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Friday, May 29, 2009

The Mystery of the Christian/Buddhist Connection.

Current mood: cheerful

Views: 2,865
Comments: 16
Most of Jesus' moral teachings seem to be very similar to Buddhism which was around 500 years old at the time of Jesus and quite well known in Judea at the time. They both promote the sanctity of life, compassion for others, rejection of violence, confession and emphasis on charity and the practice of virtue and interestingly both Buddhism and Catholicism use rosary beads in a very similar manner.

Will Durant, noting that the Emperor Ashoka sent missionaries not only to elsewhere in India and to Sri Lanka, but to Syria, Egypt and Greece, speculated in the 1930s that they may have helped prepare the ground for Christian teaching.

Professor Rudolf Seydel of the University of Leipzig has noted around fifty similarities between Buddhist and Christian parables and teachings.

Professor E. Washburn Hopkins of Yale goes so far as to say, " The life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism."

The interesting thing about the story of Jesus is that such a huge chunk of the story of his life is missing. In the Biblical accounts we see him as a new born, then there's a very tiny exerpt from him as a child in a temple, and then there's a massive gap until he's in his 30s.

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spent his early childhood in Egypt and there was a large Buddhist community known as the 'Therapeutae' (Sons of the Elders) that existed in Alexandria at the time

In 2007, Doctor of Asian Studies, Christian Lindtner, published a book titled 'Geheimnisse um Jesus Christus.' In his book Dr. Lindtner compares the Pali and Sanskrit Buddhist texts with the Greek gospels and determines that the four gospels were "reformulated from older Buddhist texts based on gematria values, puns, and syllabic equivalences."

There's a Buddhist tradition that claims that Jesus traveled to India and Tibet during the "lost years" before the beginning of his public ministry and there is a text, found at the Lamasery (monastery) of Hemis in Ladakh by Nicolas Notovitch, known as the "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men." Issa is Arabic for 'Yeshua' or 'Jesus'.

The "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men" apparently tells of the travels of a man known in the East as Saint Issa, whom Notovitch identified as Jesus. After initially doubting Notovitch, a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Abhedananda, journeyed to Tibet, investigated his claim, helped translate part of the document, and later championed his views and further claimed that Jesus spent eighteen years "growing in wisdom and stature" at Nalanda, the ancient Indian university.

The 'Bhavishyat Maha Purana' - the 9th of 18 ancient narratives of the Hindus known as the 'Puranas' - asserts that Israelites settled in India, and in verses 17-32, describes the arrival of Jesus thus:

"One day, Shalivahana, the chief of the Shakas, came to a snowy mountain (assumed to be in the Indian Himalayas). There, in the Land of the Hun (Ladakh, a part of the Kushan empire), the powerful king saw a handsome man sitting on a mountain, who seemed to promise auspiciousness. His skin was like copper and he wore white garments. The king asked the holy man who he was. The other replied: 'I am called Isaputra (son of God), born of a virgin, minister of the non-believers, relentlessly in search of the truth.'

O king, lend your ear to the religion that I brought unto the non-believers ... Through justice, truth, meditation, and unity of spirit, man will find his way to Isa (God, in Sanskrit) who dwells in the centre of Light, who remains as constant as the sun, and who dissolves all transient things forever. The blissful image of Isa, the giver of happiness, was revealed in the heart; and I was called Isa-Masih (Jesus the Messiah).'"

Muslim and Persian sources purport to trace the journey of Jesus, known in these writings as Isa, or Yuz Asaf ("leader of the healed") along the Silk Road to the orient.

There is a temple in the state of Kashmir that is dedicated to Saint Issa. The priests of this temple assert that Jesus traveled there two thousand years ago.

A very old large tomb bearing the name of Yuz Asaf exists in Srinagar to this day, and there is also a tomb called 'Mai Mari da Asthan', (The Final Resting Place of Mother Mary) situated in a small town named Murree on the Pakistan-Kashmir border.
Which goes along with the 'further sayings of Muhammad' which mention that Jesus died in Kashmir at the age of one hundred and twenty years.

So, If we put all this information together with the New Testament we get a more complete version of the story of the life of Jesus.

