THE PARALLEL SAYINGS OF BUDDHA AND JESUS
Anyone who met the historical Buddha, anyone who met the historical Jesus, knew that they were no ordinary men. What made these two men special? For one thing, they both had profound wisdom that came from direct awareness of the Absolute. Their teachings carried the weight of authority because they came from the source of being itself, from the spiritual truths.
Even though the Buddha and Jesus represent two different world religions, I believe that their teachings have a great deal in common. Their teachings represent two slightly different paths to the same destination.
These two great spiritual teachers are not telling something new, but that they are reminding us of something we aleady knew but, perhaps, had forgotten. It is as if we had always known these truths at some deep level, we respond with, “Aha!” “Yes, of course. I knew that all along.” These two teachers reveal the truth that has always been within us.
And what is the most amazing is how similar the spirit of the words of these two great teachers truly are. For examples, here they are on compassion, suffering, karma, death and enlightenment.
The following images are my paintings of Buddha and Jesus. Please click the images to learn more.
Out of the abundance of your heart, cultivate love and compassion for all beings.
When you see yourself in others, it is impossible to hurt anyone else.
The only way you can become free is to love those who hate you.
Do not deceive anyone. Do not turn away from anyone. Never wish anyone harm.
Hate does not overcome hate. Only love overcome hate. Knowing that we are all destined to die, why fight amongst yourselves?
Just as a mother keeps her child from harm and guards him/her with her life, so you should treasure all living beings. With a grateful heart, spread love through the world.
The greatest reward in this world is to take care of others. The greatest loss in this world is to receive from others without gratitude.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Be compassionate as your heavenly father is compassionate.
You should never celebrate the downfall of those who are ignorant.
That your action might be perfect, let your love flow without measure.
You receive no benefit from loving only those who love you. Great benefit comes from loving those who hate you.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Judas asked Jesus, “How do we begin our journey on this path?” Jesus said, “By being kind and loving.”
Grief and sorrow result from holding the world dear.
If you fear suffering, just do no evil deeds, either in secret or for all to see.
Suffering proceeds from change and decay, and is accompanied by pain. These things are not part of essential mind.
Gain wisdom, conquer lethargy by practice, and then you will transcend suffering.
There is a place without substance. It exists beyond the Great Beyond. I call it the end of suffering.
This is why you get sick and die; you follow those things that mislead you.
If you understood the nature of suffering, you would not have to suffer. You must first understand what causes suffering, and then you will have the ability to transcend it.
When you leave behind your suffering and the shame of your flesh and attain enlightenment, then you will become One, and will be One for all eternity.
Learn from these teachings. Understand knowledge and live life. Then, no one but yourself can cause you to suffer.
From a sound, an echo returns. A body creates a shadow. So, too, will misery come to him who does evil works.
Harm returns to the person who does harm. It is like throwing dust into the wind.
Those who seek happiness in this lifetime by robbing others of their happiness will find nothing but misery after they die.
If an evil person criticizes someone who is virtuous, it is like spitting at the sky. The spit doesn’t dirty the sky, but returns to pollute the person who spits.
Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with whatever judgment you pronounce, you will be so judged.
Seek now the meaning of all things so that your suffering may end. Do not wait, believing that you will find knowledge after you have taken on a new body.
Do not fear suffering, for you are surrounded by a protective wall of Spirit. The world has existed for a very long time, and it will continue to exist for a very long time. Your sufferings represent no more than an instant in time.
Be merciful that you may obtain mercy. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you serve, so will service be done to you. And whatever you measure out, that is what will be returned to you.
Death will claim those who pursue pleasure. But those who understand the Dharma transcend death.
One who has lived wisely does not fear death.
The wise person knows about the coming and the going of consciousness. He knows that it comes from nowhere and returns to nowhere. It is devoid of reality.
There is nowhere you can hide from death — not in the skies, not in the mountains, not in the depths of the sea.
When one wakes up from a dream, he forgets all who he met there. So it is with death and rebirth.
The way to life is to be awakened. Fools who sleep are already dead, but the master who remains awake lives forever.
Fortunate are those who understand that they existed before they came into being.
There is no point to running from death. Rather, death is your deliverance. No one who fears death can escape it.
When one has completed his designated time here, his body will die, but his soul will be alive. He will transcend this world.
Those who are awakened into the Kingdom will never leave it.
When the nature of something takes on form, it exists in relationship to all other forms. But when it ceases to exist in this form, it returns to its essential nature.
Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.
The hero who has freed himself of all that has bound him has achieved peace. This one is enlightened.
When one has freed himself from craving and attachments, he rejoices in his freedom. This one becomes a pure shining light that becomes the light of the world.
If wakefulness is always maintained, then dreams pass away naturally. When the mind ceases to discriminate, all things become as one.
When freed from that which binds, when the lust for life has come to an end, one is not born again. He is released now and forever.
I have defeated the world, so do not let the world defeat you. I am free of it. You, too, can be free of it.
When life’s trials are at an end, and one is awakened, everything appears differently. This is attained by those who have overcome ignorance through knowledge. They have realized that life is no more than a dream.
Because you have renounced all things, endured all sufferings from one incarnation to the next, you have become pure light. Now you become king in the kingdom of Light
That which has imprisoned me is conquered, ignorance has been dispelled, all desires have come to an end, all the cycles of forgetfulness have ceased to exist. Free at last, I now receive peace in the silence of eternity.
(Source: “Jesus, Buddha, Krishna & Lao Tzu – The Parallel Sayings” 2007, 2012 by Richard Hooper)
(Note: There are many buddhas in Buddhism. In Buddhist text, “the Buddha” refers to the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama.)
The following images are my creations of Buddha and Jesus in paper form through applying the art of paper-cutting. Please click the images to learn more.
One of my good friends, who is a practicing Christian, has recently become interested in Buddhism. He asked, “Since there is no God in Buddhism, can I be both a Christian and a Buddhist?”
Buddhism is defined as a nontheistic religion, which means that it denies any kind of separate creator. The Buddhists view that mind is the cause and answer to suffering. Some Christians see God not as an external creator, but as universal love, wisdom, and the basic ground of the universe. If that’s your experience of God, then God and Buddha are merely two names for the same ineffable spiritual reality. (07/31/2016)
(Source: “Lion’s Roar – Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time,” September 2016 Issue.)
(Spring Liao, 04/21/2016, 07/31/2016)