THE ORIGIN OF BUDDHISM
The Buddhist religion originated in northern India during the life of Gautama Buddha (563-483 B.C.) who’s original name was Siddhartha Gautama, the son of one of the ruling Kshatriyas King in the modern border region between northern India and Nepal. During this period there were many different small Hindu Kingdoms scattered throughout what is now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Himalayas. Gautama Buddha was a Prince in one of these small Indian Kingdoms at the foothills of the Himalayas.
During the lifetime of Siddhartha Gautama (who was later called the Buddha - meaning the Enlightened One) there was much tyranny and exploitation of the people belonging to the lower castes in India under Hinduism. The Hindu Brahmin [Priests] and the Kshatriyas [Ruling Warriors] ruled over and exploited all other people not belonging to these two ruling classes. Furthermore, there were numerous power struggles between the Brahmin Priests and the Kshatriyas Warriors which led to much discontentment within the ranks of Hindu worshipers. This was the historical setting which led to the rise of the new religion called Buddhism.
The only historical information regarding the initial rise of Buddhism comes from oral traditions that were written down about 400 years after Siddhartha Gautama’s death. According to Buddhist oral tradition, when Siddhartha was an infant a Hindu sage prophesied to Siddhartha’s father, King Suddhodana Gautama, that Siddhartha would become a great ruler like his father if he remained in the palace. But if he went out into the world, he would become a Buddha [an enlightened one]. From this prophecy King Suddhodana Gautama supposedly believed that if Siddhartha was exposed to any human misery, he would leave his home to become an enlightened religious teacher. Therefore he ordered his subjects to shield Siddhartha from any form of evil or suffering by keeping him confined within the walls of the Kingdom’s luxurious palace. In this way Siddhartha’s father hoped that he would follow the footsteps of his father as a ruling King rather than a religious teacher.
At age sixteen, Siddhartha won the hand of his cousin by performing twelve feats in the art of archery. He may have taken more wives during his life, but his cousin Yashodara was his principle wife. Despite his fathers attempts to keep him confined to the palace, when the young Prince grew older he ventured outside of the palace walls for the first time. The Prince was shocked to see the sufferings of a leper and people weeping at a funeral procession. His charioteer told him that these kinds of sufferings were a regular part of real life. As Siddhartha kept riding he noticed that a saint had a perplexing calmness and sereneness on his face. The charioteer informed Siddhartha that the saint was happy because he had renounced all materialistic pleasures of this life. From these observations Siddhartha later determined that happiness was just an illusion. This brief excursion outside of the Palace walls left an indelible impression on Siddhartha which led him to eventually leave his beautiful wife and infant son to journey outside of the realm of his palace and kingdom in search for the true meaning of life. As soon as his first son was born, assuring that the royal bloodline would be continued, Siddhartha left the kingdom on a pilgrimage of inquiry and asceticism as a poor beggar monk seeking truth.
Siddhartha was just a young man when he left his luxurious life in the palace to journey throughout northern India seeking to learn the truth about life. Siddhartha spent much time with the Hindu monks who instructed him to subject his body to rigorous disciplines and punishments in order to achieve enlightenment. But Siddhartha later rejected these views and chose the middle ground of partial suffering rather than extreme suffering. Siddhartha’s teaching about enlightenment alleged that a Buddhist could attain Nirvana [Salvation] by living the life of the middle ground aestheticism which he interpreted to include fasting every day from 12 noon until the next morning, sleeping on a hard surface, and living a secluded life of self denial. The Buddhist concept of aesthetic monks emulates the ancient Hindu aesthetic monks that Siddhartha was familiar with. Siddhartha’s later Buddhist teachings were clearly influenced by the aestheticism of Hindu Priests and Monks.
At the age of thirty five, Siddhartha Gautama alleges that he found enlightenment about the true meaning and purpose of life while meditating under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, within the state of Bihar. After Siddhartha’s alleged enlightened he was later called the Buddha [Enlightened One]. Siddartha’s teachings about reincarnation and rigorous self denial was clearly influenced by the Hindu teachings of his day. Siddharth [The Buddha] began preaching sermons on his thoughts about enlightenment throughout India until his death at the age of eighty.
Left: A Hindu Monk praying on the banks of India’s Ganges River. Right: A Buddhist monk in meditation. Buddhism clearly incorporated aesthetic monks and its belief in reincarnation from the Hindu religion of India.
