Buddha as a Christian Saint

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Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:17 pm

Yup, that's right. Buddha is not limited just to Buddhists, or utilised as an avatar of Vishnu by Hindus, Buddhas life story was rewritten by Medieval Christians and he was canonised as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox (Syrian and Greek) Church. Saint Ioasaph to be exact.
Ioasaf.jpg
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This is from a Greek icon and reads: Saint Ioasaf son of the Indian King Avenir
Ioasaph (Georgian Iodasaph, Arabic Yūdhasaf or Būdhasaf) is derived from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva.[1][3][7] The Sanskrit word was changed to Bodisav in Persian texts in the 6th or 7th century, then to Budhasaf or Yudasaf in an 8th-century Arabic document (possibly by Arabic initial "b" ﺑ changed to "y" ﻳ by duplication of a dot in handwriting). This became Iodasaph in Georgia in the 10th century, and that name was adapted as Ioasaph in Greece in the 11th century, and then as Iosaphat or Josaphat in Latin.
There are links at the bottom of the wiki article which take you to an English translation of the hagiography of Saint Ioasaf. Basically it is just a Christianised version of the life of Siddhartha Gautama with the Buddha finding salvation by turning to Christ. It overlooks the minor detail that Christ came 500 years after the Buddha but anyway... a good try nonetheless! :tongue:
:namaste:
"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby lowlydog » Wed Jan 02, 2013 9:26 pm

I knew you were all wrong!! :tongue:
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby songhill » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:20 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yup, that's right. Buddha is not limited just to Buddhists, or utilised as an avatar of Vishnu by Hindus, Buddhas life story was rewritten by Medieval Christians and he was canonised as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox (Syrian and Greek) Church. Saint Ioasaph to be exact.
Ioasaf.jpg

This is from a Greek icon and reads: Saint Ioasaf son of the Indian King Avenir
Ioasaph (Georgian Iodasaph, Arabic Yūdhasaf or Būdhasaf) is derived from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva.[1][3][7] The Sanskrit word was changed to Bodisav in Persian texts in the 6th or 7th century, then to Budhasaf or Yudasaf in an 8th-century Arabic document (possibly by Arabic initial "b" ﺑ changed to "y" ﻳ by duplication of a dot in handwriting). This became Iodasaph in Georgia in the 10th century, and that name was adapted as Ioasaph in Greece in the 11th century, and then as Iosaphat or Josaphat in Latin.
There are links at the bottom of the wiki article which take you to an English translation of the hagiography of Saint Ioasaf. Basically it is just a Christianised version of the life of Siddhartha Gautama with the Buddha finding salvation by turning to Christ. It overlooks the minor detail that Christ came 500 years after the Buddha but anyway... a good try nonetheless! :tongue:
:namaste:


I read somewhere that in the 8th century the life of the Buddha was translated into Greek by St John of Damascus known as the story of Balaam and Josaphat. The story is on Google Books (http://goo.gl/ECbws).
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jan 02, 2013 10:26 pm

Apparently not the case:
The Greek legend of "Barlaam and Ioasaph" is sometimes attributed to the 7th century John of Damascus, but actually it was transcribed by the Georgian monk Euthymius in the 11th century. The first Christianized adaptation was the Georgian epic Balavariani dating back to the 10th century. A Georgian monk, Euthymios of Athos, translated the story into Greek, some time before he was killed while visiting Constantinople in 1028. There the Greek adaptation was translated into Latin in 1048 and soon became well known in Western Europe as Barlaam and Josaphat.
I am going to purchase a Greek version produced and published by the Institute of Modern Greek Studies of the Aristotlean University of Thessaloniki which looks into the historical background of the text and includes a comparison of the original Greek and Latin versions.
"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby songhill » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:07 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Apparently not the case:
The Greek legend of "Barlaam and Ioasaph" is sometimes attributed to the 7th century John of Damascus, but actually it was transcribed by the Georgian monk Euthymius in the 11th century. The first Christianized adaptation was the Georgian epic Balavariani dating back to the 10th century. A Georgian monk, Euthymios of Athos, translated the story into Greek, some time before he was killed while visiting Constantinople in 1028. There the Greek adaptation was translated into Latin in 1048 and soon became well known in Western Europe as Barlaam and Josaphat.
I am going to purchase a Greek version produced and published by the Institute of Modern Greek Studies of the Aristotlean University of Thessaloniki which looks into the historical background of the text and includes a comparison of the original Greek and Latin versions.


