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.