THE TEACHINGS OF THE BUDDHA
Siddhartha’s teachings discarded the Hindu Brahmanical system that divided human society up into different castes based upon birth. Since the majority of the population within Hinduism were in the lower castes the new religion spread like wildfire throughout India and the Himalayas. He shunned the Hindu rituals and devotion to Hindu deities. He taught that God or Gods are irrelevant because they are also subject to suffering and that they themselves also need Nirvana [Salvation from sufferings].
Siddhartha did not reject the existence of Gods altogether but he taught that these gods were also subject to suffering and to reincarnation just like all humans allegedly were. Therefore Siddharth appears to have rejected the idea of a mighty God or Gods creating all material things, including mankind. According to Buddha, both human and divine souls or spirits had to obtain Nirvana (salvation from the materialistic life) through many reincarnated lives. How can any deity create mankind and all material things and then need to experience many different birth’s and deaths in order to achieve salvation? Any God who needs salvation [nirvana] cannot be mighty enough to create life?
Buddhism does not deny the existence of a God or the existence of many Gods. However, according to Buddhism each God must also achieve wise enlightenment through many reincarnated lives just like mortals. If a God is really a God then how can a Deity also need to be enlightened? And if a God needs to be saved from death’s and re-birth’s through many reincarnations how then can He be considered a God at all?
This presents a serious problem for Buddhism. If there is no God or Gods who created all things then where did the created beings come from in the first place? If all deities were subject to births and reincarnations then how could they be powerful enough to create anyone? If the deity or deities all needed to achieve salvation through many births and deaths just like humans then how can these alleged deities have been powerful enough to create all material things, including mankind? And if all human beings now living have all been reincarnated from past lives, how then can there be enough human spirits around to justify close to 7 billions humans living in the 21st century?
f there is no God creating these new human beings then where did these billions of humans come from? There could not have been enough humans around in past lives to justify so many different reincarnated lives now living! Buddhists cannot answer these questions. How then can the world’s inhabitants be expected to join a religion if it makes no logical sense?
THE WHEEL OF THE LAW
THE WHEEL OF THE LAW IS THE SYMBOL OF THE BUDDHIST RELIGION
Gautama Buddha borrowed the Hindu idea of reincarnationism. To the Buddha, both people and deities need salvation from the continual sufferings of the wheel of reincarnated lives. Buddhists are taught that they need to get off the wheel of repeated death’s and rebirth’s by living according to strict Buddhist Law. When they do finally achieve nirvana they are rewarded with eternal non-existence.
The central teachings of Buddhism stems from what Siddhartha called The Four Noble Truths:
1. Life is full of suffering (dukkha);
2. Suffering is caused by desire and craving;
3. One can be free from this suffering by removing desire and craving;
4. The way to eliminate desire and to get free from the cycle of birth and death is by following the Eight-Fold Path.
The Eight-Fold Path consists of: right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right awareness, and right concentration. By following the above path, one can attain Nirvana or salvation, which would free the soul from suffering and the cycle of birth and death.
Gautama Buddha was so successful in spreading his ideas of enlightenment that multitudes of former Hindu’s became his followers and many Indian States accepted Buddhism as the official State Religion of their Kingdoms. Buddhist teaching was spread by word of mouth only for four hundred years before the Buddhist teachings were finally written down as Buddhist Tripitikas [Scriptures]. By the second century A.D. Buddhism eventually spread throughout most of Asia to become a major world religion.
After the Buddha died the Sangha continued to spread Buddhism but it split into many groups. These groups each translated the Dharma a little differently. These groups began to form monasteries throughout India and Buddhism was transformed from a group of wandering beggar-monks to communities of Buddhist monasteries. From the 18 schools that formed out of these groups, three major branches of Buddhism eventually formed; the Theravada (the doctrine of the elders), the Mahayana (the Great Wheel), and Vajrayana (the Diamond Vehicle). These groups make up the Buddhist community and the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sanha are known as the "Three Jewels" of Buddhism.
If reincarnation were true then there would have to be a higher power orchestrating the reincarnations and creating new human spirits to keep up with growing world populations. The Buddhist religion cannot answer critical questions as to how these alleged reincarnations take place or who or what divine power orchestrates this process!
