October 31, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing the Ninety-Five Theses to the Wittenberg Church door. I thought it might be interesting to compare the Buddha with Luther. They have many similarities and, of course, contrasting points. I will list the Buddha first as he lived before Luther.
1) Siddhartha Gautama was born between 623 B.C. and 560 B.C. in Lumbini located in what is now the country of Nepal.
2) Gautama was born into a royal family.
3) Gautama’s father had high hopes for Gautama to be a good king.
4) Gautama at age 29 saw the four visions and renounced his life and became a monk.
5) Gautama’s father disagreed with his decision to become a monk.
6) Gautama practiced asceticism in order to achieve enlightenment. But he was unsuccessful.
7) Gautama finally meditated for 40 days on the Middle Path and achieved enlightenment. He became known as the Buddha (“Enlightened One”).
8) The Buddha spent the next 45 years teaching his insights.
9) The Buddha reformed Hinduism and this became known as Buddhism.
10) The Buddha never wrote down any of his words.
11) The Buddha left his wife and newborn son in order to become a monk.
1) Martin Luther was born November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany.
2) Luther was born to peasants who were climbing the social ladder.
3) Luther’s father had high hopes for Luther to be a lawyer.
4) Luther at age 18 was caught in a storm and vowed to become a monk if he should survive.
5) Luther’s father disagreed with his decision to become a monk.
6) Luther lived a strict monastic life in order to please God. But he was unsuccessful.
7) Luther began meditating on Romans 1:17 and realized that his salvation was not based on his own efforts but in faith in Christ’s efforts.
8) Luther spent the next 30 years teaching his insights.
9) Luther reformed Catholicism and this became known as Lutheranism.
10) Luther wrote and published many works.
11) Luther left being a monk and got married and had children.
These are just a few of the similarities and differences between the Buddha and Luther. What others can you come up with?