Jesus, a Buddhist?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Feb 06, 2011 1:52 pm

According to the Dalai Lama Jesus was a Bodhisattva.

Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama[19] regard Jesus as a Bodhisattva who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallels_ ... _and_Jesus

There are many books out that compare the teachings of Christ with Buddha, and if you read them you would see that their lives are very similar, even the parables. I had picked up a book many years ago on Buddha and was shocked when i was reading it because his life and teachings were very much alike. Here is a list of some books on the subject:

The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity [Paperback]
Elmar R. Gruber (Author), Holger Kersten (Author)

The Noble Eightfold Path of Christ: Jesus Teaches the Dharma of Buddhism - Paperback (July 6, 2006) by Thomas Ragland

Jesus and Buddha: The Parallel Sayings - Paperback (Dec. 8, 2004) by Marcus Borg and Jack Kornfield

Jesus taught karma when he said: "You reap what you sow."

Of course there are other things that Jesus said and did that cause me to question. For example, Would Buddha do this?

So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.


Unless this is a story with a meaning, i can't see Jesus doing this because it is so unlike everything else that he has written, such as "turn the other cheek" and "blessed are the meek." But also, his disciple carried swords, and one of them cut off the ear of a soldier, and Jesus rebuked him. Perhaps this was a lesson and not a real story.

And what about his saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me? Again, i can't see his saying this, and neither do the Jesus Seminar in the book, The Five Gospels. Perhaps as some say, he meant, I AM is the way. And Buddha had said:

Ekāyano ayaṃ, bhikkhave, maggo

This is the one and only path: VRI translation

Again we have a parallel saying. And so i wonder what was changed in the Bible?
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby ground » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:00 pm

What a being human beings use to focus on "really" is or was is not relevant since it does not cause any effect.
What is relevant however is what human beings "see" when focusing on another being. Whether this being is alive or a memory does not matter.


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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Su DongPo » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:08 pm

Urgyen Chodron wrote:And what about his saying, "I am the way, the truth, and the light. No one comes to the Father except through me? Again, i can't see his saying this, and neither do the Jesus Seminar in the book, The Five Gospels. Perhaps as some say, he meant, I AM is the way.


Indeed, this is the John, a book almost certainly written in support of Church dogma and not as a record of a community as was probably the case in the other books, including the famous canonical texts and the so-called gnostic gospels.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby fragrant herbs » Sun Feb 06, 2011 3:32 pm

That is most interesting Su Dong Po. Can you direct me in regards to this statement: written in support of Church dogma

It certainly isn't in the other gospels. Of course, it may be in The Five Gospels but i have yet to receive this book in the mail.

P.S. i believe i have the answer, but if you have another i would like to know. Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief explains the book of Thomas with the Gospel of John and says that John is the only book that teaches the divinity of Christ. i imagine it goes further than this.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Sun Feb 06, 2011 9:37 pm

Why not just let Jesus be Jesus and Buddha be Buddha?
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby lisehull » Sun Feb 06, 2011 10:55 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Why not just let Jesus be Jesus and Buddha be Buddha?


I have to agree with this, The man was Jewish, not Buddhist. Just because there are some similarities in the teachings doesn't mean Jesus was Buddhist. I really don't see the point in this question.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tilopa » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:18 pm

lisehull wrote:
Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Why not just let Jesus be Jesus and Buddha be Buddha?


I have to agree with this, The man was Jewish, not Buddhist. Just because there are some similarities in the teachings doesn't mean Jesus was Buddhist. I really don't see the point in this question.

We agreed from the start of the thread it was all speculative but even so it's a nice discussion. There's no harm in looking for parallels in the great spiritual traditions of the world as it can help grow our appreciation of dharma and eachother.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Tilopa » Sun Feb 06, 2011 11:34 pm

Urgyen Chodron wrote:According to the Dalai Lama Jesus was a Bodhisattva....................

Again we have a parallel saying. And so i wonder what was changed in the Bible?

I wonder how much of what Jesus really taught was ever recorded or remembered properly anyway.

Look at this unorthodox "translation" of the original Sermon on the Mount:

http://www.essene.com/GospelOfPeace/SevenFoldPeace.htm

What would Christian civilization had been like if this was one of the central texts of the Church for the last 2000 years?
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Dexing » Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:22 am

It's common when someone is of a very good nature and does a lot to help the world to say "oh, such a bodhisattva they were". But that is just a manner of speech, and means nothing actually. It's the equivalent of saying someone is "such an angel". It is just showing high regard and appreciation of them, it doesn't mean they are really bodhisattvas or angels.