The Buddha’s teachings left Buddhist followers with many unanswerable questions. If a Buddhist begins to ask questions about the legitimacy of the Buddhist religion he or she is told that these questions are irrelevant. Buddhists are taught that questioning the legitimacy of Buddhism will cause the seeker of wisdom to get off the track from true enlightenment. Any religion that condemns sincere and open questions about the legitimacy of that religion cannot be a true religion at all. For how can a true religion be true if it does not make sense to its own followers?
The Buddha taught that when salvation [Nirvana] is achieved it causes that person to reach a state of nonexistence. If people simply stop existing when they reach Nirvana, then what is the real purpose of life after all? Why go through all of the strict aestheticism of Buddhist Monks just to reach the state of non existence? If I really believed in Buddhism I would not bother trying to reach Nirvana because I could keep living on in future lives. To cease existing is like a spiritual death. Who would want their spirit to be annihilated out of existence? Why would anyone want to struggle to achieve enlightenment through many reincarnated lives just to be rewarded with a state of eternal nothingness. You have struggled very hard to meet the high standards of Buddhism just to have your spirit cease to exist. What kind of a reward is that? It is not a reward at all but a punishment for good behavior.
How can a Buddhist know that the Buddha was accurate in his beliefs? Are they just to accept the teachings of the Buddha without ever questioning it? If all people in every religion had this attitude then no one would ever find the true religion at all. The geographical location of one’s birth or the family into which one was born cannot automatically determine weather or not one’s religion is true. To learn more read our book entitled “Finding The True Religion.”
Above and Below Right: Ancient Hindu aesthetic monks. Buddhism was clearly influenced by ancient Hinduism.
Dharma is an Indian term that is understood to mean simply the law of life. Within Buddhism, the Dharma means more specifically the teachings of Buddha.
Following Buddha's death his followers convened to create a system of doctrines that they could all agree on. These teachings were then handed down orally over future generations through Buddhist monks. In 80 B.C., Buddhist scribes finally compiled the teachings of the Buddha on paper, which became the Pali Canon, also called the Tripitaka. The teachings contained rules for conduct, methods for spiritual attainment, and the ethics taught by the Buddha.
Buddhism was passed on orally from Gautama Buddha’s death in 483 B.C. until the oral traditions of Buddha’s teachings were finally put in writing in 80 B.C. This presents a problem for Buddhism. The test of the accuracy of historical documents is measured by how much time and how many generations it took from the original teaching of the religion to be placed in writing. Four hundred years is a very long time when we consider that the United States is less than 250 years old. There were many generations of oral teachings that could have easily led to additions and detractions in the real teachings of Gautama Buddha.
The historical record proves that the apostles of Jesus the Messiah placed Jesus’ teachings in writing within a few decades after Jesus’ death. Each writer of the New Testament Scriptures lived during the lifetime of Jesus the Messiah and were eyewitnesses of the events that they themselves recorded. Therefore Christianity is historically more trustworthy than Buddhism because the teachings of Jesus were recorded by those living during the same time that Jesus had lived. The apostles of Jesus were eyewitnesses of all of the events that they wrote about. Moreover, the apostles circulated these books during the lifetime of many other eyewitnesses who would have exposed any fictitious accounts, had the facts been otherwise.
In contradistinction, the teachings of the Buddha were never put into writing until about 400 years after the Buddha had died. Many historians believe that the teachings of Buddhism could have been easily distorted by years of oral story telling. It is just plain fact that people do not always pass on oral traditions accurately, especially if they were passed down orally from many generations prior to being written down.
Buddhism thrived in India because it recruited people from all of the different castes of Hinduism and treated each caste equally. The Hindu’s believed and still believe that people must move up through the caste systems through many reincarnated lives. According to Buddha, nirvana, or deliverance from suffering, is extended to everyone who strictly obeys the laws of a monastic life. Therefore many in the despised and rejected lower castes in India warmly embraced the new Buddhist religion.
The Buddha rejected subservience of any kind to a supreme God and denied belief in an eternal self. While he believed that karma would determine the kind of rebirth and quality of life one would have at rebirth, he didn't believe it was a self or soul that was reborn. He taught instead that there is a rearrangement of the elements of a person's identity, which are called "self". In other words the new self is still comprised of the same parts.
