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Salvation in Buddhism and Islam
1. Salvation – From What & To What?     1a. Buddhism's Concept   1b. Islam's Concept
2. The Way of Salvation – How to get There?      2a. Buddhism's Answer   2b. Islam's Answer
3. Evaluation
the birth and and ministry of Jesus Christ came two system's of religion that have had the greatest impact on human history and humanity's philosophy of itself, outside of Christendom and it's influences.
• In the 6th century BC – Siddharta (founder of Buddhism), and
• in the 6th century AD Muhammad (founder of Islam) were born,
in the North of India and Arabia respectively.
Each founder, through seclusion, meditation and personal illumination, became the herald of a new way of life that held out promise of true purpose and freedom from the confusion and disillusionment of their respective religious worlds.
Their systems of faith and practice both required commitment and discipline, yet each offered salvation from a different danger.
concept of salvation in Buddhism and Islam is diametrically different as originally seen, yet each has been subject to the development of a spread or diversification of views within each which has sometimes almost allowed a harmonization between them (as Sikhism is between Islam and Hinduism), which is unthinkable to the orthodox of each religion. Of the two –
Islam shows less diversity, probably because of it's compulsory use of Arabic and the mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca,
while Buddhism has become probably the most diversified religion in all human history.

(enlightened) Siddharta Gautama concluded that suffering of all kinds is an inescapable part of life. Suffering, omnipresent and endemic, is the hell that humanity needs to be set free from.
From it's Hindu background, Buddhism accepted the basic idea of transmigration or reincarnation ('samsara'), and of 'karman' or the load of endless cause and effect, yet with very little difference. It taught that the soul ('atman') does not move from body to body in it's transmigration. Instead, it believed the individual soul to be composed of a number of physical and psychical elements ('khandas') that combine to give a sense of personal individuality. This combination of 'khandas' - the individual person – is
"only temporary, and is irreparably shattered by death, 
leaving no element that can be identified as the soul or self" (Britannica 1979:16,203).
It is the moral energy of one's accumulated 'karman' (Sanskrit for 'act') that alone has continuity with the next life-cycle of birth and death. Thus, salvation is essentially the breaking of this continuity - an escape from the cycles of existence. Buddhism thus sees salvation as the complete obliteration of individual consciousness, called 'nirvana' (Sanskrit for 'extinction' or 'blowing-out').
Questions on the reality of this state of 'nirvana' or non-being are met with the answer that ultimate reality transcends all the terms of reference relevant to existence in this world.
Salvation to Islam is essentially salvation from a future wrath of God to be pronounced on sinners at the Last Judgment, in contrast to Buddhism's basic preoccupation with the sufferings of the present. Though Muhammad taught that the destinies of humankind were fixed, the logic of his mission was to convert people and divert people from their punishment in Hell to the company of the faithful destined for God's Paradise.
In both of the above systems intermediate purgatories and or paradises came to be added to the popular forms of each in an attempt to make the concept of justice, in punishment and reward, come closer to the observed behaviour of devotees and dissidents alike.

