Who was Siddhartha and why does his story so closely match the record of Jesus of Nazareth?
There are a surprising number of undeniable correlating details connecting the lives of these two men. Could they actually be the same person, whose story is just told from a different cultural perspective? Consider the records side-by-side below.
Siddhartha & Jesus
Side by Side
Sources for Siddhartha-Buddah are taken from the Buddha Carita, or The Life of Buddha.
Hover over the pictures to see the same moment depicted from each perspective.
Suddhodana was seated in a great hall. Sweet music was lulling his tranquil reverie. Maya took the seat on his right, and she said to him: “Deign to listen, my lord. Deign to grant the favor I have to ask of you, O protector of the earth.” “Speak, my queen,” replied Suddhodana. “What is this favor?” “My lord, I ask you to respect my austere life. Do not enter the dim forest of desire; allow me to observe the holy law of abstinence.
Joseph, Heir to David's Throne
Now this took place that all things might be fulfilled which were spoken of the Lord by the prophets, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel
Whereupon a great voice thundered in the sky: “Be happy, King Suddhodana, worthiest of the Sakyas! He who seeks supreme knowledge is about to come into the world. He has chosen your family to be his family because of its fame, good fortune and virtue, and for mother he has chosen the noblest of all women, your wife, Queen Maya. Be happy, King Suddhodana! He who seeks supreme knowledge would fain be your son!”
The king knew that the Gods were speaking, and he rejoiced.
“All creatures are happy, and they are no longer rough, those roads travelled by men, for he is born, he who gives happiness: he will bring happiness into the world. In the darkness a great light has dawned, the sun and the moon are like dying embers, for he is born, he who gives light: he will bring light into the world. The blind see, the deaf hear, the foolish have recovered their reason, for he is born, he who restores sight, and restores hearing, and restores the mind: he will bring sight, he will bring hearing, he will bring reason into the world. Perfumed zephyrs ease the suffering of mankind, for he is born, he who heals: he will bring health into the world. Flames are no longer pitiless, the flow of rivers has been stayed, the earth has trembled gently: he will be the one to see the truth.”
He is the light and the life of the world — yea,
that can never be darkened, yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death.
“Everyone now delighted in bringing him precious gifts. They gave him toys that would amuse a child of his age: tiny animals, deer and elephants, horses, cows, birds and fish, and little chariots; and they were toys made not of wood or of clay but of gold and of precious stones. And they brought him costly materials and rare gems, pearl necklaces and jeweled bracelets.”
And when [the wise men] were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
The time came to take Siddhartha to the temple of the Gods. By the king’s command, the streets of the city and the public squares were superbly decorated; drums were sounded and bells joyously rung. While Mahaprajapati was dressing him in his richest apparel, the child asked:
“Mother, where are you taking me?”
“To the temple of the Gods, my son,” she replied. The child smiled and quietly went with her to meet his father.
Marriage & Family
Family in Kapilavastu
Gopi of the Sakya, daughter of Dandapani was found to be beautiful, wise, and full of grace. Believing her perfections to be exaggerated by his servant, the king went to meet her himself. Gopa’s father would not consent to their marriage without the prince first passing tests of skill, strength and intellect. When both were proven to be superior in all things, and matched equals, Gopa and Siddartha were married.
And when they lacked wine, his mother said unto him, They have no wine. […] His mother said unto the servants, Whatever he says unto you, see that you do it. Jesus said unto unto the servants, Fill the waterpots with water. And he said, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast.
When the governor of the feast had tasted the water which was made wine, the governor of the feast called the bridegroom and said unto him, Every man at the beginning does set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse. But you have kept the good wine until now.
Note: If there is a lack of food, who would the servants tell? The host, of course. Would servants take bizarre and potentially offensive instruction from a random guest? No, but they would from their Mistress. Jesus was the bridegroom who provided the good wine.
