Christmas is offensive to Muslims

Christmas: How Jesus Is Worshiped in Other Religions

WORLD: Professor Schmidt-Leukel, have you seen followers of a non-Christian religion worship Jesus?

Perry Schmidt-Leukel: Often! He is worshiped in almost all religions.

WORLD: An example?

Schmidt-Leukel: I once visited the Dharma Hall in the monastery of the famous Thai Buddhist Bhikkhu Buddhadasa. Jesus is depicted on a large temple wall. He is seen crying over the violence Christians commit in his name.

WORLD: Jesus as a compassionate soul.

Schmidt-Leukel:For Buddhadasa he was even a Buddha, a being who has attained perfect enlightenment and can lead other living beings to enlightenment.

WORLD: More is not possible.

Schmidt-Leukel: That's the way it is. However, it is not a matter of course that Buddhists cultivate such a positive image of Jesus. His perception was and is often negatively influenced by the Asian experience with Christian colonialism.

WORLD: What did Buddhadasa appreciate about Jesus?

Schmidt-Leukel: According to Buddhadasa, Jesus' Sermon on the Mount contains more than enough to become free and enlightened from the ego. This corresponds to a Christian conviction that Luther brought to the concept. He defined sin as “man's contortion within himself”. Liberation from this egocentric contortion through compassion and mercy is a goal that Buddhists and Christians share.

WORLD: Christians are not only concerned with liberation from the self, but also with a relationship with God.

Schmidt-Leukel: Buddhists usually have little to do with personal Christian images of God. This is the reason why even very well-meaning Buddhists are often not sure whether Jesus was an enlightened Buddha or rather a Bodhisattva, i.e. a person motivated by compassion who is still on the way to enlightenment.

WORLD: Even the Dalai Lama doubts that.

Schmidt-Leukel:He once said that Jesus was either a Buddha, i.e. perfect, or a very developed Bodhisattva. But he hesitates on this question, precisely because Jesus taught belief in a personal God.