Also see America Smiles On the Buddha
Today it remains the predominant religion in China, Japan, Korea, and much of southeast Asia. With the rise of the Asian population in the U.S., Buddhism has made a tremendous impact in the United States. Buddhism came to the U.S. in the early 19th century, with the arrival of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in Hawaii and in the west coast of the U.S. mainland. The Zen Buddhist tradition of Eastern Buddhism has developed a large following, particularly after the "Beat" generation, which began in the 1950's. Today, there are racial and cultural divides in American Buddhism, between nationalities of new immigrants, and between whites and Asians. They exist largely as two solitudes, with little interaction. The number of Buddhists throughout the world is commonly estimated at about four hundred and fifty millions, that is, about one-third of the human race. But on this estimate the error is made of classing the Chinese and Japanese as Buddhists. The Buddhists in the whole world are not more than, one hundred millions, being far outnumbered not only by Christians, but also by the adherents of Confucianism and Hinduism.. Presently, there are over 300,000 Buddhists in the U.S
The Origin of Buddhism
Buddhism began as an offspring of Hinduism in the country of India. The founder was Siddhartha Gautama. It is not easy to give an accurate historical account of the life of Gautama, since no biography was recorded until hundreds of years after his death. Today, much of his life story is clouded in myths and legends which arose after his death. Even the best historians of our day have several different, and even contradictory, accounts of Gautama's life. Of Buddha, the founder of this great movement, legendary tradition has much to say, but very little of historical worth is known.
Siddhartha Gautama was born in approximately 560 B.C. in northern India. His father Suddhodana seems to have been a petty raja, ruling over a district near the Himalayas which is today the country of Nepal. . Buddha's family name was Gotama (Sanskrit Gautama), and it was probably by this name that he was known in life. In all likelihood it was after his death that his disciples bestowed on him a number of laudatory names, the most common being Buddha, i.e. "the enlightened" Suddhodana sheltered his son from the outside world and confined him to the palace where he surrounded Gautama with pleasures and wealth. Despite his father's efforts, Gautama one day saw the darker side of life on a trip he took outside the palace walls. Distressed by the suffering he saw, he decided to leave the luxury of palace life and begin a quest to find the answer to the problem of pain and human suffering, disillusioned with the teachings of Hinduism.
Gautama, abandoning his family traveled the country seeking wisdom. He retired to the forest, where as a hermit he spent several years in austere self-discipline, studying doubtless, the way of salvation as taught in the Upanishads, devoting himself to a life of extreme asceticism in the jungle. Legend has it that he eventually learned to exist on one grain of rice a day which reduced his body to a skeleton. He soon concluded, however, that asceticism did not lead to peace and self realization but merely weakened the mind and body. Even this did not bring peace of mind. He gave up the rigorous fasts and mortifications, which nearly cost him his life, and devoted himself in his own way to long and earnest meditation, the fruit of which was his firm belief that he had discovered the only true method of escaping from the misery of rebirth and of attaining to Nirvana.
While deep in meditation under a fig tree known as the Bohdi tree (meaning, "tree of wisdom"), Gautama experienced the highest degree of God-consciousness called Nirvana. Gautama then became known as Buddha, the "enlightened one." He believed he had found the answers to the questions of pain and suffering. His message now needed to be proclaimed to the whole world. He then set out to preach his gospel of deliverance, beginning at Benares. His magnetic personality and his earnest, impressive eloquence soon won over to his cause a number of the warrior caste. Brahmins, too, felt the persuasiveness of his words, and it was not long before he was surrounded by a band of enthusiastic disciples, in whose company he went from place to place, by making converts by his preaching. These soon became very numerous and were formed into a great brotherhood of monks. Such was the work to which Buddha gave himself with unsparing zeal for over forty years
As he began his teaching ministry, he gained a quick audience with the people of India since many had become disillusioned with Hinduism. By the time of his death at age 80, Buddhism had become a major force in India. Three centuries later it had spread to all of Asia. Buddha never claimed to be deity but rather a "way- shower." However, seven hundred years later, followers of Buddha began to worship him as deity. In the sacred books of later times Buddha is depicted as a character without flaw, adorned with every grace of mind and heart. There may be some hesitation in taking the highly coloured portrait of Buddhist tradition as the exact representation of the original, but Buddha may be credited with the qualities of a great and good man. The records depict him moving about from place to place, regardless of personal comfort, calm and fearless, mild and compassionate, considerate towards poor and rich alike, absorbed with the one idea of freeing all men from the bonds of misery, and irresistible in his manner of setting forth the way of deliverance. In all pagan antiquity no character has been depicted as so noble and attractive.
