During the last hundred years it has increasingly been said that all religions are actually pointing to the same reality. Now there are numerous books claiming that the teachings of Jesus and the Buddha are just different versions of the same truth. Is this true or is it the outcome of a superficial examination of the facts or perhaps a genuine but misguided attempt to encourage inter-religious understanding? This book is the first in-depth comparison of the life and teachings of Jesus and the Buddha and presented in the New Testament and the Tipitaka, the Buddhist scriptures. The result is portraits of the two great religious figures very different from how they have traditionally been seen and the question ‘Are Christianity and Buddhism compatible?’ is answered in a way that may surprise many readers. Bhante Shravasti Dhammika is well placed to write this comparative study having been brought up a Christian and later becoming a Buddhist and a monk.
Before starting it will be necessary to make it clear what is meant by Buddhism in this article. As with other religions, Buddhism has a long history during which it has developed and evolved, branched into divergent schools and sects, and been interpreted in various ways by different philosophers, reformers and saints. And as with other religions it is not always easy to get agreement by Buddhists on every issue. However, Buddhism started with the experience of a particular individual, Siddhattha Gotama, and at a particular time in history, the 5th/ 4th century BCE. Without going into the complexities of the issues, this article takes the position that the earliest and therefore the most authentic account of the Buddha and his teachings is contained in the Pali Tipitaka, the huge body of literature now considered canonical by the Theravada school of Buddhism. While this article deals mainly with homosexuality it will also make some references to related states, gay adoption, transgenderism, etc.
Between 2008 and 2017, Bhante Dhammika maintained a blog commenting Buddhist doctrine, Buddhist culture and art, and current affairs from a Buddhist and sometimes a personal perspective. At its height it got some 12,000 visits a day. This eBook has a selection of what is some of the more interesting blog posts.
The life of the Buddha is more than an account of one man’s quest for and realization of the truth; it is also about the people who encountered that man during his forty five year career and how their encounter trans-formed them. If the Buddha’s quest and his encounters with others is set against the backdrop of the world in which these events were acted out, a world with its unique customs, its political intrigue and its religious ferment, it becomes one of the most fascinating stories ever told.
There is no law in history which guarantees that Buddhism will grow roots in the West or advance beyond its present infantile stage. But one would expect that it will grow more conscious of its own difficulties and Buddhists will awaken to the problems which Buddhism itself thrusts upon man as an essential part of its treasure. One would also hope that doubt should appear as the sign of a deeper conviction. – Luis O. Gomez
Ananda, there are four places the sight of which will arouse strong emotion in those with faith. Which four places? ‘Here the Tathagata was born’ this is the first. ‘Here the Tathagata attained enlightenment’- this is the second. ‘Here the Tathagata set in motion the Wheel of the Dhamma’ – this is the third. ‘Here the Tathagata attained final Nirvana without remainder’ – this is the fourth. And the monk, the nun, the layman or the laywoman who has faith should visit these places. And anyone who dies while making a pilgrimage to these shrines with a devoted heart will, at the breaking up of the body at death, be reborn in heaven. (1)
QUESTION: What is Buddhism?
ANSWER: The name Buddhism comes from the word budhi which means ‘to wake up’ and thus Buddhism can be said to be the philosophy of awakening. This philosophy has its origins in the experience of the man Siddhattha Gotama, known as the Buddha, who was himself awakened at the age of 35. Buddhism is now more than 2,500 years old and has about 380 million followers worldwide. Until a hundred years ago Buddhism was mainly an Asian philosophy but increasingly it is gaining adherents in Europe, Australia and the Americas.