Is Buddhism better then Christianity
No, Buddhism is not better then Christianity. Lets have a look why people think this in the first place. In the last like thirty years or so some christians looked towards eastern religions like Buddhism to see if this might be the better religion. Because Buddhism seems to have something that christianity seems to be missing. Direct orders for meditation of the body. If you look to buddhistic practices like in Zen Buddhism then you find stuff like movement exercises to get closer to the higher states of being. And this seems to be more modern and more sophisticated then christianity. Because people sometimes think that cristianity would be only defined by believe in Jesus and eating a secial bread in church.
There is one immensly important point to consider if you want to find out which religion is better Christianity or Buddhism.
But first lets check some of the historic facts: Buddha was a real person. He lived very roughly 450 jears before Jesus that is 2465 years ago. His birthname was Siddhartha Gautama. When he reached enlightenment he said that he is a Buddha. Which is a religious word of this time and describes a very high natural born spiritual leader. Or lets say somebody who understands spirituality better then other people and therefor teaches spiritual practice. So Buddha was not called Buddha by birth, he rather informed the people that he is a Buddha as he reached a certain level of understanding. In the religion of that time people believed as they still do today in Buddhas appearing from time to time. And they believe that it is a good age if a Buddha appears. Jesus was also a real person. He lived 2015 years ago. In christianity and thus in the western world we name the year with “years that passed since Jesus”. So while I am writing this it is the year 2015. Jesus was called Jesus at his birth. So Jesus is his birthname. While of course 2015 years ago in a different country his real name was something like: “Yechua” But constant use of this name in different languages and probably other name forms lead to the thing that today we call this man Jesus. So lets say in general Jesus was Jesus given birthname. When Jesus reached enlightenment, or lets say, as you could also say about Buddha: when Jesus understood his given enlightenment he gave himself a new name, just like Buddha. So actually both did not give themselves new fancy names, because Buddha means: “one who woke up” and this was a description of the religious phenomenon of repeated appearings of spiritual masters. So Buddha did not say: “my name is now Buddha”, he rather said: “I am a Buddha”. And Jesus called himself from a certain point on: “Christ”. That means “one rubbed with oil” if you translate it literally. But actually since only princes where rubbed with this meant precious oil “Christ” in this times means “prince”, one who is going to become king. The heir to the throne. So you could say Jesus called himself “only” prince to explain that he has a special status but that he has this status in a universe where there is a “higher king(God, Ishvara, Allah)”. So that was some of the history about Buddah and Jesus.
Now what is there to consider if you want to see if Buddhism is better then Christianity or vice versa? Buddha says that the way to perfection lies in being caring. That is an often underestimated fact about Buddhism. Western people often think that Buddhism is about “nothingness”, about letting your wishes go to come to the true reality. But this is not the main part of Buddhism. Also the physical body exercises of Zen Buddhism are not the main aspect of Buddhism. So Buddhism is in its core neither about body exercises nor is it about “nothingness”. Buddhism is mostly about being caring. Most western people are not aware of this. So what do we have: Two celebrated people who both spawned a world religion and named the central aspect of reaching perfection as being caring, nice and helpful.
So with this aspect we have to rethink Christianity. Because now as we are reminded of this “being caring stuff” we remember that of course this is one major aspect of christian teaching. Of course and so we see that Christianity is not only about believe in Jesus and eating special bread in church but also this one thing: that Jesus constantly teaches to be caring. And this is not just the way Jesus happened to be, no, as this comparison to Buddhas teaching strikingly demonstrates this being caring was meant as a program to follow if you want to go to perfection. So this has to be called one of the absolute major aspects of christianity. So with Christianity and Buddhism we have some very alike ideas about reaching perfection by being caring.