The Way of Salvation
The question Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, sought to answer was, Why is there pain and suffering? Also, he held to the Hindu belief of reincarnation: after death one returns to earthly life in a higher or lower form of life according to his good or bad deeds. This belief prompted a second question that needed to be answered, How does one break this rebirth cycle? Buddhism was by no means entirely original. It had much in common with the pantheistic Vedanta teaching, from which it sprang belief in karma, whereby the character of the present life is the net product of the good and evil acts of a previous existence; belief in a constant series of rebirths for all who set their heart on preserving their individual existence; the pessimistic view that life at its best is misery and not worth living.
See The Problem of Evil and Natural Disasters
In the Buddhist conception of Nirvana no account was taken of the all-god Brahma. And as prayers and offerings to the traditional gods were held to be of no avail for the attainment of this negative state of bliss, Buddha, with greater consistency than was shown in pantheistic Brahminism, rejected both the Vedas and the Vedic rites. It was this attitude which stamped Buddhism as a heresy. For this reason, too, Buddha has been set down by some as an atheist. Buddha, however, was not an atheist in the sense that he denied the existence of the gods. To him the gods were living realities. In his alleged sayings, as in the Buddhist scriptures generally, the gods are often mentioned, and always with respect. But like the pantheistic Brahmin, Buddha did not acknowledge his dependence on them. They were like men, subject to decay and rebirth. The god of today might be reborn in the future in some inferior condition, while a man of great virtue might succeed in raising himself in his next birth to the rank of a god in heaven. The very gods, then, no less than men, had need of that perfect wisdom that leads to Nirvana, and hence it was idle to pray or sacrifice to them in the hope of obtaining the boon which they themselves did not possess. They were inferior to Buddha, since he had already attained to Nirvana.
In like manner, they who followed Buddha's footsteps had no need of worshipping the gods by prayers and offerings. Worship of the gods was tolerated, however, in the Buddhist layman who still clung to the delusion of individual existence, and preferred the household to the homeless state. Moreover, Buddha's system conveniently provided for those who accepted in theory the teaching that Nirvana alone was the true end of man but who still lacked the courage to quench all desires. The various heavens of Brahminic theology, with their positive, even sensual, delights were retained as the reward of virtuous souls not yet ripe for Nirvana. To aspire after such rewards was permitted to the lukewarm monk; it was commended to the layman. Hence the frequent reference, even in the earliest Buddhist writings to heaven and its positive delights as an encouragement to right conduct. Sufficient prominence is not generally given to this more popular side of Buddha's teaching, without which his followers would have been limited to an insignificant and short-lived band of heroic souls. It was this element, so prominent in the inscriptions of Ashoka, that tempered the severity of Buddha's doctrine of Nirvana and made his system acceptable to the masses.
In order to secure that extinction of desire which alone could lead to Nirvana, Buddha prescribed for his followers a life of detachment from the comforts, pleasures, and occupations of the common run of men. To secure this end, he adopted for himself and his disciples the quiet, secluded, contemplative life of the Brahmin ascetics. It was foreign to his plan that his followers should engage in any form of industrial pursuits, lest they might thereby be entangled in worldly cares and desires. Their means of subsistence was alms; hence the name commonly applied to Buddhist monks was bhikkus, beggars. Detachment from family life was absolutely necessary. Married life was to be avoided as a pit of hot coals, for it was incompatible with the quenching of desire and the extinction of individual existence. In like manner, worldly possessions and worldly power had to be renounced—everything that might minister to pride, greed, or self-indulgence.
