Jesus as a Reincarnation of Buddha

By Kevin Williams

 

In the sixth and fifth centuries B.C., Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as "the Buddha" (the "Enlightened One"), in southern Nepal. The title "the Buddha" is applied to Siddhartha Gautama in the same way the title "the Christ" (the "Anointed One") is applied to Jesus. The basic teachings and lives of the Buddha and the Christ are so remarkably similar it is hard to believe they are not the same entity. This article will present the case for Buddha being a previous reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Buddhism teaches how the practice of good religious and moral behavior can lead to Nirvana (i.e., the state of enlightenment, kingdom of God within). To attain Nirvana, a person must be subjected to the cycle of reincarnation over numerous lifetimes according to how good or bad they were in previous incarnations depending on one's actions according to God's law of "karma" or God's law of "an eye for an eye" as it is known in the West.

 

 The goal of Buddhism is to achieve liberation from this cycle of birth and rebirth. The Buddhist view of life in this world is summarized in what is called "the four noble truths." They are (1) This world is a world of suffering. (2) Desire and the belief in the importance of one's self causes suffering. (3) The attainment of Nirvana ends this suffering. (4) Nirvana is attained only by following the path of righteousness in action, thought, attitude, and meditation. As it was with Jesus, the Buddha had a community of disciples to carry on his teachings.

Table of Contents
1. Identical Life Experiences
2. Identical Teachings
3. Near-Death Experience Revelations Concerning Buddha and Jesus
4. Edgar Cayce on the Connection Between Buddha and Jesus
 
1. Identical Life Experiences
1.

Buddha was born of the virgin Mahamaya, who was considered the "Queen of Heaven." Dean Milman, in his "History of Christianity," stated that "Buddha, according to a tradition known in the West, was born of a virgin" (Vol. I, p. 99, note). Mary and Mahamaya all gave birth to their children among strangers. He was visited by wise men who recognized the divinity of the child. He was of royal descent and his birth was announced by a star.

2.

Werner's Encyclopedia, in its article on Buddha speaks of "the marvelous stories which gathered round the belief in his voluntary incarnation, the miracles at his birth, the prophecies of the aged saint at his formal presentation to his father, and how nature altered her course to keep a shadow over his cradle, whilst the sages from afar came and worshiped him."

3.

Both Jesus and Buddha were presented in the temple as infants for baptism. The hymns uttered at both annunciations resemble each other.

4. Both in childhood discoursed before teachers.
5.

Jesus and Buddha were considered to be divine beings. Buddha is regarded by the Hindus as the ninth incarnation of the deity Vishnu, following Krishna. But Buddha started a new religion which did not emphasize "gods," but rather how people can become "awakened" or "enlightened" to liberate themselves from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth."

6. The mission of both Buddha and Jesus was proclaimed by a voice from heaven.
7. Both fasted in the wilderness and were tempted. Supernatural beings ministered to each of them.
8.

Both called their disciples with the command, "Follow me." Both sent out disciples to spread their teachings. Both performed miracles and wonders, healed the sick, fed five hundred men from a "small basket of cakes," and walked on the water.

9.

Buddha was "about 30 years old" when he began his ministry. He fasted "seven times seven nights and days." He had a "band of disciples" who accompanied him. He traveled from place to place and "preached to large multitudes." Bishop Bigandet calls his first sermon the "Sermon on the Mount." At his Renunciation "he forsook father and mother, wife and child." His mission was "to establish the kingdom of righteousness." "Buddha," says Max Mueller, "promised salvation to all; and he commanded his disciples to preach his doctrine in all places and to all men." "Self-conquest and universal charity" are the fundamental principles of his religion. He enjoined humanity, and commanded his followers to conceal their charities. "Return good for evil"; "overcome anger with love"; "love your enemies," were some of his precepts.

10.

Buddha formulated the following commandments. "Not to kill; not to steal; not to lie; not to commit adultery; not to use strong drink." This is a similar teaching attributed to Jesus: "Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother." (Luke 18:20) Christ ignored the literal interpretation of Moses and emphasized a spiritualized interpretation of the whole law taken as a whole which is to practice unconditional love. This is similar to what Buddha did with the current teachings of those days.

11.

