이집트에는 대규모의 불교 공동체인 테라페우테(Therapeutae: Sons of the Elders)가 알렉산드리아에 존재하고 있었다.
예수가 아프가니스탄, 이란, 파키스탄, 인도, 일본에 체류하였었다는 일부 주장들이 있다.
예수가 박해를 피해 동쪽으로 돌아갔으며, 많은 세월이 지난 후에 카쉬미르에서 죽었다는 몇몇 증거도 있다.
이러한 주장들에 대해 깊게 연구한 두 명의 연구자가 있는데, Fida Hassnain과 Suzanne Olsson이다.
한 가지 주장은 예수가 기독경에서의 활동을 하기 이전에, 인도와 티벳을 여행했다는 주장이다.
1887년 러시아에 전쟁이 있던 시절, 니콜라스 노토비치(Nicolas Notovitch)는 인도와 티벳을 방문했다.
그는 인도 라다크 지역의 헤미스 라마교 사원에서 "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men"을 알게 되었다.
이사 성인의 이야기는 티벳어로 되어 작성되어 있었는데, 노토비치가 번역하여 프랑스에서 "Life of Saint Issa"라는
책으로 1894년에 출판했다.
(La vie inconnue de Jesus Christ)
이 책은 영어, 독일어, 스페인어, 이탈리아어로 번역되었다.
(헤미스 사원의 문서의 내용에 대해서는 아래 민회식 공개논문을 참조.)
노토비치는 동방에서 이사 성인라고 부르는 이가 예수를 말하는 것이라고 식별했다.
노토비치가 제기한 문제에 대해서, Sri Ramakrishna의 제자인 Swami Abhedananda는
티벳으로 여행하여, 그의 주장을 조사했다.
그는 헤미스 사원의 문서들을 번역하는 것을 도왔고, 노토비치의 주장을 지지했다.
Swami Satyasangananda는 예수가 18년간 Nalanda라는 고대 인도의 대학에서 지혜를 배운 것으로 추측했다.
노토비치의 저서는 즉시 논쟁을 불러일으켰다.
독일의 동양학 학자인 막스 뮬러는 노토비치가 언급한 헤미스 사원을 직접 다녀왔다.
J.Archibald Douglas도 헤미스 사원을 방문했다;
그러나 둘 다 예수가 그 곳에 체류했었다는 어떤 증거도 찾지 못했으며, 노토비치의 주장은 대다수에 의해 거부되었다.
헤미스 공동체의 수장은 노토비치가 나쁜 거짓말장이(outright liar)라면서 비난하는 성명에 서명하였다.
이러한 반박된 증거에도 불구하고, 상당수의 뉴에이지 또는 심령술사인 저자들이 노토비치의 정보를
자신들의 저서에 반영하였다.
↑Elizabeth Clare Prophet
예를들면, Elizabeth Clare Prophet이 쓴 책
"The Lost Years of Jesus: Documentary Evidence of Jesus' 17-Year Journey to the East"에서,
그녀는 불교의 기록들이 예수가 인도, 네팔, 라다크, 티벳을 여행했다는 증거라고 주장하고 있다.
이 책은 한국에서도 번역 출판되었다.
다른 주장으로는, 이슬람교의 창시자인 성인 무함마드가 코란에서,
"예수는 카쉬미르에서 120세에 죽었다."고 언급한 것이 있다.
이슬람과 페르시안의 출처들은 이사(Isa) 또는 유즈 아사프(Yuz Asaf: leader of the healed)로 불린 예수가
옛 실크로드를 따라 동쪽으로 이동한 흔적을 주장한다.
Aziz Kashmiri가 쓴 책 "Christ in Kashmir"과 독일 신학자 홀거 케르스탄(Holger Kersten)이 쓴
"Jesus Lived in India"에서 이러한 주장을 하고 있다.
힌두와 티벳의 기록은 있는가?
힌두와 티벳의 기록도 존재한다.
케르스텐에 따르면, 바비시얏 마하 퓨라나(Bhavishyat Maha Purana)은 이스라엘인들이 인도에 체류했었다고 주장한다.
그리고 게송 17-32절에서는 예수가 라다크에 도착함을 기술하고 있다.
성인 이사(예수)를 위한 사원이 인도의 카쉬미르 주에 실재로 있다.
이 사원의 성직자들은 예수가 2000년 전에 여행왔었다고 주장한다.
케르스탄에 따르면, 예수가 카쉬미르에서 살았다는 것을 목격한 21개 이상의 역사적 문헌들이 존재한다고 한다.
그 문헌들에는, 실크로드를 따라 여러 지역에 대한 기술, 그리고 예수의 다른 이름과, 또한 모세의 다른 이름도 있다고 한다.
유즈 아사프의 무덤은 오늘날까지 스리니가르(Srinigar)에 존재한다고 한다.
유즈 아사프의 무덤에서 80 킬로미터 떨어진 곳에는 모세의 무덤이 있다고 한다.
리시스(Rishis, 깨달은 수행자)로 여기는 사람의 무덤이며, 무덤 관리인에 따르면 2700년 이상이 되었다고 한다.
무덤의 이름은 Mai Mari da Asthan이다.
"The Final Resting Place of Mother Mary"라는 뜻이며,
파키스탄과 카쉬미르의 국경선 부근인 Mari라고 불리는 작은 마을에 위치해 있다고 한다.
↑ Will Durant, The Story of Civilization: Our Oriental Heritage,
Part One (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1935), vol. 1, p. 449 ↑ Latourette, Kenneth Scott (1975). A History of Christianity. p. 274 ↑ History of Religions, 1918, E. Washburn Hopkins, Professor of Sanskrit and comparative Philology, p 552,556 ↑ Bentley, Jerry H. (1993). Old World Encounters. Cross-cultural contacts and exchanges in pre-modern times.
Oxford University Press. ↑ Iqbal Singh, S. Radhakrishnan, Arvind Sharma, (June 24, 2004)).
The Buddhism Omnibus: Comprising Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada, and The Philosophy of Religion.