Yet in exacting of his followers a life of severe simplicity, Buddha did not go to the extremes of fanaticism that characterized so many of the Brahmin ascetics. He chose the middle path of moderate asceticism which he compared to a lute, which gives forth the proper tones only when the strings are neither too tight nor too slack. Each member was allowed but one set of garments, of yellowish colour and of cheap quality. These, together with his sleeping mat, razor, needle, water-strainer, and alms bowl, constituted the sum of his earthly possessions. His single meal, which had to be taken before noon, consisted chiefly of bread, rice, and curry, which he gathered daily in his alms-bowl by begging. Water or rice-milk was his customary drink, wine and other intoxicants being rigorously forbidden, even as medicine. Meat, fish, and delicacies were rarely eaten except in sickness or when the monk dined by invitation with some patron. The use of perfumes, flowers, ointments, and participation in worldly amusements fell also into the class of things prohibited. In theory, the moral code of Buddhism was little more than a copy of that of Brahminism. Like the latter, it extended to thoughts and desires, no less than to words and deeds. Unchastity in all its forms, drunkenness, lying, stealing, envy, pride, harshness are fittingly condemned. But what, perhaps, brings Buddhism most strikingly in contact with Christianity is its spirit of gentleness and forgiveness of injuries. To cultivate benevolence towards men of all classes, to avoid anger and physical violence, to be patient under insult, to return good for evil— all this was inculcated in Buddhism and helped to make it one of the gentlest of religions. To such an extent was this carried that the Buddhist monk, like the Brahmin ascetic, had to avoid with the greatest care the destruction of any form of animal life.
In course of time, Buddha extended his monastic system to include women. Communities of nuns while living near the monks, were entirely secluded from them. They had to conform to the same rule of life, to subsist on alms, and spend their days in retirement and contemplation. They were never as numerous as the monks, and later became a very insignificant factor in Buddhism. In thus opening up to his fellow men and women what he felt to be the true path of salvation, Buddha made no discrimination in social condition. Herein lay one of the most striking contrasts between the old religion and the new. Brahminism was inextricably intertwined with caste-distinctions. It was a privilege of birth, from which the Sudras and members of still lower classes were absolutely excluded. Buddha, on the contrary, welcomed men of low as well as high birth and station. Virtue, not blood, was declared to be the test of superiority. In the brotherhood which he built around him, all caste-distinctions were put aside. The despised Sudra stood on a footing of equality with the high-born Brahmin. In this religious democracy of Buddhism lay, doubtless, one of its strongest influences for conversion among the masses. But in thus putting his followers on a plane of equal consideration, Buddha had no intention of acting the part of a social reformer. Not a few scholars have attributed to him the purpose of breaking down caste-distinctions in society and of introducing more democratic conditions. Buddha had no more intention of abolishing caste than he had of abolishing marriage. It was only within the limits of his own order that he insisted on social equality just as he did on celibacy. Wherever Buddhism has prevailed, the caste-system has remained untouched.
Strictly speaking, Buddha's order was composed only of those who renounced the world to live a life of contemplation as monks and nuns. The very character of their life, however, made them dependent on the charity of men and women who preferred to live in the world and to enjoy the comforts of the household state. Those who thus sympathized with the order and contributed to its support, formed the lay element in Buddhism. Through this friendly association with the order, they could look to a happy reward after death, not Nirvana but the temporary delights of heaven, with the additional prospect of being able at some future birth to attain to Nirvana, if they so desired. The majority, however, did not share the enthusiasm of the Buddhist Arhat or saint for Nirvana, being quite content to hope for a life of positive, though impermanent, bliss in heaven.
Four Noble Truths
The basic teachings of Buddhism, focus on basic tenants found in the Four Noble Truths and the Eight-fold Path.
The First Noble Truth is that there is pain and suffering in the world. Gautama realized that pain and suffering are omnipresent in all of nature and human life. To exist means we will all encounter suffering. Birth is painful and so is death. Sickness and old age are painful. Throughout life, all living things encounter suffering.
The Second Noble Truth relates to the cause of suffering. Gautama believed the root cause of suffering is desire. It is the craving for wealth, happiness, and other forms of selfish enjoyment which cause suffering. These cravings can never be satisfied for they are rooted in ignorance.
The Third Noble Truth is the end of all suffering. Suffering will cease when a person can rid himself of all desires.
The Fourth Noble Truth is the extinguishing of all desire by following the eight-fold path. "The eight-fold path is a system of therapy designed to develop habits which will release people from the restrictions caused by ignorance and craving.
