Gautama Buddha in world religions

Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, is also venerated as a manifestation of God in Hinduism and the Bahá'í faith.[1] Some Hindu texts regard Buddha as an avatar of the god Vishnu, who came to Earth to delude beings away from the Vedic religion.[2] He is also regarded as a prophet by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[3][4]


Some Hindus regard Buddha as the 9th Avatar of Vishnu.

Gautama Buddha is mentioned as an Avatar of Vishnu in the Puranic texts of Hinduism.[5] In the Bhagavata Purana he is twenty fourth of twenty five avatars, prefiguring a forthcoming final incarnation. A number of Hindu traditions portray Buddha as the most recent of ten principal avatars, known as the Dashavatara (Ten Incarnations of God).

Siddhartha Gautama's teachings deny the authority of the Vedas and consequently [at least atheistic] Buddhism is generally viewed as a nāstika school (heterodox, literally "It is not so"[6]) from the perspective of orthodox Hinduism.

Many of the eighteen orthodox Puranas mention the Buddha in a less favouring light. They present the birth of the Buddha as a ploy by the Supreme God Vishnu to corrupt demons and sway them from Vedic teachings. Only by leading them astray with his teachings could the demons be destroyed. This belief is sometimes associated with the Asuras of Tripura (the three citadels) as well as others. Literature from the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, on the other hand, maintains that Krishna took the appearance of an atheistic teacher out of benevolence, in order to trick atheists into worshipping God (i.e., himself).


Buddha is mentioned as the 23rd avatar of Vishnu in the Chaubis Avtar, a composition in Dasam Granth traditionally and historically attributed to Guru Gobind Singh.[7]

Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto

Some early Chinese Taoist-Buddhists thought the Buddha to be a reincarnation of Lao Tzu.[8]

In Japan, since one of the symbols of Dainichi Nyorai (one of the non-historical buddhas of Mahayana Buddhism) was the sun, many equated Amaterasu, the Sun Goddess, with a previous reincarnation (bodhisattva) of Dainichi Nyorai.

Ahmadiyya Community

Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community, in his book Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, argues that Buddha was indeed a prophet of God who preached Monotheism. He quotes from the inscriptions on Ashoka's stupas which mention "Isa'na" which means God. He quotes, "'Thus spake Devanampiya Piyadasi: "Wherefore from this very hour, I have caused religious discourses to be preached, I have appointed religious observances that mankind, having listened thereto, shall be brought to follow in the right path, and give glory to God* (Is'ana)."[9] The Ahmadiyya hold the view that the Buddha was indeed a Prophet of God.

Mirza Tahir Ahmad has also stated that the Qur'anic figure called Dhul-Kifl may have been the Buddha in his book "An Elementary Study of Islam."[10]

In fact, a verse in the Qur'an quotes that God has sent many prophets to thee (Humanity). However, only a few have been named. It is believed by some that Buddha may (or may not) have been a Prophet of God sent to his people who taught Monotheism.


Christ et Buddha by Paul Ranson 1880
Christ and Buddha by Paul Ranson, 1880

The Greek legend of "Barlaam and Ioasaph", sometimes mistakenly attributed to the 7th century John of Damascus but actually written by the Georgian monk Euthymius in the 11th century, was ultimately derived, through a variety of intermediate versions (Arabic and Georgian) from the life story of the Buddha. The king-turned-monk Ioasaph (Georgian Iodasaph, Arabic Yūdhasaf or Būdhasaf: Arabic "b" could become "y" by duplication of a dot in handwriting) ultimately derives his name from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva, the name used in Buddhist accounts for Gautama before he became a Buddha.[11][12] Barlaam and Ioasaph were placed in the Greek Orthodox calendar of saints on 26 August, and in the West they were entered as "Barlaam and Josaphat" in the Roman Martyrology on the date of 27 November.


The story was translated into Hebrew in the 13th century by Abraham Ibn Chisdai (or Hasdai) as "ben-haMelekh v'haNazir" ("The Prince and the Nazirite").

Bahá'í Faith

In the Bahá'í Faith, Buddha is classified as one of the Manifestations of God which is a title for a major prophet in the Bahá'í Faith.[13] Similarly, the Prophet of the Bahá'í Faith, Bahá'u'lláh, is believed by Bahá'ís to be the Fifth Buddha, among other prophetic stations.[14]