USA: Oxford University Press. ↑ Gruber, Elmar and Kersten, Holger. (1995). The Original Jesus. Shaftesbury: Element Books. ↑ 민희식, "불교기록에 나타난 예수의 생애" 승가 제4권, 중앙승가대학교, 1987 http://www.riss4u.net/link?id=A40028737 ↑ BBC NEWS | Programmes | From Our Own Correspondent | The Japanese Jesus trail
예수 일본 유람설
예수가 예루살렘에서 도망쳐, 일본의 아오모리에 와서 농부가 되었다는 일본의 전설이 있다.
크리스찬들은 이 이야기를 넌센스라고 말하지만,
그리스도의 무덤으로 알려진 곳은 전세계 사람들이 관광을 온다고 한다. ↑ Swami Abhedananda. Journey into Kashmir and Tibet (the English translation of Kashmiri 0 Tibbate). ↑ Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati (1984). Light on the Guru and Disciple Relationship.
Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga. ↑ Goodspeed, Edgar J.. Famous Biblical Hoaxes or, Modern Apocrypha. Grand Rapids,
Michigan: Baker Book House. ↑ Prophet, Elizabeth Clare. The Lost Years of Jesus:
Documentary Evidence of Jesus' 17-Year Journey to the East, 468.
J. J. 클라크, 장세룡 역, "동양은 어떻게 서양을 계몽했는가", 우물이 있는 집, 2004, ISBN 8989824222 고준환, "성경엔 없다", 불지사, 2001, ISBN 8976380401 로이 아모르, 류시화 역, "성서속의 붓다", 정신세계사, 2003, ISBN 8935701572 민희식, "법화경과 신약성서", 블루리본, 2007, ISBN 9788988185117 민희식, "예수와 붓다", 블루리본, 2007, ISBN 9788988185131 마커스 보그, 홍용자 역, "예수와 붓다의 대담", 주변인의길, 2001, ISBN 8985344668 Prophet, Elizabeth Clare, 황보석 역, "예수의 잃어버린 세월", 동국출판사, 1987  Elizabeth Clare, 김용환 역, "불제자였던 예수", 서울 : 나무, 1987  Holger Kersten, 장성규 역, "인도에서의 예수의 생애 : 십자가 처형을 전후한 예수의 알려지지않은생애",
더욱 상세한 자료 영문 위키백과 (여유로운 시간이 허락치 못해 좋은 내용을 번역해 올리지 못합니다.
삶의 여유가 있어지기만을 고대하고 살아갑니다.)
Buddhism and Christianity From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Buddhism and Christianity are both ancient world religions that spread from their region of origin to be established as major influences on spirituality throughout the world.
One of the earliest and most famed scholars of comparitive religions, and linguistics, was Sir William Jones, who, in regard to Christian Missionaries in Asia, cited an inscription, which unbeknownst to him was a Buddhist inscription left by the king Asoka; (Asoka's insriptions in italic)“?for they ought to remember, that one great end of revelation, as it is most expressly declared, was not to instruct the wise and few, but the many and unenlightened. If the conversion, therefore, of the Pandits and Maulavia in this country shall ever be attempted by Protestant Missionaries, they must beware of asserting, while they teach the gospel of truth, what those Pandits and Maulavis would know to be false: the former would cite the beautiful Arya couplet, which was written at least three centuries before our era (before Christianity), and which pronounces the duty of a good man, even in the moment of his distraction to consist not only of forgiving, but even in a desire of benefiting, his destroyer, as the Sandal tree, in the instant of its overthrow, sheds perfume on the axe which fells it…”?“thus we see the essence of the Christian moral doctrine was known at least three hundred years before Jesus was born” 
There has been much speculation regarding a possible connection between both the Buddha and the Christ, and between Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhism is believed by most people and Buddhalogists to have been established as a religion around 500 years before the founding of Christianity. Although there are a few religions who maintain that the Buddha and the Christ were of the same tradition (Essenes, Universalists, Baha, and some Muslims, Gnostics and Christians), their conclusions differ considerably from that of secular writers on this subject.
Many current scholars relevant to this field of study have admitted their serious consideration regarding a direct connection between Buddhism and Christianity. As for pointing out, and minutely describing at what point, how, and why such a connection was made, there may be none who can offer direct textual, epigraphical or any other such evidences deemed satisfactory to modern source criticism, regarding historical figures at the beginning of the Christian calendar, with syncronistic convictions regarding Buddhism and Christianity. Some who have theorized a connection between Buddhism and Christianity vaguely point to certain individuals or groups who, by their brand of doctrine, may have commenced borrowing from one faith to the other, such names as Asoka, Kanishka, the Ptolemys, Nagarjuna, among others appear often in speculitive form. The author Godfrey Higgins, in several of his books, claimed that after Asoka's subtle mandate of Buddhist worship, the Brahmins soon chased the Buddhists out of India where they established themselves with the European outposts of Asoka's missionaries.
In the thirteenth century, international travelers, such as Giovanni de Piano Carpini and William of Ruysbroeck, sent back reports of Buddhism as a religion whose scriptures, doctrine, saints, monastic life, meditation practices, and rituals were comparable to those of Christianity. When European Christians made more direct contact with Buddhism in the early 16th century many Catholic missionaries (f.e. Francis Xavier) sent home idyllic accounts of Buddhism. At the same time, however, Portuguese colonizers of Sri Lanka confiscated Buddhist properties across the country, with the full cooperation of the Christian missionaries. This repression of Buddhism in Sri Lanka continued during the rule of subsequently the Dutch and the English.
With the arrival of Sanskrit studies in European universities in the late eighteenth century, and the subsequent availability of Buddhist texts, a discussion began of a proper encounter with Buddhism. The esteem for its teachings and practices grew, and at the end of the 19th century the first Westerners (f.e. Sir Edwin Arnold and Henry Olcott) converted to Buddhism, and in the beginning of the 20th century the first westerners (f.e. Ananda metteyya and Nyanatiloka) entered the Buddhist monastic life..