Here are the eight steps in following the eight-fold path. The first is the Right Views. One must accept the four noble truths. Step two is the Right Resolve. One must renounce all desires and any thoughts like lust, bitterness, and cruelty. He must harm no living creature. Step three is the Right Speech. One must speak only truth. There can be no lying, slander, or vain talk. Step four is the Right Behavior. One must abstain from sexual immorality, stealing, and all killing. Step five is the Right Occupation. One must work in an occupation that benefits others and harms no one. Step six is the Right Effort. One must seek to eliminate any evil qualities within and prevent any new ones from arising. One should seek to attain good and moral qualities and develop those already possessed. Seek to grow in maturity and perfection until universal love is attained. Step seven is the Right Contemplation. One must be observant, contemplative, and free of desire and sorrow. Step eight is the Right Meditation. After freeing oneself of all desires and evil, a person must concentrate his efforts in meditation so that he can overcome any sensation of pleasure or pain and enter a state of transcending consciousness and attain a state of perfection. Buddhists believe that through self effort one can attain the state of peace and eternal bliss called Nirvana.
Karma, Samsara, and Nirvana
Three important concepts in understanding Buddhism are Karma, Samsara, and Nirvana.
Karma refers to the law of cause and effect in a person's life, reaping what one has sown. Buddhists believe that every person must go through a process of birth and rebirth until he reaches the state of nirvana in which he breaks this cycle. According to the law of karma, "You are what you are and do what you do, as a result of what you were and did in a previous incarnation, which in turn was the inevitable outcome of what you were and did in still earlier incarnations." For a Buddhist, what one will be in the next life depends on one's actions in this present life. Buddha believed, unlike Hinduism, that a person can break the rebirth cycle no matter what class he is born into.
The second key concept to understand is the law of Samsara or Transmigration. This is one of the most perplexing and difficult concepts in Buddhism to understand. The law of Samsara holds that everything is in a birth and rebirth cycle. Buddha taught that people do not have individual souls. The existence of an individual self or ego is an illusion. There is no eternal substance of a person which goes through the rebirth cycle. What is it then that goes through the cycle if not the individual soul? What goes through the rebirth cycle is only a set of feelings, impressions, present moments, and the karma that is passed on. "In other words, as one process leads to another, ... so one's human personality in one existence is the direct cause of the type of individuality which appears in the next." The new individual in the next life will not be exactly the same person, but there will be several similarities. Just how close in identity they will be, Buddha did not define.
The third key concept is Nirvana. The term means "the blowing out" of existence. Nirvana is very different from the Christian concept of heaven. Nirvana is not a place like heaven but rather a state of being. What exactly it is, Buddha never really articulated.
Nirvana is an eternal state of being. It is the state in which the law of karma, and the rebirth cycle come to an end. It is the end of suffering, a state where there are no desires and the individual consciousness comes to an end. Although to our Western minds this may sound like annihilation, Buddhists would object to such a notion. Gautama never gave an exact description of Nirvana, but his closest reply was this. "There is disciples, a condition, where there is neither earth nor water, neither air nor light, neither limitless space, nor limitless time, neither any kind of being, neither ideation nor non-ideation, neither this world nor that world. There is neither arising nor passing-away, nor dying, neither cause nor effect, neither change nor standstill." Although no Buddhist really understands the condition of Nirvana, it is their eternal hope.
God and Buddhism
The founder of Buddhism, did not claim to be divine. He claimed to be the one to point the way to Nirvana, but it was up to each individual to find his own way there.
The concept of a personal God does not fit into the Buddhist system of religion. Today there are many sects of Buddhism. Many differ in their concept of the divine and of Buddha. In general, Buddhists are pantheistic in their view of God. Many view God as an impersonal force which is made up of all living things and holds the universe together.
The fundamental tenets of Buddhism are marked by grave defects. Since Buddhism in general does not believe in a personal God or divine being, it does not have worship, praying, or praising of a divine being. It offers no form of redemption, forgiveness, heavenly hope, or final judgment. Buddhism is, therefore, more of a moral philosophy, an ethical way of life. the very foundation on which Buddhism rests—the doctrine of karma with its implied transmigrations—is gratuitous. This pretended law of nature, by which the myriads of gods, demons, men, and animals are but the transient forms of rational beings essentially the same, but forced to this diversity in consequence of varying degrees of merit and demerit in former lives, is a huge superstition in flat contradiction to the recognized laws of nature, and hence ignored by men of science. Another basic defect in primitive Buddhism is its failure to recognize man's dependence on a supreme God. By ignoring God and by making salvation rest solely on personal effort, Buddha substituted for the Brahmin religion a cold and colourless system of philosophy. It is entirely lacking in those powerful motives to right conduct, particularly the motive of love, that spring from the consecration of religious men and women to the dependence on a personal all-loving God. Hence it is that Buddhist morality is in the last analysis a selfish utilitarianism.