Maha-mangala Sutta, Buddha
“Marriage is necessary for the exaltation of the man and woman and is ordained by me through the Holy Spirit of Promise, or in other words by my covenant, my law, and my authority. ”
As wild horses are made to bear the yoke, even so did he subdue his passions, and in virtue he surpassed his kinsmen and his friends. The knowledge he acquired he placed at the service of his fellow-men, and he only studied those subjects that were useful to all. He not only sought the welfare of his own people but he also wanted the whole world to be happy. He purified his body with the water from the sacred ponds, and he purified his soul with the holy water of virtue. —Life of Buddha 2:8
And then came Jesus from Galilee to Jordan, unto John, to be baptized of him. But John refused him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and why do you come to me? And Jesus, answering, said unto him, Suffer me to be baptized of you, for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And John went down into the water and baptized him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up immediately out of the water. And John saw, and behold, the Heavens were opened unto him. And he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Jesus. And behold, he heard a voice from Heaven saying, You are my Son; this day, I have begotten you. —Matt 2:4
Entering the Waters of
Under the Bodhi Tree
At 29 years old Siddhartha left his wife and child for 7 weeks to attain enlightenment through fasting and meditation.
And when he had fasted
and forty nights and had communed with God, he was afterward hungry and was left to be tempted of the Devil.
Four weeks after Gautama Buddha began meditating under the Bodhi Tree, the heavens darkened for seven days, and a prodigious rain descended. However, the mighty King of Serpents, Mucalinda, came from beneath the earth and protected with his hood the one who is the source of all protection. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.
Alone in the Wilderness
Daughters of Mara
The demon Mara sent his three daughters Tanha, Arati, and Raga to tempt the Buddha.
Temptations of Satan
Attachment, Desire, Greed, Passion
Truly I say unto you, inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the
you have done it unto me. -Matthew 11:23
Caring for the Sick and
“He who attends on the sick attends on me,” declared the Buddha, exhorting his disciples on the importance of nursing the sick. This statement was made by the Buddha when he discovered a monk lying in his soiled robes, desperately ill with an acute attack of dysentery.
The Wages of Sin is Death
Shadow of the Banyan Tree
The Buddha traveled the whole day Atavi to the demon’s cave and in the evening he arrived at the entrance.
The demon was away in the mountains, and the Buddha asked the gatekeeper if he could spend a night at the cave. When the gatekeeper left to inform his master about the request, the Buddha went into the cave, sat on the seat of the demon and taught the Dharma to Alavaka’s wives.
When the demon heard what was happening, he hurried home, in a terrible rage. He would have liked to torture this man who was sitting in front of him, this man whom he could not reach; he would have liked to torture him to death. With his extraordinary power, he created a terrifying thunderstorm with thunder, lightning, wind and rain.
Alavaka then attacked the Buddha by throwing his spear and club, but they fell at the feet of the Blessed One. The demon ordered the Buddha three times to get out and three times to enter the cave, in the hope that he could kill the Buddha with fatigue. Each time the Buddha did as he was ordered. But when the demon asked the Buddha to leave for the fourth time the Buddha refused to do so, saying, “I’m not going to obey you, Alavaka. Do whatever you can but I’m going to remain here.”
So shall the Son of Man be
in the heart of the earth.
Alavaka finally managed to control himself. He thought that cunning would perhaps succeed where strength had failed, and in a pleasant voice he said:
“I see you are a wise man, my Lord; it is always a pleasure for me to interrogate men of wisdom. I ask them four questions. If they can answer, they are free to go wherever they please; if they can not answer, they remain my prisoners, and I devour them when I feel so disposed.”
Alavaka's Four Questions and
The greatest wealth for a man is confidence.
The sweetest taste is truth.
The true doctrine, when well mastered, brings the highest bliss.
Wise living is the decent way of life.
When Alavaka heard the Master’s answers, he fell at his feet and worshipped him, and he promised to change his savage ways. Then, together, they went to Atavi, to the palace of the king.
“King,” said the God, “I release you from your pledge.”
The king was happier than he had ever been before. When he knew who had saved him, he cried:
“I believe in you, my Lord, who have saved me and saved my people; I believe in you, and I shall dedicate my life to proclaiming your glory, the glory of the law and the glory of the community.”
And thus God breaketh the bands of death, having gained
giving the Son power to make intercession for the children of men
No one will take my life, but instead I will offer it as a willing sacrifice. I have made the choice to lay it down, and I possess the power to take it up again. I received this commandment from my Father. –John 7:12
Behold my Hand and my Feet that it is I Myself
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.
On the sole of each of a Buddha’s feet and on the palm of each hand is the impression of a thousand-spoked wheel. The cause is a Buddha’s having always greeted and escorted his spiritual mentor and having had a selfless attitude of offering personal service to others.
"But this is the sign"
For those with Eyes to See
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Buddha
“Love one another and you will be mine, and I will preserve you, and raise you up, and abide with you for ever.” –T&C 175:4