founder taught that desire is the root cause of all suffering. Salvation will thus be achieved only when all human passions have been extinguished, particularly the craving for existence. The Buddhist initiate had to –
"by his own effort in seeking to eradicate desire for continued existence in the empirical world, achieve his own salvation." (Anderson 1976:115).
The degree of discipline and self-denial required was virtually impossible for the layman, and consequently only monks had a real opportunity of succeeding. The present day equivalent of this Theravada, which has come down to us from one of the early eighteen schools. It is deprecatingly referred to as 'Hinayana' (Lesser Vehicle) Buddhism. It teaches that the way of salvation is –
The Eightfold Path of:
right views
believing as above and rejecting all other ideas and attitudes
right aspirations avoiding all selfish desire
right speech in words of gentleness and truth
right conduct by moral and disciplined living
right lifestyle useful, modest and without harm to any
right effort
of avoiding evil, overcoming evil, earning merit and maintaining value
right awareness
by mastering the loathsomeness of the body and it's mental processes in contemplating one's own and other's feelings
 8.  right concentration 
by single object focus which produces trances to purify from distractions
However, the rigour of self-discipline required to achieve one's own salvation, according to this teaching, appeared to be so beyond the reach of most people that a larger vehicle of enlightenment was developed – 'Mahayana'. In Mahayana, in contrast to orthodoxy, an assurance of divine aid was provided.
Versions of Buddhism multiplied in this direction and soon many saviours ('bodhisattvas' or Buddhas-to-be) were being believed-in for vicarious merit (like Roman Catholicism's merit-treasury of the saints), and an eschatology developed of punishment and reward, in purgatories and paradises, as a prelude to achievement of the ultimate self-obliteration of nirvana.
However, in China, spreading to Japan, and now in the West also, a more 'religionless' form developed (Zen) which exploits the self-improvement urge of man through meditative training.
great escape from divine judgment is to be achieved by teaching and enforcing submission. This is the quintessence of Islam.
Submission must be spelled out in the life of a Muslim, firstly, by accepting the 'aqa'id', that is, believing "in God, His Books, His Messengers, in the Last Day, and the Decree both of good and evil" (Anderson 1976:115), or, according to the Qur'ãn:
"It is righteousness to believe in God, and the Last day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers."
This numbers six articles of Faith, three of which (God, His Decrees, and His Last Judgment) relate directly to the basic requirement of submission (Gilchrist 1986:251).
Surah 2:177
  Secondly, observing the "Five Pillars" – namely:
the profession of faith or 'shahadah' ("Testimony") that "there is no god but God, and Muhammad is His prophet";
(2)  five daily prayers;
the welfare tax called the 'zakat' ("purification" of the rest of one's wealth);
(4)  fasting at Ramadan; and,
(5)  a pilgrimage to Mecca.
To these must be added –
(6) the duty of 'Jihad' ("holy war" or "holy struggle"), 
which "explains the astonishing success of the early generations of Muslims" (Britannica 1979:9,912), who, within a century of Muhammad's death, had brought, by military conquest, every land from Spain to India under the new Arab Muslim empire.
has produced it's diversity of Islamic groups with variations in belief and practice, which over the years have left the Sunnis as the dominant group with a range of smaller Shi'a sects and Sufi orders.
Initially Islam gave it's followers simply a code of ethics and a ritual to obey; which is largely the case today. Submission to this system was submission to God. Leadership conflict, with a moral principle occasionally involved, was the mainspring for most of the sectarian movements, but the yearning for a personal relationship with the Most High, represented in aspects of Christianity and Buddhism that Islam encountered resulted in the rise of Sufism; an attempt to encounter God mystically.
Nicholson comments significantly that –
"The whole of Sufism rests on the belief that when the individual self is lost, the Universal Self is found, or in religious language, that ecstasy affords the only means by which the soul can directly communicate and become united with God." (quoted in Gilchrist 1986:349).
John Gilchrist adds that the Sufi, on "the path toward this goal", must not only go through "progressive stages of self-annihilation" but must also have –
"trance-like experiences in which his normal consciousness is to be lost in ecstatic contemplation of the Divine Being alone" (Gilchrist 1986:349-350).
Sufism is probably the closest harmony achieved between Islam and Buddhism and accounts for the rapid spread of Islam after the impetus of military conquest had disappeared. Sufi missionary activity after the 12th century inaugurated the spread of Islam in India, Central Asia, Turkey, and sub-Saharan Africa (Britannica 1979:9,912).
Gilchrist however, sees Sufism as "Islam's only endeavour to raise itself toward the glory of the Christian revelation" and thus is a "stepping-stone to Christianity" (Gilchrist 1986:351). It's very success may indicate the truth of this statement.
Also see – Qur'ãnic Aspects  and  Islamic Jihad

best of both of these systems of belief points to the dissatisfaction of humanity without God; a spiritual loneliness that turns superstitions, individual relationships, and political empires, in search of realities beyond the phenomenal world. 
  The Christian belief in –
The personal direct intervention of the Most High;
His substitutionary atonement; and,
Supernatural physical resurrection,
is unparalleled however!
Derision of other religious systems is mostly destructive and contrary to the example given to us of Christ's interaction with a member of the Samaritan sect (John 4) as well as Paul's response to Athenian superstition (Acts 17).
However, a knowledge of Buddhism and Islam's paths of salvation is of less than academic value if it is not illumined by –
1.  the unique philosophy of history that the Christian Scriptures provide; and,
2.  a relationship with the Most High that is founded on His character and action rather than on ours.
Please Note:
These two factors are vital to any real progress in knowing our Creator and our part in that creation.