Sweet! Keep us informed. I would like to learn about your findings.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby plwk » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:39 am

Before you pop the champagne greg, I do recall that when I was Catholic, this name of St Josaphat or Ioasaph is not in the list of celebrated saints in both the weekly and Sunday Roman Missals and I was also told back then that there was a major revision of the General Calendar of celebrations of feast days and solemnities in 1969, initiated by the late Pope Paul VI and that has seen many corrections and removals of what is deemed as inaccuracies and the doubtful. That's why you may remember how some after that were dismayed that popular ones like St Christopher got struck off although private veneration by some is ongoing. There was even the celebrated St Bridget of Sweden whose famous Fifteen Prayers I used to recite, which carries a long list of promises for those who recited it, which were suppressed for doubtful authorship and origins since the 1969 Revision, although the prayer itself was found free of doctrinal and moral errors and was maintained for the faithful to continue its recitation but the newly printed books would find this prayer promoted without the promises, although there are surviving old prayer texts that mention it.
So yes, I have also remembered that in conversations with some self styled Catholics, there is mention on this dubious and highly speculated figure but as the Jesuit fathers advised me before, it's better to follow the current Magisterium for teaching and practice, although they did not want to discuss how past Magisterium decisions have been contradicted even by the present one, especially the post Vatican II scenario....
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02297a.htm
The principal characters of a legend of Christian antiquity, which was a favourite subject of writers in the Middle Ages. The story is substantially as follows: Many inhabitants of India had been converted by the Apostle St. Thomas and were leading Christian lives. In the third or fourth century King Abenner (Avenier) persecuted the Church. The astrologers had foretold that his son Josaphat would one day become a Christian. To prevent this the prince was kept in close confinement. But, in spite of all precautions, Barlaam, a hermit of Senaar, met him and brought him to the true Faith. Abenner tried his best to pervert Josaphat, but, not succeeding, he shared the government with him. Later Abenner himself became a Christian, and, abdicating the throne, became a hermit. Josaphat governed alone for a time, then resigned, went into the desert, found his former teacher Barlaam, and with him spent his remaining years in holiness. Years after their death, the bodies were brought to India and their grave became renowned by miracles. Barlaam and Josaphat found their way into the Roman Martyrology (27 November), and into the Greek calendar (26 August). Vincent of Beauvais, in the thirteenth century, had given the story in his "Speculum Historiale". It is also found in an abbreviated form in the "Golden Legend" of Jacobus de Voragine of the same century.

The story is a Christianized version of one of the legends of Buddha, as even the name Josaphat would seem to show. This is said to be a corruption of the original Joasaph, which is again corrupted from the middle Persian Budasif (Budsaif=Bodhisattva). Still it is of historical value, since it contains the "Apology" presented by the Athenian philosopher Aristides to the Emperor Adrian (or Antoninus Pius). The Greek text of the legend, written probably by a monk of the Sabbas monastery near Jerusalem at the beginning of the seventh century, was first published by Boissonade in "Anecdota Graeca" (Paris, 1832), IV, and is reproduced in Migne, P.G., XCVI, among the works of St. John Damascene. The legend cannot, however, have been a work of the great Damascene, as was proved by Zotenberg in "Notices sur le livre de Barlaam et Josaphat" (Paris, 1886) and by Hammel in "Verhandl. des 7 internat. Orientalisten Congresses", Semit. Section (Vienna, 1888). Another edition of the Greek was made by Kechajoglos (Athens, 1884). From the original Greek a German translation was made by F. Liebrecht (Münster, 1847). Latin translations (Minge, P.L., LXXIII), were made in the twelfth century and used for nearly all the European languages, in prose, verse and in miracle plays. Among them is prominent the German epic by Rudolph of Ems in the thirteenth century (Königsberg, 1818, and somewhat later at Leipzig). From the German an Icelandic and Swedish version were made in the fifteenth century. At Manila the legend appeared in the Tagala language of the Philippines. In the East it exists in Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Hebrew.
And not all Hindus accept and dispute amongst themselves that the historical Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu btw...
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jan 03, 2013 8:26 am

