Christianity and Buddhism are two popular religions practiced all over the world, and each are led by figures as esteemed as the religions themselves. Although the teachings of Jesus Christ and Siddhartha Gautama hit many similar points, there is a dynamic of divinity in Christianity that contrasts with the view of deities in buddhism. In buddhism, Gautama is a human being who has simply reached enlightenment and offers followers a open-ended guideline to existence.
In stark contrast is christianity, where Jesus is understood as the ultimate authority in morality and action. Gautama is the founder of buddhism, having left his life as a prince in the sixth century to find wisdom and see life outside of his palace. After seeing the hardships there, he caused himself to suffer for many many years, and eventually meditated until he reached enlightenment. Gautama being an ordinary man who is able to work to find enlightenment made buddhism enticing to the community at that time, since caste systems present made it difficult to practice other religions. The lack of holy divinity in Gautama allowed others to find themselves within the religion and give them a being to aspire to be, not a man to worship. Since there is no deity placed in the focus of the institution, the message preached is not the same as a religion that has a theological hierarchy.
Gautama teaches his followers that suffering is imminent in life, and that the only way to end suffering is to follow the eightfold path. The focus of the religion is not salvation, and the means to reach nirvana lie within each individual. Enlightenment can be achieved through meditation and peace can be found when you place value on the inner self instead of your material surroundings. In Christianity, Jesus Christ is the essence of God that took the body of a man to teach the ways of God and create a church.
After living on Earth preaching and being executed for building the church of christianity, Jesus returned to life and ascended to heaven. In the christian narrative, Jesus died to make up for the sins of all mankind. There is no difference between God and Jesus, Jesus is just God in a different form, and is therefore holy and as perfect as God. Salvation can only be found through the acceptance of Jesus as the savior and repenting from sin. This deity status shows the key shift in the teachings of buddhism versus those of christianity. As was previously stated, Gautama Buddha’s teachings were not seen as infallible.
He was an amazing man, but at the end of the day he was still just a man. In christianity, the divinity of Jesus is vital to the action of the church. This placement of Jesus as divine contrasts the beliefs in many religions that feel it is impossible to exists as a divine entity and a human being.With millions of followers for each religion, buddhism and christianity have their faith in their beliefs, and strong figures representing them.
Jesus Christ and Siddhartha Gautama displayed an intense and involved devotion to the spread of wisdom and the advancement of knowledge, while providing the foundations of the churches that support communities around the world.