A child is born in either Nazereth or Bethlehem, his family move to Egypt where as a small boy he comes into contact with Buddhists. His family then move back to Judea and there he takes an interest in Judaism and even visits temples on his own. Later, as a young adult he goes on a long journey to the centres of Buddhism in India and Tibet and studies Buddhism for 18 years. He then returns to Judea where he puts his teachings into effect alongside standard Judaistic teachings. He gains quite a following and is considered as the Messiah and is then condemned by the Romans to be crucified.

He either survived the crucifixion via medical aid (Nicodemus is said to have arrived with copious amounts of a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds. Aloes are commonly used to heal the skin, and myrrh has been used for millennia for pain relief.) or possibly even avoided the crucifixion by having Judas kiss someone else (probably a desciple who volunteered to die in his place) or if Christian sources are to be believed, he died and came back to life.

After the crucifixion event, he made a brief appearence, then headed back to the safety of Kashmir, where he had spent so much time as a younger man and where he lived out the rest of his days, living to a ripe old age, in peace, and was even joined there by his mother.

Of course, this is all just speculation based on the available accounts, but it's interesting that the accounts don't actualy contradict the Gospel version of the life of Jesus, they just fill in the gaps. I'm not sure if I believe the accounts or not, but you must admit, it's pretty neat.... and quite a nice ending too.

Unfortunately, and this is why I'm not personaly totaly convinced by the autheticity of the documents in question, even though it's a nice story, after Nicolas Notovitch reputedly discovered the "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men." script in the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh and had it translated, all trace of the original mysteriously dissapeared and the head of the Hemis community claimed Notovitch had never even been there, even though he seemed to have very detailed information about the place, which is seriously isolated. (including the insides of buildings)

It's possible, (I'm tempted to say 'probable' because it stands to reason that the last thing this isolated Buddhist community would want is a bunch of Christian tourists arriving and scouring through their ancient scriptures) that this community leader was infact lying.

Many have called Notovitch a hoaxer, but to be fair, to have written what he wrote, he'd have to be something akin to both a Buddhist and a Biblical scholar, when infact he was just a Cossack officer, and it does, after all, go along quite well with the Buddhist traditions of 'Issa'.

In 1925, the Russian philosopher, Nicholas Roerich, also journeyed to the monastary. He apparently saw the same documents as Notovitch and Swami Abhedananda. Both Abhedananda and Roerich were thereby convinced of the authenticity of the Issa legend.

The actual contents of these scriptures basicaly read that at the age of thirteen the 'divine youth', rather than take a wife, leaves his home to wander with a caravan of merchants to India (Sindh), to study the laws of the great Buddhas.

Issa is welcomed by the Jains, but leaves them to spend six years among the Brahmins, at Juggernaut, Benares, and other places, studying the Vedas and teaching all castes alike. The Brahmins oppose him in this, and he denounces them and their sacred books, especially condemning caste and idolatry. When they plan to put him to death, he flees to the Buddhists, and spends six years among them, learning Pali and mastering their religious texts. He goes among the pagans, warning them against idolatry and teaching a high morality. Then he visits Persia and preaches to the Zoroastrians.

At twenty-nine Issa returns to his own country and begins to preach. He visits Jerusalem, where Pilate is apprehensive about him. The Jewish leaders, however, are also apprehensive about his teachings yet he continues his work for three years. He is finally arrested and put to death for blasphemy, for claiming to be the son of God. His followers are persecuted, but his disciples carry his message out over the world.

What is interesting is that in this version of the events around the death of Jesus, the Sanhedrin go to Pilate and argue to 'save' the life of Jesus, and they are the ones who 'wash their hands' of his death, instead of the Roman Pilate.

Which kinda makes sense, after all, both Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who apparently both had a lot of respect for Jesus, were both supposedly members of the Sanhedrin.

Still, we must remind ourselves, if they exist, these scriptures are cirtainly no longer available to outsiders so they cannot be checked for authenticity.

 Nicholas Roerich story, with the text of the "Life, of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men." was published in French in 1894 as "La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ." It was translated into English, German, Spanish, and Italian so if you're interesteded in this sort of thing and if you can get hold of a copy, I'd advise anyone to read it for themselves and come to their own conclusions.

It's cirtainly an interesting read.
5:56 pm - 16 comments - 10 Kudos - Report!
EL2T wrote on May 29th, 2009 11:36am

Woah... Slacker your knowledge of everything never ceases to amaze me... How do you know these things?

Great Read!


SlackerBabbatha wrote on May 29th, 2009 1:33pm

EL2T wrote on May 29th, 2009 at 10:36am :

Woah... Slacker your knowledge of everything never ceases to amaze me... How do you know these things?

