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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby mindyourmind » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:09 pm

rats_nest wrote:I can't speak for all Buddhists about the opinion of Jesus but i think it is interesting to compare how different the relationships are between the main teachers of christians and buddhists. I think Buddha is more admired for his words and teachings. That is all that remains (arguably) from him.
Therefore if the person "Siddharta Gautama" should be disproven to exist (at least in the form that we came to understand) this wouldn't subvert Buddhism as the arguments remain valid. As i have understood, christians are more bound to their saviour. What is your take on this?



The Historical Jesus should properly have nothing to do with the Jesus of faith, the god we see depicted in the NT.

I think the OP is specifically asking us about the Historical Jesus, which is a debate about the existence of a specific human being, removed from all of the theology.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:26 pm

We will never know the historical Jesus. And it's of little, if any relevance anyhow. What matters is the Jesus portrayed by religion. This is what affects people lives. Whomever the historical Jesus was, if such person even existed, is of little consequence today. Jesus is what people made of him, the religious figure with all its implications.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:46 pm

The problem with Historical Figures in Ancient History is it is hard to separate fact from fiction. Julius Caesar became deified and was supposedly carried to the heavens by the servants of the Gods after being stabbed on the steps of the Senate. Alexander the Great was claimed to be the son of Zeus. Various Monarchs throughout time claimed to be Gods or descended from Gods. The reality is Jesus was probably a radical rabbi who drew various influences from wherever he could find them. The problem is that the history of Jesus was recorded several centuries after his death and thus had likely fallen into the weird limbo realm of martyrdom/reality. There really isn't much reason to doubt there was a Historical Jesus because otherwise the Romans would have declared it a fraud instead Tacitus in his histories makes brief mention of the rabble rousing rabbi known as Jesus.

How I view it is that Jesus pissed off the local order of Jewish Rabbis and Priests due to his taking care of the poor who were considered cursed by God. The Rabbis likely went to Roman Authorities to complain that this Jesus guy was pissing them off and their followers leaving. Likely knowing Romans and their subjugated policies shrugged and said, "Yeah, yeah ok. How about you convert to the Imperial Cult?" Then the Rabbis likely made up charges of sedition against the State thus Rome would pay attention and it would warrant the crime of crucifixion. Thus he gets crucified because he is bothering the Romans and upsetting the local order of things. IMHO.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby NIRMAL2 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:50 pm

Turning the other cheek is not always the answer. In a certain situation on a certain day for a certain person, it's correct. Sometimes a good roundhouse kick on a certain day in a certain situation for a certain person is correct.

I would say that Jesus Christ and his followers were a cult, Buddha and his followers were a cult and Mohammed and his followers were a cult. Every religion starts out as a cult and if it becomes 'box office', it is accepted.

Christmas time -- an Enlightened Teacher came into the world, taught, and died. His message was simple: Forgive. While the human beings of this planet have still not absorbed this simple Truth, it remains the Truth.
http://www.ramaquotes.com/html/christianity.html
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:59 pm

nirmal wrote:Turning the other cheek is not always the answer. In a certain situation on a certain day for a certain person, it's correct. Sometimes a good roundhouse kick on a certain day in a certain situation for a certain person is correct.

I would say that Jesus Christ and his followers were a cult, Buddha and his followers were a cult and Mohammed and his followers were a cult. Every religion starts out as a cult and if it becomes 'box office', it is accepted.

Christmas time -- an Enlightened Teacher came into the world, taught, and died. His message was simple: Forgive. While the human beings of this planet have still not absorbed this simple Truth, it remains the Truth.
http://www.ramaquotes.com/html/christianity.html

Well cult during Ancient Times doesn't have the baggage it does today. You say cult now and people shudder you said it back during the time of Rome and people would perk their ears up. Hell the Romans referred to their religious practice as a cult in official manuscripts. Cult doesn't have to be a bad thing it is just a small religious group that goes against the grain. It has taken on negative aspects because usually now it is referred to psychological manipulation and sexual exploitation. Good point on Buddha and Mohammed.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby mint » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:30 pm

Infinite wrote:The problem is that the history of Jesus was recorded several centuries after his death and thus had likely fallen into the weird limbo realm of martyrdom/reality. There really isn't much reason to doubt there was a Historical Jesus because otherwise the Romans would have declared it a fraud instead Tacitus in his histories makes brief mention of the rabble rousing rabbi known as Jesus.