The Hindu Brahmin priests of India had taught that nirvana [salvation] was attained when the soul or spirit of man became one with the universal soul but the Buddha taught that nirvana [salvation] is the complete termination of all future life. Therefore the Buddha actually taught that salvation [nirvana] is accomplished when a person achieves liberation from ever being reborn again. How can anyone find any hope or inspiration in Buddha’s teaching on Nirvana? How could rebirth after rebirth make your complete elimination from existence sound appealing?
The Buddha believed that we are temporal creations born to lives of sorrow and suffering. This suffering is a result of selfish desires that chains people to the wheel of insubstantial impermanent things. Living according to the Dharma [Laws of Life] will help one eliminate these desires thus leading you to Nirvana - the utter annihilation of one’s spiritual being. Since the Buddha did not claim to have taught by any divine or supernatural authority, how can we trust that his teachings are really true? Buddhism teaches that life is a wheel of suffering that can only end by obtaining nirvana - the elimination of one’s existence.
The Buddhist believer is suppose to rejoice that his living spirit finally achieves a complete cessation of his living existence forever. How could the complete elimination of one’s being be considered a reward for achieving forever. I would not be happy at the prospect of the eternal elimination of my being. My reward for following the laws of Buddhism would be the achievement of eternal nothingness. I fail to live anymore forever. What kind of a reward is that? It is not a reward at all? In contradistinction, Jesus the Messiah offers all people the true reward of everlasting life.
THE BUDDHA’S FOUR NOBLE TRUTH’S EXPLAINED
The universality of suffering - People discover through rebirth, aging, and death that life is full of sorrow. We suffer this sorrow until deliverance is achieved.
The origin of suffering - Suffering is caused by the false desires of the senses that have been deceived into clinging to the impermanent world. The quest for immortality further aggravates human suffering.
The overcoming of suffering - If false desires cause suffering, then the desires need to be suppressed, abandoned, or rejected in order to nullify their effects. Ignorance of the way of deliverance and the delusion that there is a permanent self are the primary cause of suffering.
The way leading to the suppression of suffering - The noble eightfold path is a sacred path with eight branches called right views of understanding, right aspirations, right speech, right conduct or action, right livelihood, right effort or endeavor, right mind control or concentration, and right mindfulness. These eight branches are not stages that can be lived out in succession or isolation from one another. They are different dimensions of a total way of life.
While Buddha did not deny the existence of gods, he taught that the worship of gods obstructed one's quest for nirvana. To him the gods inhabit the cosmos and are impermanent like all of us, so they too must escape rebirth through nirvana. How then are Buddhists to believe in a nirvana when there is no God powerful enough to orchestrate the birth, death, and reincarnation process?
After the Buddha's first sermon he continued to preach only to his followers, a group of wandering beggars, rather than to the masses. These followers became the first monastic order. This order of Buddhist believers is known as the Sangha. In order to learn the Dharma and become part of the Sangha, people were required to become one of these beggar-monks.
Those joining the Sangha would have their head shaved to symbolize renunciation of the worldly things, and would be given a new name and a new robe before taking their vows. After completing a period of time as a novice, the monk would again be given a new name and a new robe.
The Buddha taught the Middle-Way, so monks were taught to reject worldly comforts, but they also rejected self torture or mortification. The Buddha continually warned his disciples against the sinister guile of women, and in women were not allowed in the Sangha.
Followers who chose not to become members of the order were still permitted to follow the Buddha's teachings while living in the world, however they would not be able to achieve nirvana or receive any of the higher fruits of the Dharma, such as inner tranquility.
According to the Buddha, several lives are required to attain your non existence. He taught that the journey to reach a state of nirvana [non existence] is long and difficult. And the reward for all your efforts is the inner peace and harmony with all beings right before you reach Nirvana - The end of your existence!
Therefore Buddhists do not have any hope of eternal life. They believe that they must strive to reach nirvana through many birth’s and deaths just to reach a state of spiritual suicide. Buddhists do not believe that human spirits are eternal. When salvation is finally achieved the Buddhist believes that he ceases to exist. How can that be a reward? If I were a Buddhist I would not be looking forward to reaching Nirvana - my own state of spiritual obliteration!