Islam started as a Christian-friendly religion.  
The earliest Muslims, the companions of Muhammad, were persecuted by pagan Arabs, and a group among them fled to the Christian Kingdom in Ethiopia to find a safe haven, which they did. Throughout their consequent struggle with the pagans, Muslims considered Christianity as a sister faith.
Later when pagan Persian forces defeated 'Christian' Byzantine armies, pagan Arabs mocked the Muslims. But the Qur'ãn, in a chapter entitled 'The Romans', then said to Muslims that the Byzantines would win again soon, and that it would actually be a joyful day for Muslims.
another place, the Koran expresses this positive sentiment as –
“Nearest among men in love to the believers wilt thou find those who say, ‘We are Christians,’ because
amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant”
Surah 5:82
animosity toward the idea that God is a Trinity was caused to a great extent by Muhammad's encounter with the Syrian Church – in which Mary, as mother of Christ, was so venerated that Muhammad appears to have perceived her as a part of the Christian Trinity (Surah 5:119); and so the statement that Jesus is the 'Son of God' was then understood as having the blasphemous implication that God had sex with Mary to produce Jesus. Hence, the calligraphic stone inlay around the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem declares in Arabic that Jesus is not the Son of God, in defence of God's holiness (understandably so).
Sub-Saharan Africa
In little more than a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has changed dramatically. In 1900, both Muslims and Christians were relatively small minorities in this region. Since then, however, the number of Muslims living between the Sahara Desert and the Cape of Good Hope has increased more than 20-fold, rising from an estimated 11 million in 1900 to approximately 234 million in 2010. The number of Christians has grown even faster, soaring almost 70-fold from about 7 million to 470 million. Sub-Saharan Africa now is home to about one-in-five of all those called Christian in our world and more than one-in-seven of the world’s Muslims.
fact that today an extremist Islamist ideology, as coordinated by al-Qa'eda, has declared war on everything that does not fit its idea of a world Islamic caliphate, must not be allowed to herd us into a defensive reaction of believing the myth of an Islamic monolith threatening us. This ideology is far more likely to be the intrinsic reaction of a mindset that fears its own defeat and is in the desperate death throes of its own end.

See al-Qa'eda
So? Today:
to quote Brother Andrew (of God's Smuggler fame), for every Christian
in whom God's heart dwells,
   ISLAM stand for –
and this same attitude applies to – every other religious group of people, if our Christianity is of God! a place for Muslims
Serious warning!
In recent years a satanic deception has been hatched in the West – that before Muhammad the Arabic term for God was not Allah. The deception asserts that 'Allah' is derived from the name of a moon god Hubal (the chief idol among the more than three hundred in the Ka'aba of Mecca [Makkah] before Muhammad which he destroyed).
What this deception conveniently omits is that, among the many Arab Christians of Arabia before Muhammad, there was no other term for God Most High in the ancient Arabic language. As a related Semitic language, the Arabic term for God simply shares a common root with the old Biblical Hebrew terms for God – אל עליו and אלהים.
Hubal is probably
derived from Ba'al.
motive hiding behind this deception aims at hindering the work of God in Muslim countries by insulting their term for God as being that of a pagan idol. Therefore, Pastors and their followers who in any way tolerate this lie put themselves in danger of being out of gear with the purposes of God in history and so losing the completion of God's purpose in their own personal lives.
Anderson, N (Editor) 1976 The World's Religions. Grand rapids, USA: WB. Eerdmans. 
Benton, William (Editor) 1979 Encyclopaedia Britannica. Articles "Buddhism", "Islam", "Islamic Mysticism", 'Salvation', etc. 
Gilchrist, John 1986 Muhammad and the Religion of Islam. Benoni, RSA: Jesus to the Muslims. 

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