So what does this mean. Jesus teaches us that with becoming more caring we become more perfect. So that is the reason why christian religion is giving so little advise on meditation and movement. Simply because in Jesus teachings “being caring” is named as the proper way to reach perfection and God. So christianity is not at all without instructions. The problem is that we have problems to believe that these instructions will work. Because we selden use our time only for caringness, which would be necessary to be succesful in this field. And so sometimes we turn to Buddhism because there is talk about this special “nothingness” meditation, and certain forms of body exercising like Yoga. And often we do not want to try any of these things, neither body exercising nor meditation nor being caring. And so we like dream away of the great ways of Buddhism who manages to understand humans as bodily beings. But original christianity does never say the opposite. The turning away from the body was a thing later christian believers added to this religion. Original christianity does not say anything about neglecting your body. But it is so that Buddha and Jesus both spoke of a higher form of being that is not dependend on the physical body. But Buddha just happened to say that it is important to do sports and help ones body to be healthy. And while we can definitly suppose that Jesus would have said absolutely the same it is just not passed on to us in the little writings that we have about Jesus. So later scolars of Christianity emphasized that we would not need the body to much. So we can very much assume that Jesus would have much supported bodily exercises, but also Jesus had himself killed in order to proove his point saying that his true self can never die in this universe and that killing his body would not really kill him. And Buddha said the same, he also said that when his body would die he would live on. So both religions could have spawned a mistrust in the body but accidentally from Buddha we know that he told us to exercise the body with sports. And from Jesu we only know that at one time he said: “So many things I could tell you” but he refined himselve to the things he considered to be the most important and that was in many different words: “The way to perfection lies in becoming perfect in being caring”
So what now is needed to come to perfection? Body or no body? Medtation or no meditation?
Put it like this if you only exercise your being caring to learn how to become better in being caring you live the central aspect of what Buddha and Jesus themselves said to be the real way to perfection. That should be the thing to go for first. Now we can assume that the things you see when you reach closer to perfection are difficult to describe in words. So Buddha and Jesus alike are coming up with metaphors. So Jesus for example calls the highest principle of this universe a “Father” because it spawns us and loves us while actually this is trying to describe something that can not be described. Buddha speaks of this “not wishing for things” which is of the same category of describing things that can not be described. Both these ungraspable descriptions come from people who seemingly reached a higher state that can not be described in our words. So if we want to understand these things we have to reach the same higher state. And so we have to trust that Jesus and Buddha knew what they where talking of and so follow the way of becoming perfecty caring which they both declared to be the thing to do. And with this we should try to reach the higher state and with this higher state we should understand all these things that where hard to describe.
So Buddhist body exercise is not stupid. Buddha said both: that body exercise is important and he also said that eternal life in perfection is possible without the body. So some christian scolars figured for christianity that these body exercises lie outside of religion if you ultimatly do not need the body. But this is not true. The truth is all these things can not be understood. And you will understand them from a higher state. So you can trust in three things: First: That doing sports is important for your body and your religion. Second: That a physical body is not needed for living and reaching perfection. And third: You do not understand how this both can go together until you reach a higher state of being
And what about Buddhist meditation? Buddha said that the right meditation is important for reaching enlightenment. And he talks about his meditation. That is where all this talk about “not wanting things” comes from. But Buddhas ways of meditation are hard to figure out. Since neither Buddha nor Jesus make meditation the center of their teachings. We can well assume that meditation is not the main aspect of reaching perfection but still it seems to be important. The point is again that the importance of meditation or the unimportance of meditation can only be understood from a higher level. Since meditation is important I speak about meditation techniques in an own article: meditation techniques and exercises. This should give you some ways of making useful meditation.
We should not forget one thing: The meditations and body exercises of Buddhism are meditations and exercises that where invented by later Buddhist people and are not completely original from Buddha. That does not necessarily mean that they are bad or useless. But if you in a religious efford want to repeat Buddhist meditations you should be aware that those techniquese where not invented by the “master” himself. Buddhist meditation is not bad and it can be a good thing for religion. Even better in my opinion are the body exercises that are loosely connected to Buddhism like Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi gong, Kung Fu and others. Actually if you go back in time all these four named things have the same source of very old body exercises and they are good for the body and good for your way to perfection. I personal for me would choose Kung Fu of these four named things. I actually do some Kung Fu. So this is good for your religion if you do one of these or if you do any other sport. But you may never forget the main aspect of these two religions. And that is in the practice of being caring.
So Buddhism is not better then Christianity. It has to be understood that this being caring stuff from Jesus is already the instruction on what to do. Then we understand that just as Buddhism Christianity gives a lot of practical instructions. And as long as you do not forget the main aspect of Buddhism and Christianity you can do the Buddhist meditations and body exercises.
Buddhism is not against God, it just uses different ways of describing something that can not be described. So you should not consider which religious ideas are more true those of Buddhism or those of Christianity because both do not match the reality of the higher things.