See also


  1. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Manifestations of God". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. p. 231. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
  2. ^ Nagendra Kumar Singh (1997). "Buddha as depicted in the Purāṇas". Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Volume 7. Anmol Publications PVT. LTD. pp. 260–275. ISBN 978-81-7488-168-7.. List of Hindu scripture that declares Gautama Buddha as 9th Avatar of Vishnu is as follows [Harivamsha (1.41) Vishnu Purana (3.18) Bhagavata Purana (1.3.24, 2.7.37, 11.4.23 Bhagavata Purana 1.3.24 Bhagavata Purana 1.3.24 Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Garuda Purana (1.1, 2.30.37, 3.15.26) Agni Purana (160.Narada Purana (2.72)Linga Purana (2.71) Padma Purana (3.252) etc. Bhagavata Purana, Canto 1, Chapter 3 Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine - SB 1.3.24: "Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist." ... The Bhavishya Purana contains the following: "At this time, reminded of the Kali Age, the god Vishnu became born as Gautama, the Shakyamuni, and taught the Buddhist dharma for ten years. Then Shuddodana ruled for twenty years, and Shakyasimha for twenty. At the first stage of the Kali Age, the path of the Vedas was destroyed and all men became Buddhists. Those who sought refuge with Vishnu were deluded." Found in Wendy O'Flaherty, Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology. University of California Press, 1976, page 203. Note also SB 1.3.28: "All of the above-mentioned incarnations [avatars] are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord [Krishna or Vishnu]"
  3. ^ "Buddhism". Islam International Publications. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  4. ^ "An Overview". Alislam. Retrieved 9 September 2010.
  5. ^ Bhagavata Purana, Canto 1, Chapter 3 Archived 21 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine - SB 1.3.24: "Then, in the beginning of Kali-yuga, the Lord will appear as Lord Buddha, the son of Anjana, in the province of Gaya, just for the purpose of deluding those who are envious of the faithful theist." ... SB 1.3.28: "All of the above-mentioned incarnations [avatars] are either plenary portions or portions of the plenary portions of the Lord [Krishna or Vishnu]"
  6. ^ "in Sanskrit philosophical literature, 'āstika' means 'one who believes in the authority of the Vedas' or 'one who believes in life after death'. ('nāstika' means the opposite of these). The word is used here in the first sense." Satischandra Chatterjee and Dhirendramohan Datta. An Introduction to Indian Philosophy. Eighth Reprint Edition. (University of Calcutta: 1984). p. 5, footnote 1.
  7. ^
  8. ^ The Cambridge History of China, Vol.1, (The Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 BC—220 BC) ISBN 0-521-24327-0 hardback
  9. ^ Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Chapter, Buddhism.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Barlaam and Josaphat" . Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  12. ^ "Encyclopædia Britannica Article on Barlaam and Josaphat".
  13. ^ Hornby, Helen Bassett (1994). Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá'í Publishing Trust (New Deli, India), p. 502 (#1684). ISBN 81-85091-46-3
  14. ^ The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Bahá'í Publishing Trust (Wilmette, Illinois, USA), p. 233 (#1684). ISBN 0-85398-999-0
A Journey of Samyak Buddha

A Journey of Samyak Buddha (Hindi: अ जर्नी अॉफ सम्यक बुद्ध) is a 2013 Indian film about the journey of Gautam Buddha’s miraculous birth, marriage, and his path towards enlightenment. The biographical film is based on Babasaheb Ambedkar's book The Buddha and His Dhamma.

Barlaam and Josaphat

Barlaam and Josaphat (Latin: Barlamus et Iosaphatus) are legendary Christian martyrs and saints. Their life story is likely to have been based on the life of the Gautama Buddha. It tells how an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. After much tribulation the young prince's father accepted the Christian faith, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam. The tale derives from a second to fourth century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, via a Manichaean version, then the Arabic Kitab Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf (Book of Bilawhar and Yudasaf), current in Baghdad in the eighth century, from where it entered into Middle Eastern Christian circles before appearing in European versions. The two were entered in the Eastern Orthodox calendar with a feast-day on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.

Buddha (TV series)

Buddhaa-Rajaon Ka Raja (titled as Buddhaa - The King of Kings) is a historical drama on Zee TV and Doordarshan, produced by Bhupendra Kumar Modi, under the banner Spice Global. The creative producer of the show is Shetall Siingh. The show first aired on Sunday, 8 September 2013 at 11:00 am on Zee TV and Doordarshan. The programme stars Kabir Bedi in a cameo role as Asita Muni, the sage who announces the coming of Gautama Buddha. The story of the serial is based on the life of Buddha that shows how a prince, Siddhartha, became a Buddha. The role of Mayadevi - scheduled to be played by Sameksha Singh - was replaced with Deepika Upadhyay. Himanshu Soni is playing the lead role of Buddha, while 2010 Miss India top ten finalist, Kajal Jain is playing role of Siddhartha Gautama's wife Yaśodharā. Earlier, Ashutosh Gowariker wanted to collaborate with Shekhar Kapur for a television series on Buddha.

Channa (Buddhist)

Channa - The Divine Charioteer (Pali: Channa; Sanskrit: Chandaka) (6th century BCE, in what is now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India) was a royal servant and head charioteer of Prince Siddhartha, who was to become the Buddha. Channa later became a disciple of the Buddha and achieved arahantship, as is described in the 78th verse of the Dhammapada.

