in writing, but in arithmetic, mathematics, metaphysics, astrology,
11. When sent to school, Jesus surprised his master Zaccheus,
who, turning to Joseph, said: "Thou hast brought a boy to me
to be taught, who is more learned than any master."[291:5]
12. "When twelve years old the child Buddha is presented in the
temple. He explains and asks learned questions; he excels all those who
enter into competition with him."[291:6]
12. "And when he was twelve years old, they brought him to
(the temple at) Jerusalem . . . . While in the temple among
the doctors and elders, and learned men of Israel, he proposed
several questions of learning, and also gave them
13. Buddha entered a temple, on which occasion forthwith all the statues
rose and threw themselves at his feet, in act of worship.[291:8]
13. "And as Jesus was going in by the ensigns, who carried the
standards, the tops of them bowed down and worshiped
14. "The ancestry of Gotama Buddha is traced from his father,
Sodhodana, through various individuals and races, all of royal
dignity, to Maha Sammata, the first monarch of the world. Several of
the names and some of the events are met with in the Puranas of the
Brahmans, but it is not possible to reconcile one order of statement
with the other; and it would appear that the Buddhist historians have
introduced races, and invented names, that they may invest their
venerated Sage with all the honors of heraldry, in addition to the
attributes of divinity."[292:1]
14. The ancestry of Jesus is traced from his father, Joseph,
through various individuals, nearly all of whom were of royal
dignity, to Adam, the first monarch of the world. Several of
the names, and some of the events, are met with in the sacred
Scriptures of the Hebrews, but it is not possible to reconcile
one order of statement with the other; and it would appear
that the Christian historians have invented and introduced
names, that they may invest their venerated Sage with all the
honors of heraldry, in addition to the attributes of
15. When Buddha was about to go forth "to adopt a religious life,"
Mara[292:3] appeared before him, to tempt him.[292:4]
15. When Jesus was about "beginning to preach," the devil
appeared before him, to tempt him.[292:5]
16. Mara said unto Buddha: "Go not forth to adopt a religious life,
and in seven days thou shalt become an emperor of the world."[292:6]
16. The devil said to Jesus: If thou wilt fall down and
worship me, I will give thee all the kingdoms of the
17. Buddha would not heed the words of the Evil One, and said to him:
"Get thee away from me."[292:8]
17. Jesus would not heed the words of the Evil One, and said
to him: "Get thee behind me, Satan."[292:9]
18. After Mara had left Buddha, "the skies rained flowers, and
delicious odors pervaded the air."[292:10]
18. After the devil had left Jesus, "angels came and
ministered unto him."[292:11]
19. Buddha fasted for a long period.[292:12]
19. Jesus fasted forty days and nights.[292:13]
20. Buddha, the Saviour, was baptized, and at this recorded water
baptism the Spirit of God was present; that is, not only the highest
God, but also the "Holy Ghost," through whom the incarnation of Gautama
Buddha is recorded to have been brought about by the descent of that
Divine power upon the Virgin Maya.[292:14]
20. Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan, at which
time the Spirit of God was present; that is, not only the
highest God, but also the "Holy Ghost," through whom the
incarnation of Jesus is recorded to have been brought about,
by the descent of that Divine power upon the Virgin
21. "On one occasion toward the end of his life on earth, Gautama Buddha
is reported to have been transfigured. When on a mountain in Ceylon,
suddenly a flame of light descended upon him and encircled the crown of
his head with a circle of light. The mount is called Pandava, or
yellow-white color. It is said that 'the glory of his person shone forth
with double power,' that his body was 'glorious as a bright golden
image,' that he 'shone as the brightness of the sun and moon,' that
bystanders expressed their opinion, that he could not be 'an every-day
person,' or 'a mortal man,' and that his body was divided into
three[293:1] parts, from each of which a ray of light issued
21. On one occasion during his career on earth, Jesus is
reported to have been transfigured: "Jesus taketh Peter,
James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high
mountain apart. And was transfigured before them: and his
face did shine as the sun, and his raiment as white as the
22. "Buddha performed great miracles for the good of mankind, and the
legends concerning him are full of the greatest prodigies and
22. Jesus performed great miracles for the good of the
mankind, and the legends concerning him are full of the
greatest prodigies and wonders.[293:4]
23. By prayers in the name of Buddha, his followers expect to receive
the rewards of paradise.[293:5]
23. By prayers in the name of Jesus, his followers expect to
receive the rewards of paradise.
