17 September 2007

Buddhism and Christianity

Reminiscent of the Hinduism out of which Buddhism arose, Buddhists such as Cabezón believe that there are multiple incarnations of deity. For this reason, Jesus may be accepted as incarnation out of many, unique in his own way perhaps, but not exclusively unique as many Christians believe.12 Furthermore, Buddhists do not believe that any being is capable of redeeming another; no deity is an ultimate creator; all were initially subject to samsara. Therefore, Jesus, as the manifestation of a deity, was not able to provide the salvation that many Christians claim is only possible through him. In Cabezón’s words: “Salvation from suffering [as opposed to salvation from sin13] is earned through the process of self-purification, not bestowed on one as a gift from above.”14 It follows that Christ may have shown an example of a potential path toward ultimate enlightenment, but this example was then misunderstood by many Christians who hold to an exclusive view of Christ as Savior that does not admit to other possibilities.15 Bokin Kim, a Won Buddhist, is very optimistic about the possibility, however, that Jesus is a figure worthy of non-exclusive emulation, looking at him through the eyes of Won Buddhism’s founder, Chungbin Park Sot’aesan.16

Footnotes:
12 Ibid. Para. 17, under subheading “Jesus as Teacher.”
13 1 John 1:8–10.
14 Cabezón, José Ignacio. “Jesus through a Buddhist’s Eyes.” (Jesus Christ through Buddhist Eyes.) University of Hawai’i Press. (Appears in Project Muse. This article was in the sample issue of Buddhist-Christian Studies, Volume 19.1 (1999), pages 51–61.) November 15, 2001. Para. 23.
15 Kim, Bokin. “Christ as the Truth, the Light, the Life, but a Way?” (Jesus Christ through Buddhist Eyes.) University of Hawai’i Press. (Appears in Project Muse. This article was in the sample issue of Buddhist-Christian Studies, Volume 19.1 (1999), pages 76–80.) November 15, 2001. Para. 3
16 Ibid. (Entire article.)
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