The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Christianity is the religion based on the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (ca. 3 BCE – 30 CE). Many Christians believe that their religion alone offers salvation and that all other faiths, Buddhism included, lead to eternal hell. Of course, informed Christians interpret the teachings of Jesus somewhat differently. The Gospel of Luke says: ‘Once an expert in the Law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to have eternal life.” “What is written in the Law?” Jesus asked. The man answered, “Love your God with all your heart and all your strength and all your spirit, and love your neighbour as yourself.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. “Do this and you will live.”’ In this encounter Jesus agreed with the two Old Testament quotes which say that if you love God and your neighbour you will be saved. The interesting thing is that the first quote does not say ‘Love the Christian God’ or ‘Love the God I believe in’ or ‘Love the God Jehovah.’ It says ‘Love your God.’ One person’s god might be Sat Nām, another’s Śiva, and yet someone else’s Ahura Mazdah or Viṣṇu. Another person might not see god as a human-like or personal deity but as an impersonal absolute like the Tao or Nirvāṇa.Is this Bible story saying that if you are deeply and sincerely committed to your spiritual ideal, whatever it may be, and if you genuinely love others, that you will be saved? If so, Jesus was teaching something very similar to what the Buddha taught 500 years earlier. See Buddha and Jesus.
Buddhism and Christianity, a Positive Approach, M. Walshe, 1986.