Buddhism and Christianity

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Item Code: IDJ003
Author: Archibald Scott
Publisher: Pilgrims publishing
Language: English
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 9798177693057
Pages: 391
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.3" X 5.4"
Weight 460 gm
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Book Description

Back of the Book

Christianity and Buddhism are two of the world's great religions. One is a teaching that defines good and evil under the presence of a mightier being, and one is a philosophical path for the individual without a higher divinity. Are there any common threads between the two?

What concepts and precepts define these two faiths? Born from different backgrounds, can either religion truly define the condition of man or beast, of the living, of the dead, the reason for good or evil? Is there any reason to think that Christianity is more or less superior to Buddhism? The author has sought to explore these two diverse beliefs. Each has its historical aspects; each has its own set of defined goals, perceptions and higher ideals. Buddhism and Christianity is a riveting analysis, a thought provoking study of the dilemma of life.


In endeavoring to sketch in so limited a space even the most salient features of the many sided religion of Buddhism it is possible that here and there I may have misrepresented it. If so, I hope the fault will be attributed to inadvertence, or rather to disadvantages under which I have worked. The sacred beliefs of any section of mankind are entitled to receive at our hands not only justice but kindly consideration, and a religion so vast and in some respects so wonderful as Buddhism ought to have much to commend it to our sympathy. Long and patient study of it has indeed greatly modified opinions originally formed concerning it, but it has only tended to increase respect for so earnest an effort of the intellect to solve the mystery of human life and destiny. Even Christians may have something to learn from Buddhists. The divers and seemingly antagonistic Churches of Christendom help to educate and reform each other, and non-Christian religions may perform a similar office to Christianity in bringing into prominence some universal truths, which its creeds have allowed to slip into forgetfulness. Our perception and apprehension of what Christianity really is will be the clearer and firmer for an impartial study of the system formulated so long ago by Gotama the Buddha.

The aim of the Lecture has not been to use the extravagances of Buddhism as a foil to set off the excellencies of Christianity. That Christianity as a religion is immensely superior to Buddhism goes without saying, unless in the case of a very small and conceited and purblind minority. I have tried by a fair exposition of what is best and highest in this religion to discover its feeling after something better and higher still, and to suggest rather than indicate the place which it occupies in the religious education of humanity. As

"Man hath all which nature hath, but more,
And in that more lie all his hopes of good,"

So Christianity, while having in it in fuller measure and clearer form every truth that has vivified any other religion, has in it, as the new creation to which the long travail of the soul under every form of faith has from the first been pointing, something peculiar and contrasted-which is the Divine answer to all their aspirations. This we do not need to demonstrate: indeed it may be a verity, as incapable of demonstration as is that of the existence of Deity or the immortality of the soul. It is sure eventually to be almost universally recognized, and meanwhile, whether accepted or denied, we may say- E pur si muove.

Very gratefully would I acknowledge my profound obligations to all who have instructed me in this subject. Thought we no longer regard the Saddharma-Pundarika and Lalita Vistara as good specimens of Buddhism, we still venerate the great scholars who first introduced them to our notice. The splendid productions of Burnouf, Foucaus, Koppen, Stanislas Julien, Hodgson and Turnour; the excellent works of Spence Hardy, Gogerly, Bigandet and H. H. Wilson, and among the best of all the laborious and faithful Dictionary of Professor Childers, though several of them are unfortunately out of print, are not likely to be soon out of date. It is with pleasure that we find them so frequently quoted or referred to by our latest and best authorities. Still, ever since Professor Max Muller organized his truly catholic enterprise of the translation of the Sacred Books of the East, he has brought us very considerably nearer to real Buddhist teachers themselves. To praise the scholarship of himself, and oldenberg, and Rhys Davids, and Kern, and Fausboll and others of his collaborateurs, would be unwarrantable presumption on my part; but as a humble disciple very willing to learn, I am glad to have this opportunity of publicly expressing my appreciation of the great services which in their editions of old Eastern texts, and in these series of translations, they are rendering to the cause of religion.

The lectures were drafted and in great part written before I read the very valuable works of Sir Monier Williams on Buddhism and of Dr. Kellogg on the Light of Asia and the Light of the World. I specially mention these books as likely to prove very useful guides to any one desirous of prosecuting the subject of the present Lecture. In the notes I have marked my indebtedness to them, and to many authors of what has already become a great literature. Many others whose works have been of service to me in a course of reading extending over many years are not noted, simply because in the caprices of memory my peculiar obligations to them could not at the time be recalled.

For in regard to Buddhism I do not profess to add any original information to the stock already acquired. Others have extracted the ore from these old and interesting fields, and minted it into gold and silver. What has thus been rendered available many like myself can only reduce into copper or bronze, but if only our work be faithfully done, we may thus help in increasing the currency and in extending its circulation. With this in view I accepted the honour which the Croall Trustees conferred upon me in calling me to undertake this Lecture, and if the only effect of my efforts be to stimulate other ministers of the church more advantageously situated to prosecute their researches to much better purpose, no one will be more pleased than myself.