Another fatal defect of Buddhism is its false pessimism. A strong and healthy mind revolts against the morbid view that life is not worth living, that every form of conscious existence is an evil. Buddhism stands condemned by the voice of nature the dominant tone of which is hope and joy. It is a protest against nature for possessing the perfection of rational life. The highest ambition of Buddhism is to destroy that perfection by bringing all living beings to the unconscious repose of Nirvana. Buddhism is thus guilty of a capital crime against nature, and in consequence does injustice to the individual. All legitimate desires must be repressed. Innocent recreations are condemned. The cultivation of music is forbidden. Researches in natural science are discountenanced. The development of the mind is limited to the memorizing of Buddhist texts and the study of Buddhist metaphysics, only a minimum of which is of any value. The Buddhist ideal on earth is a state of passive indifference to everything. How different is the teaching of Him who came that men might have life and have it more abundantly. Again Buddhist pessimism is unjust to the family. Marriage is held in contempt and even abhorrence as leading to the procreation of life. In thus branding marriage as a state unworthy of man
Since Buddha never emphasized his concept of the divine, Buddhism is left with some life's deepest questions unanswered, questions such as the origin of the universe and the purpose of man's existence. Even Buddha himself was not certain what lay beyond death. He left no clear teaching on Nirvana or eternity. What he did leave are philosophical speculations. Today the body of Buddha lies in a grave in Kusinara, at the foot of the Himalaya Mountains. The facts of life after death still remain an unsolved mystery in Buddhism.
In Christianity we have One who amazed His audience because He taught eternal truths with authority. His authority came from the fact that He existed before creation, and He proved His claims by rising from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a proven fact of history and clearly demonstrates Christ's authority over sin and death. When witnessing to a Buddhist, ask him this: "Do you have tangible proof of what occurs after death?" All the Buddhist has is hope in a teaching Buddha was not sure of. As Christians, we have a certain hope in a risen Savior. There is no guessing what happens beyond the grave because Christ alone has conquered the grave
Is there any historical basis for the assertion that Buddhist influence was a factor in the formation of Christianity and of the Christian Gospels? The advocates of this theory pretend that the rock-inscriptions of Asoka bear witness to the spread of Buddhism over the Greek-speaking world as early as the third century B.C., since they mention the flourishing existence of Buddhism among the Yavanas, i.e. Greeks within the dominion of Antiochus. But in the unanimous judgment of first-rate scholars, the Yavanas here mentioned mean simply and solely the Greek-speaking peoples on the extreme frontier next to India, namely, Bactria and the Kabul valley. Again the statement in the late Buddhist chronicle, Mahavansa, that among the Buddhists who came to the dedication of a great Stupa in Ceylon in the second century B.C., "were over thirty thousand monks from the vicinity of Alassada, the capital of the Yona country" is taken to prove that long before the time of Christ, Alexandria in Egypt was the centre of flourishing Buddhist communities. It is true that Alassada is the Pali for Alexandria; but the best scholars are agreed that the city here meant is not the ancient capital of Egypt, but as the text indicates, the chief city of the Yona country, the Yavana country of the rock-inscriptions, namely, Bactria and vicinity. And so, the city referred to is most likely Alexandria ad Caucasum.
