If Buddha and Muhammad Sat Down to Talk – What Do You Think They Would Have to Say to Each Other?

The Scene: Paradise. A small but elegantly carpeted tent, not too far from the Throne of God. Muhammad is seated cross legged in timeless bliss. The tent flap lifts up. It is Sakyamuni Buddha aka, Prince Siddhartha. “Om Shantih,” says the Buddha. Muhammad looks up and replies, “As-salaam Alaikum! I was wondering when you would show up. I guess we have some things to talk about.” Gesturing with his hand, he offers the Buddha a velvet green cushion embroidered with golden Arabic text, “La illaha illa’Allah.” Buddha graciously accepts and, gathering his robes, sits down in full lotus. “Indeed we do have things to talk about,” Buddha replies, the palms of his hands held together at his heart in a gesture of prayer, bowing ever so slightly toward Muhammad. “Oh you needn’t do that,” says Muhammad. “Save that for God. I’m only a messenger.”

the Buddha continues, “I regret it has taken us so long to get together and talk. But now that things are so bad down on Earth, I thought if we talked, then maybe some of our followers might do the same and we could bring peace while there is still time.”

Muhammad gazes directly into the eyes of the Buddha, his face radiant like the full moon. Buddha smiles knowingly. Muhammad goes on, “Well, brother Buddha, you know as well as I do, that we both taught on the same planet, though you were born 570 years before our brother Jesus of Nazareth and I was born 570 years after Jesus, still we both said that we brought the truth and there can’t be two different absolute truths, so what gives? God is the truth, the absolute reality, or as we say in Arabic, al-Haaq. And if it is God that sends messengers with the truth, then you must also be sent by God, and we are all supposed to deliver the same message, differing only to be in accord with the place and the time.”

Buddha gazes back serenely into Muhammad’s desert worn but brilliantly handsome face. “You are right. there are not two absolute truths, though as you point out the absolute truth must be made relative to be in accord with the time, place and mental attainment of the one to whom the teaching is being presented, We call that skillful means, upaya.”

You are absolutely correct, my brother. When asked about God, I merely remained silent. I spoke not. This does not mean that I did not acknowledge the existence of God, of the supreme absolute truth. My silence was also another way of saying that God is beyond words. In fact, I referred to this absolute truth as the Dharmakaya, the body of truth, which is the same as God. How could it be different? Like you said, we are both of the same planet, preaching the truth and there are not two absolute truths. But in my time and in my place, India, polytheism was even more rampant and powerful than it was in your time, O my brother, Muhammad, and I had to find a way to get people to wake up to the fact that all those different gods weren’t helping them at all, and in fact, belief in them was only a perpetuation of their suffering. So I first started with that point – life is suffering … and that the cause of suffering is ignorant desire for things that do not satisfy …”

The only thing that satisfies is submission to God. Only God, the absolute truth can satisfy the soul which is ever restless and distracted by the things of this world. Didn’t you teach that much?”