The Second Coming 1835-1908 says:
There is, moreover, another resemblance between the Buddha and Jesus: Buddhism records that the Buddha during the Temptation was fasting; that the fast lasted for forty days. Readers of the Gospel know that Jesus also observed a forty days’ fast.
As I have just now stated, there is such a striking resemblance between the moral teaching of the Buddha and that of Jesus, that for those acquainted with both it has become something surprising.
For example, the Gospels say: do not resist evil, love your enemy, live in poverty, shun pride and falsehood and greed. The same is the teaching of the Buddha6. Nay, the Buddhistic teaching lays greater stress on it, so much so that the killing even of ants and insects has been declared a sin.
The outstanding principle of Buddhism is: sympathy for the whole world; seeking the welfare of the whole of humanity and of all the animals; promotion of a spirit of unity and mutual love. The same is the gospel teaching. Again, just as Jesus sent his disciples to different countries — journeying to one himself — so was the case with the Buddha.
Buddhism by Sir Monier Monier Williams records that the Buddha sent out his disciples to preach, addressing them thus: ‘Go forth and wander everywhere, out of compassion for the world and for the welfare of gods and men. Go forth, in different directions. Preach the doctrine (Dharham), salutary (Kalayana) in its beginning, middle and end, in its spirit (artha) and in its letter (vyanjana). Proclaim a life of perfect restraint, chastity and celibacy (Drahmacariyam). I will go also to preach this doctrine’ (Mahavagga 1.11.1)7.
The Buddha went to Benares and performed many miracles in that territory; he delivered an impressive sermon on a hill just as Jesus had delivered his sermon on the mount. Again, the same book states that the Buddha preached mostly in parables; he explained spiritual matters by means of physical analogies.
Let it be remembered that this moral teaching and this mode of preaching, i.e., talking in parables, was the method of Jesus. This mode of preaching and this moral teaching, combined with other circumstances, at once suggest that this was in imitation of Jesus.
Jesus was here in India; he went preaching everywhere; the followers of the Buddhist Faith met him, and finding him a holy person who worked miracles, recorded these things in their books; nay, they declared him to be the Buddha, for it is human nature to try to acquire a good thing for oneself wherever it may be, so much so, that people try to record and remember any clever remark made by any person before them.
It is, therefore, quite likely that the followers of the Buddhist Faith may have reproduced the entire picture of the Gospels in their books; as for example, fasting for forty days both by Jesus and the Buddha; the Temptation of both; the birth of both being without father8, the moral teaching of both; both calling themselves the Light, both calling themselves Master and their Companions disciples; just as Matthew, chapter 10 verses 8 and 9, states: ‘Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,’ so the Buddha gave the same command to his disciples; just as the Gospel encourages celibacy, so does the teaching of the Buddha; just as there was an earthquake when Jesus was put on the Cross, so it is recorded, these was an earthquake at the death of the Buddha.
All these points of resemblance arise from the fact of Jesus’ visit to India, which was a piece of good luck for the followers of the Buddhist Faith, from his staying among them for a considerable time and from Buddhists acquiring a good knowledge of the facts of his life and of his noble teaching.
Consequently, it was inevitable that a great part of that teaching and ceremonial should find its way into Buddhistic records for Jesus was respected and taken for the Buddha by the Buddhists. These people, therefore, recorded his sayings in their books and ascribed them to the Buddha.
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