There is plenty of beauty and applied insight in the teachings found across the world's major religions, as well as the wisdom traditions in Eastern and indigenous cultures.
We can explore this, together, in the context of Buddha and Jesus.
BUDDHA PROPHESIZES JESUS
It is written in holy books and across broad scholarship that near his death in 483 B.C. Buddha (The Enlightened One) told his followers, "Regardless of how many laws you have kept, or even if you pray five times a day, you cannot be free from your sin. Even though you burn yourself, even though I become a hermit, or am reborn another ten times, I also shall not be saved." (Manuscript, Praising Temple, Chiengmai Thailand ).
Buddha taught that he was not a "god", but only a man, a truth seeker. Yet at the time right before his death, Buddha taught that there would be a future Messiah, "Lord of Mercies", who would be able to free men of their sins. Buddha said, "...He is the Lord of Mercies, His name shall be called the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. He is all knowing, all wise. He knows all that is in the human heart. He is Lord of all the angels and of all humans. No one is greater than He." (Sutrapridot 3:107 ).
Buddha continued to teach of the Lord of Mercies that "...His side has a wound where he was pierced, and his forehead has many scars. He will carry you to heaven where you will find the triune God (the Holy Trinity). Thus give up following the old way. A spirit from heaven will come and dwell in your heart." (Manuscript, Praising Temple, Chiengmai, Thailand).
Later, Jesus fulfilled all of these prophesies. The awesomeness of the
revealed Christ should call all peoples to submit to his eminence as the Divine One, the one true Son of God. He is the
only one under heaven through whom we can be saved, that is, liberated from sin.
FAITH & SCIENCE
Just as there is mounting scientific evidence which supports the positive autonomic effects of the Buddhist meditation traditions, it is also prescient that we understand the miracles and mysteries of Christ through scientific rigor. This is an excellent presentation on the subject.
We also now know that the effects of mass meditation and prayer - distinct, but no less interrelated - can transform societies, and therefore, the world at large.
And yet, at this moment in history, we find ourselves struggling with our faith (if we even have it), our hope, and the will to do good things in service to others. Whereas Buddhism teaches us that material things ultimately don't matter, Christianity teaches us that God in Christ transcends the materialism which plagues us.
We might also look at this in terms of the truth and frequency of perceptions. In other words, there are measurable quantum scientific outcomes to these practices. Truth, naturally, is the wellspring of the Divine.
Also notice the similarities between the sacraments and the eight Buddhist "rights": Right Understanding, Right Intent, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
JESUS & GAUTAMA
If we refer to the scholarship of someone like Dr. Patrick Zukerin, there is much to admire in the life and teachings of Gautama. The following is a slight interpretation of Dr. Zukerin's writings.
The main question Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, sought to answer was, “Why is there pain and suffering?” His belief in reincarnation (the belief that after death one returns to earthly life in a higher or lower form of life according to his good or bad deeds) prompted a second question that also needed to be answered: “How does one break this rebirth cycle?” The basic teachings of Buddhism, therefore, focus on what Gautama believed to be the answer to these questions. These basic tenets are found in The Four Noble Truths and in The Eight-fold Path.
First, Buddha did not claim to be divine. Theravada remains true to his teaching that he was just a man. The idea that he was divine was developed in Mahayana Buddhism 700 years after his death. Furthermore, Northern Buddhism teaches that there have been other manifestations of the Buddha or bodhisattvas and some believe Jesus to be one as well. However, Jesus did not claim to be one of many manifestations of God; He claimed to be the one and only Son of God. This teaching was not the creation of his followers but a principle He taught from the beginning of His ministry. In fact, the salvation He preached was dependent on understanding His divine nature.
Second, Buddha claimed to be a way shower. He showed the way to nirvana, but it was up to each follower to find his or her own path. Christ did not come to show the way; He claimed to be the way. While Buddhism teaches that salvation comes through Buddhas teachings, Christ taught salvation is found in Him. When Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6), He was saying He alone is the one who can give eternal life, for He is the Source of truth and life. Not only did He make the way possible, He promises to forever be with and empower all who follow Him to live the life that pleases God.
Third, Buddha taught that the way to eliminate suffering and attain enlightenment was to eliminate all desire. Christ taught that one should not eliminate all desire but that one must have the right desire. He stated, “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied.” Christ taught that we should desire to know Him above all other wants.
Fourth, Buddha performed no miracles in his lifetime. Christ affirmed His claims to be divine through the miracles He performed. He demonstrated authority over every realm of Creation: The spiritual realm, nature, sickness, and death. These miracles confirmed the claims that He was more than a good teacher, but God incarnate.
Finally, Buddha is buried in a grave in Kusinara at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains. Christ, however, is alive. He alone conquered sin and the grave. His death paid the price for sin, and His resurrection makes it possible for all people to enter into a personal and eternal relationship with God.
After a comparative study, one might realize Buddha was a great teacher who lived a noble life, but Christ is the unique revelation of God who is to be revered as our eternal Lord and Savior.
IN OPEN CONCLUSION
For those who have little or no faith in the Divine, it has become clear that life has little meaning or purpose. We can see this everywhere.
What matters is how we love ourselves in the way we love God, and therefore in the ways we can love and help others on The Path. This is no easy task, nor is it meant to be.