24. When Buddha died and was buried, "the coverings of the body unrolled
themselves, and the lid of his coffin was opened by supernatural
24. When Jesus died and was buried, the coverings of the body
were unrolled from off him, and his tomb was opened by
25. Buddha ascended bodily to the celestial regions, when his mission on
earth was fulfilled.[293:8]
25. Jesus ascended bodily to the celestial regions, when his
mission on earth was fulfilled.[293:9]
26. Buddha is to come upon the earth again in the latter days, his
mission being to restore the world to order and happiness.[293:10]
26. Jesus is to come upon the earth again in the latter days,
his mission being to restore the world to order and
27. Buddha is to be judge of the dead.[293:12]
27. Jesus is to be judge of the dead.[293:13]
28. Buddha is Alpha and Omega, without beginning or end, "the Supreme
Being, the Eternal One."[293:14]
28. Jesus is Alpha and Omega, without beginning or
end,[293:15] "the Supreme Being, the Eternal One."[293:16]
29. Buddha is represented as saying: "Let all the sins that were
committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be
29. Jesus is represented as the Saviour of mankind, and all
the sins that are committed in this world may fall on him,
that the world may be delivered.[293:18]
30. Buddha said: "Hide your good deeds, and confess before the world the
sins you have committed."[293:19]
30. Jesus taught men to hide their good deeds,[293:20] and
confess before the world the sins they had committed.[293:21]
31. "Buddha was described as a superhuman organ of light, to whom a
superhuman organ of darkness, Mara or Naga, the Evil Serpent, was
31. Jesus was described as a superhuman organ of light--"the
Sun of Righteousness"[294:2]--opposed by "the old Serpent,"
the Satan, hinderer, or adversary.[294:3]
32. Buddha came, not to destroy, but to fulfill, the law. He delighted
in "representing himself as a mere link in a long chain of enlightened
32. Jesus said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law,
or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to
33. "One day Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, after a long walk in the
country, meets with Matangi, a woman of the low caste of the Kandalas,
near a well, and asks her for some water. She tells him what she is, and
that she must not come near him. But he replies, 'My sister, I ask not
for thy caste or thy family, I ask only for a draught of water.' She
afterwards became a disciple of Buddha."[294:6]
33. One day Jesus, after a long walk, cometh to the city of
Samaria, and being wearied with his journey, sat on a well.
While there, a woman of Samaria came to draw water, and Jesus
said unto her: "give me to drink." "Then said the woman unto
him: How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me,
which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings
with the Samaritans."[294:7]
34. "According to Buddha, the motive of all our actions should be pity
or love for our neighbor."[294:8]
34. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to
them that hate you."[294:9]
35. During the early part of his career as a teacher, "Buddha went to
the city of Benares, and there delivered a discourse, by which Kondanya,
and afterwards four others, were induced to become his disciples. From
that period, whenever he preached, multitudes of men and women embraced
35. During the early part of his career as a teacher, Jesus
went to the city of Capernaum, and there delivered a
discourse. It was at this time that four fishermen were
induced to become his disciples.[294:11] From that period,
whenever he preached, multitudes of men and women embraced his
36. Those who became disciples of Buddha were told that they must
"renounce the world," give up all their riches, and avow
36. Those who became disciples of Jesus were told that they
must renounce the world, give up all their riches, and avow
37. It is recorded in the "Sacred Canon" of the Buddhists that the
multitudes "required a sign" from Buddha "that they might
37. It is recorded in the "Sacred Canon" of the Christians
that the multitudes required a sign from Jesus that they might
38. When Buddha's time on earth was about coming to a close, he,
"foreseeing the things that would happen in future times," said to his
disciple Ananda: "Ananda, when I am gone, you must not think there is no
Buddha; the discourses I have delivered, and the precepts I have
enjoined, must be my successors, or representatives, and be to you as
38. When Jesus' time on earth was about coming to a close, he
told of the things that would happen in future times,[295:4]
and said unto his disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all
nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have
commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end
of the world."[295:5]
39. In the Buddhist Somadeva, is to be found the following: "To give
away our riches is considered the most difficult virtue in the world; he
who gives away his riches is like a man who gives away his life: for our
very life seems to cling to our riches. But Buddha, when his mind was
moved by pity, gave his life like grass, for the sake of others; why
should we think of miserable riches! By this exalted virtue, Buddha,
when he was freed from all desires, and had obtained divine knowledge,
attained unto Buddhahood. Therefore let a wise man, after he has turned
away his desires from all pleasures, do good to all beings, even unto
sacrificing his own life, that thus he may attain to true
39. "And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what
good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? . . .
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that
thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure
in heaven: and come and follow me."[295:7] "Lay not up for
yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth
corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor
rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor
40. Buddha's aim was to establish a "Religious Kingdom," a "Kingdom of
40. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say,
Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."[296:2]
41. Buddha said: "I now desire to turn the wheel of the excellent
law.[296:3] For this purpose am I going to the city of Benares,[296:4]
to give light to those enshrouded in darkness, and to open the gate of
Immortality to man."[296:5]
41. Jesus, after his temptation by the devil, began to
establish the dominion of his religion, and he went for this
purpose to the city of Capernaum. "The people which sat in
darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region
and shadow of death, light is sprung up."[296:6]
42. Buddha said: "Though the heavens were to fall to earth, and the
great world be swallowed up and pass away: Though Mount Sumera were to
crack to pieces, and the great ocean be dried up, yet, Ananda, be
assured, the words of Buddha are true."[296:7]
42. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by
"Verily I say unto you . . . heaven and earth shall pass
away, but my words shall not pass away."[296:9]
