Judaism & Buddhism Similarities
The Commonality Between Judaism and Buddhism
Buddhism and its eight fold path resembles, in many aspects, the teachings of the ten commandments or the “graden Derach” (the straight path). It is the mind that directs our thoughts to do good or evil.
tenets or directives for followers of the eightfold path are: Right mind, right
intention, right speech, right action, right or honest livelihood, right effort,
right mindfulness, right concentration. All of these factors are also in the core of the ten
commandments. It takes the human
being, the human mind, to follow the directives that compose the ten
commandments. To do right is not to
murder, not to steal, not to bear false witness, etc.
It is the human will that allows us to carry out the given commandments.
can be interpreted as “good” as compared to evil. The eightfold path is the “Buddha’s” right path just as
the adherence of the ten commandments are the right path for humanity.
It is the mind that allows or forbids us to carry out what it is we
ultimately do. We observe this in
our daily lives.
has those who care to follow what is seen as right or wrong.
In our western world we see the folks that are considered good and those
who are considered deviant or evil. The
good person gives charity, lends his hand to his fellow man and his heart to
G’d. He does not steal or lie, commit adultery, etc.
The deviant is the psychopath, the swindler, the “cheater”, the
thief, the criminal, the molester, etc. -
in psychological terms, the person who follows his impulses with disregard of
the consequences to self or others.
must here consider that what is considered good or right in some cultures may be
considered otherwise by our western world.
One very simple example is that of the bushmen in the hinterlands of
Australia, who until very recently did not
cover their bodies with garments. In some African tribes, women do not clothe
their breasts. The ordinary male or
female in our modern society considers it lewd to be naked in public. In India,
cows are considered sacred and are not generally eaten by the majority of the
They are allowed to roam the land and are not considered for consumption.
By these few examples, we can clearly see that what is considered right and
wrong depends on what has been learned and what the belief systems of a
community or region are. It can
here be seen that the mind is the entity that carries out the “right”
concepts of the Jewish and Buddhist religions. For the majority of religions,
there is a punishment and reward system for following or not obeying that which
Jews we have much leeway to follow in practicing the ten commandments and find
contentment in our minds. The
Buddhist has the same opportunity in his/or her life and can find satisfaction
in thinking and following in the
Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.