In short, there is nothing in Buddhist records that may be taken as reliable evidence for the spread of Buddhism westward to the Greek world as early as the foundation of the Christian religion. That Buddhist institutions were at that time unknown in the West may be safely inferred from the fact that Buddhism is absolutely ignored in the literary and archaeological remains of Palestine, Egypt, and Greece. There is not a single remains of Buddhist monastery or stupa in any of these countries; not a single Greek translation of a Buddhist book; not a single reference in all Greek literature to the existence of a Buddhist community in the Greek world. The very name of Buddha is mentioned for the first time only in the writings of Clement of Alexandria (second century). To explain the resemblances in Christianity to a number of pre-Christian features of Buddhism, there is no need of resorting to the hypothesis that they were borrowed. Nothing is more common in the study of comparative ethnology and religion than to find similar social and religious customs practised by peoples too remote to have had any communication with one another. How easily the principle of ascetic detachment from the world may lead to a community life in which celibacy as observed, may be seen in the monastic systems that have prevailed not only among Buddhists, Essenes, and Christians, but also among the early Aztecs and Incas in the New World. Nor is this so strange when it is recalled that men everywhere have, to a large extent, the same daily experiences, the same feelings, the desires. As the laws of human thought are every here the same, it lies in the very nature of things that men, in so far as they have the same experiences, or face the same religious needs, will think the same thoughts, and give expression to them in sayings and customs that strike the unreflecting old server by their similarity. It is only by losing sight of this fundamental truth that one can unwittingly fall into the error of assuming that resemblance always implies dependence.
Also See Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Religions?
And Was The New Testament Influenced by Pagan Philosophy?
It is chiefly the legendary features of Buddha's life, many of which are found for the first time only in works of later date than the Gospels, that furnish the most striking resemblances to certain incidents related of Christ in the Gospels, resemblances which might with greater show of reason be traced to a common historic origin. If there has been any borrowing here, it is plainly on the side of Buddhism. That Christianity made its way to Northern India in the first two centuries is not only a matter of respectable tradition, but is supported by weighty archaeological evidence. Scholars of recognized ability beyond the suspicion of undue bias in favour of Christianity—Weber, Goblet d'Alviella, and others—think it very likely that the Gospel stories of Christ circulated by these early Christian communities in India were used by the Buddhists to enrich the Buddha legend
Since Gautama's death, many sects have developed within Buddhism. Many of these sects differ in many fundamental ways and comparing them to one another is like comparing two separate religions. Many sects have developed their own unique concept of God. Some are pantheistic in their view of God. Others are atheistic. Still others have developed a polytheistic system of gods. Some have combined pantheism and polytheism. Several sects have elevated Gautama (or Buddha) to the level of a savior or divine being although it is clear he never claimed to be a deity. Other sects have combined some of the doctrines of God from other religions with Buddhism. .
Christianity and Buddhism
It is quite clear that Christianity and Buddhism differ from one another in fundamental ways. Some sects of Buddhism have tried to synchronize the two together. However, the two are so different, they cannot both be right at the same time, nor can the two be blended together. (See Section Religious Pluralism in Why Christianity?)
Much of the Buddhist scriptures and sayings attributed to Gautama were written about four hundred years after his death. By the time they were written, Buddhism had split into many sects. What do we have then? Not even the best scholars are not sure of the accuracy of the Buddhist scriptures. In Christianity, however, we have an accurate historical account written by eyewitnesses to Jesus and the events surrounding His life.
The two differ in their concept of God. For Buddhists in general, the Absolute does not play a vital role in daily living. Gautama said little about his concept of God. Buddha denied the existence of a personal God but was monistic in his view of the Absolute as an impersonal force made up of all living things. The Bible teaches of a God who rules the universe, and cares for man in a personal way. Psalm 46:10 states, "Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted among the earth."
It is clear that Buddha never claimed to be deity. Although several sects have elevated him to the status of a god, he clearly claimed to be only the way-shower to Nirvana. Jesus, however, claimed to be God and not simply a way-shower but instead the only way to eternal life. Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 1:1 also states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
There is another clear distinction between these two religions. Buddhism offers neither assurance of forgiveness or eternal life. Buddhists hope to enter into the state of Nirvana, but there is no clear, objective proof or teaching on what occurs beyond the grave. (See what "solace and hope" the various religions give us HERE).
In Christianity we have One who amazed His audience because He taught eternal truths with authority. His authority came from the fact that He existed before creation, and He proved His claims by rising from the dead. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a proven fact of history and clearly demonstrates Christ's authority over sin and death. When witnessing to a Buddhist, ask him this: "Do you have tangible proof of what occurs after death?" All the Buddhist has is hope in a teaching Buddha was not sure of. As Christians, we have a certain hope in a risen Savior. There is no guessing what happens beyond the grave because Christ alone has conquered the grave.