43. Buddha said: "There is no passion more violent than voluptuousness.
Happily there is but one such passion. If there were two, not a man in
the whole universe could follow the truth." "Beware of fixing your eyes
upon women. If you find yourself in their company, let it be as though
you were not present. If you speak with them, guard well your
43. Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old
time. Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that
whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed
adultery with her already in his heart."[296:11]
44. Buddha said: "A wise man should avoid married life as if it were a
burning pit of live coals. One who is not able to live in a state of
celibacy should not commit adultery."[297:1]
44. "It is good for a man not to touch a woman," "but if they
cannot contain let them marry, for it is better to marry than
to burn." "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own
wife and let every woman have her own husband."[297:2]
45. "Buddhism is convinced that if a man reaps sorrow, disappointment,
pain, he himself, and no other, must at some time have sown folly,
error, sin; and if not in this life then in some former birth."[297:3]
45. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind
from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master,
who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born
46. Buddha knew the thoughts of others: "By directing his mind to the
thoughts of others, he can know the thoughts of all beings."[297:5]
46. Jesus knew the thoughts of others. By directing his mind
to the thoughts of others, he knew the thoughts of all
47. In the Somadeva a story is related of a Buddhist ascetic whose eye
offended him, he therefore plucked it out, and cast it away.[297:7]
47. It is related in the New Testament that Jesus said: "If
thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from
48. When Buddha was about to become an ascetic, and when riding on the
horse "Kantako," his path was strewn with flowers, thrown there by
48. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem, riding on an ass, his
path was strewn with palm branches, thrown there by the
Never were devotees of any creed or faith as fast bound in its thraldom
as are the disciples of Gautama Buddha. For nearly two thousand four
hundred years it has been the established religion of Burmah, Siam,
Laos, Pega, Cambodia, Thibet, Japan, Tartary, Ceylon and Loo-Choo, and
many neighboring islands, beside about two-thirds of China and a large
portion of Siberia; and at the present day no inconsiderable number of
the simple peasantry of Swedish Lapland are found among its firm
Well authenticated records establish indisputably the facts, that
together with a noble physique, superior mental endowments, and high
moral excellence, there were found in Buddha a purity of life, sanctity
of character, and simple integrity of purpose, that commended themselves
to all brought under his influence. Even at this distant day, one cannot
listen with tearless eyes to the touching details of his pure, earnest
life, and patient endurance under contradiction, often fierce
persecution for those he sought to benefit. Altogether he seems to have
been one of those remarkable examples, of genius and virtue occasionally
met with, unaccountably superior to the age and nation that produced
There is no reason to believe that he ever arrogated to himself any
higher authority than that of a teacher of religion, but, as in modern
factions, there were readily found among his followers those who
carried his peculiar tenets much further than their founder. These, not
content with lauding during his life-time the noble deeds of their
teacher, exalted him, within a quarter of a century after his death, to
a place among their deities--worshiping as a God one they had known only
as a simple-hearted, earnest, truth-seeking philanthropist.[298:1]
This worship was at first but the natural upgushing of the veneration
and love Gautama had inspired during his noble life, and his sorrowing
disciples, mourning over the desolation his death had occasioned, turned
for consolation to the theory that he still lived.
Those who had known him in life cherished his name as the very synonym
of all that was generous and good, and it required but a step to exalt
him to divine honors; and so it was that Gautama Buddha became a God,
and continues to be worshiped as such.
For more than forty years Gautama thus dwelt among his followers,
instructing them daily in the sacred law, and laying down many rules
for their guidance when he should be no longer with them.[299:1]
He lived in a style the most simple and unostentatious, bore
uncomplainingly the weariness and privations incident to the many long
journeys made for the propagation of the new faith; and performed
countless deeds of love and mercy.
"When the time came for him to be perfected, he directed his followers
no longer to remain together, but to go out in companies, and proclaim
the doctrines he had taught them, found schools and monasteries, build
temples, and perform acts of charity, that they might 'obtain merit,'
and gain access to the blessed shade of Nigban, which he told them he
was about to enter, and where they believe he has now reposed more than
two thousand years."
To the pious Buddhist it seems irreverent to speak of Gautama by his
mere ordinary and human name, and he makes use therefore, of one of
those numerous epithets which are used only of the Buddha, "the
Enlightened One." Such are Sakya-sinha, "the Lion of the Tribe of
Sakya;" Sakya-muni, "the Sakya Sage;" Sugata, "the Happy One;"
Sattha, "the Teacher;" Jina, "the Conqueror;" Bhagavad, "the
Blessed One;" Loka-natha, "the Lord of the World;" Sarvajna, "the
Omniscient One;" Dharma-raja, "the King of Righteousness;" he is also
called "the Author of Happiness," "the Possessor of All," "the Supreme
Being," "the Eternal One," "the Dispeller of Pain and Trouble," "the
Guardian of the Universe," "the Emblem of Mercy," "the Saviour of the
World," "the Great Physician," "the God among Gods," "the Anointed" or
"the Christ," "the Messiah," "the Only-Begotten," "the Heaven-Descended
Mortal," "the Way of Life, and of Immortality," &c.[299:2]
At no time did Buddha receive his knowledge from a human source, that
is, from flesh and blood. His source was the power of his divine wisdom,
the spiritual power of Maya, which he already possessed before his
incarnation. It was by this divine power, which is also called the "Holy
Ghost," that he became the Saviour, the Kung-teng, the Anointed or
Messiah, to whom prophecies had pointed. Buddha was regarded as the
supernatural light of the world; and this world to which he came was his
own, his possession, for he is styled: "The Lord of the World."[300:1]
"Gautama Buddha taught that all men are brothers;[300:2] that charity
ought to be extended to all, even to enemies; that men ought to love
truth and hate the lie; that good works ought not be done openly, but
rather in secret; that the dangers of riches are to be avoided; that
man's highest aim ought to be purity in thought, word and deed, since
the higher beings are pure, whose nature is akin to that of man."[300:3]
"Sakya-Muni healed the sick, performed miracles and taught his doctrines
to the poor. He selected his first disciples among laymen, and even two
women, the mother and wife of his first convert, the sick Yasa, became
his followers. He subjected himself to the religious obligations imposed
by the recognized authorities, avoided strife, and illustrated his
doctrines by his life."[300:4]
It is said that eighty thousand followers of Buddha went forth from
Hindostan, as missionaries to other lands; and the traditions of various
countries are full of legends concerning their benevolence, holiness,
and miraculous power. His religion has never been propagated by the
