Buddha, I believe, was a good man who was passionately trying to find a higher way of living. He was of a royal family. He saw the shallowness of the lifestyle of the wealthy & power-hungry people who surrounded him, so he became a monk-type of person, living a monastic kind of existence in the woods, doing nothing but seeking truth, ultimate reality. He finally arrived at something he called Nirvana. It’s a bit strange that the word Nirvana has its roots in a word meaning “blowing out” like the blowing out of a candle. He taught that, ultimately, if we reach Nirvana, we cease to exist as a personal being. Once a person is out of the cycle of rebirths and they achieve Nirvana, they cease to exist as a person, blending with some kind of cosmic energy.
He taught that to achieve Nirvana you have to give the belief that you have a soul and that your soul will spend an eternity in heaven in some kind of relationship with God. Jesus taught both of those things: that we definitely do have a soul and that we definitely can spend an eternity in a heavenly existence in a personal relationship with God.
When I was a yoga teacher, I heard many people say that both Jesus and Buddha were avatars, which a Hindu word meaning “Incarnation of God.” I believed it also. If that is true, then God is very confused. If God would incarnate in a human form, and at one time teach that we have no soul, then the next time teach that we do, one time teach that you can’t spend eternity in a personal relationship with God and five hundred years later teach that we do, then apparently God can’t make up his mind. No, it’s because Buddha was just a man. A good man, I believe. A man who passionately sought after ultimate reality like few do. I also believe he fell short of encountering the truth.
Buddha did not die on a cross for the sins of humanity. He was a normal human being conceived of a normal sexual union of a man and a woman. He was no different that you and me. Jesus was much different because He was conceived of the Holy Spirit. His body was divine in origin. Mary [his mother] was overshadowed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The body in her womb was created by God so that Jesus was God manifested in the flesh.
Buddha, nor any other religious leader died on a cross for the sins of humanity. Muhammad was born of a man and a woman and did not die on a cross. Krishna, which I believe is a mythical being, did not die on a cross for the sins of humanity. None of these rose from the dead. Buddha died of food poisoning, which is no comparison to the horrific treatment Jesus received, putting him in an early grave. Buddha is still in the grave. Jesus arose victoriously, was restored, given a glorious form and an eternal body to dwell in as an example to us that if we put our trust in Him we also can live forever. We will one day, at the resurrection, receive a glorious and eternal body. There’s so many differences that we need to focus upon before we reject Jesus’s claim.
I believe if you really set your heart on it and sincerely and humbly search it out and not just reject it because at first your intellect has a problem with this biblical concept or that one, but go ahead and humbly set your intellect on a shelf, and, like I did, say, “Jesus, if you’re there, manifest yourself to me. Prove that this thing about you dying on a cross is really true.”