Ashoka ascended the throne of India around 270 B.C.E.. After his conversion to Buddhism he dispatched missionaries to the four points of the compass. Archeological finds indicate these missions had been "favorably received" in lands to the West.
Ptolemy II Philadelphus, one of the monarchs Ashoka mentions in his edicts, is recorded by Pliny the Elder as having sent an ambassador named Dionysius to the Mauryan court at Pataliputra: "India has been treated of by several other Greek writers who resided at the courts of Indian kings, such, for instance, as Megasthenes, and by Dionysius, who was sent thither by Philadelphus, expressly for the purpose: all of whom have enlarged upon the power and vast resources of these nations."
Records from Alexandria, long a crossroads of commerce and ideas, indicate that itinerant monks from the Indian subcontinent may have influenced philosophical currents of the time. Roman accounts centuries later speak of monks traveling to the middle east, and there is mention of an embassy sent by the Indian king Pandion, or Porus (possibly Pandya), to Caesar Augustus around 13 CE. The embassy was traveling with a diplomatic letter in Greek, and one of its members was a sramana who burned himself alive in Athens to demonstrate his faith. The event caused a sensation. It was described by Nicolaus of Damascus, who met the embassy at Antioch, and by Strabo (XV,1,73 ) and Dio Cassius (liv, 9). A tomb, still visible in the time of Plutarch, bore mention of:
"ΖΑΡΜΑΝΟΧΗΓΑΣ ΙΝΔΟΣ ΑΠΟ ΒΑΡΓΟΣΗΣ" ("The sramana master from Barygaza in India")
Meanwhile, the Buddha's teachings had spread north-west, into Parthian territory. Buddhist stupa remains have been identified as distant as the Silk Road city of Merv. Soviet archeological teams in Giaur Kala, near Merv, have uncovered a Buddhist monastery, complete with huge buddharupa. Parthian nobles such as An Shih Kao are known to have adopted Buddhism and were among those responsible for its further spread towards China.
Archaeologist Donald Mackenzie believed that Buddhist missionaries had a good footing in pre-Christian Britain. He quotes the early Church fatherSaint Origen as saying, "The island (Britain) has long been predisposed to it (Christianity) through the doctrines of the Druids and Buddhists, who had already inculcated the doctrine of the unity of the Godhead" - Origen.
"Thus philosophy, a thing of the highest utility, flourished in antiquity among the barbarians, shedding its light over the nations. And afterwards it came to Greece. First in its ranks were the prophets of the Egyptians; and the Chaldeans among the Assyrians; and the Druids among the Gauls; and the Sarmanas among the Bactrians ("Σαρμανα?οι Β?κτρων"); and the philosophers of the Celts; and the Magi of the Persians, who foretold the Saviour's birth, and came into the land of Judaea guided by a star. The Indian gymnosophists are also in the number, and the other barbarian philosophers. And of these there are two classes, some of them called Sramanas ("Σαρμ?ναι"), and others Brahmins (Βραφμαναι)."
?Clement of Alexandria "The Stromata, or Miscellanies" Book I, Chapter XV
The virgin birth of Siddh?rtha from the hip of his mother, Gandhara, 2-3rd century CE
"Among the Indians are those philosophers also who follow the precepts of Boutta, whom they honour as a god on account of his extraordinary sanctity."
? Clement of Alexandria, Stromata (Miscellanies), Book I, Chapter XV
Early 3rd-4th century Christian writers such as Hippolytus and Epiphanius write of one Scythianus who visited India around 50 CE, whence he brought the "doctrine of the Two Principles". Scythianus' pupil Terebinthus supposedly presented himself as a “Buddha” ("he called himself Buddas" Cyril of Jerusalem) and became well known in Judaea. The same author says his books and knowledge were taken over by Mani, and became the foundation of the Manichean doctrine.
"Terebinthus, his disciple in this wicked error, inherited his money and books and heresy, and came to Palestine, and becoming known and condemned in Judaea he resolved to pass into Persia: but lest he should be recognised there also by his name he changed it and called himself Buddas."
Hippolytus, a Greek-speaking Christian in Rome, around 235 includes Indian ascetics among sources of heresy:
There is ... among the Indians a heresy of those who philosophize among the Brahmins, who live a self-sufficient life, abstaining from (eating) living creatures and all cooked food . . . They say that God is light, not like the light one sees, nor like the sun nor fire, but to them God is discourse, not that which finds expression in articulate sounds, but that of knowledge (gnosis) through which the secret mysteries of nature are perceived by the wise.
From a 12th century Greek manuscript: Saint Josaphat preaches the Gospel
The Greek legend of Barlaam and Ioasaph, sometimes mistakenly attributed to the seventh century John of Damascus but first recorded by the Georgian monk Euthymios of Athos in the eleventh century, was ultimately derived, via Arabic and Georgian versions, from the life story of the Buddha. The king-turned-monk Ioasaph (Georgian Iodasaph, Arabic Y?dhasaf or B?dhasaf) also gets his name from the Sanskrit Bodhisattva, the term traditionally used to refer to Gautama before he becomes a buddha.
Barlaam and Ioasaph were placed in the Orthodox calendar of saints on 26 August, and in the Roman martyrology they were canonized (as "Barlaam and Josaphat") and assigned 27 November. The story was translated into Hebrew in the Middle Ages as "Ben-Hamelekh Vehanazir" ("The Prince and the Nazirite"). Thus the Buddhist story was turned into a Christian and Jewish legend.
Some scholars have suggested that the semi-apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and the Nag Hammadi texts display Buddhist influence. Elaine Pagels in her widely noted The Gnostic Gospels (1979), and in Beyond Belief (2003), makes mention of such theories.
In 1883, Max Muller, the pioneering scholar of comparative religion, asserted in his India: What it Can Teach Us: "That there are startling coincidences between Buddhism and Christianity cannot be denied, and it must likewise be admitted that Buddhism existed at least 400 years before Christianity. I go even further, and should feel extremely grateful if anybody would point out to me the historical channels through which Buddhism had influenced early Christianity." It is interesting to note that Muller himself, before examining the Buddhist/Christian copycat claims, stated that he intended to prove the priority of the Jesus gospels over the Buddhist texts.