Above: Hindu Monk. The Buddha was heavily influenced by the teachings of ancient Hindu Priests and Monks. Hindu aesthetic priests and monks pray and meditate in the same position as Buddhists. Both religions believe in reincarnation and in pagan gods.
Above: Another Hindu Monk meditating in the same position as a statue of the Buddha. Buddhism clearly reflected some of the central beliefs and practices of the ancient Hindu religious culture of India.
QUESTIONS THAT BUDDHISTS CANNOT ANSWER
1. How did human life begin and who controls reincarnations if there is no Almighty God or Gods to answer to?
2. How did the world’s population grow from perhaps 100 million people in Buddha’s day to about 6.7 billion people in the 21st century? If all human lives were reincarnated from past lives then where did all the additional people come from without any divine power to create billions of more human spirits or souls? And if there is a divine power to answer and give an account too then (if Buddha’s teachings are accurate) why did not the Buddha give us detailed information about the true worship and service to this God or Gods?
3. If the Buddha was truly enlightened who gave him this enlightenment? If it was from an Almighty God then why did he not say so?
4. If there is no God to answer too then from where did the Buddha receive his wise and moral teachings from?
5. If the Buddha’s enlightened teachings was really true then why is there no evidence of anyone ever teaching Buddhism before the Buddha was born?
6. If Buddhism were true then why are there no historical claims of Buddhists being Christian, Jew, or American Indian such as Aztec or Mayans in previous lives? It appears that all Buddhists always believed that their previous lives were always in the societies that they were familiar with. How can Buddhists explain why they were not Aztecs, Mayans, or Australian Aborigines? If Buddhism’s teaching about reincarnation were really true then Buddhists should have been reincarnated from various nations and religions from around the entire globe!
7. Exactly when was mankind and all material things created and how did human suffering begin in the first place?
8. How can Buddhists only recall portions of their past lives if they are really the selfsame spiritual entity? And how can one really learn from past mistakes in his previous lives if he cannot recall them? What is the sense of being punished for actions we cannot even remember?
There are many other questions that the Buddhist world view cannot answer with any degree of certainty. The Buddhists typical response to such questions is that Buddhism was never put in place to answer philosophical questions but it is more of an answer as to why suffering exists and a reactionary response against Hinduism.
Many Buddhists say that it is irrelevant to ask questions about the origin and accuracy of the Buddhist world view. The teachings of Buddhism are what they are and we are not to question the origin or accuracy of these truth’s. But how can anyone claim to follow a religion that does not have the answers to basic questions about the validity of the religion he is following? Any religion which purposefully side steps questions about its legitimacy cannot be a true religion at all. A true religion must have an array of good evidence to prove itself that it is indeed the one true religion that is far superior to all of the other world religions.
The Christian Faith of the first century apostles does have the answers to these questions. Unlike all other world religions, true Christianity has a vast array of good evidence to prove to the whole world that it is indeed the one true religion that all mankind is to follow. For amazing evidence proving that the original Christianity of the first century Apostles is the true religion see “The Reliability of Bible Prophecy” and “Finding The True Religion.”
The Buddha never made any claims of being all-knowing or having infallible knowledge in his spiritual teachings? The Buddha merely asks people to try out his philosophies to see if they are correct. Therefore Buddha was clearly a fallible human being who was not acting upon any supernatural or divine power when he spread his alleged teachings of enlightenment. Since Buddha’s alleged enlightenment never came from a divine source, then who gave this Buddha the authority to promote his teachings as a new religion?
In contradistinction, Jesus and the apostles and prophets made claims of certainty. Jesus the Messiah spoke with divine authority. He knew the source of His teachings and boldly declared the true enlightenment to the whole world with miraculous signs and wonders confirming its validity. The Buddha never claimed to speak with divine authority, nor did he perform miracles, nor did he ever speak with authority like Jesus the Messiah:
JESUS SPOKE AND ACTED WITH DIVINE AUTHORITY
"I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“He [Jesus] arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying,
‘What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?’” Even Jesus’ enemies admitted, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
Jesus is the only founder of a religion with significant miraculous evidence to prove that it is the world’s only true religion. Jesus miraculously fulfilled hundreds of prophecies written hundreds of years before his birth. Jesus further proved his authority by many supernatural miracles which were done in front of thousands of eye witnesses. No other world religion can come close to the miraculous evidence for Christianity.