Great Read!


I read..... a lot! ;)


SlackerBabbatha wrote on May 29th, 2009 10:09pm

jetfuel495 wrote on May 29th, 2009 at 8:17pm :

Notovitch! That's the source I was talking about in the comments of your last blog. He saw those scrolls in the monestary, right?

I also used some of the evidence from the Sanskrit texts in the final part of my paper. And the whole Sri Nagar tomb and Yuz Asaf plays a big part in it as well.

It seems as if our blogs culminated into the same point

Great stuff, man

Great minds think alike eh? ;)


LordBaxtus wrote on Jul 2nd, 2009 6:02pm

Interesting read. Some I don't agree with (I'd like to see you try and survive a Crucifixion with nothing but Aloe and Myhhr), but it opens up a lot of possibilities.


SlackerBabbatha wrote on Jul 3rd, 2009 4:04pm

LordBaxtus wrote on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 5:02pm :
Interesting read. Some I don't agree with (I'd like to see you try and survive a Crucifixion with nothing but Aloe and Myhhr), but it opens up a lot of possibilities.

Which is why I generaly subscribe to the thought that it wasn't Jesus on the cross.
Think about it, all it would take is for Judas to kiss the wrong guy, possibly a volounteer. But I wouldn't say that survival of crucifixion was impossible, especially given the short time that Jersus was reported being on the cross. Some very devout Catholics are voluntarily, non-lethally, crucified on Good Friday. Devotional crucifixions are also common in the Philippines, which include driving nails through the hands, flagellation and the wearing of a crown of thorns. One man named Rolando del Campo vowed to be crucified in this manner every Good Friday for 15 years.
So far, he's survived.


Craigo wrote on Jul 23rd, 2009 9:32pm

How did I miss this? This is probably one of your finest spout outs.


SlackerBabbatha wrote on Jul 24th, 2009 10:49am

Craigo wrote on Jul 23rd, 2009 at 8:32pm :
How did I miss this? This is probably one of your finest spout outs.

I dunno, maybe you should be paying more attention. ;)


Les Paul Ell wrote on Sep 13th, 2009 12:28am

When he returned, didn't he show his worshippers the wounds in his hands? the story goes.

This would mean he definately did go on the cross. However, if a volunteer had been crucified instead of him, and that had been written in the Bible, Christians would forever be questioning the morality of Jesus allowing someone else to die in his place. Perhaps they just recorded it as Jesus being crucified and coming back to life, when really it was someone else and he faked the wounds.


hildesaw wrote on Dec 28th, 2009 5:51pm

This is a great piece. I'd like to see all of these documents and such. This fascinates me.


kalnoky7 wrote on Jan 18th, 2010 12:20am

Honetly i remember watching a documentary on this and it wasn't nearly as good as your post.

I salute your knowledge


wilstrong wrote on Apr 15th, 2010 10:36am

Fantastic stuff! This is great. :)


SlackerBabbatha wrote on Apr 21st, 2010 10:10am

For anyone interested in reading the text of the "Life, of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men." it is available in English here.


behcounsrv wrote on Jan 2nd, 2011 9:50am

Anyone know where I could obtain the book, 1st edition, english.


AbstractForms wrote on Feb 22nd, 2011 9:39am

Slacker, this is all very interesting, and it would be wonderful if it were all true. If I ever get the chance, I'd like to visit the places mentioned in these texts (Ladkh, Kashmir, etc.). However, despite the numerous similarities between Buddhism and Christianity, there are many more similarities between Christianity and Neoplatonism, which makes sense due to the obvious Hellenistic influences in Jerusalem and the Roman Empire. What does not add up to me is why Jesus didn't simply teach his doctrine as an Eastern-influenced philosophy. Why tie the whole thing to the Old Testament and Judeo-Christian tradition?


SlackerBabbatha wrote on Feb 22nd, 2011 12:21pm

@ AbstractForms.

Probably because he was intelligent enough to realise that if he presented his lessons as Eastern influenced in Judea, he wouldn't be taken seriously.
He was after all trying to influence his fellow Jews, so what better way to go about that than to tie it in with Judaism?


shattamakar wrote on Jul 18th, 2012 8:58pm

I have too, too, too much to comment on this. This is something I've been researching for a while. Will comment when my brain is less fried. Leaving a kudo for the good quality of research.


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