In The Gospel of Jesus in relation to the Buddha Legend, and again, in 1897, in The Buddha Legend and the Life of Jesus, Professor Rudolf Seydel of the University of Leipzig noted around fifty similarities between Buddhist and Christian parables and teachings.
In 1918, in his History of Religions, Professor E. Washburn Hopkins of Yale goes so far as to say, "Finally, the life, temptation, miracles, parables, and even the disciples of Jesus have been derived directly from Buddhism." 
Much more recently, the historian Jerry H. Bentley notes "the possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity" and that scholars "have drawn attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus".
In his Buddhism Omnibus Iqbal Singh similarly acknowledges the possibility of early interaction and, thus, influence of Buddhist teachings upon the Christian tradition in its formative period. 
In 1992 Zacharias P. Thundy, Professor of Literature, wrote a book titled, Buddha and Christ, Nativity stories from the Indian traditions in which Thundy concludes that there was a substantial amount of borrowing by Christianity from Buddhism. He prefers not to label Jesus either a Jew, Buddhist or a Buddhist-Jew, claiming that such distinctions are "fuzzy". Thundy further claims a long tradition of interchange between east and west and shows that western fables, such as those in Aesop's fables, and the story of Susans attached to the Book of Daniel, were originally Buddhist Jatakas.
In 2007 Doctor of Asian Studies Christian Lindtner published a book titled Geheimnisse um Jesus Christus. 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. Those who have scrutinized his work claim that his gematria values and syllabic equivalences are coincidental and that his puns exist because the Greek and Sanskrit are from the same language family. Those in support of his work claim that is findings are unique and that similar finds could not be made in regard to any other seemingly non-connected literature.
Also, in 2007 the author Daniel Hopkins wrote a book named Father and Son, East is West, the Buddhist sources to Christianity and their influence on medieval myths, in which he claims that the Jesus gospels were highly allegorical and mysterious in order to hide the name of Jesus' father, which he claims was the Buddha's name. 
Burkhard Scherer, Professor of Indo-Tibetan Studies at England's Canterbury Christ Church University has stated: "...it is very important to draw attention to the fact that there is [massive] Buddhist influence in the Gospels....Since more than a hundred years, Buddhist influence in the Gospels has been known and acknowledged by scholars from both sides." He adds: "Just recently, Duncan McDerret published his excellent The Bible and the Buddhist (Sardini, Bornato [Italy] 2001). With McDerret, I am convinced that there are many Buddhist narratives in the Gospels."
Thomas Tweed, Professor of Religious Studies at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, notes that between 1879 and 1907 there were a "number of impassioned discussions about parallels and possible historical influence between Buddhism and Christianity in ... a variety of periodicals". By 1906 interest waned somewhat. In the end, Albert Schweitzer's conclusion appears to have been favored: that, although some indirect influence through the wider culture was "not inherently impossible", the hypothesis that Jesus' novel ideas were borrowed directly from Buddhism was "unproved, unprovable and unthinkable." 
Buddhism and Gnosticism
Queen Maya with the infant Buddha. Gandhara, 2nd century CE.
Edward Conze and Elaine Pagels have suggested that gnosticism blends teachings like those attributed to Jesus Christ with teachings found in Eastern traditions.
The word gnosis (knowledge) as used by the Gnostics is equivalent to the Buddhist word prajna. Both traditions of Buddhism and Gnosticism held that only direct knowledge was liberating. Some basic parallels held in common with the Buddhist and the Gnostic, and cannonical gospels, is that the Buddhists believed that the Buddha was like a great father with sons of light (Bodhisattvas), while all Christians held that Jesus was the light and the son of a great father. While it is true that some Gnostics demonized the "Father", this concept could be the Buddhist concept of 'killing the Buddha', or leaving the raft (religion)behind. Scattered throughout the Gnostic gospels there can be found many exclusively Buddhist themes, such as within The Gospel of Mary can be found the stressing of matter as impermanent, within The Infancy of James those who chew, yet do not chew can be compared to the Bodhisattvas in the Surangama sutra who Taste, but do not taste, within the book Thomas the Contender, Jesus is recorded as saying, "woe to you , because the wheel that turns in your mind" which might reference the Buddhist wheel of dependent origination, within the Gospel of Thomas when Jesus is questioned about how disciples should prove that they were from God, Jesus says the proof of God in them was "motion, and rest" which again could reference the Buddhist belief that the easiest path to enlightenment was through contemplation on the ear organ and the understanding of its two defiling attributes of motion and stillness, the gospel of Phillip mentions that Jesus was martyred many times just as the Buddhist Jatakas and Pali texts mention of the Buddha in his former births.
Philip Jenkins writes that, since the mid-nineteenth century, new and fringe religious movements have often created images of Jesus, presenting him as a sage, philosopher and occult teacher, whose teachings are very similar to those of Asian religions. He asserts that the images generated by these religious movements share much in common with the images that increasingly dominate the mainstream critical scholarship of the New Testament, especially following the rediscovery of the Gnostic Gospels found at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945. He alleges that, in modern scholarly writing, Jesus has become more of a Gnostic, Cynic or even a crypto-Buddhist than the traditional notion of the reformist Jewish rabbi.
Jenkins acknowledges that "the Jesus of the hidden gospels has many points of contact with the great spiritual traditions of Asia." Pagels has written that "one need only listen to the words of the Gospel of Thomas to hear how it resonates with the Buddhist tradition… these ancient gospels tend to point beyond faith toward a path of solitary searching to find understanding, or gnosis." She suggests that there is an explicitly Indian influence in the Gospel of Thomas, perhaps via the Christian communities in southern India, the so-called Thomas Christians.
It is believed by some that of all of the Nag Hammadi texts, the Gospel of Thomas has the most similarities with Pure Land Buddhism within it. Edward Conze has suggested that Hindu or Buddhist tradition may well have influenced Gnosticism. He points out that Buddhists were in contact with the Thomas Christians. 