He is still celebrated as a saint by Greek Orthodox Christians http://www.saint.gr/899/saint.aspx (yes, I know, it's all Greek to you but strangely enough it makes sense to Greek Orthodox Christians :smile: )

I think the main point is not if he is still celebrated as a saint but what impact the story had on Medieval Christianity and Christian practice.
:namaste:
PS
And not all Hindus accept and dispute amongst themselves that the historical Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu btw...
And not all Christian churches accept Buddha as a Christian saint, but one calls him a Christian saint.
"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby chokyi lodro » Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:16 am

Maybe the story had little impact:

When I was still a practicing Catholic, I belonged to a group using the liturgical texts from before the reforms of Paul VI which plwk mentioned. Josaphat the martyr (15th century Belarussian) was in our Missal, but Barlaam and Josaphat weren't...

One would have to know the following to judge the impact of their cult: did they ever make their way into the Roman Missal (or was their feast celebrated merely locally); and if so, when were they removed from the Roman Missal. The reason I ask that is because being included in the Roman Martyrology wouldn't do much: this ended up being only recited in monasteries and seminaries, and hence the laity would not have heard of them.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jan 03, 2013 12:11 pm

chokyi lodro wrote:Maybe the story had little impact:

When I was still a practicing Catholic, I belonged to a group using the liturgical texts from before the reforms of Paul VI which plwk mentioned. Josaphat the martyr (15th century Belarussian) was in our Missal, but Barlaam and Josaphat weren't...

One would have to know the following to judge the impact of their cult: did they ever make their way into the Roman Missal (or was their feast celebrated merely locally); and if so, when were they removed from the Roman Missal. The reason I ask that is because being included in the Roman Martyrology wouldn't do much: this ended up being only recited in monasteries and seminaries, and hence the laity would not have heard of them.
1. Apologies to all you ex- (and current) Catholics out there but Catholicism is not the only Christianity out there. ;) 2. In Christianity Monastic practices are really the only serious practices. Lay people, as you may know, are normally limited to just following services. If they are serious lay practitioners they may be given a specific practice, but really...

There are also many practices in the Eastern Orthodox traditions that are very similar to some Buddhist tantric practices.

Soooo...

The question that arises in my mind is: does the phenomenon of the increase in Christian mystical experiences during the Medieval period (mirrored by a similar spate in Tibet) have a common root? Did Euthymios bring more than a nice new "Christian" story to Europe ie did he also introduce certain "Buddhist" practices?
:namaste:
"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby chokyi lodro » Thu Jan 03, 2013 2:57 pm

Both points taken! I agree that monasticism is the only serious practice: all liturgical practices in the Church are based on monastic ones.

As well as working out how big a liturgical cult Barlaam and Josaphat had, you could look in mediaeval "primers", which although often designed for the laity, were very much modelled on monastic use.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby catmoon » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:55 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Yup, that's right. Buddha is not limited just to Buddhists, or utilised as an avatar of Vishnu by Hindus, Buddhas life story was rewritten by Medieval Christians and he was canonised as a Christian saint by the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox (Syrian and Greek) Church. Saint Ioasaph to be exact.



:jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop: :jawdrop:

How did you find out about this? It's amazing.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:02 pm

I was looking for something completely unrelated: where the tonal stress is in the term Sugata (which I never found the answer to) and stumbled across the references by "mistake", completely by "chance". ;)

I also happened to discuss it with a Greek Lama vajra sister of mine and she told me that a Greek vajra brother of ours (a Kagyu monk), had also said something to her about this "story". I know he visited Mt. Athos a couple of years back, so I am going to write to him (he's in 3 year retreat again) and ask him what he knows.
:namaste:
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:29 pm

Yiasou Greg. Unrelated to thread, but to your post...

gregkavarnos wrote:I was looking for something completely unrelated: where the tonal stress is in the term Sugata (which I never found the answer to)


Does this help? viewtopic.php?f=81&t=11344
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jan 06, 2013 7:24 pm

Jainarayan wrote:Yiasou Greg. Unrelated to thread, but to your post...

gregkavarnos wrote:I was looking for something completely unrelated: where the tonal stress is in the term Sugata (which I never found the answer to)


Does this help? http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=81&t=11344
I was actually looking for the info in order to answer your question! :smile:
"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Jainarayan » Sun Jan 06, 2013 8:06 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Jainarayan wrote:Yiasou Greg. Unrelated to thread, but to your post...

gregkavarnos wrote:I was looking for something completely unrelated: where the tonal stress is in the term Sugata (which I never found the answer to)


Does this help? viewtopic.php?f=81&t=11344
I was actually looking for the info in order to answer your question! :smile:


Oh heh heh... nevermind. :mrgreen:
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Kare » Sun Jan 06, 2013 10:13 pm

The story of Barlaam and Josaphat was popular in Medieval Europe. It was translated into several languages, even into Old Norse/Old Icelandic.

A monastery in Antwerpen, Belgium, claims to have relics of St. Josaphat:

http://tibeto-logic.blogspot.no/2010/01 ... twerp.html
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jan 07, 2013 4:54 pm

Mr Kavarnos. Jumping the shark. You haz it.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:01 pm

Even after googling the meaning I still don't get it, but anything that has to do with "the Fonz" is cool by me! Aaaaaaayyyyy!
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"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."
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Jan 07, 2013 6:47 pm

As you probably found, "jumping the shark" is a totally ridiculous and implausible plot device used when a show has run out of ideas. Fonzie was water skiing, and as he was, he jumped over a shark... totally ridiculous and implausible. Hence the term "jumping the shark". In reference to this thread, I believe the poster means that suggesting the Buddha was canonized by the Christian Church indicates something totally ridiculous and implausible, so it has therefore "jumped the shark". Personally I don't agree... I think the idea is plausible and interesting. Now, Jesus in India and Tibet... mm... may or may not be jumping the shark. Wishful thinking at the very least, on my part.
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Re: Buddha as a Christian Saint

Postby Sara H » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:35 am

You know, I'm no expert on this by putting it mildly, but according to wikipedia Saint Ioasaph was born and died in Russia:

Born 8 (19) September 1705
Pryluky, Poltava, Russian Empire
Died 10 (21) December 1754
Grayvoron, Belgorod, Russian Empire

They even apparently have his entombed relics.

Loss and return of the relics

After the October Revolution of 1917, the Bolsheviks removed Saint Ioasaph's remains from his shrine in the cathedral at Belgorod, and for some seventy years their whereabouts remained unknown. In 1927 the Holy Trinity Cathedral itself was demolished. In the late 1980s the remains were discovered in the Museum of the History of Religion and Atheism of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR in Leningrad, and on 16 September 1991 they were solemnly returned to the new Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord in Belgorod, the occasion being marked by a service in which Patriarch Alexy II took part.[2] The same year, Leningrad returned to its former name of Saint Petersburg.

Ioasaph's name is still revered by the Orthodox faithful, and above all by those from the Ukraine.[5]

The Feast of the Opening of the Relics of St Ioasaph, Bishop of Belgorod, is celebrated on 4/17September and also on 10 December, the date of his death.[6]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioasaph_of_Belgorod#Notes

Although, if that's all a fabrication, and it's true that this story is a fabrication to represent the historic Buddha, I would be as fascinated as anyone.

I don't know if this is a different person I wiki'd or what.
I'm not overly familiar with Catholic saints.

I would be interested to hear more about this. This is an interesting topic.

In Gassho,

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IT IS OUR CHOICE
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It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

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