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Jan Nattier states that while Buddhism has a notion of "relative eschatology" that refers to specific cycles of life, the term "Buddhist eschatology" does not relate to any "final things", or that the world will end one day – Buddhist scripture routinely referring to the "beginningless Saṃsāra" as a never ending cycle of birth and death with no starting point.There are other fundamental incompatibilities, e.g. while grace is part of the very fabric of Christian theology, in Theravada Buddhism no deity can interfere with karma, and hence the notion of any type of grace is inadmissible within these teachings.And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sarmanæ and others Brahmins.

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Saint Jerome (4th century CE) mentions the birth of the Buddha, who he says "was born from the side of a virgin"; it has been suggested that this virgin birth legend of Buddhism influenced Christianity.

The early church father Clement of Alexandria (died 215 AD) was also aware of Buddha, writing in his Stromata (Bk I, Ch XV): "The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers.

In the 19th century, some scholars began to perceive similarities between Buddhist and Christian practices, e.g. In 1880 Ernest De Bunsen made similar observations in that with the exception of the death of Jesus on the cross, and of the Christian doctrine of atonement, the most ancient Buddhist records had similarities with the Christian traditions. Bentley also wrote of similarities and stated that it is possible "that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity" and suggested "attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus".

Some high level Buddhists have drawn analogies between Jesus and Buddhism, e.g.

Like those called Encratites in the present day, they know not marriage nor begetting of children.

Some, too, of the Indians obey the precepts of Buddha (Βούττα) whom, on account of his extraordinary sanctity, they have raised to divine honours." In the 13th century, international travelers, such as Giovanni de Piano Carpini and William of Ruysbroeck, sent back reports of Buddhism to the West and noted some similarities with Nestorian Christian communities.

Gnostics (a small number of sects) are not considered part of mainstream Christianity and some have been declared heretical.

However, Elaine Pagels proposes Buddhist influences on Gnosticism.

Francis Xavier sent back accounts of Buddhist practices.

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