Buddha preached on the "Holy Hill." Jesus delivered his sermon on the Mount. The phraseology of the sermons of Buddha and the sermon of Jesus is the same in many instances. Both Buddha and Jesus compared themselves to husbandmen sowing seed. The parable of the prodigal son is found in both Buddhist and Christian scriptures. So is the account of the man born blind. Both use the mustard seed as a simile for smallness. Buddha taught: "Perishable is the city built of sand." Jesus taught: "a foolish man builds his house upon the sand." Both speak of "the rain which falls on the just and on the unjust."

12.

A converted courtesan, Mary Magdalene, followed Jesus. A converted courtesan, Ambapali, followed Buddha.

13.

It is written that Buddha crushed a serpent's head. Crushing the head of the serpent is also a Messianic prophecy described in Genesis in the Garden of Eden.

14.

Buddha abolished idolatry, was a "sower of the word," and preached "the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness" as Jesus did.

15. Buddha taught chastity, temperance, tolerance, compassion, love, and the equality of all as Jesus did.
16. The story of the ruler, Nicodemus, who came to Jesus by night, has its parallel in the story of the rich man who came to Buddha by night.
17.

Both proclaimed kingdoms not of this world. The eternal life promised by Christ corresponds to the eternal peace, Nirvana, promised by Buddha.

18. Both were transfigured on a mount.
19. Both made triumphal entries, Christ into Jerusalem, and Buddha into Rajagriba.
20.

Buddha was considered the "good shepherd, the "carpenter, the "infinite and everlasting." Buddha was called the "savior of the world, "light of the world," Supreme Being, and the eternal one as Jesus was.

21. There is a legend of a traitor connected with each.
22. Buddha is to return to Earth again to restore the world to order and happiness as is Jesus.
23. Both are the judge of the dead.
24.

Buddha commanded his disciples to preach his gospel to all men. Christ commanded his disciples to do the same. In obedience to these commands the world was filled with missionaries, and largely as the result of this the adherents of these religious systems outnumber those of all others combined.

25.

Shortly after Buddha died, two sects of Buddhism were formed. After 400 years there were twenty different sects of Buddhism. Today there are many more. Over the millennia, the teachings of both Jesus and Buddha has spawned many different sects. Each is an attempt to keep the teachings alive under new circumstances. In 1947 in Egypt, early Christian documents were discovered which were hidden for thousands of years at the time when orders from the Church called for all heretical documents to be destroyed. One of those documents was the Gospel of Thomas which is considered by scholars to be the earliest gospel ever written and the most reliable. The Gospel of Thomas resonates with a type of Christianity that remarkably resembles Buddhism. It describes Jesus teaching the disciples how to become liberated from reincarnation. The writings of early Christianity discovered in 1947, show that early Christianity contained much more diversity of viewpoint and practice than later Christians acknowledged or even imagined. Because these teachings were smothered, many Christians today are adamant that the only path to God is via the personality of Jesus and this was considered the orthodox formula.

26.

Connected with the triumphs of these two religions there is a historical correlation worthy of mentioning. About three centuries after Buddha's death, Asoka the Great, emperor of India, converted to the Buddhist faith and made Buddhism the state religion of the empire of India at that time. This emperor did more than any other person to secure Buddhism's supremacy in the East. In the same way, about three centuries after the death of Jesus, Constantine the Great, emperor of Rome, became a convert to the Christian faith and made it the state religion of his empire. Because of this, Christianity reigned supreme in the West.

 

Remuset says: "Buddhism has been called the Christianity of the East." It would be more appropriate to call Christianity the Buddhism of the West. Buddha, and not Christ, was "The Light of Asia." At this torch Christians lighted their taper and called it "The Light of the World."

27.

Catholic Bishop Bigandet, one of the leading Christian writers on Buddhism wrote: "In reading the particulars of the life of Buddha it is impossible not to feel reminded of many circumstances relating to our Savior's life as sketched by the evangelists. It may be said in favor of Buddhism that no philosophic-religious system has ever upheld to an equal degree the notions of a savior and deliverer, and the necessity of his mission for procuring the salvation of man."

29.

Bishop Jean Paul Hilaire wrote: "He [Buddha] requires humility, disregard of worldly wealth, patience and resignation in adversity, love to enemies ... non-resistance to evil, confession of sins and conversion."

30.

Paul Ambroise Bigandet, the Catholic Bishop of Ramatha, wrote: "There are many moral precepts equally commanded and enforced in common by both creeds. It will not be rash to assert that most of the moral truths prescribed in the gospel are to be met with in the Buddhistic scriptures."