sword. It has been effected entirely by the influence of peaceable and
persevering devotees.[300:5] The era of the Siamese is the death of
Buddha. In Ceylon, they date from the introduction of his religion into
their island. It is supposed to be more extensively adopted than any
religion that ever existed. Its votaries are computed at four hundred
millions; more than one-third of the whole human race.[300:6]
There is much contradiction among writers concerning the date of the
Buddhist religion. This confusion arises from the fact that there are
several Buddhas,[301:1] objects of worship; because the word is not a
name, but a title, signifying an extraordinary degree of holiness. Those
who have examined the subject most deeply have generally agreed that
Buddha Sakai, from whom the religion takes its name, must have been a
real, historical personage, who appeared many centuries before the time
assigned for the birth of Christ Jesus.[301:2] There are many things to
confirm this supposition. In some portions of India, his religion
appears to have flourished for a long time side by side with that of the
Brahmans. This is shown by the existence of many ancient temples, some
of them cut in subterranean rock, with an immensity of labor, which it
must have required a long period to accomplish. In those old temples,
his statues represent him with hair knotted all over his head, which was
a very ancient custom with the anchorites of Hindostan, before the
practice of shaving the head was introduced among their devotees.[301:3]
His religion is also mentioned in one of the very ancient epic poems of
India. The severity of the persecution indicates that their numbers and
influence had became formidable to the Brahmans, who had everything to
fear from a sect which abolished hereditary priesthood, and allowed the
holy of all castes to become teachers.[301:4]
It may be observed that in speaking of the pre-existence of Buddha in
heaven--his birth of a virgin--the songs of the angels at his birth--his
recognition as a divine child--his disputation with the doctors--his
temptation in the wilderness--his transfiguration on the Mount--his life
of preaching and working miracles--and finally, his ascension into
heaven, we referred to Prof. Samuel Beal's "History of Buddha," as one
of our authorities. This work is simply a translation of the
"Fo-pen-hing," made by Professor Beal from a Chinese copy, in the
"Indian Office Library."
Now, in regard to the antiquity of this work, we will quote the words
of the translator in speaking on this subject.
First, he says:
"We know that the Fo-pen-hing was translated into Chinese
from Sanscrit (the ancient language of Hindostan) so early
as the eleventh year of the reign of Wing-ping (Ming-ti), of
the Han dynasty, i. e., 69 or 70 A. D. We may, therefore,
safely suppose that the original work was in circulation in
India for some time previous to this date."[302:1]
Again, he says:
"There can be no doubt that the present work (i. e. the
Fo-pen-hing, or Hist. of Buddha) contains as a woof (so to
speak) some of the earliest verses (Gathas) in which the
History of Buddha was sung, long before the work itself was
"These Gathas were evidently composed in different Prakrit
forms (during a period of disintegration) before the more
modern type of Sanscrit was fixed by the rules of Panini, and
the popular epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana."[302:2]
Again, in speaking of the points of resemblance in the history of Buddha
and Jesus, he says:
"These points of agreement with the Gospel narrative naturally
arouse curiosity and require explanation. If we could prove
that they (the legends related of Buddha) were unknown in the
East for some centuries after Christ, the explanation would
be easy. But all the evidence we have goes to prove the
"It would be a natural inference that many of the events in
the legend of Buddha were borrowed from the Apocryphal
Gospels, if we were quite certain that these Apocryphal
Gospels had not borrowed from it. How then may we explain the
matter? It would be better at once to say that in our present
state of knowledge there is no complete explanation to
There certainly is no "complete explanation" to be offered by one who
attempts to uphold the historical accuracy of the New Testament. The
"Devil" and "Type" theories having vanished, like all theories built on
sand, nothing now remains for the honest man to do but acknowledge the
truth, which is, that the history of Jesus of Nazareth as related in
the books of the New Testament, is simply a copy of that of Buddha, with
a mixture of mythology borrowed from other nations. Ernest de Bunsen
almost acknowledges this when he says:
"With the remarkable exception of the death of Jesus on the
cross, and of the doctrine of atonement by vicarious
suffering, which is absolutely excluded by Buddhism, the most
ancient of the Buddhistic records known to us contain
statements about the life and the doctrines of Gautama Buddha
which correspond in a remarkable manner, and impossibly by
mere chance, with the traditions recorded in the Gospels
about the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ. It is still more
strange that these Buddhistic legends about Gautama as the
Angel-Messiah refer to a doctrine which we find only in the
Epistles of Paul and in the fourth Gospel. This can be
explained by the assumption of a common source of revelation;
but then the serious question must be considered, why the
doctrine of the Angel-Messiah, supposing it to have been
revealed, and which we find in the East and in the West, is
not contained in any of the Scriptures of the Old Testament
which can possibly have been written before the Babylonian
Captivity, nor in the first three Gospels. Can the systematic
keeping-back of essential truth be attributed to God or to
Beside the work referred to above as being translated by Prof. Beal,
there is another copy originally composed in verse. This was translated
by the learned Fonceau, who gives it an antiquity of two thousand
years, "although the original treatise must be attributed to an earlier
In regard to the teachings of Buddha, which correspond so strikingly
with those of Jesus, Prof. Rhys Davids, says:
"With regard to Gautama's teaching we have more reliable
authority than we have with regard to his life. It is true
that none of the books of the Three Pitakas can at present be
satisfactorily traced back before the Council of Asoka, held
at Patna, about 250 B. C., that is to say, at least one
hundred and thirty years after the death of the teacher; but
they undoubtedly contain a great deal of much older
Prof. Max Mueller says:
"Between the language of Buddha and his disciples, and the
language of Christ and his apostles, there are strange
coincidences. Even some of the Buddhist legends and parables
sound as if taken from the New Testament; though we know that
many of them existed before the beginning of the Christian
Just as many of the myths related of the Hindoo Saviour Crishna were
previously current regarding some of the Vedic gods, so likewise, many
of the myths previously current regarding the god Sumana, worshiped
both on Adam's peak, and at the cave of Dambulla, were added to the
Buddha myth.[303:5] Much of the legend which was transferred to the
Buddha, had previously existed, and had clustered around the idea of a
Chakrawarti.[303:6] Thus we see that the legend of Christ Buddha, as
with the legend of Christ Jesus, existed before his time.[303:7]
We have established the fact then--and no man can produce better
authorities--that Buddha and Buddhism, which correspond in such a
remarkable manner with Jesus and Christianity, were long anterior to the
Christian era. Now, as Ernest de Bunsen says, this remarkable similarity
in the histories of the founders and their religion, could not possibly
happen by chance.