Channa was a servant in the court of King Śuddhodana who was entrusted to attend to the needs of Siddhartha, who had been lavished and pampered in a series of purpose-built palaces in order to shield him from thoughts of pain and suffering. This was done due to a prophecy by the ascetic Asita, who predicted that Siddhartha would renounce the throne to become a spiritual leader were he to contemplate human suffering. Channa was the servant who served as the charioteer pulled by the horse Kanthaka, when Siddhartha saw the Four sights whilst meeting his subjects in the Sakya capital Kapilavastu, which prompted his decision to renounce the world.

During these expeditions, Channa explained to Siddhartha the sights of an elderly man, a sick person, a dead person whose funeral was being conducted and finally, an ascetic who had renounced worldly life for a spiritual one, as Siddhartha who had been secluded from such sights within the palace was taken aback. Channa was later entrusted by Siddhartha to accompany him upon his escape from the palace to become an ascetic, whilst the remainder of the palace guards were asleep.

After initially protesting and refusing to accept that Siddhartha would leave him, Channa saddled Kanthaka, guiding him out of the town aboard the horse to a forest by the edge of the Anoma River. Channa returned Siddhartha's acoutrements, weapons and hair to Suddhodarnha upon his return to the palace, after Siddhartha compelled him to return after Channa had refused to leave him.

Upon Siddhartha's enlightenment as Gautama Buddha and return to Kapilavastu, Channa became a Buddhist monk, joining the Sangha. Due to his lone accompaniment of the Buddha on his renouncement, Channa behaved in an overbearing way to the other monks, and frequently criticized the two chief disciples Sariputta and Moggallana. In spite of continual advice from The Buddha he continued to abuse the other monks. Prior to the parinibbana, the Buddha instructed Ananda to impose the brahmadanda on Channa, whereby the other monks would simply ignore him. After the parinibbana, Channa learned of the decree, and feeling remorse for his behaviour, he fainted three times before asking and obtaining pardon. He eventually became an arahant.

Nanda (Buddhist nun)

Sundarī Nandā, also known simply a Sundarī, was the half-sister of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became Gautama Buddha. She became a nun after the enlightenment of her half-brother and became the foremost bhikkhuni in the practise of jhana (total meditative absorption). She lived during the 6th century BCE in what is now Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India.

Outline of Buddhism

Buddhism (Pali/Sanskrit: बौद्ध धर्म Buddha Dharma) is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha, "the awakened one".

The following outline is provided as an overview of, and topical guide to, Buddhism.

Prem Sanyas

Prem Sanyas (The Light of Asia) (Die Leuchte Asiens in German) is a 1925 silent film, directed by Franz Osten and Himansu Rai. It was adapted from the book, The Light of Asia (1879) in verse, by Edwin Arnold, based on the life of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who founded Buddhism by becoming the Buddha or the "Enlightened one".

The Light of Asia

The Light of Asia, subtitled The Great Renunciation, is a book by Sir Edwin Arnold. The first edition of the book was published in London in July 1879.

In the form of a narrative poem, the book endeavours to describe the life and time of Prince Gautama Buddha, who after attaining enlightenment became The Buddha, The Awakened One. The book presents his life, character, and philosophy, in a series of verses. It is a free adaptation of the Lalitavistara.

A few decades before the book's publication, very little was known outside Asia about the Buddha and Buddhism, the religion which he founded, and which had existed for about twenty-five centuries. Arnold's book was one of the first successful attempts to popularize Buddhism for a Western readership.The book has been highly acclaimed from the time it was first published and has been the subject of several reviews. It has been translated into several languages, including Hindi.

The Light of Asia (oratorio)

The Light of Asia is an oratorio by the American composer Dudley Buck. The libretto is based on Edwin Arnold's 1879 epic poem The Light of Asia, or The Great Renunciation. According to Howard Smither in History of the Oratorio, it was the first oratorio in the history of the genre to be based on the life of Buddha. It was composed in 1886 and published that same year as piano/vocal score by Novello. Its first public performance took place in Washington D.C. on 6 May 1887. Two years later it premiered in London at St James Hall and became the first oratorio by an American composer to have been produced in Britain.


Śuddhodana (Sanskrit: शुद्धोधन; Pali: Suddhōdana), meaning "he who grows pure rice," was a leader of the Shakya, who lived in an oligarchic republic, with their capital at Kapilavastu. He was also the father of Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Buddha.In later renditions of the life of the Buddha, Śuddhodana was often referred to as a king, though that status cannot be established with confidence and is in fact disputed by modern scholarship.

Topics in Buddhism
The Buddha
Key concepts
Major figures
Other avatars


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