Nancy Spinelli December 18, 2014
History of Religion 120
Two Leaders, Same Guise
Can two very diverse religions be founded on two different men of the equal guise? Man religious leaders follow their own path to enlightenment. Teach their own lessons that vary from other religious leader of their time or the time preceding them. However, what can one say when they come across two very diverse religions, centuries apart have drastically similar leaders? With very similar teachings and paths. Christianity and Buddhism were similar in that their leaders were both enlightened beings on similar paths. However, Buddhism and Christianity’s leaders had very different upbringings.
Buddhism and Christianity are both similar in how their leaders are enlightened beings because both their leaders had Prophesies foretold about them. When Siddhartha Gautama was born seers and spiritual masters of the land came to pay homage to the new born prince. “Shortly after his birth, a seer is said to have prophesied that Siddhartha would either become a great king or a holy man.” ("Buddhism") It was foretold at his birth that he would become a Buddha, The Enlightened One. This led to the King ensuring that Siddhartha had the most comforting and luxurious life to prevent him from becoming the Enlightened One.
Christianity, as well as Buddhism had a prophecy about their leader. It was said that the birth of the Messiah would be the King of the Jews that would liberate them from their enemies, the Romans. One such prophecy was, “Jesus will live a perfect life, die by crucifixion, resurrect from death, ascend into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God.Prophecies: Psalm 22:16; Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 53:10–11; Psalm 68:18; Psalm 110:1. Fulfilled: 1 Peter 2:21–22; Luke 23:33; Acts 2:25–32; Acts 1:9; Hebrews 1:3.” (Driscoll) The birth of the Messiah was spoken about in many passages in the Bible i.e. Issiah, Mathew, Micha, Nephi, Luke, Alma and Heleman. This led to Mary and Joseph leaving Nazareth and traveling to Bethlehem to have baby Jesus. ("Primary 6: Old Testament Lesson 46: Prophets Foretold the Birth of Jesus Christ (Christmas)") At this time in history the Jews were being persecuted by the Romans, so the belief in a Messiah or a King to free them from oppression was a blessing.
As well, in both Buddhism and Christianity both leaders had miraculous conception. It is to be said that in Buddhism, Siddhartha’s parents Queen Maha Maya and King Suddhodana had not conceived a child in over twenty years. It is to be said that the Queen did not have sexual intercourse in order to conceive him leading one to believe that the Buddh was conceived from a God. “An old tradition tells us that shortly before his final rebirth the Bodhisattva spent his life as a god in Tusita (the Heaven of the Contented). Surveying the world from Tusita, the Bodhisattva saw the time had come for him to take a human birth and at last become a buddha; he saw that the "Middle Country" of the great continent of Jambudvipa (India) was the place in which to take birth, for its inhabitants would be receptive to his message. The Bodhisattva was conceived on the full moon night in July; that night his mother, Maya, dreamt that a white elephant carrying a white lotus in its trunk came and entered her womb through her right flank.” ("The Life of the Buddha")
Christianity similar as in Buddhism their leader’s conception was also miraculous. Jesus’ mother Mary and Step-Father Joseph were engaged, but Mary was still a Virgin leading us to believe, similar to Queen Maha Maya, that Jesus did not come from this plain that he was conceived from a higher being. The Angel Gabriel was sent from Heaven to visit Mary:
“26 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”
29 But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean.
30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace.31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a s...