Whenever two religious or legendary histories of mythological personages
resemble each other so completely as do the histories and teachings of
Buddha and Jesus, the older must be the parent, and the younger the
child. We must therefore conclude that, since the history of Buddha and
Buddhism is very much older than that of Jesus and Christianity, the
Christians are incontestably either sectarians or plagiarists of the
religion of the Buddhists.
[289:1] Maya, and Mary, as we have already seen, are one and the same
[289:2] See chap. xii. Buddha is considered to be an incarnation of
Vishnu, although he preached against the doctrines of the Brahmans. The
adoption of Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu was really owning to the
desire of the Brahmans to effect a compromise with Buddhism. (See
Williams' Hinduism, pp. 82 and 108.)
"Buddha was brought forth not from the matrix, but from the right side,
of a virgin." (De Guignes: Hist. des Huns, tom. i. p. 224.)
"Some of the (Christian) heretics maintained that Christ was born from
the side of his mother." (Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 157.)
"In the eyes of the Buddhists, this personage is sometimes a man and
sometimes a god, or rather both one and the other, a divine incarnation,
a man-god; who came into the world to enlighten men, to redeem them, and
to indicate to them the way of safety. This idea of redemption by a
divine incarnation is so general and popular among the Buddhists, that
during our travels in Upper Asia, we everywhere found it expressed in a
neat formula. If we addressed to a Mongol or Thibetan the question, 'Who
is Buddha?' he would immediately reply, 'The Saviour of Men.'" (M.
L'Abbe Huc: Travels, vol. i. p. 326.)
"The miraculous birth of Buddha, his life and instructions, contain a
great number of the moral and dogmatic truths professed in
Christianity." (Ibid. p. 327.)
"He in mercy left paradise, and came down to earth because he was filled
with compassion for the sins and misery of mankind. He sought to lead
them into better paths, and took their sufferings upon himself, that he
might expiate their crimes, and mitigate the punishment they must
otherwise inevitably undergo." (L. Maria Child.)
[289:3] Matt. ch. i.
[289:4] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, pp. 10, 25 and 44. Also, ch. xiii.
[290:1] "As a spirit in the fourth heaven he resolves to give up all
that glory in order to be born in the world for the purpose of rescuing
all men from their misery and every future consequence of it: he vows to
deliver all men who are left as it were without a Saviour." (Bunsen:
The Angel-Messiah, p. 20.)
[290:2] See King's Gnostics, p. 168, and Hardy's Manual of Buddhism, p.
[290:3] See chap. xii. note 2, page 117.
"On a painted glass of the sixteenth century, found in the church of
Jouy, a little village in France, the Virgin is represented standing,
her hands clasped in prayer, and the naked body of the child in the same
attitude appears upon her stomach, apparently supposed to be seen
through the garments and body of the mother. M. Drydon saw at Lyons a
Salutation painted on shutters, in which the two infants (Jesus and
John) likewise depicted on their mothers' stomachs, were also saluting
each other. This precisely corresponds to Buddhist accounts of the
Boddhisattvas ante-natal proceedings." (Viscount Amberly: Analysis of
Relig. Belief, p. 224, note.)
[290:4] See chap. xiii.
[290:5] Matt. ii. 1, 2.
[290:6] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. x.
[290:7] We show, in our chapter on "The Birth-Day of Christ Jesus," that
this was not the case. This day was adopted by his followers long after
[290:8] "Devas," i. e., angels.
[290:9] See chap. xiv.
[290:10] Luke, ii. 13, 14.
[290:11] See chap. xv.
[290:12] Matt. ii. 1-11.
[290:13] See chap. xi.
[290:14] Matt. ii. 11.
[290:15] See Hardy's Manual of Buddhism, pp. 145, 146.
[290:16] Gospel of Infancy, Apoc., i. 3. No sooner was Apollo born
than he spoke to his virgin-mother, declaring that he should teach to
men the councils of his heavenly father Zeus. (See Cox: Aryan Mythology,
vol. ii. p. 22.) Hermes spoke to his mother as soon as he was born,
and, according to Jewish tradition, so did Moses. (See Hardy's Manual
of Buddhism, p. 145.)
[291:1] See Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp. 103, 104.
[291:2] See Matt. ii. 1.
[291:3] That is, provided he was the expected Messiah, who was to be a
mighty prince and warrior, and who was to rule his people Israel.
[291:4] See Hardy's Manual of Buddhism; Bunsen's Angel-Messiah; Beal's
Hist. Buddha, and other works on Buddhism.
This was a common myth. For instance: A Brahman called Dashthaka, a
"heaven descended mortal," after his birth, without any human
instruction whatever, was able thoroughly to explain the four Vedas,
the collective body of the sacred writings of the Hindoos, which were
considered as directly revealed by Brahma. (See Beal's Hist. Buddha, p.