31.

The rituals and religious structure of Catholicism resembles to a remarkable degree after those of Northern Buddhism (Lamaism) which the Encyclopedia Britannica states: "Lamaisnu with its shaven priests, its bells and rosaries, its images and holy water, its popes and bishops, its abbots and monks of many grades, its processions and feast days, its confessional and purgatory, and its worship of the double Virgin, so strongly resembles Romanism that the first Catholic missionaries thought it must be an imitation by the devil of the religion of Christ." The central object in every Buddhist temple is an image of Buddha The central object in every Catholic church is an image of Christ. Holy relics and the veneration of saints are prominent in both.

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2. Identical Teachings of Buddha and Christ
1. "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Luke 6:31)
"Consider others as yourself." (Dhammapada 10:1)
2. "If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also." (Luke 6:29)

"If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words." (Majjhima Nikaya 21:6)

3.

"But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)

"Hatreds do not ever cease in this world by hating, but by love: this is an eternal truth. Overcome anger by love, overcome evil by good ... Overcome the miser by giving, overcome the liar by truth." (Dhammapada 1.5 & 17.3)

4.

"He will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’" (Matthew 25:45)

"If you do not tend one another, then who is there to tend to you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick." (Vinaya, Mahavagga 8:26:3)

5.

"Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Matthew 26:52)

"Abandoning the taking of life, the ascetic Gautama dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword." (Digha Nikaya 1:1:8)

6.

"My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:12-13)

"Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings. Let your thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world." (Sutta Nipata 149-150)

7. "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." (John 1:17)

"The body of the Buddha is born of love, patience, gentleness and truth." (Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra 2)

8.

"He told them another parable: 'The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches." (Matthew 13:31-32)

"Do not underestimate good, thinking it will not 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)

9.

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." (Luke 6:41-42)

"The faults of others are easier to see than one's own; the faults of others are easily seen, for they are sifted like chaff, but one's own faults are hard to see. This is like the cheat who hides his dice and shows the dice of his opponent, calling attention to the other's shortcomings, continually thinking of accusing him." (Udanavarga 27:1)

10.

"They said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" He said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:4-7)

"Do not look at the faults of others, or what others have done or not done; observe what you yourself have done and have not done." (Dhammapada 4:7)

11.

"Your eye is the lamp of your 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 full of 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)

"As a man with eyes who carries a lamp sees all objects, so too with one who has heard the Moral Law. He will become perfectly wise." (Udanavarga 22:4)

12.

"Your father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous." (Matthew 5:45)

"That great cloud rains down on all whether their nature is superior or inferior. The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low." (Saddharma Pundarika Sutra 5)

13. "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God." (Luke 6:20)

"Let us live most happily, possessing nothing; let us feed on joy, like the radiant gods." (Dhammapada 15:4)

14.

"If you wish to be perfect, go sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." (Matthew 19:21)

"The avaricious do not go to heaven, the foolish do not extol charity. The wise one, however, rejoicing in charity, becomes thereby happy in the beyond." (Dhammapada 13:11)

15.

"He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)

"Giving is the noble expression of the benevolence of the mighty. Even dust, given in childish innocence, is a good gift. No gift that is given in good faith to a worthy recipient can be called small; it effects us so great." (Jatakamala 3:23)

16. "Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die." (John 11:26)

"Those who have sufficient faith in me, sufficient love for me, are all headed for heaven or beyond." (Majjhima Nikaya 22:47)

17.

"Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it." (Mark 8:35)

"With the relinquishing of all thought and egotism, the enlightened one is liberated through not clinging." (Majjhima Nikaya 72:15)

18.

"Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." (Matthew 8:20)

"The thoughtful exert themselves; they do not delight in an abode. Like swans who have left their lake they leave their house and home." (Majjhima Nikaya)

19.

"When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time." (Luke 4:13)

"During the six years that the Bodhisattva practiced austerities, the demon followed behind him step by step, seeking an opportunity to harm him. But he found no opportunity whatsoever and went away discouraged and discontent." (Lalitavistara Sutra 18)

20. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5:8)

"Anyone who enters into meditation on compassion can see Brahma with his own eyes, talk to him face to face and consult with him." (Digha Nikaya 19:43)

21. "Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them." (John 20:26)
"He goes unhindered through a wall." (Anguttara Nikaya 3:60)
22.

