Let's face it: Buddhism is cool. I admit that. To a lot of people, any religion that involves Jesus is, in the tongue-in-cheek words of Christian Lander, "kind of trashy." (Note: I can't find this quote online anymore where it originally belonged, so I'm assuming he got too much criticism, which is too bad.) Buddhism (the Western adaptation, that is) seems to have all the selling points of Christianity without any of the turnoffs, hence its appeal. Buddhism seems to other people like the opposite of Christianity, hence its rebel mystique. It has some demands, and they appear to be all the demands that certain people want demanded of themselves without the demands they don't.
These perceptions are not far off. Tim Geoffrion, who has spent significant time in Buddhist Southeast Asia, writes,
Like Jesus, the Buddha is usually portrayed as a gentle and wise spiritual guide. By following his teachings and example, in pursuit of enlightenment and liberation from this world, Buddhists seek to detach themselves from all those desires that produce suffering. Along the way, they seek to live peacefully and to become more compassionate toward others. . . .
As Buddhists look to the Buddha for a better way to live and for hope for their lives, so Christians look to Jesus. Yet, Jesus’ way is different.Read his full post to see why Buddha isn't just a cooler version of Jesus or someone who would have been besties with Jesus but Jesus' followers screwed his teachings up.