It is said that history is shaped by the lives of great men. Great men are leaders. They bring about change; they improve the lives of others; they introduce new ideas, models, and theories to society. Most of the world's religions were founded, developed, or discovered by great men. Two particular religions - Christianity and Buddhism - developed in different parts of the world, under different circumstances, and in different social atmospheres. But each religion is based upon the teachings of a great man. When one compares the life of Buddha with the life of Jesus, one finds that the two share many things in common. This essay aims to compare and contrast the lives of Buddha1 and Jesus in two key areas: conception and birth. In these two areas, one finds that the Buddha and Jesus share many similarities.
Sources on the Buddha's life indicate that he was born around the 6th century BCE. The events and conditions of his conception are miraculous. Tradition reports that the Buddha's mother, Maya2, had just returned from the Festival of the Full Moon in the month of Asalha3, when a deep sleep overcame her. During her sleep, she envisioned a beautiful white elephant approaching her. The Mahavastu Pali texts relate the elephant as being: light of steps, flawless of limbs, gleaming like snow-white silver with six tusks, and a gracefully waving trunk and crimson head.4 The elephant, holding a white lotus in its trunk, circled the queen's body three times, and then entered into her womb from the right side.
It is held that when the would-be Buddha entered his mother's womb, there appeared an "unlimited and glorious radiance, surpassing even the majesty of the devas."5 This light was so powerful that the dark...
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23 See http://www.bible2000.org/forgottenindex.htm
24 Amore, Roy C. and Julia Ching. The Buddhist Tradition. In Willard G. Oxtoby, Ed. World Religions: Eastern Traditions. P. 221
Edwardes, Michael. Ed. A Life of the Buddha - From a Burmese Manuscript. The Folio Society, London; 1959
Oxtoby, Willard G. World Religions: Eastern Traditions. Oxford University Press; 4 edition. March 11, 2014
Holy Bible - "The Official King James Bible Online" Web. 4 June 2015.
Khosla, Sarla. The Historical Evolution of the Buddha Legend. Intellectual Publishing House, Delhi; 1989
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M.H. Shakir. [Trans] The Holy Qur'an. Web. 18 May 2015. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/k/koran/browse.html