I think retrofuturist already made the very strong point that Jesus taught a lot of what is considered "wrong view" in Buddhism (eternalism, salvation through other-power, etc.). Some counter that this may be Bodhisattva action, but I don't buy it. He taught basic morality, but also a load of wrong views and encouraged people to believe he was the "son of god/god made flesh"... which if that is the case then he is personally responsible for well over 2.5 million senseless murders that were enumerated in the bible, including mass genocide, human sacrifice, and destroyed the entire population of the earth at one point!

Bodhisattva? Buddhist? Yeah... :reading: ... NO
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby plwk » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:12 am

My :reading:

I guess....it's not a simplistic evaluation...

One...it may be the context of how one understands this term 'Bodhisattva' and how it is ascribed to those within the Buddha Dharma and those without...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html#b
bodhisatta [bodhisatta]:
"A being (striving) for Awakening"; the term used to describe the Buddha before he actually become Buddha, from his first aspiration to Buddhahood until the time of his full Awakening. Sanskrit form: Bodhisattva.

Another here and here

In some places, it is simply defined as one who is searching for the Path, a seeker of Enlightenment...
Then, in others, they understand it as those who are within the Path but still on the causal ground...varying degrees of awakening/sainthood, from the First Ground to a Future Buddha awaiting in Tusita...
Then, in yet others, those who are already on the fruition/accomplishment ground/level...
Then, still in yet others, those who are already on the fruition/accomplishment ground/level but manifests/emanates the appearance of a Bodhisattva for the sake of sentient beings...

Two..then one has to look at popular sentiments made out of reverential regard for virtuous ones vs the actual accomplishment within the Stages of the Path, as defined within the Buddha Dharma?

The Scriptures & Commentaries are full of descriptions of Bodhisattvas...
On the causal ground at one time like Sakyamuni Buddha Himself before His Enlightenment...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"I, too, monks, before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened Bodhisatta....

Then those treading/predicted on the Path, like Maitreya Bodhisattva, the future Buddha...
http://www.purifymind.com/Sutras36.htm
At that time Sariputra the Wise straightened his robe and bared his right shoulder.
Having been following the Buddha the Dharma King, to turn the right Dharma wheel, he was the minister of the Buddha and a great general upholding the Dharma. Out of sympathy for sentient beings, he wanted them to be liberated from the bondage of sufferings.
Knowing that the Dharma King's mind would be responsive, he said to the Buddha,
"World-Honored One, just now the Tathagata spoke in verse on the mountaintop, praising the one with the foremost wisdom.
This has never been mentioned in previous Sutras. The minds of this huge multitude are now filled with expectation.
They shed tears like heavy rain, hoping to hear the Tathagata speak about the next Buddha Maitreya, who will open the Sweet Nectar Path.
Maitreya Buddha's name, His virtue, His spiritual power, and His land will be sublime.
Based on what kind of roots of goodness, precepts, almsgiving, meditation, wisdom, and intellect will one be able to see Maitreya Buddha?
With what mindset should one walk the Eightfold Right Path?"
http://www.basicbuddhism.org/index.cfm?GPID=29
'And in the time of the people with eighty thousand-year life-span, there will arise in the world a Blessed Lord, an Arahant fully-enlightened Buddha named Metteyya, endowed with wisdom and conduct, a Well-Farer, Knower of the Worlds, an incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed, Teacher of gods and humans,
enlightened and blessed, just as I am now.
He will thoroughly know by his own super-knowledge, and proclaim, this universe with its devas and maras and Brahmas, its ascetics and Brahmins, and this generation with its princes and people, just as I do now.
He will teach the Dhamma, lovely in the beginning, lovely in its middle, in the spirit and in the letter, and proclaim, just as I do now, the holy life in its fullness and purity. He will be attended by a company of thousands of monks, just as I am attended by a company of hundreds.
http://mahavamsa.org/2008/05/32-entrance-tusita-heaven/
When the people saw them floating free in the air, they conquered their doubts; but the king said to the Thera:
`Which of the celestial worlds is the most beautiful, Venerable Sir ?’
And the other answered:
`The city of the Tusitas, O king, is the fairest; so think the pious. Awaiting the time when he shall become a Buddha, the compassionate Bodhisatta Metteyya dwells in the Tusita-city.’
http://www.siddham.org/yuan_english/sut ... index.html
The Buddha told the Contemplator of the World's Sounds Bodhisattva,
"Earth Store Bodhisattva has great affinities with beings in Jambudvipa. Hundreds of thousands of eons would not be time enough to describe the benefits derived by beings who see this Bodhisattva and hear His name.
Among all the Bodhisattvas, Earth Store Bodhisattva, Mahasattva has the deepest and most weighty vows.
Earth Store Bodhisattva has made these vows to teach and transform beings in the Six Paths throughout eons as many as the number of sand grains in hundreds of thousands of millions of Ganges Rivers.
After emitting such rays of light from the opening at the crown of His head, He spoke in subtle and wonderful sounds to the great assembly of gods, dragons, the rest of the Eightfold Division, humans, non-humans and others,
"Hear me today in the palace of the Trayastrimsha Heaven as I praise Earth Store Bodhisattva, telling of His beneficial deeds, of inconceivable events, of the matter of His transcendence to Sagehood, of the circumstances of His certification to the Tenth Ground, and of the situation leading to His being irreversible from Anuttarasamyaksambodhi."

