Although there are hints of Buddhist influences in the Middle East and the Greco-Roman world (e.g., Greek philosophers such as Heraclitus), it is doubtful that Buddhism exerted a great influence in the first century - especially in Palestine. I don't know for certain, but I don't think that historians have established a direct link between Buddhism and Greecian or Roman philosophies. For a clearer look at the world that Jesus no doubt experienced, I suggest reading the Dead Sea scrolls. The context of the period, I think, more heavily explains the reasons that Jesus' 'words' became as popular as they did (and still live even today).
*** In fact, Siddhartha Guatama's message was much more involved and peace loving. Lao Tzu was also of the same ilk. Also much earlier than Jesus.***
I've read both, and I disagree with what you are saying. From what we can tell, Jesus preached the concept of liberty and freedom from certain religious laws that became too restrictive and harsh, something that I think undermines our Western concepts of what is a superior morality. I personally don't think it is any concidence that the Western world as well as the advancement of science emerged from Christian nations. I can't think of a non-Christian country (i.e., by tradition) that I would choose to live more than the countries having this tradition. Can you?
Warm regards, Harv