Elaine Pagels notes that the similarities between Gnosticism and Buddhism have prompted some scholars to question their interdependence and to wonder whether "...if the names were changed, the 'living Buddha' appropriately could say what the Gospel of Thomas attributes to the living Jesus. " However, she concludes that, although intriguing, the evidence is inconclusive, and she further concludes that these parallels might be coincidental since parallel traditions may emerge in different cultures without direct influence. 
According to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus spent his early childhood in Egypt which was at the end of the Silk Road. As a result of its role in trade with the East, Egypt was prosperous and enriched with religious diversity.
The Therapeutae (known only from Philo) were mystics and ascetics who lived especially in the area around Alexandria,  Philo described the Therapeutae in the beginning of the 1st century CE in De vita contemplativa ("On the contemplative life"), written ca. 10 CE. By that time, the origins of the Therapeutae were already lost in the past, and Philo was even unsure about the etymology of their name.
Philonian monachism has been seen as the forerunner of and the model for the Christian ascetic life. It has even been considered as the earliest description of Christian monasticism. This view was first espoused by Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History.
According to the linguist Zacharias P. Thundy the name "Therapeutae" is simply an Hellenisation of the Pali term for the traditional Buddhist faith, "Theravada". The similarities between the monastic practices of the Therapeutae and Buddhist monastic practices have led to suggestions that the Therapeutae were in fact Buddhist monks who had reached Alexandria, descendants of Ashoka's emissaries to the West, and who influenced the early formation of Christianity. The evidence for this argument rests solely on the similarity of practices and the purported derivation of the name. There is no evidence from antiquity that supports this argument.
In their book The Jesus Mysteries, Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy argue that the Therapeutae are possible candidates for the origin of what they characterize as "the legend of Jesus Christ".
Elmar R. Gruber, a psychologist, and Holger Kersten, a specialist in religious history argue that Buddhism had a substantial influence on the life and teachings of Jesus. Gruber and Kersten claim that Jesus was brought up by the Therapeutae, teachers of the Buddhist Theravada school then living in the Bible lands. They assert that Jesus lived the life of a Buddhist and taught Buddhist ideals to his disciples; their work follows in the footsteps of the Oxford New Testament scholar' Barnett Hillman Streeter, who established as early as the 1930s that the, moral teaching of the Buddha has four remarkable resemblances to the Sermon on the Mount."
Asceticism can be seen as a common point between Buddhism and Christianity, and is in contrast to the absence of asceticism in Judaism:
"Asceticism is indigenous to the religions which posit as fundamental the wickedness of this life and the corruption under sin of the flesh. Buddhism, therefore, as well as Christianity, leads to ascetic practices. Monasteries are institutions of Buddhism no less than of Catholic Christianity. The assumption, found in the views of the Montanists and others, that concessions made to the natural appetites may be pardoned in those that are of a lower degree of holiness, while the perfectly holy will refuse to yield in the least to carnal needs and desires, is easily detected also in some of the teachings of Gautama Buddha. The ideal of holiness of both the Buddhist and the Christian saint culminates in poverty and chastity; i.e., celibacy. Fasting and other disciplinary methods are resorted to to curb the flesh"
The "Life of Saint Issa, Best of the Sons of Men" purportedly recounts the travels of one 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..
Notovitch's writings were immediately controversial. The German orientalist Max Muller corresponded with the Hemis monastery that Notovitch claimed to have visited and Archibald Douglas visited Hemis Monastery. Neither found any evidence that Notovich (much less Jesus) had even been there himself, so they rejected his claims. The head of the Hemis community signed a document that denounced Notovitch as a liar.
Despite this contradictory evidence, a number of New Age or spiritualist authors have taken this information and have incorporated it into their own works. For example, in her book The Lost Years of Jesus: Documentary Evidence of Jesus' 17-Year Journey to the East, Elizabeth Clare Prophet asserts that Buddhist manuscripts provide evidence that Jesus traveled to India, Nepal, Ladakh and Tibet.
According to Jerry Bentley, "Scholars have often considered the possibility that Buddhism influenced the early development of Christianity. They have drawn attention to many parallels concerning the births, lives, doctrines, and deaths of the Buddha and Jesus" .
Birthday of the Buddha and the Christ
Although the Buddha's birthday is celebrated in most traditions in May, which relates to the Buddha's mother Maya Devi, there is no early textual evidence to validate this birthday. Others, such as the author of The Angel-Messiah of the Buddhist, Essenes, and Christians, claim, that based on the ancient Indian calendar in use around 600 b.c. the new year of the Indians was November 17, and so he concludes that since the Buddha was said to be born on the eighth day of the second month that the Buddha's birthday was December 25. This belief held by Buddhists is validated by certain ancient birth accounts of the Buddha, such as in the Asvaghosha-Kirita the Buddha is described as a descendent of solar kings, who was born when the sun retired; "There the sun, even although he had retired, was unable to scorn the moon-like faces of its women which put the lotuses to shame, and as if from the access of passion, hurried towards the western ocean to enter the (cooling)water". This Buddhist text also compares the birth of the Buddha to the constellation of the seven Rishis, which some have compared to the early Christian art depicting "seven-rays" coming out of a white dove. Others have linked this to the Pali text titled Seven Suns. 
The administrative structures formed by Buddhism share the following similarities with those formed by Christianity:
initiation into a holy trinity.
monasticism and communal living for spiritual adherents which adhered to principles of practicing poverty and chastity.
missionaries and missions which were first organized and established by Buddhists, all predate the early Christian organizations in the same areas where Christianity was first established (Antioch, etc.).
Buddha and Jesus
It has been asserted that the story of the birth of the Buddha was well known in the West, and possibly influenced the story of the birth of Jesus.