And those who are already on the fruition/accomplishment ground...
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id2.html
Ananda asked the Buddha, "Has the Bodhisattva Dharmakara already attained Buddhahood and then passed into Nirvana? Or has he not yet attained Buddhahood? Or is he dwelling somewhere at present?"
The Buddha replied to Ananda, "The Bodhisattva Dharmakara has already attained Buddhahood and is now dwelling in a western Buddha-land, called
'Peace and Bliss,' a hundred thousand kotis of lands away from here."
Ananda further asked the Buddha, "How much time has passed since He attained Buddhahood?"
The Buddha replied, "Since he attained Buddhahood, about ten kalpas have passed."

And then there are those who are already on the fruition/accomplished ground but chose to manifest the form of a Bodhisattva for the sake of sentient beings...
http://www.fodian.net/world/dabei_sutra.htm
Then Ananda asked the Buddha:
"Bhagavan, what is the name of this Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, who is so good to teach us this Dharani?"
The Buddha said:
"This Bodhisattva is called Avalokitesvara, the Unrestricted One, also called 'Nipping a Lariat', also called 'A Thousand Bright Eyes'.
Virtuous man, this Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva has unimaginable mighty and holy powers.
Uncountable kalpas before, He had already been a Buddha named 'True Dharma Brightness Tathagata'.
Because of the power of His Great Compassionate Vows, and in order to call upon all Bodhisattvas to comfort and please all living beings, He appears as a Bodhisattva."

My own thoughts on the thread resonates with these...
http://buddhistfaith.tripod.com/purelan ... s/id3.html
To obtain human life is difficult in the extreme;
To meet a Buddha in this world is also difficult;
It is difficult, too, for a man to attain faith and wisdom.
Once you have heard the Dharma, strive to reach its heart.

If you have heard the Dharma and do not forget it,
But adore and revere it with great joy,
You are my good friend. For this reason,
You should awaken aspiration for Enlightenment.

Even if the whole world is on fire,
Be sure to pass through it to hear the Dharma;
Then you will surely attain the Buddha's Enlightenment.
And everywhere deliver beings from the river of birth-and-death.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby ground » Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:45 am

Dexing wrote:It's common when someone is of a very good nature and does a lot to help the world to say "oh, such a bodhisattva they were". But that is just a manner of speech, and means nothing actually. It's the equivalent of saying someone is "such an angel". It is just showing high regard and appreciation of them, it doesn't mean they are really bodhisattvas or angels.

The same holds true for "This was a 'Buddha'".

Dexing wrote:Some counter that this may be Bodhisattva action, but I don't buy it. He taught basic morality, but also a load of wrong views and encouraged people to believe he was the "son of god/god made flesh"...

May be interpreted as skillful means. Also the bodhisattvas not necessarily teach the way to liberation but they also may teach morality exclusively depending on their audience to prevent bad migrations.

Also - referring to plwk's post - "bodhisattva" in this context may not refer to an actual bodhisattva ( per definitionem) but an instance of applying the name of a future effect to a former cause.
In this sense Jesus may have been one of the bodhisattva lineage not awakened to bodhicitta yet but intent on the benefit of others.


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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Su DongPo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:44 am

Urgyen Chodron wrote:That is most interesting Su Dong Po. Can you direct me in regards to this statement: written in support of Church dogma

It certainly isn't in the other gospels. Of course, it may be in The Five Gospels but i have yet to receive this book in the mail.

P.S. i believe i have the answer, but if you have another i would like to know. Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief explains the book of Thomas with the Gospel of John and says that John is the only book that teaches the divinity of Christ. i imagine it goes further than this.


Yes, Elaine Pagels's excellent book is the place to start. I cannot find my copy at the moment, but in addition to that you might want to look at the commentary by Marvin Meyer in his edition of The Gospel of Thomas (2004). I haven't read Funk's The Five Gospels, which you have referenced, but it is in the same vein of modern scholarship on the New Testament, along with the work of those associated with the Jesus Seminar. Basically, all this effort has been directed at trying ferret out what Jesus or his immediate followers said and what was ascribed to him by the Church in subsequent centuries. The First Council of Nicea, in 325, codified Church doctrine (i.e. the NIcean Creed), the Church became an official state religion, and we were soon off the to the races. Jesus the man and his message, bodhisattva or otherwise, this argument goes, were lost to us as He Became God.