“They brought to Him [Jesus] a paralyzed man lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, ‘Son be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you. And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, ‘This man blasphemes.’ But Jesus knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say, your sins are forgiven you, or to say, Arise and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins’ - then He said to the paratalytic, ‘Arise, take up your bed, and go to your own house.’ And he (the man who was completely paralyzed) arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.” Matthew 9:2-8
“And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on Him but they feared the people - for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have? They answered and said, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.” Luke 20:19-26
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases among the people. Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them. Great multitudes followed Him - from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and beyond Jordan.” Matthew 4:23-25
The Biblical account of the life, miracles, and ministry of Jesus and His apostles have been supported by the historical and archaeological evidence. No other religion but Christianity can back up its claims of actual miraculous events by the surviving contemporaneous evidence from its own critics.
The Roman historian Tacitus wrote that “Christ [Jesus], who was executed under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.” This perfectly corresponds with the New Testament Gospel Narrative in the Christian Bible. Another Roman writer Phlegon wrote about “the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified. Phlegon goes on to mention, “the great earthquakes which then took place.” The Pagan Historian Thallus admitted in the year A.D. 52, only about 20 years after the death of Christ, that there was “darkness which accompanied the crucifixion of Christ.” Thallus goes on to write that it was just a coincidence that a natural solar eclipse had occurred during the crucifixion of Jesus, who is called Christ. The non Christian Pagan writings agree with the first century New Testament Gospel Narration: Matthew 27:45,50,51 “Now from the sixth hour [12 Noon] until the ninth hour [3:00 PM] there was darkness over all the land. . . . And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” This darkness from 12 Noon to 3:00 pm in the afternoon was so great that the early Pagan writers, Thallus and Phlegon, tried to explain it away as a naturally occurring solar eclipse. But how could this be a naturally occurring solar eclipse when it occurred during the Feast of Passover which was a time when there was a full moon? It is not possible for a solar eclipse to occur during the time of a full moon. Therefore this darkness over the land had to be a supernatural, rather than a naturally occurring event!
Unlike the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of the Buddha were never considered infallible, in fact, the Buddha did not ask for his followers to have faith in him or in any God. The Buddha merely asked his followers to put his teachings to the test in order to see if these teachings were valid.
Since the Bible teaches that God has created man after His own spiritual image, it makes clear sense that all men have the ability to know right from wrong in their own consciences. Therefore the Buddha could have easily pointed out both right and wrong behaviors. “For when the Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves. Who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their c conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them.” Romans 2:14,15
Many Buddhist moral laws are in line with basic moral laws of the Christian Bible. Therefore the Christian can also tell people to put Jesus’ teachings to the test to see if they are valid. Jesus commanded his followers to “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:44-45. Wherefore, according to the Buddha’s premise of testing the validity of one‘s moral teachings, the Christian teachings of Jesus on morality are also truly valid.
1. To refrain from taking life. (non-violence towards sentient life forms)
2. To refrain from taking that which is not given (not committing theft)
3. To refrain from sensual misconduct (abstinence from immoral sexual behavior)
4. To refrain from lying. (speaking truth always)
5. To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (refrain from using drugs or alcohol)
Some Buddhist moral laws are similar to Biblical teachings:
1. You shall not murder
2. You shall not steal
3. You shall not commit adultery or covet anything that is your neighbors
4. You shall not bear false witness
5. The Bible speaks against drunkenness in numerous passages of scripture: Prov 20:1, Prov 21:17, 1 Sam 1:14, Isa 5:11, 22; 28:1, 28:7; 29:9; 56:12, Jer 23:9; 51:7, Joel 3:3. Psalm 60:3, 1 Cor 9:6-10, Galatians 5:19-21
These five precepts in Buddhism, such as sensual misconduct are not as clearly defined as they are in the Bible but they do contain basic morals which have been universally known to mankind from the most ancient times of human history. However, the eighth precept of Buddhism encourages eating from sunrise to noon and refraining from a luxurious bed. Therefore many would have to suffer the effects of improper glucose levels (diabetics could not follow this precept) and sleepless nights just to deter the sufferings of bad karma? How can mandating additional sufferings be the solution to the problem of human sufferings? How can the added sufferings of aestheticism and masochism be mandated as a requirement to achieve salvation?