Confucius, the miraculous-born Chinese sage, was a wonderful child. At
the age of seven he went to a public school, the superior of which was a
person of eminent wisdom and piety. The faculty with which Confucius
imbibed the lessons of his master, the ascendency which he acquired
amongst his fellow pupils, and the superiority of his genius and
capacity, raised universal admiration. He appeared to acquire knowledge
intuitively, and his mother found it superfluous to teach him what
"heaven had already engraven upon his heart." (See Thornton's Hist.
China, vol. i. p. 153.)
[291:5] See Infancy, Apoc., xx. 11, and Luke, ii. 46, 47.
[291:6] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 37, and Beal: Hist. Buddha, pp.
[291:7] See Infancy, Apoc., xxi. 1, 2, and Luke, ii. 41-48.
[291:8] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 37, and Beal: Hist. Bud. 67-69.
[291:9] Nicodemus, Apoc., ch. i. 20.
[292:1] R. Spence Hardy, in Manual of Buddhism.
[292:2] See chap. xvii.
[292:3] "Mara" is the "Author of Evil," the "King of Death," the "God
of the World of Pleasure," &c., i. e., the Devil. (See Beal: Hist.
Buddha, p. 36.)
[292:4] See ch. xix.
[292:5] Matt. iv. 1-18.
[292:6] See ch. xix.
[292:7] Matt. iv. 8-19.
[292:8] See ch. xix.
[292:9] Luke, iv. 8.
[292:10] See ch. xix.
[292:11] Matt. iv. 11.
[292:12] See ch. xix.
[292:13] Matt. iv. 2.
[292:14] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 45.
[292:15] Matt. iii. 13-17.
[292:16] Matt. xvii. 1, 2.
[293:1] This has evidently an allusion to the Trinity. Buddha, as an
incarnation of Vishnu, would be one god and yet three, three gods and
yet one. (See the chapter on the Trinity.)
[293:2] See Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 45, and Beal: Hist. Buddha, p.
Iamblichus, the great Neo-Platonic mystic, was at one time
transfigured. According to the report of his servants, while in
prayer to the gods, his body and clothes were changed to a beautiful
gold color, but after he ceased from prayer, his body became as before.
He then returned to the society of his followers. (Primitive Culture, i.
[293:3] See ch. xxvii.
[293:4] See that recorded in Matt. viii. 28-34.
[293:5] See ch. xxiii.
[293:6] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 49.
[293:7] See Matt. xxviii. John, xx.
[293:8] See chap. xxiii.
[293:9] See Acts, i. 9-12.
[293:10] See ch. xxiv.
[293:11] See Ibid.
[293:12] See ch. xxv.
[293:13] Matt. xvi. 27; John, v. 22.
[293:14] "Buddha, the Angel-Messiah, was regarded as the divinely chosen
and incarnate messenger, the vicar of God, and God himself on earth."
(Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 33. See also, our chap. xxvi.)
[293:15] Rev. i. 8; xxii. 13.
[293:16] John, i. 1. Titus, ii. 13. Romans, ix. 5. Acts, vii. 59, 60.
[293:17] Mueller: Hist. Sanscrit Literature, p. 80.
[293:18] This is according to Christian dogma:
"Jesus paid it all,
All to him is due,
Nothing, either great or small,
Remains for me to do."
[293:19] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 28.
[293:20] "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of
them: otherwise ye have no reward of your father which is in heaven."
(Matt. vi. 1.)
[293:21] "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another,
that ye may be healed." (James, v. 16.)
[294:1] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, pp. x. and 39.
[294:2] "That was the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh
into the world." (John, i. 9.)
[294:3] Matt. iv. 1; Mark, i. 13; Luke, iv. 2.
[294:4] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 140.
[294:5] Matt. v. 17.
[294:6] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 243. See also, Bunsen's
Angel-Messiah, pp. 47, 48, and Amberly's Analysis, p. 285.
[294:7] John, iv. 1-11.
Just as the Samaritan woman wondered that Jesus, a Jew, should ask drink
of her, one of a nation with whom the Jews had no dealings, so this
young Matangi warned Ananda of her caste, which rendered it unlawful for
her to approach a monk. And as Jesus continued, nevertheless, to
converse with the woman, so Ananda did not shrink from this outcast
damsel. And as the disciples "marvelled" that Jesus should have
conversed with this member of a despised race, so the respectable
Brahmans and householders who adhered to Brahmanism were scandalized to
learn that the young Matangi had been admitted to the order of
[294:8] Mueller: Religion of Science, p. 249.
[294:9] Matt. v. 44.
[294:10] Hardy: Eastern Monachism, p. 6.
[294:11] See Matt. iv. 13-25.
[294:12] "And there followed him great multitudes of people." (Matt. iv.
[294:13] Hardy: Eastern Monachism, pp. 6 and 62 et seq.
While at Rajageiha Buddha called together his followers and addressed
them at some length on the means requisite for Buddhist salvation. This
sermon was summed up in the celebrated verse:
"To cease from all sin,
To get virtue,
To cleanse one's own heart--
This is the religion of the Buddhas."
--(Rhys David's Buddha, p. 62.)
[294:14] See Matt. viii. 19, 20; xvi. 25-28.
[295:1] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 27.
[295:2] Hardy: Eastern Monachism, p. 230.
"Gautama Buddha is said to have announced to his disciples that the time
of his departure had come: 'Arise, let us go hence, my time is come.'