"And after six days Jesus takes with him Peter, and James, and John, and leads them up into a high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on Earth can white them." (Mark 9:2-3)

"Ananda, having arranged one set of golden robes on the body of the Lord, observed that against the Lord's body it appeared dulled. And he said, "It is wonderful, Lord, it is marvelous how clear and bright the Lord's skin appears! It looks even brighter than the golden robes in which it is clothed." (Digha Nikaya 16:4:37)

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3. Near-Death Experience Revelations Concerning Buddha and Jesus

  Mellen-Thomas Benedict is an artist who survived a near-death experience in 1982. He was dead for over an hour and a half after dying of cancer. At the time of his death, he rose up out of his body and went into the light. Curious about the universe, he was taken far into the remote depths of existence, and even beyond, into the energetic void of nothingness behind the Big Bang. During his experience, he was able to learn a great deal of information concerning reincarnation and the identity of the "Being of Light." His experience reveals an interesting connection between Buddha and Jesus. The following information is an excerpt from his near-death experience.

"There was this light shining. I turned toward the light. The light was very similar to what many other people have described in their near-death experiences. It was so magnificent. It is tangible; you can feel it. It is alluring; you want to go to it like you would want to go to your ideal mother's or father's arms.

 

"As I began to move toward the light, I knew intuitively that if I went to the light, I would be dead.

 

"So as I was moving toward the light I said, "Please wait a minute, just hold on a second here. I want to think about this; I would like to talk to you before I go."

 

"To my surprise, the entire experience halted at that point. You are indeed in control of your near-death experience. You are not on a roller coaster ride. So my request was honored and I had some conversations with the light. The light kept changing into different figures, like Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, mandalas, archetypal images and signs.

 

"I asked the light, "What is going on here? Please, light, clarify yourself for me. I really want to know the reality of the situation."

 

"I cannot really say the exact words, because it was sort of telepathy. The light responded. The information transferred to me was that your beliefs shape the kind of feedback you are getting before the light. If you were a Buddhist or Catholic or Fundamentalist, you get a feedback loop of your own stuff. You have a chance to look at it and examine it, but most people do not." (Mellen-Thomas Benedict)

Comment:  Mellen-Thomas Benedict's near-death revelation suggests that not only are the Higher Selves of Jesus, Buddha and Krishna, one and the same, but all of humanity's Higher Selves are one and the same. Perhaps we are different aspects of the same Higher Spirit.

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4. Edgar Cayce on the Connection Between Buddha and Jesus

  Edgar Cayce had many near-death-like experiences and revealed information about ancient religions which were later confirmed to be true. The following are some of the revelations he received concerning the connection between Buddha and Jesus.

Christian Gnosticism is the highest form of Christianity according to the Cayce revelations. A close study of Christian Gnosticism shows that this early form of Christianity was more similar to Buddhism than to traditional Christianity. For example, both religions teach:

(a) Reincarnation; (b) A philosophy of life where suffering can lead to liberation; (c) The Oneness of all things; (d) The Divine Light; (e) The existence of various afterlife realms to journey through to attain heaven; (f ) The Gnostic goal of every human being attaining Christhood is identical to the goal of attaining Buddhahood; (g) The distinction between "Jesus the human being" to "Christ the spirit of human-divine unity;" and the distinction between "Buddha the human being" and "Dharmakaya the Clear Light of Ultimate Reality; (h) The belief in the ancient concept of karma; (i ) and the importance of performing good works. Note that this is not a complete list.

Other revelations from Cayce are that sometime in the future, China will become the "cradle of Civilization." Those who are not familiar with the Cayce revelations are certain this revelation about China and Christianity has to be false. But, as we have just seen, Buddhism is closer to true Christianity as traditional Christianity itself. If Buddhism flourishes once again in China as it once did for thousands of years, I am sure that this revelation of China being "Christian" will become true.

 

Cayce revealed how the Christ spirit (the spirit of human-divine unity) constitutes the impelling force and core of truth behind all religions which teach "God is One" and "all is one". This includes Confucianism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Judaism, Platonism, Christianity and Islam.

 

And finally, Buddha represents the "Way" to Enlightenment as Jesus represents the "Way" to the Father.

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"By giving away food we get more strength. By bestowing clothing on others we gain more beauty. By donating abodes of purity and truth we acquire great treasures." - Buddha

"If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven." - Jesus Christ

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