Saint Jerome (4th century CE) mentions the birth of the Buddha, who he says "was born from the side of a virgin" (the Buddha was, according to Buddhist tradition, born from the hip of his mother). The story of the birth of the Buddha was also known: a fragment of Archelaos of Carrha(278 CE) mentions the Buddha's virgin-birth. In the 1893 book, Influence of Buddhism on Primitive Christianity, Arthur Lillie argues that the birth accounts of the Buddha were copied into the gospels listing the following infancy parallels: (I) The palm-tree bends down to Mary as the Asoka tree to Yashodara. (2) The story of Simeon, the accounts of the bright light being almost word for word the same. (3) The idol bending down to the infant Jesus. (4) The miracle of the sparrows restored to life. (5) Judas Iscariot in early life attacked Jesus, just as Devadetta, the Judas of Buddhism, attacked Buddha. A violent blow that Jesus received in the left side made a mark that was destined to be the exact spot that received the mortal spear-thrust at the Crucifixion.  (6) The whole story of the disputation with the doctors seems copied servilely from the “Lalita Vistara.” (7) Buddhism had invaded Persia, and Maitreya, the coming Buddha, was expected 500 years after Buddha’s death. The Persian Buddhists called him Sosiosh. The Gospel of the Infancy explains the presence of the Magi, which in the Canonical Gospels is quite unintelligible. Why should Persians come with hysterical enthusiasm to greet a Messiah whose chief exploit was to be the slaughter of all Persians and all the other nations except Jews. The “Gospel of the Infancy” announces that Zoroaster had sent them. The Persians mixed up Sakyamuni Buddha, Mithras and Zoroaster and were expecting Sosiosh at the time.
Queen Maya came to bear the Buddha after receiving a prophetic dream in which she saw the descent of the Bodhisattva (Buddha-to-be) from the Tu?ita heaven into her womb, in the shape of a small white elephant. This story has some parallels with the story of Jesus being conceived in connection with the visitation of the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary.
The classical scene of the Virgin Mary being supported by two attendants at her side, may have been influenced by earlier iconography, such as the rather similar Buddhist theme of Queen Maya giving birth.
The iconography of Mary breastfeeding the child Jesus, unknown in the West until the 5-6th century (probable date of a frieze excavated in Saqqara), has also been connected to the much more ancient iconography of the goddess Hariti, also breastfeeding her child, and wearing Hellenistic clothes in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.
"There are many moral precepts equally commanded and enforced in common by both creeds. It will not be rash to assert that most of the moral truths prescribed in the gospel are to be met with in the Buddhistic scriptures." ?Paul Ambroise Bigandet, Catholic Bishop of Ramatha
"He [Buddha] requires humility, disregard of worldly wealth, patience and resignation in adversity, love to enemies ... non-resistance to evil, confession of sins and conversion." ?Bishop Jean Paul Hilaire.
Scholars see strong parallels in both the myth and life of Buddha and Jesus. Buddha and his disciples traveling preachers going into homes and preaching gospels to those who hear, is one obvious parallel of a literary motif not found in other traditions. Jesus too pursues this form of preaching and teaching. Jesus speaks of himself as the 'the light' and the son of a great father while the Buddha proclaims himself to be a great father with sons of light (Bodhisattva). Jesus proclaims to come to convert the wicked while the Buddha proclaims that his main goal is to save those of noble character or 'those with little dust in their eyes' although in the Lotus sutra the Buddha claims to create an illusionary 'half-way point'for those who are wicked.
Ernest De Bunsen states, "With the remarkable exception of the death of Jesus on the cross, and of the doctrine of atonement by vicarious suffering, which is absolutely excluded by Buddhism, the most ancient of the Buddhistic records known to us contain statements about the life and the doctrines of Gautama Buddha which correspond in a remarkable manner, and impossibly by mere chance, with the traditions recorded in the Gospels about the life and doctrines of Jesus Christ...."  Although other scholars, like Zacharias P. Thundy and Dr. Christian Lindtner claim that the ancient Buddhist play Mrrcchakatika was the Buddhist source for the Christian passion narative because of the numerous parallels.§
An early Christian wheel-like ichthys symbol, created by combining the Greek letters ΙΧΘΥΣ, Ephesus
T.W. Rhys Davids, son of a Congregationalist minister who was affectionately referred to as "the Bishop of Essex," was the earliest most energetic promoter of the Theravada tradition in the West. In 1878 he wrote of its northern counterpart: "Lamaism with its shaven priests, its bells and rosaries, its images and holy water, its popes and bishops, its abbots and monks of many grades, its processions and feast days, its confessional and purgatory, and its worship of the double Virgin, so strongly resembles Romanism that the first Catholic missionaries thought it must be an imitation by the devil of the religion of Christ." 
The Buddhist Wheel of Dhamma
The Buddhist symbol of the eight spoked wheel is also found in Saint Peter's Plaza in Vatican.
It is believed use of rosaries spread from India to Western Europe during the Crusades via its Muslim version, the tasbih.  Some, however, suggest an alternative route. A form of prayer rope appears to have been used in Eastern Christendom much earlier; so, it is argued, the Muslim tasbih may in fact originate at a Christian source. Both, it is pointed out, have 33 beads, corresponding to the years of Christ's life.
Prayer with the palms touching one another, the anjalimudra, is a common form of greeting and prayer gesture in all Indian spiritual traditions, including the Buddhist. It is absent in Jewish traditions, whose scriptures specify raised or clasped hands. Prayer with the palms touching one another is, however, depicted in Christian art from the Middle Ages onwards. 
In 1921, Sir Charles Eliot, writing of apparent similarities between Christian practices and their counterparts in Buddhist tradition, expressed the view that: " When all allowance is made for similar causes and coincidences, it is hard to believe that a collection of such practices as clerical celibacy, confession, the veneration of relics, the use of the rosary and bells can have originated independently in both religions." 