Turned toward the East and with folded arms he prayed to the highest
spirit who inhabits the region of purest light, to Maha-Brahma, to the
king in heaven, to Devaraja, who from his throne looked down on Gautama,
and appeared to him in a self-chosen personality." (Bunsen: The
Angel-Messiah. Compare with Matt. xxvi. 36-47.)
[295:3] "Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying,
Master, we would see a sign from thee." (Matt. xii. 38.)
[295:4] See Matt. xxiv; Mark, viii. 31; Luke, ix. 18.
[295:5] Mark, xxviii. 18-20.
Buddha at one time said to his disciples: "Go ye now, and preach the
most excellent law, expounding every point thereof, and unfolding it
with care and attention in all its bearings and particulars. Explain the
beginning, the middle, and the end of the law, to all men without
exception; let everything respecting it be made publicly known and
brought to the broad daylight." (Rhys David's Buddhism, p. 55, 56.)
When Buddha, just before his death, took his last formal farewell of his
assembled followers, he said unto them: "Oh mendicants, thoroughly
learn, and practice, and perfect, and spread abroad the law thought out
and revealed by me, in order that this religion of mine may last long,
and be perpetuated for the good and happiness of the great multitudes,
out of pity for the world, to the advantage and prosperity of gods and
men." (Ibid. p. 172.)
[295:6] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 244.
[295:7] Matt. xix. 16-21.
[295:8] Matt. vi. 19, 20.
[296:1] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. x, note.
[296:2] Matt. iv. 17.
[296:3] i. e., to establish the dominion of religion. (See Beal: p.
[296:4] The Jerusalem, the Rome, or the Mecca of India.
This celebrated city of Benares, which has a population of 200,000, out
of which at least 25,000 are Brahmans, was probably one of the first to
acquire a fame for sanctity, and it has always maintained its reputation
as the most sacred spot in all India. Here, in this fortress of
Hindooism, Brahmanism displays itself in all its plentitude and power.
Here the degrading effect of idolatry is visibly demonstrated as it is
nowhere else except in the extreme south of India. Here, temples, idols,
and symbols, sacred wells, springs, and pools, are multiplied beyond all
calculation. Here every particle of ground is believed to be hallowed,
and the very air holy. The number of temples is at least two thousand,
not counting innumerable smaller shrines. In the principal temple of
Siva, called Visvesvara, are collected in one spot several thousand
idols and symbols, the whole number scattered throughout the city,
being, it is thought, at least half a million.
Benares, indeed, must always be regarded as the Hindoo's Jerusalem. The
desire of a pious man's life is to accomplish at least one pilgrimage to
what he regards as a portion of heaven let down upon earth; and if he
can die within the holy circuit of the Pancakosi stretching with a
radius of ten miles around the city--nay, if any human being die there,
be he Asiatic or European--no previously incurred guilt, however
heinous, can prevent his attainment of celestial bliss.
[296:5] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 245.
[296:6] Matt. iv. 13-17.
[296:7] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 11.
[296:8] John, i. 17.
[296:9] Luke, xxi. 32, 33.
[296:10] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 228.
[296:11] Matt. v. 27, 28.
On one occasion Buddha preached a sermon on the five senses and the
heart (which he regarded as a sixth organ of sense), which pertained to
guarding against the passion of lust. Rhys Davids, who, in speaking of
this sermon, says: "One may pause and wonder at finding such a sermon
preached so early in the history of the world--more than 400 years
before the rise of Christianity--and among a people who have long been
thought peculiarly idolatrous and sensual." (Buddhism, p. 60.)
[297:1] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 138.
[297:2] I. Corinth. vii. 1-7.
[297:3] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 103.
[297:4] John, ix. 1, 2.
This is the doctrine of transmigration clearly taught. If this man was
born blind, as punishment for some sin committed by him, this sin must
have been committed in some former birth.
[297:5] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 181.
[297:6] See the story of his conversation with the woman of Samaria.
(John, iv. 1.) And with the woman who was cured of the "bloody issue."
(Matt. ix. 20.)
[297:7] Mueller: Science of Religion, p. 245.
[297:8] Matt. v. 29.
[297:9] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 134.
[297:10] Matt. xxi. 1-9.
Bacchus rode in a triumphal procession, on approaching the city of
Thebes. "Pantheus, the king, who had no respect for the new worship
(instituted by Bacchus) forbade its rites to be performed. But when it
was known that Bacchus was advancing, men and women, but chiefly the
latter, young and old, poured forth to meet him and to join his
triumphal march. . . . It was in vain Pantheus remonstrated, commanded
and threatened. 'Go,' said he to his attendants, 'seize this vagabond
leader of the rout and bring him to me. I will soon make him confess his
false claim of heavenly parentage and renounce his counterfeit
worship.'" (Bulfinch: Age of Fable, p. 222. Compare with Matt. xxvi.;
Luke, xxii.; John xviii.)
[297:11] "There are few names among the men of the West that stand forth
as saliently as Gotama Buddha, in the annals of the East. In little more
than two centuries from his decease the system he established had spread
throughout the whole of India, overcoming opposition the most
formidable, and binding together the most discordant elements; and at
the present moment Buddhism is the prevailing religion, under various
modifications, of Tibet, Nepal, Siam, Burma, Japan, and South Ceylon;
and in China it has a position of at least equal prominence with its two
great rivals, Confucianism and Taouism. A long time its influence
extended throughout nearly three-fourths of Asia; from the steppes of
Tartary to the palm groves of Ceylon, and from the vale of Cashmere to
the isles of Japan." (R. Spence Hardy: Buddhist Leg. p. xi.)