Several centuries? The first written reference concerning Jesus was written only a couple decades after his purported death.

William E. Arnal has recently suggested quite persuasively that the sayings of Jesus were initially transmitted orally by the village scribes of Galilee, the only literate persons in such a poverty-stricken region, before being transcribed for posterity - so it is likely that an earlier source existed but has been lost.

It is apparent that Buddhists opinions about the historical Jesus are, if nothing else, highly misinformed.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:57 pm

mint wrote:
Infinite wrote:The problem is that the history of Jesus was recorded several centuries after his death and thus had likely fallen into the weird limbo realm of martyrdom/reality. There really isn't much reason to doubt there was a Historical Jesus because otherwise the Romans would have declared it a fraud instead Tacitus in his histories makes brief mention of the rabble rousing rabbi known as Jesus.


Several centuries? The first written reference concerning Jesus was written only a couple decades after his purported death.

William E. Arnal has recently suggested quite persuasively that the sayings of Jesus were initially transmitted orally by the village scribes of Galilee, the only literate persons in such a poverty-stricken region, before being transcribed for posterity - so it is likely that an earlier source existed but has been lost.

It is apparent that Buddhists opinions about the historical Jesus are, if nothing else, highly misinformed.

The Gospels were not written decades after his death.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby mindyourmind » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:06 pm

mint wrote:
Infinite wrote:The problem is that the history of Jesus was recorded several centuries after his death and thus had likely fallen into the weird limbo realm of martyrdom/reality. There really isn't much reason to doubt there was a Historical Jesus because otherwise the Romans would have declared it a fraud instead Tacitus in his histories makes brief mention of the rabble rousing rabbi known as Jesus.


Several centuries? The first written reference concerning Jesus was written only a couple decades after his purported death.

William E. Arnal has recently suggested quite persuasively that the sayings of Jesus were initially transmitted orally by the village scribes of Galilee, the only literate persons in such a poverty-stricken region, before being transcribed for posterity - so it is likely that an earlier source existed but has been lost.

It is apparent that Buddhists opinions about the historical Jesus are, if nothing else, highly misinformed.


Slow down a bit with the generalizations, please. Some of us have read most of the debate, and ended up with the modern day consensus (see for examples the collections put together by John Loftus) where even modern day Christians despair of ever finding the "Historical Jesus". This includes the rabbit hole of when the gospels were in fact written. Suffice it to say that when we do not have one of the original manuscripts of the gospels it is an exercise in futility to establish any of that with any meaningful authority - see eg Bart Ehrman's various works.

I assume that you do not regard yourself as "misinformed", so you will be aware of the widely-held view of JC as a failed apocalyptic teacher?
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:11 pm

Do most Buddhists know about the Eastern Orthodox Church? . .
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby mindyourmind » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:13 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:Do most Buddhists know about the Orthodox Church? . .


Should we? Here on a Buddhist discussion board?

"Most"? Run a poll :shrug:
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:39 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:Do most Buddhists know about the Eastern Orthodox Church? . .

I imagine most Buddhists are probably not familiar with it but you would need to take a sampling of Buddhists around the globe to be sure. Good luck with that.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:45 pm

The Eastern Orthodox Church has the most accurate historical information concerning the Gospels and its relevance to the historical Jesus found in the religion of Christianity.
Last edited by Wesley1982 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby steveb1 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:46 pm

ngodrup wrote:Believing that Jesus was familiar with Buddhist thought is not especially crackpot.
Although it is highly unlikely that he traveled to India, Tibet or Shambhala...

Roman occupied Palestine was an international crossroads, so Indian thought
was known to learned people. The Biblical narrative says that the family escaped
to Egypt. Perhaps. If so, there was a Buddhist community there-- an outpost of
King Ashoka's evangelism.

So, since this itinerant Rabbi is depicted in the Biblical narrative as being literate--
he read, wrote, and debated--- it is not unlikely that he heard debates in public
squares representing many foreign teachings. Not only that, but it is reasonable to
think that he was mufti-lingual: Aramaic certainly, Hebrew -- which was at the time
a dead language, possibly Latin-- the language of a Carpenter's customers, possibly
eve Greek-- the language of wealthy Romans. All this adds up to a very sophisticated
thinker and teacher who may have been familiar with Buddhist dialectic.


Sure, but there's a difference between "may" have been familiar and "was in fact familiar".

There is nothing in Jesus' teaching that can't be derived from Second Temple Judaism. To establish Buddhist or other non-Jewish religious influence in Jesus' teachings, one must first examine the teachings and then determine their "foreign" elements, if any.