There is some historical basis for the assertion that Buddhist influence was a factor in the formation of Christianity and of the Christian Gospels. The rock-inscriptions of Asoka may bear witness to the spread of Buddhism over the Greek-speaking world as early as the third century BCE, since they mention the flourishing existence of Buddhism among the Greeks within the dominion of Antiochus. But although Greek rulers as far as the Mediterranean are mentioned as having received Buddhist missionaries, only in Bactria and the Kabul valley did Buddhism really take root. Also, the statement in the late Buddhist chronicle of the Mahavamsa, that among the Buddhists who came to the dedication of a great Stupa in Sri Lanka in the second century BCE, "were over thirty thousand monks from the vicinity of Alassada, the capital of the Yona country" is sometimes taken to suggest that long before the time of Christ, Alexandria in Egypt was the centre of flourishing Buddhist communities. Although it is true that Alassada is the Pali for Alexandria; but it is usually thought that the city meant here is not the ancient capital of Egypt, but as the text indicates, the chief city of the Yona country, the Yavana country of the rock-inscriptions: Bactria and vicinity. And so, the city referred to is most likely Alexandria of the Caucasus.
Also, there are various views on the origins of the oldest Buddhist teachings of the Pali Canon. The origin of the later teachings of Mahayana Buddhism are especially obscure. It is believed that most of the Mahayana sutras only appeared after 100 BCE, and most did not reach their final form until much later (11th century AD).
The earlier teachings of the Pali Canon and the Agamas however, are clearly up to four centuries older than Christianity. Although Buddhism is older than Christianity, and some Buddhist influence, such as Barlaam and Josaphat, is clearly evident, it is difficult to tell whether the similarities between Buddhism and Christianity are a result of the Buddhist influence on Christianity, another influence which acted on both religions, or coincidence.
Buddhist views of Jesus
Buddhist views of Jesus differ, since Jesus is not mentioned in any Buddhist text. Some Buddhists, including Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama regard Jesus as a bodhisattva who dedicated his life to the welfare of human beings. Both Jesus and Buddha advocated radical alterations in the common religious practices of the day. There are occasional similarities in language, such as the use of the common metaphor of a line of blind men to refer to religious authorities with whom they disagreed (DN 13.15, Matthew 15:14). Some believe there is a particularly close affinity between Buddhism (or Eastern spiritual thought generally) and the doctrine of Gnostic texts such as The Gospel of Thomas
The 14th century Zen master Gasan Joseki indicated that the Gospels were written by an enlightened being:
"And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these...Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself."
Gasan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man." 
Guanyin and the Virgin Mary
The goddess Hariti holding a baby on her lap has been considered as an iconographical source for the Virgin Mary.Gandhara, 2-3rd century.
Some have commented on the similarity between the Blessed Virgin Mary and Guan Yin . The Tzu-Chi Foundation, a Taiwanese Buddhist organization, also noticing the similarity, commissioned a portrait of Guan Yin and a baby that resembles the typical Madonna and Child painting.
Some Chinese of the overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Philippines, in an act of syncretism, have identified Guan Yin with the Virgin Mary.
During the Edo Period in Japan, when Christianity was banned and punishable by death, some underground Christian groups venerated the Virgin Mary disguised as a statue of Kannon; such statues are known as Maria Kannon. Many had a cross hidden in an inconspicuous location.
Christian Attempts at Conversion of Buddhists
In several Asian countries, Christian missionaries have attempted to convert as much as possible of the local population to Christianity. Buddhism in Sri Lanka was for several centuries heavily affected by Christian efforts to convert the population under subsequent Portuguese, Dutch and English colonizers. In the late 19th century a national Buddhist movement started, inspired by the American Buddhist Henry Steel Olcott, and empowered by the results of the Panadura debate between a Christian priest and the Buddhist monk Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera.
Other affected countries were South Korea, Thailand and Japan. In countries like Thailand and Japan, Christianity was therefore successfully repelled during extended periods of time.
H.G. Wells in his Outline of History draws parallels between what he sees as the essentially similar messages of the Buddha and of Jesus, and contends that in each case followers and priests distorted the original teachings. Will Durant in The Story of Philosophy suggests that Jesus-Buddha corresponds to a "feminine ideology," Nietzsche to a masculine, and that Plato-Socrates fall somewhere in between. Paul Carus's The Gospel of Buddha, published in 1894, was modeled on the New Testament and told the story of Buddha through parables.
Christopher Moore published in 2002 Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal, a novel which seeks to fill in the "lost" years of Jesus from the point of view of Jesus' childhood pal, "Levi bar Alphaeus who is called Biff". They journey to the east, where they study Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist teachings.
Other writers on Buddhisms relation to Christianity include the authors Arthur Lillie, Godfrey Higgins, Edward Washburn Hopkins, Zacharias P. Thundy, Christian Lindtner, Gene Matlock, Daniel Hopkins and Alexander Harris.
^ "The Silk Road city of Marv (Grk. Margiana), situated in the eastern part of the Parthian Empire, became a major Buddhist center" Foltz, "Religions of the Silk Road", p47
^ American Journal of Archaeology (1928), "Buddhism in pre-Christian Britain", page 42
^ Cyril of Jerusalem, Sixth Catechetical Lecture Chapter 22-24
"22. There was in Egypt one Scythianus, a Saracen by birth, having nothing in common either with Judaism or with Christianity. This man, who dwelt at Alexandria and imitated the life of Aristotle, composed four books, one called a Gospel which had not the acts of Christ, but the mere name only, and one other called the book of Chapters, and a third of Mysteries, and a fourth, which they circulate now, the Treasure. This man had a disciple, Terebinthus by name. But when Scythianus purposed to come into Judaea, and make havoc of the land, the Lord smote him with a deadly disease, and stayed the pestilence.
23. But Terebinthus, his disciple in this wicked error, inherited his money and books and heresy, and came to Palestine, and becoming known and condemned in Judaea he resolved to pass into Persia: but lest he should be recognised there also by his name he changed it and called himself Buddas. However, he found adversaries there also in the priests of Mithras: and being confuted in the discussion of many arguments and controversies, and at last hard pressed, he took refuge with a certain widow. Then having gone up on the housetop, and summoned the daemons of the air, whom the Manichees to this day invoke over their abominable ceremony of the fig, he was smitten of God, and cast down from the housetop, and expired: and so the second beast was cut off.