[298:1] "Gautama was very early regarded as omniscient, and absolutely
sinless. His perfect wisdom is declared by the ancient epithet of
Samma-sambuddha, 'the Completely Enlightened One;' found at the
commencement of every Pali text; and at the present day, in Ceylon, the
usual way in which Gautama is styled is Sarwajnan-wahanse,' the
Venerable Omniscient One.' From his perfect wisdom, according to
Buddhist belief, his sinlessness would follow as a matter of course.
He was the first and the greatest of the Arahats. As a consequence of
this doctrine the belief soon sprang up that he could not have been,
that he was not, born as ordinary men are; that he had no earthly
father; that he descended of his own accord into his mother's womb from
his throne in heaven; and that he gave unmistakable signs, immediately
after his birth of his high character and of his future greatness."
(Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 162.)
[299:1] Gautama Buddha left behind him no written works, but the
Buddhists believe that he composed works which his immediate disciples
learned by heart in his life-time, and which were handed down by memory
in their original state until they were committed to writing. This is
not impossible: it is known that the Vedas were handed down in this
manner for many hundreds of years, and none would now dispute the
enormous powers of memory to which Indian priests and monks attained,
when written books were not invented, or only used as helps to memory.
Even though they are well acquainted with writing, the monks in Ceylon
do not use books in their religions services, but, repeat, for instance,
the whole of the Patimokkha on Uposatha (Sabbath) days by heart. (See
Rhys Davids' Buddhism, pp. 9, 10.)
[299:2] Compare this with the names, titles, and characters given to
Jesus. He is called the "Deliverer," (Acts, vii. 35); the "First
Begotten" (Rev. i. 5); "God blessed forever" (Rom. ix. 5); the "Holy
One" (Luke, iv. 34; Acts, iii. 14); the "King Everlasting" (Luke, i.
33); "King of Kings" (Rev. xvii. 14); "Lamb of God" (John, i. 29, 36);
"Lord of Glory" (I. Cor. ii. 8); "Lord of Lords" (Rev. xvii. 14); "Lion
of the tribe of Judah" (Rev. v. 5); "Maker and Preserver of all things"
(John, i. 3, 10; I. Cor. viii. 6; Col. i. 16); "Prince of Peace" (Isai.
ix. 6); "Redeemer," "Saviour," "Mediator," "Word," &c., &c.
[300:1] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 41.
[300:2] "He joined to his gifts as a thinker a prophetic ardor and
missionary zeal which prompted him to popularize his doctrine, and to
preach to all without exception, men and women, high and low, ignorant
and learned alike." (Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 53.)
[300:3] Bunsen: The Angel-Messiah, p. 45.
[300:4] Ibid. p. 46.
[300:5] "The success of Buddhism was in great part due to the reverence
the Buddha inspired by his own personal character. He practiced honestly
what he preached enthusiastically. He was sincere, energetic, earnest,
self-sacrificing, and devout. Adherents gathered in thousands around the
person of the consistent preacher, and the Buddha himself became the
real centre of Buddhism." (Williams' Hinduism, p. 102.)
[300:6] "It may be said to be the prevailing religion of the world. Its
adherents are estimated at four hundred millions, more than a third of
the human race." (Chambers's Encyclo., art. "Buddhism." See also,
Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 251.)
[301:1] It should be understood that the Buddha of this chapter, and in
fact, the Buddha of this work, is Gautama Buddha, the Sakya Prince.
According to Buddhist belief there have been many different Buddhas on
earth. The names of twenty-four of the Buddhas who appeared previous
to Gautama have been handed down to us. The Buddhavansa or "History of
the Buddhas," gives the lives of all the previous Buddhas before
commencing the account of Gautama himself. (See Rhys Davids' Buddhism,
pp. 179, 180.)
[301:2] "The date usually fixed for Buddha's death is 543 B. C. Whether
this precise year for one of the greatest epochs in the religious
history of the human race can be accepted is doubtful, but it is
tolerably certain that Buddhism arose in Behar and Eastern Hindustan
about five centuries B. C.; and that it spread with great rapidity, not
by force of arms, or coercion of any kind, like Muhammedanism, but by
the sheer persuasiveness of its doctrine." (Monier Williams' Hinduism,
[301:3] "Of the high antiquity of Buddhism there is much collateral as
well as direct evidence--evidence that neither internecine nor foreign
strife, not even religious persecution, has been able to destroy. . . .
Witness the gigantic images in the caves of Elephanta, near Bombay and
those of Lingi Sara, in the interior of Java, all of which are known to
have been in existence at least four centuries prior to our Lord's
advent." (The Mammoth Religion.)
[301:4] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 250.
[302:1] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. vi.
[302:2] Ibid. pp. x. and xi.
[302:3] Ibid. pp. vii., ix. and note.
[303:1] Bunsen's Angel-Messiah, p. 50.
[303:2] Quoted by Prof. Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. viii.
[303:3] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 86.
[303:4] Science of Religion, p. 243.
[303:5] Rhys Davids' Buddhism.
[303:6] Ibid. p. 184.
"It is surprising," says Rhys Davids, "that, like Romans worshiping
Augustus, or Greeks adding the glow of the sun-myth to the glory of
Alexander, the Indians should have formed an ideal of their Chakravarti,
and transferred to this new ideal many of the dimly sacred and half
understood traits of the Vedic heroes? Is it surprising that the
Buddhists should have found it edifying to recognize in their hero the
Chakravarti of Righteousness, and that the story of the Buddha should be
tinged with the coloring of these Chakravarti myths?" (Ibid. Buddhism,
[303:7] In Chapter xxxix., we shall explain the origin of these myths.