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The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review Article
Gautama Buddha - Wikipedia
It is not uncommon to see Buddhists in the west raise all sorts of skepticism about the historicity of the life and teachings of Jesus while taking as a given the basic traditional narrative of the life and teachings of Buddha. While both men certainly lived and taught, we can know the details of the life and teachings of Jesus with far more certainty than those of Buddha. Indeed, there is truly no comparison. The narrative of the life of Jesus, including a large collection of His public teachings and private discourses, comes to us in greatest detail in the four biographies known today as the canonical gospels. Even scholars very skeptical of and often hostile toward the Christian faith would date the Gospel of Mark no later than around 70 AD, the Gospel of John no later than around AD, and Matthew and Luke somewhere in between, with many conservative scholars contending for dates much earlier than these. Luke opens his gospel explaining:.
Illustrations: The many lives of Gautama Buddha in 18th and 19th century manuscripts
However, serious skepticism and doubt does exist in terms of what can be known with certainty about him; religion scholar Terry Muck explains that,. Although there exists no consensus concerning when the Buddha was born, most scholars put the date somewhere within the 5th century BCE. The Buddha himself did not pen a work or write down any of his teachings. Instead they were passed down orally from generation to generation for at least years. All of these sources include a mass of legendary information, and a close investigation of these them shows that only a small part of them belong to ancient tradition.
Other teachers were either God or directly inspired by God. The Buddha was simply a human being and he claimed no inspiration from any God or external power. He attributed all his realization, attainments and achievements to human endeavor and human intelligence. A man and only a man can become a Buddha. Every man has within himself the potential of becoming a Buddha if he so wills it and works at it.