I have been reading and meditating on a book called “Jesus AND Buddha”, by Marcus Borg. I was looking around a half priced books store and the title caught my eye because how often do you see those two names side by side? The two are both major influences on two seemingly different religions, Buddhism and Christianity. Buddha coming from the West, Jesus coming from the East. In this book, their paralell teachings are displayed side by side, one on each page. It strikes me how similar these two peoples messages are. They spoke many of the same truths. They both stood for Love, compassion, forgiveness, a peaceful way of living, and overall Goodness. Some say that Jesus may have traveled to the west at some point and got his ideas that way, but it’s unsure and seems unlikely.
After my religious beliefs loosened and fell off, it was hard for me to give any credit to the bible. I no longer took it’s meaning to heart. After a lot of growth and healing, I am able to appreciate the bible for what it is, and this is one of the first times I’ve actually read and thought about the bible in a couple of years. The way that I comprehend the bible is completely different now. This book helped me to understand that the parables being taught by each of these humans carry a much deeper meaning that can easily be misinterpreted or missed.
Here are some of their paralell teachings that resonated with me:
Jesus: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” -Luke 6:31
Buddha: “Consider others as yourself.” – Dhammapada 10.1
This is one of both mans greatest and most basic teachings. The words really speak for themselves, so there isn’t a lot to interpret. I hope one day everyone learns to live by these words. It’s easy to get wrapped up in our own little words because it’s all we can perceive with our physical bodies, but ultimately we are all the same deep down.
Jesus: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it had grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches. – Matthew 13: 31-21
Buddha: “Do not underestimate good, thinking it will kot affect you. Dripping water can fill a pitcher, drop by drop; one who is wise is filled with good, even if one accumulates it little by little. – Dhammapada 9.7
There are two different metaphors here, but I believe they are both relating to the same ideas. When Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven” I don’t see it as a unreachable world outside of us, somewhere in the afterlife that we may or may not see some day, rather a dimension inside all of us that is able to be connected with right NOW. Happiness, Love, the ultimate free state of consciousness.
Jesus: Your eye is the lamp of hour body. If your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light; but if it is not healthy, your body is full of darkness. Therefore consider whether the light in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be as full of light as when a lamp gives you light with its rays.” – Luke 11: 34-36
Buddha: “As a man with eyes who carried a lamp sees all objects, so too with one who has heard the Moral Law. He will become perfectly wise.” – Udanavarga 22.4
Both of these quotes involve seeing, eyes, and lamps. I think these terms are meant to be taken non-literal. Our physical bodies have eyes, but who we are internally also has “eyes”. The way we perceive or see anything, is perceived with our spiritual/internal eyes. If the way we see things is with Love and light, As are we. If the way we see things is full of darkness, hatred, and anger, as are we. The reason this message is important is because it’s so easy to blinded with negativity and darkness. A lot of the nasty things we think and feel come from our egotistic nature that tricks us into feeling those ways. I believe being aware of this is the first step, which is perhaps why Jesus said, “therefor consider whether the light in you is not darkness”. We have control over how we see things, and the first step to changing our perspective is to be aware that we have the power to do it.
Jesus: No good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.” -Luke 6: 43-45
Buddha: “Whatsoever a person commits , whether it be virtuous or sinful deeds, none of these is of little import; all bear some kind of fruit.” – Udanavarga
Both of these quotes involve fruit which is something I have recently found metaphorically intriguing and beautiful. Physical fruit bears many seeds, just like spiritual fruit. Seeds have the ability to spread and re produce over and over again. Fruit grows on trees which are majestic in themselves. Spiritual fruit consist of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. If all of us tree’s were to bear this fruit imagine how much fruitful bliss the people of the world would experience. Wow.
Jesus: “Jesus knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.” – John 2: 24-25
Budha: “He was expert in knowing the thoughts and actions of living beings.”- Vimalakirtinitdesha Sutra…
I thought these were just so interesting. I suppose if we can see and know ourselves, then we know all others. Some people would say that these two men were enlightened masters and that we are not able to do the things they did, but I believe part of these mens message was that we are all capable of living the Free lives that they did. Jesus said he desires us to be one with him as he is with the father. Maybe the father is the kingdom of heaven (living in bliss, NOW), and Jesus is living that way. If we live the way he is, then we are ONE, all living in the same dimension.
Jesus: “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.” He did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his desciples.- Mark 4: 11&34
Buddha: ” Such talk on the dharma is not given to lay people clothed in white. Such talk on the dharma is given to those who have gone forth.”- Majjhima Nikaya 143.15