Zen Buddhism – which focuses on meditation to achieve instantaneous enlightenment.
Pure Land Buddhism – which teaches faith in an incarnation of Buddha called “Amida Buddha.” Amida supposedly established a paradise kingdom that people who trusted in Amida could enter after death. This was said to be attained by calling on Amida through chanting, not on self-reliance or meditation.
Vichiren Shoshu Buddhism – includes a new and different chant that supposedly replaced the Pure Land chant. Followers believe that this form of Buddhism will replace all other forms of Buddhism and eventually bring peace to all mankind by uniting the world.
Comparing Christianity With Buddhism
Buddha maintained that the cause of suffering was ignorance of the “pathway” needed to be rid of desires and cravings. The Bible has a very different perspective. Scripture does not deny the reality of suffering in our world, but points to a very different cause for it. The whole world and especially humanity suffers because of the entrance and continued practice of sin (Rom 1: 18-23; 5:12). Humans are born with a sin nature and willfully choose to sin, desiring to live a selfish life independent of a loving God.
Though Buddha claimed that the presence of any desire is the source of suffering, Christianity affirms that there are desires that are good and right. These good and right desires will lead to fulfillment and joy, not suffering. For instance:
- the desire for God (Ps 73:25);
- the desire to glorify God through worship and service to Him and service to our fellow man;
- the desire to obediently live by the truths revealed in the Bible;
- the desire to pray and ask the Lord to answer (John 15:7);
- the desire for the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:31; 14:1);
- the desire for the Word of God (1 Pet 2:2). All of these are good and right desires.
The Bible also reveals that there are bad desires as well. James 1:13-15 reveals how the desires of our sinful natures lead people to sin. This sin eventually brings both spiritual and physical death (Rom 6:23).
The Buddhist is taught that suffering is caused by desire, and therefore to eliminate suffering he must eliminate desire. He must also do all of this through self-effort, with no outside help.
By contrast, Christians have been given a Deliverer- Jesus Christ – Who has redeemed them from their sins and provided the free gift of salvation. Christians have been given the Holy Spirit, Who helps them become free of the bondages caused by sin!
Hallelujah! (See John 8:32; 14:16, 17, 26; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:1-13.) The following chart makes some additional important major contrasts between Christianity and Buddhism:
God- God exists as sovereign King and Creator of the universe, and is intimately involved in humanity’s affairs (Job 12:23; Ps 75:6,7; Dan 4:25; Acts 17: 26,28); Jesus is the Son of God (Ps 2:7,8; Rom 1:1-4; Heb 4:14; 1 John 5:9-13).
Man- Man is created by God in His image.
God through Jesus is the Creator of the physical universe (Gen 1:26,27; John 1:3).