It is heresy to most believers but these scholars generally do not accept that the historical Jesus ever claimed to be a deity, and I have to say I am convinced. I am sure some somewhere out there in cyberspace there is a "Gospel Free-for-all" :smile: forum where these questions are hotly debated.
Last edited by Su DongPo on Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:00 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Su DongPo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:46 am

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:Why not just let Jesus be Jesus and Buddha be Buddha?


Sure thing.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Su DongPo » Mon Feb 07, 2011 6:51 am

Dexing wrote:He taught basic morality, but also a load of wrong views and encouraged people to believe he was the "son of god/god made flesh"... which if that is the case then he is personally responsible for well over 2.5 million senseless murders that were enumerated in the bible, including mass genocide, human sacrifice, and destroyed the entire population of the earth at one point!


Again, this is the Church, imo, and not Jesus.

I cannot help but this The Life of Brian is relevant here. :smile:
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby meindzai » Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:50 pm

Su DongPo wrote:
Dexing wrote:He taught basic morality, but also a load of wrong views and encouraged people to believe he was the "son of god/god made flesh"... which if that is the case then he is personally responsible for well over 2.5 million senseless murders that were enumerated in the bible, including mass genocide, human sacrifice, and destroyed the entire population of the earth at one point!


Again, this is the Church, imo, and not Jesus.



The problem is theism, period.

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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Nosta » Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:21 pm

Su DongPo wrote:
Dexing wrote:He taught basic morality, but also a load of wrong views and encouraged people to believe he was the "son of god/god made flesh"... which if that is the case then he is personally responsible for well over 2.5 million senseless murders that were enumerated in the bible, including mass genocide, human sacrifice, and destroyed the entire population of the earth at one point!


Again, this is the Church, imo, and not Jesus.

I cannot help but this The Life of Brian is relevant here. :smile:


Life of Brian, a brilliant movie indeed if you like old-fashioned comedies :)
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby fragrant herbs » Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:27 pm

Su DongPo wrote:
Urgyen Chodron wrote:That is most interesting Su Dong Po. Can you direct me in regards to this statement: written in support of Church dogma

It certainly isn't in the other gospels. Of course, it may be in The Five Gospels but i have yet to receive this book in the mail.

P.S. i believe i have the answer, but if you have another i would like to know. Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief explains the book of Thomas with the Gospel of John and says that John is the only book that teaches the divinity of Christ. i imagine it goes further than this.


Yes, Elaine Pagels's excellent book is the place to start. I cannot find my copy at the moment, but in addition to that you might want to look at the commentary by Marvin Meyer in his edition of The Gospel of Thomas (2004). I haven't read Funk's The Five Gospels, which you have referenced, but it is in the same vein of modern scholarship on the New Testament, along with the work of those associated with the Jesus Seminar. Basically, all this effort has been directed at trying ferret out what Jesus or his immediate followers said and what was ascribed to him by the Church in subsequent centuries. The First Council of Nicea, in 325, codified Church doctrine (i.e. the NIcean Creed), the Church became an official state religion, and we were soon off the to the races. Jesus the man and his message, bodhisattva or otherwise, this argument goes, were lost to us as He Became God.

It is heresy to most believers but these scholars generally do not accept that the historical Jesus ever claimed to be a deity, and I have to say I am convinced. I am sure some somewhere out there in cyberspace there is a "Gospel Free-for-all" :smile: forum where these questions are hotly debated.


Thank you. I will order the Gospel of Thomas.
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Rael » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:34 pm

I really think He is the Same Being.In other words He is The Buddha Sakyamuni..

they both softened the religion of the day and brought loving kindness to somewhat wrathful religions.

the Buddha made a lot of enemies by softening the Vedic traditions at the time...I don't think he really was into the caste system...the fact he gave up his Royal status speaks volumes about that...Women could now attain enlightenment...and study...


Jesus's teachings tamed the Roman empire eventually...He also took a belief system and made it for everyone...

the teachings were well suited to taming the Roman empire....

if you separate yourself from the obvious difference in belief systems and look at the effect of the Dharma wheel being turned for vast numbers of beings....

it fits....that they are both the same Being.....
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:03 pm

Something for perusal.
:namaste:
buddhism and christianity.pdf
(399.12 KiB) Downloaded 72 times
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Jesus, a Buddhist?

Postby Rael » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:43 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Something for perusal.
:namaste:
buddhism and christianity.pdf


i get a warning that this download could harm my computer....which i ignored cause it's you and i trust you....

then i get a bunch of this stuff



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T•µ¡Ï



is this some kinda Zen thing you are trying to show us :coffee:
:rolling:
:rolling:
:rolling:
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