The Venerable Shravasti Dhammika writes in The Buddha and His Disciples:
I very much like the idea that Buddha Shakyamuni was a human being. I have often said and written that we human beings simply cannot follow a god or a demi-god or someone who is supposedly both god and man ... but only a human being. And, yes, gods - even the Judeo-Christian one - can be very jealous, angry and tribal. As the American Baptist preacher and writer Dr Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, 'Better believe in no God than to believe in a cruel God, a tribal God, a sectarian God. Belief in God is one of the most dangerous beliefs a person can cherish.'
Christians love to assert that Jesus' anger was 'righteous anger', and that he always kept his anger under control, but I beg to differ. It seems to me that Jesus had some real 'anger management' problems.
Now, if, once again, Jesus truly was omnipotent and omnibenevolent, and if he really wanted to show his supposed ‘miraculous’ powers, why did he not command the fig tree to bring forth fruit? Instead, he chose to display his vindictiveness ... yes, vindictiveness ... and even childishness. Strong stuff? Maybe, but I am sticking to my guns as regards these two gospel stories (being only two of many such unflattering stories which I could quote).
Now, don’t get me wrong. I love both Jesus and Buddha Shakyamuni - each is an important Way-Shower for me - and I am firmly of the view that, despite the horrible gross distortions of their respective teachings that have taken place over the centuries, both Jesus and the Buddha taught essentially the same message (namely, that the kingdom of heaven, or buddha nature, is within all of us, acceptance of which frees us from the bondage of self). Also, I am not that silly that I would assert that Buddha was a ‘better’ (whatever that means) person than Jesus.
What I do, however, assert is this – in all-important matters pertaining to the very survival of our planet, and as regards how we should behave toward the plant and animal kingdoms of the world and the natural environment as well as to our fellow human beings (especially when the latter criticise or abuse us), the life and teachings of the Buddha are, in my respectful opinion, much to be preferred to those of Jesus of Nazareth. The Buddha's all-embracing, all-inclusive philosophy of 'Do no harm' - whether to humans, plants, animals or anything else for that matter - is the answer to the problems of today.
TAKING REFUGE IN MINDFULNESS
WAS JESUS A BUDDHIST? THE DOCTRINE OF 'NO-SELF' IN CHRISTIANITY