The fact is that Jesus' parables, sermon on the mount, exegesis of Law, Prophets, oral tradition, attitudes about the Mosaic Law, etc., are "Jewish" in their form and content - allowing, of course, for Jesus' own mystical/subjective contributions. Naturally, inasmuch as both Jesus and the Buddha taught a "Way" of ego-death or ego-transcendence, some of their teachings are bound to have parallels. But what we need is a specific, explicit "hiccup" in the normatively Jewish teaching of Jesus - something that would grab our attention and make us pause and wonder if Buddhism influenced Jesus.

I'm willing to consider a Buddhistic influence on Jesus, but first, data that are strikingly Buddhistic need to be adduced from exegesis of the NT texts and/or from what we know about contemporary Palestinian history.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:52 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:The Eastern Orthodox Church has the most accurate historical information concerning the Gospels and its relevance to the historical Jesus found in the religion of Christianity.

Source? Last I checked every Historian whether Christian or not could not confirm the Gospels were even written by the people they are claimed to be written by. Let alone that the Gospels can be verified to any historical era as the Gospel of Luke proved whoever wrote it was completely unfamiliar with the geography of the Middle East.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:01 pm

Infinite wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:The Eastern Orthodox Church has the most accurate historical information concerning the Gospels and its relevance to the historical Jesus found in the religion of Christianity.

Source? Last I checked every Historian whether Christian or not could not confirm the Gospels were even written by the people they are claimed to be written by. Let alone that the Gospels can be verified to any historical era as the Gospel of Luke proved whoever wrote it was completely unfamiliar with the geography of the Middle East.


The Orthodox Church has resources,libraries, and people that research a complex source of ancient scrolls and manuscripts from which we can get information.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Infinite » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:04 pm

Wesley1982 wrote:
Infinite wrote:
Wesley1982 wrote:The Eastern Orthodox Church has the most accurate historical information concerning the Gospels and its relevance to the historical Jesus found in the religion of Christianity.

Source? Last I checked every Historian whether Christian or not could not confirm the Gospels were even written by the people they are claimed to be written by. Let alone that the Gospels can be verified to any historical era as the Gospel of Luke proved whoever wrote it was completely unfamiliar with the geography of the Middle East.


The Orthodox Church has resources and libraries that research a complex source of ancient scrolls and manuscripts from which we can get information.

As does the Catholic Church and various other institutions but still none have been able to provide anything that indicates the Divinity of Christ let alone very good historical documentation. In fact the search for Historical Jesus likely would have been completely abandoned if it wasn't for vague references by various individuals in no way related to Christianity.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Wesley1982 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:14 pm

Infinite wrote:As does the Catholic Church and various other institutions but still none have been able to provide anything that indicates the Divinity of Christ let alone very good historical documentation. In fact the search for Historical Jesus likely would have been completely abandoned if it wasn't for vague references by various individuals in no way related to Christianity.


There most likely did exist a ethnic & cultural Jesus (son of Virgin Mary)
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Astus » Mon Apr 23, 2012 9:38 pm

Jesus (historical or not) is important for two kinds of people: Christians and anti-Christians. Buddhists are none of the two.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby ngodrup » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:24 am

As to Steveb1 's point that Jesus' teaching is almost entirely mainstream Judaism of the period.

We don't really know much about that. But his thought seems mostly of the Hillel -ite stream,
there seems to be little Shammai in the record. Also, what we have is very much shaped by
Greek dialectic.

As for Wesley's statement: "There most likely did exist a ethnic & cultural Jesus (son of Virgin Mary)"

Like Isaiah before him, the Jesus of NT narrative may well be a composite of more than one Rabbi.
There are certainly divergent Jesus traditions represented in the Gospels and letters. What was meant
by the word "maiden" is uncertain. Further, the earliest writings, antedating the Gospels, do not
mention the virgin birth. So we can infer that it either wasn't important, or wasn't factual.
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Re: Buddhist opinions about the Historical Jesus

Postby Dave The Seeker » Tue Apr 24, 2012 1:32 am

There might have been a bear named Whinny the Pooh as well, possibly where I live, as it's a hundred acre woods. :twothumbsup:


Seriously, why worry about what Buddhists think of JC or Christianity?
Since that is primarily what you post.
It also seems pointless to continually buck every reply to a topic that asks opinions.


Kindest wishes, Dave
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