May 21st celebrated the birthday of two stars.   Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha is one. Modesty prohibits me from naming the other.  🙂

Instead of a Bible study I will discuss, and compare two religions, Buddhism and Christianity, that share many ideas.

Jesus commanded his followers to “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another”, John 13:34.

The Dalai Lima says of his religion “My Religion is simple.  Kindness is my religion”.

I wish we could throw out all our books of moral codes, rules and guidance, and simply live with love and kindness.  I’ll call this the Book of Ed.  🙂  Since it is only one sentence long, and easy to understand, all the religious and philosophical scholars will never go for it.  🙂

Both Buddhism and Christianity share the “Golden Rule” of reciprocity. To do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you.

One of the Four Truths of Buddhism would be very familiar to Christians, Samudaya.  The desire to have and control things causes suffering, as does the cravings of sensual pleasure, and the desire for fame.

Four of the Five Precepts can be found in the Ten Commandments, the fifth should be.

1. Do not kill. This is sometimes translated as “not harming” or an absence of violence.

2. Do not steal. This is generally interpreted as including the avoidance of fraud and economic exploitation.

3. Do not lie. This is sometimes interpreted as including name calling, gossip, etc.

4. Do not misuse sex. For monks and nuns, this means any departure from complete celibacy. For the laity, adultery is forbidden, along with any sexual harassment or exploitation, including that within marriage. 

 5. Do not consume alcohol or other drugs.

Both Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus left their home at about the same age, 29. 

 Jesus spent 40 days in the desert before he began his ministry.  Siddhartha travel ancient India for around six years before he found “Enlightenment”.   Siddhartha grow up in a family of wealthy and privilege, but he shared the same humble life as Jesus thereafter.

There are of course many differences between Buddhism and Christianity. From what I have read of Buddhism it’s less structured than Christianity, at least for non monks.

 An aspect of Buddhism that does not appeal to me, as well as I understand it, is the goal of non-attachment, from The Noble Truth of Nirodha.  That a strong emotion like passion causes suffering, which I agree it can, and that we need to replace such emotions, through meditation, with peace and serenity.  However living your life with love to me requires great passion.  I would not choose to live my life without passion.

The aspect of Christianity that brothers me the most is the concept of Hell.  That a person such as the Dalia Lama, who lives his whole life with kindness, will still spend eternity in Hell, if he does not accept Jesus Christ as he Lord.

I think I will just stick with trying to live my life with love and kindness, which is hard enough for me anyway.  🙂

Who would you pick, among people still living, as the person whose life we should all try to emulate, except of course me and you.  🙂

My choice is the Dalia Lama. I’ll end with a recent interview with him.  As you hear he shares my optimistic view of the future, which of course is why he doesn’t get the press that the doomsdayers get.