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Gautama Buddha as viewed by other religions:


Some Hindu traditions regard Buddha as the 9th avatar of Vishnu.

Gautama Buddha is mentioned as an Avatar of Vishnu in the Puranic texts of Hinduism.[1] 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 "Dasavatara" (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"[2]) from the perspective of orthodox Hinduism.

However, while he was against the authority of the Vedas, he might not have been against the Vedas themselves. Buddhist scholar Rahula Vipola wrote that the Buddha was trying to shed light on the true meaning of the Vedas. Buddha is said to be a knower of the Veda (vedajña) or of the Vedanta (vedântajña) (Sa.myutta, i. 168) and (Sutta Nipâta, 463).

Many of the eighteen orthodox purarnas mention the Buddha in a less favouring light. They present the birth of the Buddha as a ploy by the 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 myth 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).

Taoism, Confucianism and Shinto

Some early Chinese Taoist-Buddhists thought the Buddha to be a reincarnation of Lao Tzu.[3]

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.


In Sikhism Guru Gobind Singh did not believe in any Hindu gods, so there is no Vishnu as far as Sikhism is concerned. That said, a lot of Buddha's teachings are similar to those of Guru Nanak's. Sikhs however do not believe in any deity.


If you desire to see the most noble of mankind, look at the king

in beggar's clothing; it is he whose sanctity is great among men.

Abdul Atahiya, Arab Poet.[4]

The mission of the Buddha was quite unique in its character, and therefore it stands quite apart from the many other religions of the world. His mission was to bring the birds of idealism flying in the air nearer to the earth, because the food for their bodies belonged to the earth.

—Hazrat Inayat Khan.[5]

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim 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)."[6] The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, though considered deviant and non-Muslim by all other Sunni and Shia branches of Islam, holds 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."

Christianity and Judaism

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. 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 Middle Ages as "Ben-Hamelekh Vehanazir" ("The Prince and the Nazirite"), and is widely read by the Jews to this day.

Bahá'í views

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.[7] 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.[8]


  1. Bhagavata Purana, Canto 1, Chapter 3 - 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]"
  2. "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.
  3. The Cambridge History of China, Vol.1, (The Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 BC—220 BC) ISBN 0-521-24327-0 hardback
  4. K. Sri Dhammananda, Buddhism in the Eyes of Intellectuals
  5. Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Sufi Message. Delhi, India: Motilal Banarsidass, 2003, ISBN 81-208-0609-3.
  6. [1]Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Chapter, Buddhism.
  7. Hornby, Helen Bassett (1994). Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá'í Publishing Trust (New Deli, India), p. 502 (#1684). ISBN 8185091463
  8. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Bahá'í Publishing Trust (Wilmette, Illinois, USA), p. 233 (#1684). ISBN 0853989990

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