BYU

BRIGHAM YOUNG UNIVERSITY

Topic(s): Doctrine and Theology: Comparative Religion
What are some of the similarities and differences between Buddhism and Mormonism?
Buddhism has been a major force in Asia for centuries. The philosophy of Gautama or Theravada Buddhism emphasizes the worthlessness of the physical body, individuality, a phenomenal mortal life, faith in God, and judgment. In Latter-day Saint doctrine, however, mankind is the literal offspring of God. It is a privilege to be born into mortality to gain a physical body, so that one can become more like Heavenly Father, who is a personal, tangible being. Self-fulfillment, not self-negation, is the purpose of earth life by the emulation of Jesus Christ. Latter-day Saints and Buddhists both advocate meditation, reverence, inspiration, and moderation. Latter-day Saints also embrace elements similar to those of the Eightfold Middle Path, which advocate freedom from ill will and abstinence from lying, violence, and other forms of immoral behavior. Compassionate service or helping those who cannot help themselves, an ideal of Mahayna Buddhism, also resonates with the loving service on behalf of the living and the dead that Latter-day Saints carry out within their temples.
Written By:
John Dillenberger -
The author has been a Professor Emeritus in the Graduate Theological Union at Berkley.
Roger Keller -
Roger Keller has been a professor of religion at Brigham Young University.
Spencer J. Palmer -
Spencer J. Palmer has been assistant professor of history and religious instruction at Brigham Young University.
References