There have been occasions when I have been told that “Jesus is the Son of God and the Buddha was just a man, therefore, the Buddha is a false prophet.”

Okay, I respect everybody’s freedom to voice their opinion. I also know how views and opinions are formed, and why they become so entrenched. We are, after all, merely a product of our experiences, environment, heritage, culture, intelligence, upbringing, education . . . and in Buddhism, our past lives and karma!

However, if I remain silent in this matter, my silence might be mistakenly construed as agreement, and that would be disingenuous. So here is my opinion, for what it is worth.

First of all, the benefits of meditation, which is the primary Buddhist practice, are slowly unfolding across America. Stress reduction, mental health, physical healing - these are how meditation in main stream America is developing. Any knowledge of the deeper aspects of meditation, or the spiritual development, has so far been swept under the rug. Most people view meditation to be little more than an inexpensive, do it yourself therapy.

In a Christian nation, this is to be expected, but regardless, I would like to point out the miracles of meditation - for example; being able to walk on water!

History has recorded little about Christ’s life. What is known relies on a few letters from a few, perhaps only one, legitimate disciple, and this happened at least 60 or more years after Christ’s death! More astonishingly, part of what is allegedly known covered only a period of a few months to no more than 3 years of Christ’s life depending on what disciple you believe. Where was he for the other 30 or so years?

Buddhist monks had been traveling through Jerusalem on trade routes long before Christ was born. They influenced the area. They also meditated, and one of the common powers of meditation mentioned in the ancient Buddhist scriptures is the power to walk on water! Also, the power to heal, the attitude of compassion and forgiveness, and the idea of a “sangha” of monks, or a group of disciples living together and wandering about the countryside - all Buddhist.

Other than a mention of Christ’s birth (a birth fable copied very closely from The Buddha’s birth fable) Christ disappeared!

L. Michael White - Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program University of Texas at Austin, says:

“From a historical perspective what we really know about the life of Jesus is very, very limited depending on which gospel you read. His actual career may be something less then one year and maybe even as little as only a few months, whereas in John's Gospel his career is nearly three years long. So there are these kinds of historical discrepancies among the gospels themselves. They range from the way his birth occurred to the actual day on which he was executed and even to the kinds of teachings and miracles that he performs throughout his career. As a result we begin to see that the gospels themselves are not as useable as historical information as we might have hoped.

Did Christ really live? Probably, but as Marshall J. Gauvin claims:

“What, then, is the evidence that Jesus Christ lived in this world as a man? The authorities relied upon to prove the reality of Christ are the four Gospels of the New Testament--Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These Gospels, and these alone, tell the story of his life. Now we know absolutely nothing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, apart from what is said of them in the Gospels. Moreover, the Gospels themselves do not claim to have been written by these men. They are not called "The Gospel of Matthew," or "The Gospel of Mark," but "The Gospel According to Matthew," "The Gospel According to Mark," "The Gospel According to Luke," and "The Gospel According to John." No human being knows who wrote a single line in one of these Gospels. No human being knows when they were written, or where.”

So there are legitimate questions if one is open minded. If Christ actually lived, and if any of the fables are true, which is debatable, I think he was a closet Buddhist!

So many incidences of Christ’s alleged life parallel Buddhism that the comparison cannot be ignored. If anyone is interested, the internet is filled with legitimate comparisons based on historical facts. Were the gospels written by early Roman Church scholars who borrowed heavily if not exclusively from other traditions to create a designer religion? Perhaps.

Of course, most Christians will not listen to any of this and just become angry in a knee jerk reaction to any criticism of their beliefs. That is certainly understandable and I’m sure that comments on this article will reflect that anger because religion is self reinforcing. This means that only agreeable information is processed. Dissenting information that may cause doubts to arise is either ignored or discredited as heresy! But isn’t it a fact that truth is always the winner in the race against time?

When a person is indoctrinated at a young age into the belief that there is only one SON OF GOD; Jesus, one will naturally dismiss Buddhism as some kind of insignificant cult because the Buddha was not a son of God, but merely a human being like you and I who found a way to become enlightened, and then transparently taught that way for 45 years,

Looking deeper, however, where did the idea of the “SON OF GOD” come from in the first place? Was it a creation of the Roman Church, which conducted a “SON OF GOD” manhunt to force-fulfill an Old Testament prophecy of a savior - and Jesus looked good? What a great way (please excuse the descriptive phrase), to “suck people in!” Once one’s religion has the one and only “SON OF GOD,” what other religion would be the least bit relevant? Brilliant!