Although Biblical Christianity does teach the disciplines of fasting, prayers, and self control, it does not require its followers to fast every day, nor to sleep on hard surfaces, nor to live secluded lives in monasteries like Buddhist monks are required. The Bible teaches that Christians are to live in close fellowship with the whole body of Christian believers (Acts 2:44-47, Hebrews 13:1). The disciplines of separating for times of fasting and prayer are only meant to be for short times, not for lifetimes (1 Corinthians 7:5).
Buddhist teachings require the removal of monks from the general public in order to escape bad karma so they can reach nirvana. Brief separations from the general public and from the christian community for the purposes of prayer, fasting, and Bible reading are good and healthy for short periods of times but not for long durations of time. What is the purpose of having families and social communities if they are to be rejected as obstacles which prevent people from achieving a state of Nirvana?
According to the teachings of Christianity, true love and social interaction with one’s family and with one’s Christian family of believers in a local Christian church community are necessary for experiencing true happiness and everlasting life: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her . . . so husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies . . . Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with promise . . . And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 5:25-28; 6:1-4 “Now all who believed [The early Christians] were together, and had all things common. And sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.”
Have you ever questioned why you are a Buddhist? Have you just followed the religious teachings you have been taught or raised in? Can you answer life’s most important questions: How did you get here? Where are you going after death? And what is your real purpose in life if you have no hope of eternal life? If Buddhism is true then you should be able to explain to non-Buddhists exactly why the Buddha was right in his teachings and why other world religions are wrong. The Bible clearly informs us about our origin, purpose, and eternal rewards. The One true God of the apostles and prophets of the Bible has given mankind many miraculous reasons why the earliest form of Christianity is the one true religion above all other religions. No other world religion but Christianity can compare with the miraculous evidence of Bible prophecies fulfilled. Nor can any other religion point to such a vast array of historical evidence to prove its miraculous origin. For miraculous evidence proving the truthfulness of Christianity see our books, “Finding The True Religion,” and “The Reliability of Bible Prophecy.”
Much like early Christianity, the teachings of the Buddha were more peaceful, loving and accepting towards all different nationalities and social groups within human societies. Yet when we compare Christianity with Buddhism we find that there were no prophecies recording the coming of the Buddha written down hundreds of years before he was born. Yet there are dozens of scriptures recorded in the Bible which were written many hundreds of years before Jesus was born to prove to the whole world that Jesus is exactly who He said He was; the only true Savior of mankind and the founder of the world’s one and only true religion.
Buddhists cannot point to a single prophecy to prove that the Buddha came from a divine or supernatural origin. The Hindu sage that allegedly prophesied that Siddhartha Gautama would be either a great King like his father or an enlightened religious teacher when he grew up does not hold the same kind of miraculous weight as the prophesies of the coming of Jesus that were written down hundreds of years before Jesus was ever born. There is no historical way to show that the Hindu sage’s alleged prophesy that Gautama Buddha would be either a King or a religious teacher prove that the Buddha was the founder of a true religion. Nor is there any solid evidence to prove that Buddhism is from a heavenly or supernatural source.
The evidence for Buddhism pales in comparison to the evidence for Christianity for the following reasons.
1. The Hindu sage may have given Siddhartha’s father a good educated guess as many first born children of a King would probably become a great King or wise religious teacher (or both).
2. The Buddhist historical accounts prove that the teachings and history of the Buddha were not written down until about four hundred years after his death. This leaves much time for oral traditions and story telling to add false information to the true events surrounding the life and the teachings of the Buddha. In contradistinction, the apostles wrote down the teachings, historical events fulfilling Bible prophecies, and the miracles of Jesus the Messiah within a few decades after his death and resurrection.
3. The Buddha did not perform any miracles to prove that his teachings originated from heaven nor did the Buddha fulfill any recorded ancient prophecies. Yet the God of heaven performed many miraculous events through Jesus the Messiah in front of multitudes of eyewitnesses, including the miracles of fulfilled Bible prophecies which were written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Furthermore, the written records of New Testament Scripture were circulated in the same nation and during the same time period where the miraculous events actually occurred. Had the facts been otherwise, the miraculous claims for Christianity would have been proved false. For miraculous evidence proving Christianity to be the world’s only true religion see our book, “Finding The True Religion.”
