Many places have their own culture and tradition; religion is a form of faith and belief that influences the way people live. This report is the result comes from the research of various features among many religious systems, in details, it will indicate the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Christianity. However, before going straight to the points, we should ensure to understand what is Buddhism and what is Christianity. Buddhism is a faith of living a peaceful life, unconditional happiness and taking responsibility for what they did. On the other side, Christians believe in the life of Jesus – the Son of God, who has been the World’s Creator, give them the salvation, forgive for their sins. Just looking at the fundamental definitions make us think those religions are not so much the same; therefore, this report is going to prove that this thinking is wrong.
Christianity is the most followed religion in the world, with around 2 billion followers. However, Australia and many parts of Europe have been rejecting religious activities like faith and church participation. Based on the reports of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of Christianity followers have decreased significantly from 88.2% in 1966 to 52.1% in 2016. Regarding these statistics, we have to find the answer to a big question of why. More and more people recognised many conflicts between their religious faith and their actual way of living, so to have no religion is a way to release themselves. Many Europeans thought religion was disappearing, but honestly, it is not. Otherwise, many places such as the Asia and the Middle East, indeed, Buddhism is still rising. Buddhism is one of the major religions by having about 470 million Buddhist globally, and three forms of Buddhism exist, Theravada, Mahayana and Tibetan. Theravada Buddhism is common in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos and Burma. Mahayana Buddhism is prevalent in places like China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore and Vietnam. Moreover, Tibetan Buddhism is well-practiced in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, Bhutan, and parts of Russia and northern India (History 2017, para. 1&5). As we know the general background of religion, the next paragraph is going to point out two intriguing similarities between Buddhism and Christianity.
As the two-distinct religious system, in some points, Buddhism and Christianity share similar ideas. There are many similarities between the two religions, one of the most significant similarities is the Buddha, and Jesus Christ based their ethics on the “Golden Rules” which was good for the welfare of human beings. Both religions use rosary and incense, the teachings of Buddha and Jesus are written down in rosaries which helps worshipper to remind themselves about the moral basis. For example, Buddha’s Teachings which is also known as “dharma”, it said not to: kill living things, take what is not given, sexual misconduct, tell lies and use drugs or alcohol (History.com 2017, para. 6). Besides, Jesus’s Teachings advised Christians to: Love God, love your neighbour as yourself, forgive others who have wronged you, love your enemies, don’t judge others, don’t be hypocritical, repentance of sins is essential (History.com 2017, para. 4). The “Golden Rules” of Buddhism and Christianity were written in different words but still share just one meanings that to encourage followers to take steps to improve their well beings. Also, they have a strong devotional aspect. Not only the similarity above, but also the second similarity is the forms of worship. For instance, Buddhism and Christianity worship includes monasticism, which means Buddhists go to pagodas or temples and Christians go to churches to pray; by going to those places, the worshippers feel like they are in touch with their gods.
On the other hand, the differences between the two religions are substantial. Firstly, the followers believed in different things; the Christians have a faith that God is the one who created the heaven and the Earth, also all kind of living beings. Whereas followers of Buddhism do not believe in supreme God, who is the World’s Creator, instead, they concentrate on obtaining the enlightenment; which means, the utilisation of morality, meditation and wisdom. Secondly, the worshippers pursue unique concepts. Pettinger (2017) stated that “Christianity focus on the concept of Salvation comes through the approval of Jesus Christ as the saviour”. Moreover, Christians also consider that trusting in Jesus Christ allow them to have an eternal life when they are in heaven. Not the same, Buddhists have another focus; they believe that a person has to work for his or her liberation – a discipline that may take several lifetimes. Buddhists further believe that their faith in the Buddha is not enough, but they have to undergo nirvana for themselves.
To conclude, Buddhism and Christian are the two most significant religions in the world. They share many concepts, by using the “Golden Rules” to encourage the followers to live a moral life for their benefits or help the other people; they also have similar forms of worship, they have their places to worship, like churches or temples. In contrast, they are opposite each other in various ways, Christians believe in a superior God, while Buddhists chase the purpose of enlightenment; plus, they are distinctive as the Christianity embraces the salvation, but Buddhism goes with liberation. In my opinion, each of the religion has their uniqueness, so that we cannot judge their religious beliefs and activities based on our perspective. Their contribution to the humanity achievement is very enormous, the only matter is our choices to follow which of them.