We have discussed Buddhism and how to ‘properly’ interpret scripture before, so today we will discuss the parallel sayings of two of the world’s Great Masters: Buddha and Jesus Christ.
Originally, this article was intended to compare, contrast, and explain these passages; but upon reflection there is nothing that can be added beyond the Great Teachers’ own words.
It is sincerely hoped that by reading these few short parallel sayings, that it may awaken in you a desire to know more; and a realization of the common ground between not just these two, but of all the world’s many religious traditions.
These passages are reprinted from “Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings” edited by Marcus Borg, published by Ulysses Press.
Jesus: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31
Buddha: “Consider others as yourself.” Dhammapada 10:1
Jesus: “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also.” Luke 6:29
Buddha: “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words.” Majjhima Nikaya 21:6
Jesus: “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” Matthew 25:45
Buddha: “If you do not tend to one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick.” Vinaya, Mahavagga 8:26.3
Jesus: “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Matthew 26:52
Buddha: “Abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gautama dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword.” Digha Nikaya 1:1.8
Jesus: “Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it.” Mark 8:35
Buddha: “With the relinquishing of all thought and egotism, the enlightened one is liberated through not clinging.” Majjhima Nikaya 72:15
Jesus: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
Buddha: “Teach the dharma which is lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle, lovely at the end. Explain with the spirit and the letter in the fashion of Brahma. In this way you will be completely fulfilled and wholly pure.” Vinaya Mahavagga 1:11.1
Buddha: One is the way to gain, the other is the way to Nirvana, knowing this fact, students of the Buddha should not take pleasure in being honored, but, should practice detachment.
Jesus: No slave can serve two masters For a slave will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Buddha: Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world.
Jesus: This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
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B. Dave Walters
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