The proof of what Christ was, said, and done is scanty, and definitely self reinforcing. Read the history of Mohammed, or Joseph Smith Jr. the founder of the Mormon Church, and you will understand the power of self reinforcement. People actually believe these stories as undeniable truth, just as Christians believe in the Christ fable, and all will fight to the death to defend their beliefs.

As a contrast, the Buddha said, “Don’t believe anything I say unless you can prove it true to yourself.” As Americans, isn’t that our philosophy with everything (except maybe politics and religion!) The Buddha went on to say further that the religion of Buddhism is no more than a raft to get one across the river of human discontent. After one crosses that river, the religion can be abandoned because the mind will be changed to the extent that goodness and virtue become a natural way of life.

I don’t know about you, but these kinds of statements resonated deep in my heart and I began trusting what the Buddha said, and the more I heard, and the more I proved things true for myself, the more I began, for the first time in my life, to see things in a completely different perspective. This was a taste of real freedom that my heart never knew existed.

One might understandably ask how we know the scriptures reflect what the Buddha actually said? Unlike the Christ fable, where nobody has a clue where the gospels came from (God‘s hand I guess), written over a 100, maybe 190 years after Christ’s death, and in GREEK, not Hebrew, the language of Jesus, the Buddha’s vast teachings were chanted word for word by 500 of the Buddhas enlightened monks almost immediately after his death - in Pali, the Buddha‘s language. These are the same chants, unchanged, that you will hear in any Buddhist temple today.

Getting back to Christ’s life, where did he spend the “missing years?” Did he spend his teens and twenties in the East practicing Buddhist or Hindu meditation and acquiring powers, such as walking on water, that were common attainments in the east?

Did he later narrowly escape from the cross and the cave to run away and spend his latter years back in the East until he died a natural death? Maybe. It certainly was safer there for a true seeker rather than Rome! There are indications that this in fact happened. Of course, resurrection from the dead certainly sounds much better than sneaking out of town!

The only thing we know for certain is that he disappeared for close to 30 years, and then taught for only a year or so, maybe only a matter of months, before he became politically embroiled with the local government.

We also see that his disciples hadn’t a clue what he was trying to teach them because he was obviously teaching from a different cultural and religious standpoint (Buddhism?) and not typical Jewish, Middle Eastern Old Testament authoritative doctrine. The gospel writers of course got it all wrong, because they hadn‘t a clue, which is obvious from the confusing cross currents that exist throughout the Bible.

Buddha didn’t claim to be a Son of God, and since he said things such as “Don’t believe anything I say unless you can prove it to yourself,” Buddhism is a personal practice and a way of life where we undo our own karma. No God to bail us out. We made the kamma, we undo it.

So, one may ask, “But where are the miracles, we need miracles in order to believe!” Buddhist scriptures are filled with miracles performed by the Buddha and his monks. But Buddhists aren’t impressed by this. They are impressed by what meditation has done for them personally.

For example, some people can see their past lives, read minds, see the various realms of existence such as the god realms, be in two places at once, heal people, know peoples’ destinies, disappear into the ground and much more.

In actuality, meditation is a personal experience where one can become the essence of truth and divinity. Yes, divinity. And although meditation can be explained in simple terms at the beginning levels, the deeper levels involve essential, differing states of mind that cannot be related to in everyday terms. It’s ineffable. The strength of meditation is so powerful that people are transformed physically (well being and health), mentally (creativity and intelligence), and spiritually (as meditation deepens, the destination of future lives improves until enlightenment cancels all future destinations and realms. Then one is eternally released. This is the ’big’ miracle.

Enlightenment is a refined state of mind, not miraculously endowed upon oneself by a god or savior but a result of your own efforts to see through the illusion of material existence. This goes far beyond god realms, including creator gods, asura realms, human realms, animal realms, ghost realms, and hell realms.

This takes religion to its max, and common nobodies like you and I can do it. That’s the beauty of the Buddha being an ordinary human being who perfected himself in an extraordinary way. We can have faith that we can do it as well. We don’t have to knuckle under to a supreme being in weak kneed prostrations waiting to be judged - we can take charge of our own destiny. We don’t have to lay back and wait for divine grace, we can make our own grace.

We become proactive, dynamic, not groveling around waiting for a handout. Isn’t being proactive the American way?

Author's Bio: 

E. Raymond Rock (anagarika addie) is a meditation teacher at: and author of “A Year to Enlightenment:

His 30 years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk.

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah, at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa, and at Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui. He had been a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has also practiced at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, and the Zen Center in San Francisco.