Bible Scholars have counted as many as 332 Messianic Prophecies which were fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus. Many of these prophecies are very graphic and detailed such as his birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), ministry of miracles (Isaiah 35:5,6), betrayal for 30 pieces of silver (Zechariah 11:12), hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16), crucified with thieves (Isaiah 53:12), side pierced (Zechariah 12:10), and darkness over the land at his death (Amos 8:9). Many of these prophecies were totally out of Jesus’ ability to control. No man has the ability to control or orchestrate the place of his birth: Micah 5:2 predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. No man has the ability to predict the exact location of his birth. Nor does anyone have the ability to predict or plan with certainty the exact cause of his own death: Psalm 22:16 foretold that the Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced and Zechariah 12:10 had foretold that his side would be pierced. The chances of any man fulfilling all of these detailed predictive prophecies in a single life are truly miraculous. How could Jesus not be the Messiah when he accurately fulfilled so many detailed Hebrew prophecies written between 400 to 1500 years before his birth? No other man but Jesus in all of human history has ever fulfilled all of these prophecies to qualify as the true Messiah and Savior of the World!
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY NEW TESTAMENT FULFILLMENT
Genesis 3:15 Seed of Woman Matthew 1:20
Isaiah 7:14 Virgin Birth Matthew 1:18
Genesis 49:10 From the Tribe of Judah Luke 3:23,33
Micah 5:2 Born at Bethlehem Matthew 2:1
Psalm 72:10 Presented with Gifts Matthew 2:1,11
Jeremiah 31:15 King Herod kills Children Matthew 2:16
Isaiah 7:14 Called Immanuel [God with us] Matthew 1:23
Isaiah 40:3 Preceded by a Prophet Matthew 3:1,2
Isaiah 35:5,6 Ministry of Great Miracles Matthew 9:25
Zechariah 9:9 To enter Jerusalem on a Donkey Luke 19:35-37
Psalm 16:10 Resurrected after Death Acts 2:31
Psalm 68:18 Bodily Ascension to Heaven Acts 1:9
Psalm 41:9 Betrayed by a Friend John 13:21
Zechariah 11:12 Sold for 30 Pieces of Silver Matthew 26:15
Zechariah 11:13 30 Pieces of Silver Thrown into Temple Matthew 27:5
Zechariah 13:7 Forsaken by His Disciples Matthew 26:56
Psalm 35:11 Accused by False Witnesses Matthew 26:59,60
Isaiah 53:7 Silent Before Accusers Matthew 27:12
Isaiah 53:5 Wounded and Bruised Matthew 27:26
Isaiah 50:6 Smitten and Spit Upon Matthew 27:30
Psalm 22:7,8 Mocked Matthew 27:31
Psalm 22:16 Hands and Feet Pierced John 20:25
Isaiah 53:12 Crucified with Thieves Matthew 27:38
Psalm 22:18 Garments Parted and Lots Cast for His Vesture John 19:23,24
Psalm 22:1 His Forsaken Cry Matthew 27:46
Numbers 9:12 Bones Not Broken John 19:33-36
Zechariah 12:10 Side Pierced John 19:34
Amos 8:9 Darkness Over the Land Matthew 27:45
Isaiah 53:9 Buried in Rich Man’s Tomb Matthew 27:57-60
There has never been a single man in all of human history who could have fulfilled all of the above Messianic Prophecies which were recorded in the Hebrew Bible hundreds of years before he was born. Only Jesus Christ who was born at Bethlehem from the tribe of Judah and who died by crucifixion outside of Jerusalem under the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate has fulfilled all of the above Bible prophecies. With all this miraculous evidence, how can anyone doubt that Jesus is the only way to everlasting life? For more evidence proving that Christianity is the world’s only true religion see our book, “The Reliability of Bible Prophecy.”
Unlike other religions, true Christianity has both the answers and the evidence to prove its divine and supernatural origin. Jesus died and rose again to show all of mankind that He is the only one who is powerful enough to resurrect our bodies, take away our burdens, and grant us everlasting life. Every human being has the wonderful opportunity to accept Jesus the Messiah as their Savior and follow His Word (as recorded in the Bible) to receive everlasting life.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3,4
“I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father [God] but by Me.” John 14:6
WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED? “Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the NAME of JESUS CHRIST, for THE REMISSION OF SINS, and you shall receive the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.”
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