According to the author, once Buddhism had a missionary spirit as Christianity now has, and its dogmas, whatever one might think of them as a whole, had as winning a power over many new nations. The secret of that mighty power cannot fail to arouse the interest of a thoughtful mind.
In a nutshell, says the author, Christ stands before us as a great historical person set forth in the words or fully simple yet vivid narratives of the Evangelists. Buddha stands before us, a historical person indeed, but with only a few salient events of his life of which we can feel sure— such is the mist of legend that envelops him. The likeness between these two great characters is very distant, while the differences are marked and radical.
The author has consulted most important sources on Buddhism and Christianity to write this book. Beginning with examining whether Buddhism is a religion, Josiah Nelson Cushing goes on to describe
Buddha's birth and environment of youth, his life and ethics and discusses such subjects as the Doctrine of God, the World, the Doctrine of Man, Character of Man's
Present Existence, Future Existences, the Doctrine of Six, Salvation and Nirvana.
An appreciation of the author, who was a Missionary for forty years in Burma and President of the Rangoon College, by Henry Melville King, gives great authenticity to the book.