Jesus and the Buddha on Happiness

A great little article from Desiring God.

It is ironic, though, that driving the Buddha’s rigorous pursuit to kill his desires was one great human desire: lasting happiness.

There was also a huge, vacuous hole in the Buddha’s pursuit of lasting happiness: no God. The Buddha didn’t say much about God’s existence because, frankly, to him God was irrelevant to human happiness. Rather, happiness was being free from desire-induced suffering and reincarnation. Happiness was the blissful end of individual existence—a sort of sweet annihilation.

How different are Jesus’ answers from the Buddha’s. When a rich and troubled young man, not so different from the rich and troubled young Gautama, sought out Jesus’ direction for eternal happiness, Jesus replied,

You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. (Mark 10:21)

Notice that Jesus did instruct the man to become detached from his possessions. But he did not mean a Buddhist detachment. He said it another way here:

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. (Matthew 13:45)

The message is clear: desire the treasure! Desire it enough to count everything else as loss in order to gain it (Philippians 3:8).

Plenty of food for thought there, especially for those who claim that all religions are basically the same. Do read it all.

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