Buddha Compared To God

1250 Words 5 Pages
In this essay, I will argue that to some extent the Buddha can be seen as functionally equivalent to a god, due to the similarities of leadership roles in Buddhism and Christianity, but in actuality cannot function as one because that would go against a core principle of Buddhism. The term ‘god’, for the purpose of this essay, is considered solely in the context of the uppercase, God. To American Christians, the belief associated with this spelling represents their deity as a ‘singular’ being, a Divine Leader. The Christian God functions as a source of hope and provides a sense of community amongst followers regardless to their denomination of Christianity. They find a sense of comfort and connectedness to Him because they are able to …show more content…
However, to properly do this, each teacher needs a following. Both religious staples use acts of grandeur to display the truth of their preaching and (re)affirm the beliefs of their followers. Sandra Bell, in her piece “’Crazy Wisdom,’ Charisma, and the Transmission of Buddhism in the United States”, writes of an experience between a converted Buddhist follower and his guru, Chogyam Trungpa, “…on first looking into Chogyam’s eyes, he felt the shyness and temerity that had plagued him all his life dissolve away. Twenty years later John claims he has never again felt the stultifying lack of confidence that he experienced prior to that moment” (Bell, 1998). Furthermore, Bell (1998) notes an account of Trungpa’s funeral: “The four thousand disciples…reported seeing rainbows and turquoise clouds in the shape of a dragon’s tail appear in the sky…” These descriptions are similar to the acts of Jesus Christ concerning his miracles—curing lifelong blindness and turning water to wine (John 9, ESV; John 2:1-11, …show more content…
Another reason the Buddha does not possess that functionality is because he is his teaching, and his teaching is him. This implies that each may be worshiped equally, and that it is appropriate in Buddhism to place revered value in things other than the Buddha himself, which is in contradiction with the word of God, “I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:1-3, ESV). However, after the parinirvana—the escape from samsara—of the Buddha, Buddhists followed the instructions of “honor[ing] his remains: i.e. relics” and “…honoring…his successor-substitutes” (Strong, 2015). Additionally, Strong (2015) writes, “the Buddha famously…[says]…that his Dharma…should replace him after his passing”. Dharma is the symbol for the teachings of Buddha, and worshiping it would be the equivalent of someone worshiping a crucifix or the stone God gave Moses with the Ten Commandments on it (Strong, 2015). This act, however, would ironically go against the first three

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