Jesus and Buddha


Thoughts for the Christmas season.  Additionally, I recommend Bible and Bhagavad Gita by Sadguru Sant Keshavadas, available at

Jesus and Buddha, by Fr. Richard Rohr
Friday, December 8, 2017

In his book Jesus and Buddha, New Testament theologian Marcus Borg (1942-2015) highlights numerous sayings in the teachings of Jesus that are strikingly similar, if not identical, to the teachings of the Buddha who lived some six centuries earlier. There have been some attempts to explain these similarities through historical access, which is a remote possibility. Borg suggests a more meaningful view: that Jesus and the Buddha had both discovered the same spiritual goal and destiny, or I would say the one Holy Spirit that is guiding all of history. The Jewish Kabbalah, Muslim Sufism, and the teachings of the Tao also reveal a map toward non-dual consciousness and oneness.

Let me just share just a few of the parallel teachings Borg gathers in his book [1], and you will see how they are coming from the same non-dual perspective:

Jesus says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31). The Buddha says, “Consider others as yourself” (Dhammapada 10.1).

Jesus says, “If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Luke 6:29). Buddha says, “If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires [to hurt him] and utter no evil words” (Majjhima Nikaya 21.6).

Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” (Matthew 25:45).  Buddha says, “If you do not tend one another, then who is there to tend you? Whoever would tend me, he should tend the sick” (Vinaya, Mahavagga 8.26.3).

Jesus and Buddha diagnose the human dilemma similarly. Our suffering is primarily based on ignorance. The vast majority of humanity lives in blindness about who we are and where we are going. Jesus and Buddha both speak about anxiety, attachment, grasping, craving, and self-absorption.

Unfortunately, Christianity became so concerned with making sure everybody believed that Jesus was God (faith in Jesus) that we largely ignored his teachings on detachment, simplicity, nonviolence, and anxiety (the faith of Jesus). Our Buddhist brothers and sisters can help us remember these teachings at the core of our faith; they can help us be better, truer Christians. And we can help them, or at least give them very few reasons to dislike us! Why not try this novel idea?

On many levels, Jesus and Buddha talked about the same experience of transformation. In the end, all spirituality really is about transformation, dying before we die and being reborn as our True Selves in Love.


[1] Marcus Borg, Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings (Ulysses Press: 1999). These passages were selected from the chapter “Compassion.”

Adapted from Richard Rohr and James Finley, Jesus and Buddha: Paths to Awakening, disc 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008), CD, DVD, MP3 download.


About Satyabhama Ashley-Farrand

Satyabhama met Satguru Sant Keshavadas in December 1980 at his Temple of Cosmic Religion in Washington, DC. She also met Thomas Ashley-Farrand/Namadeva Acharya (1940-2010) the same evening, and a year and a week later they were married by Satgurus Sant Keshavadas and Rama Mata. Satyabhama studied with Sant Keshavadas and Rama Mata and with Namadeva for the next 3 decades. She became a Vedic priest in her own right in the mid-1980s and worked with Namadeva Acharya in performing and teaching ancient mantra techniques and spiritual practices. In 2008 and 2009, like Namadeva Acharya, she received guru diksha to be a guru from Satguru Rama Mata, Sadguru Sant Keshavadas' widow, to whom he passed the lineage in 1997. When Namadeva Acharya discovered that his death was imminent, he told Satyabhama that he wanted her to continue their mission of teaching the dharma, and he gave her a powerful initiation to enable her to teach his workshops with his spiritual energy. Since then, she has continued to travel and teach and also to manage the Gayatri Temple in Beaverton, Oregon, with the encouragement of Satguru Rama Mata and her family. Satyabhama has a B.A. from New York University and a Law Degree from Southwestern School of Law. Dedicated to serving God through humanity, she is a certified mediator and maintained a private law practice from 1981-2007. Prior to her law practice, Satyabhama worked to further the status of women through her involvement with the National Organization for Women and the National Women's Political Caucus. In 2004, Satyabhama assumed management of Saraswati Publications, LLC and Sanatana Dharma Satsang, Inc., a 501(c)3 religious organization. She is committed to making the world a better place in which Divine Law becomes the law of life.

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