Located on this book's pages are some amazingly similar sayings that will leave you hungry to learn more about both Buddhism and Christianity. Edited by Marcus Borg, in the preface he states that "If the Buddha and Jesus were to meet, neither would try to convert the other-not because they would regard such an effort as hopeless, but because they would recognize each other." I believe after reading this book that you will feel the same way!
Striking similarities start with the book's very first set of sayings... "Do to others as you would have them do to you", attributed to Jesus and "Consider others as yourself", attributed to Buddha. Throughout the book the parallels are amazing up to and including the very last set... "Then Jesus cried again with a load voice and breathed his last. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split", and "At the Blessed Lord's final passing there was a great earthquake, terrible and hair-raising, accompanied by thunder".
The book begins with some discussion about why these two great religious figures may have such similar stories and sayings, but I would have liked to see the author expand on that more. The book is basically just side by side comparisons of similar quotes and concepts and it is up to the reader to form his own conclusions as to why they are so much alike.
All in all this is a worthwhile and easy read... a definate recommend to anyone interested in religion or philosophy.
The first book in the "Parallel" series examines the words attributed to the founders of 2 of the world's major religions. THere are many similiarites between Jesus and Buddha that editor Marcus Borg notes in the Forward: Both had life tansforming experiences around the age of 30; both were teachers of love and compassion; and both spent time alone in the wilderness.
"Jesus and Buddha" is not an overly scholarly study. A theme is presented with a brief one page intro (Compassion, Wisdom, Materialism, etc.). Then similiar quotes are presented on opposite pages - Jesus on one, Buddha on the next. The source is included, but thats it. No added commentary or explanation. I imagine those of an Orthodox bent will promptly drop the book in the trash. I found the spartan section intros and the short but informative Forward nicely balances the Zen-like approach to the quotes.
For those who approach comparitive religion with rabid intellectualism, this book is not for you. For those who believe that God is experienced in the heart, and can approach this with an open heart and mind, this little gem may be well received.