L E C T U R E:- I.
Introductory: Necessity for a proper comparison of Buddhism and Christianity.  
Schopenhauer's prediction as to the influence of Oriental studies upon European religion and philosophy-New science of Comparative Theology-Its value to the expounders of Christianity-Study of all religions binding upon Christians-Special claims of Buddhism-Its duration and wide spread diffusion-The quality of its doctrinal and ethical system-The correspondences between it and Christianity-Instructive parallels of historical development-Resemblances, if granted or assumed, not to be accounted for by theory of derivation-Renan-E. Burnouf-Ernest de Bunsen-Both religions independent in origin, though analogous in development-What the significance of this-True answer to be found, not by examining alleged resemblances between the religions, but their points of contradiction and ontrast -Unity of humanity involves organic unity of language and of religion-Declarations of Scripture-Christianity as the universal religion has much in common with all -has something peculiar to itself which it possesses in contrast-In this will be found not only its superiority to all the rest, but the answer to all their cravings and aspirations 1-58
L E C T U R E: II.
The Historical Antecedents of Buddhism And Christianity, and the Evidential Value of Thire Respective Scriptures  
Both religion inherited and produced scriptures-Christian scriptures criticised for eighteen centuries-Buddhist scriptures as yet only in part available for examination-Admissions made by translators in regard to them-Strong contrasts between two sets of scriptures,in respect of authenticity and genuineness-Impossible to regard the two as of similar canonical or authoritative value-In Buddhism only oral traditions for centuries-Effect of the lack of a real canon in primitive Buddhism-Effect of a fixed and written canon in the development of Christianity-Antecedents of Buddhism-Vedic India-Brahmanic India-Development of Brahmanic speculaion-Its highest reach in philosophical Brahmanism-The Upanishadas-Pursuit of Atman-antecedents of Christianity-Patriarchal belief in Deity-Mosaic stage of religious belief-The religion of Moses and the prophets too pure for the people under the kings-Destruction of the kingdom-Effect of Captivity on the prophets-on the people-Difference between the beliefs and hopes of the Diaspora and those of the returned Palestinian Jews-Preparation of the Empire and world beyond it for the dawn of Christianity 59-125
The Buddha of the Pitakas: The Christ of The New Testament  
Palestine at the birth of Christ-India at the birth of Gotama-Like, yet unlike-Analogies in development of previous beliefs and speculation-Contrasts-Gotama's life and ministry contrasted with the life and ministry of Jesus-The difference between their personal relations to the religions which they founded-"I take refuge in Buddha"-"I believe in Christ"-The supernatural in both religions-Pre-existence, incarnation and miracles ascribed to Buddha-Sources of information as to these beliefs examined and compared with the Gospel accounts-Relation of the miracles to each religion-Nature of the miracles themselves-Growth of Buddhist legends described by T. W.Rhys Davids-Implied growth of the Christian legends examined-Essential contrasts manifest all through-Buddha can be accounted for but Christ is the Miracle of History 126-191
The Dharma of Buddha: The Gospel of Christ  
Gotama's discovery at Bohimanda-The four Sacred Verities-The noble Eightfold Way-His theory of life different from but nto wholly antagonistic to that of speculative Brahmanism-Existence not illusion, but essentially evil-Transmigration-"Modern Buddhists" defence of the dogma-Contrast between it and Christian doctrine of the Fall-christianity in its sorest struggle with evil hopeful-Buddhism hopeless-atheistic-materialistic, yet has its own way, not of victory, but of retreat and escape-Doctrine of Karma analogous to christian doctine of Heredity, yet really contrasted-Goal of all Buddhist aspiration and effort-Nirvana, point blank contradiction to Christian goal, yet way to it analogous-Arhatship as essential in Buddhism as holiness is in christianity-Noble quality of Buddhist ethical code-Its approach to the Christian rule-A law not for all-Its degrees or paths of perfection-Uprightness-Meditation-Enlightenment-Christ's way of salvation and sanctification by the Holy Spirit through the truth-Essential defects of Buddhist schme 192-252
L E C T U R E: V.
The Buddhist Sangha: The Christian Church  
The Church the fruit of Christianity, the sangha the root out of which Buddhism sprang-The Sangha not a church but an Order-Different from the many orders then existing, yet with a likeness to them which it never lost-Renunciation of secular life an indispensable qualification for membership-Analogous to yet essentially different from Monachism in Christianity, and in utter contrast to the idea and reality of the Christian Church-The Sangha as theoretically open to all, and propagandist in its purpose a precursor of the Church-Actual disqualification for membership-Ceremonial of admission-The "outgoing" from the world-Ceremonial of confirmation-The "arrival"-The novitiate or turelage-The ruleof the Sangha-No vows of obedience to superiors-Stringent vows of poverty and chastity-Difference between a Buddhist Vihara and a Christian monastery-Favourable features of Buddhist monastic life-The Uposatha gathering-The Patimokkha catechising-The Pavarana inviation-Relation of women to the Sangha-Institution of Order of Bikkhuni-The relation of the laity to the Sangha-The Buddhist layman's only possible "merit," and his only hope 253-313
The Religions in History  
External diffusion-Both religions missionary-Vastly different in respect of their message-Buddist endeavour to perpetuate a system-Christian endeavour to set forth and interpret the facts of a miraculous life-Effect of belief in Christ's continued presence upon the Church-Rapid diffusion of Christianity during the first four centuries-Condition of Buddhism during a similar period-Spread of Christianity after Constantine-Spread of Buddhism after Ashoka-Difference in the peoples affected by both religions-Inferences-Internal history-Buddhism and Brahmanism-Christianity and Judaism-In Buddhism an early abandonment of fundamental principles manifest-Recoil of human nature from its Atheism into Polytheism and Tantrism-Degradation of Southern and Northern Buddhism-Buddhism in Tibet-Christianity in Abyssinia-History of Chinese Buddhism from fourth century A.D. analogous to that of Christianity in Europe from same date-Deterioration of both religions similarly indicated-Bodiharma-Modern Neo-Buddhism-The T'ien-t'ai School-Reformed Buddhism in Chinain Japan-Its most modern attitude-Difference between Buddhism and Christianity-Alike in their tendency to deteriorate-christianity alone manifests a reforming and progressive power-Resources of Buddhism manifestly exhausted-Christianity apparently in only an initial stage of development 314-386
Postscript 387-391

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