24. The books, however, which were the records of his impiety, remained; and both these and his money the widow inherited. And having neither kinsman nor any other friend, she determined to buy with the money a boy named Cubricus: him she adopted and educated as a son in the learning of the Persians, and thus sharpened an evil weapon against mankind. So Cubricus, the vile slave, grew up in the midst of philosophers, and on the death of the widow inherited both the books and the money. Then, lest the name of slavery might be a reproach, instead of Cubricus he called himself Manes, which in the language of the Persians signifies discourse. For as he thought himself something of a disputant, he surnamed himself Manes, as it were an excellent master of discourse. But though he contrived for himself an honourable title according to the language of the Persians, yet the providence of God caused him to become a self-accuser even against his will, that through thinking to honour himself in Persia, he might proclaim himself among the Greeks by name a maniac." Catholic Encyclopedia (Public Domain, quoted in )
^ Catholic Encyclopedia (Public Domain, quoted in )
^ Origin of Pagan Idolatry Ascertained from Historical Testimony, page 649
^ History of Religions, 1918, E. Washburn Hopkins, Professor of Sanskrit and comparative Philology, p 552,556
^ Bentley, Jerry H. (1993). Old World Encounters. Cross-cultural contacts and exchanges in pre-modern times. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-507639-7.
^ Iqbal Singh, S. Radhakrishnan, Arvind Sharma, (2004-06-24)). The Buddhism Omnibus: Comprising Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada, and The Philosophy of Religion. USA: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195668987.
^Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol 3. Charles Eliot 20 of 22: Egypt was a most religious country, but it does not appear that asceticism, celibacy or meditation formed part of its older religious life, and their appearance in Hellenistic times may be due to a wave of Asiatic influence starting originally from India. 
^ "In reading the particulars of the life of Buddha it is impossible not to feel reminded of many circumstances relating to our Savior's life as sketched by the evangelists. It may be said in favor of Buddhism that no philosophic-religious system has ever upheld to an equal degree the notions of a savior and deliverer, and the necessity of his mission for procuring the salvation of man." Catholic
^ "These points of agreement with the Gospel narrative arouse curiosity and require explanation. If we could prove that they [the legends of Buddha] were unknown in the East for some centuries after Christ, the explanation would be easy. But all the evidence we have gone to prove the contrary...." (Samuel Beal, pp. viii-ix.)
^ Andre Grabar "Christian iconography, a study of its origins", p129
^ Latin Sources: Archelaus (Bishop of Cascar in Mesopotamia, d. about 278): Acta Disputationis cum Manete Haeresiarcha; first written in Syriac, and so far belonging to the Oriental Christian Sources (Comp. Jerome, de Vir. Ill. 72), but extant only in a Latin translation, which seems to have been made from the Greek, edited by Zacagni (Rome, 1698), and Routh (in Reliquiae Sacrae, vol. V. 3-206); Eng. transl. in Clark's Ante-Nicene Library (vol. XX. 272-419). [Am. ed. vol. VI. p. 173 sq.].
^ Andre Grabar mentions Buddhist iconography of the birth of the Buddha as a possible source for the Christian depiction of the birth of Jesus Christ. Andre Grabar, p129
^Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol 3, 1921
^What is particularly disconcerting here is the disconnect between expectation and reality: We know from Chinese translations that large numbers of Mahayana sutras were being composed in the period between the beginning of the common era and the fifth century. But outside of texts, at least in India, at exactly the same period, very different ? in fact seemingly older ? ideas and aspirations appear to be motivating actual behavior, and old and established Hinayana groups appear to be the only ones that are patronized and supported., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism, 2004, page 494
^ Beverley, James A., Hollywood's Idol, Christianity Today, "Jesus Christ also lived previous lives," he said. "So, you see, he reached a high state, either as a Bodhisattva, or an enlightened person, through Buddhist practice or something like that," Retrieved April 20, 2007
Elmar R. Gruber & Holger Kersten. The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity.
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Howe, Quincy, Jr., Reincarnation for the Christian, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1974.
Johnston, William, S.J., Christian Zen, Harper & Row, 1971. ISBN 0823218015
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References to Christianity in the earliest Buddhist teachings or "a Buddhist Catechism for Christians"
You may wonder how this can be? Buddha lived 500 years before Jesus was even born. How can we find references in the earliest Buddhist scriptures about Christianity. Well, according to Buddha the believe in an eternal creator God and eternal afterlife is a view which comes into being quite naturally. Mankind observed the sun going up and down and inferred that the sun circled the earth. Now, we know this not to be true. However, in a certain sense it isn't wrong either. Our ancient view was based on a limited amount of information. Likewise appears Christianity to a Buddhist: Or should we say at least to Buddhists versed in the original teachings of the Buddha, Christianity appears like small child: with very good intentions and a pure heart (the gospel) but without the knowledge of the bigger picture. To give you a better understanding what i mean, let's hear some interesting remarks directly from the Buddha:
Buddha on God
There comes a time, monks, sooner or later after a long period, when this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly reborn in the Abhassara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight,self-luminous, moving through space, glorious - and they stay like that for a very long time."
"But the time comes, sooner or later after a long period, when this world begins to expand again [Com: known as 'Big Bang' in Western Science]. In this expanding world an empty palace of Brahma [Com: the Indian name for the highest God] appears. And then one being, from exhaustion of his life-span or of his merits, falls from the Abhassara world and arises in the empty Brahma-palace. And there he dwells, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through space, glorious - and he stays like that for a very long time."
"Then in this being who has been alone for so long there arises unrest, discontent and worry, and he thinks: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ And other beings, from exhaustion of their life-span or of their merits, fall from the Abhassara world and arise in the Brahma palace as companions for this being. And there they dwell, mind-made, … and they stay like that for a very long time."
"And then, monks, that being who first arose there thinks: "I am God, the Great God, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. These beings were created by me. How so? Because I first had this thought: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ That was my wish, and then these beings came into this existence!" But those beings who arose subsequently think: "This, friends, is God, Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. How so? We have seen that he was here first, and that we arose after him." [Brahmajala Sutta, Dighanikaya]
Buddha on Jesus
And this being that arose first is longer-lived, more beautiful and more powerful than they are. And it may happen that some being falls from that realm and arises in this human world. Having arisen in this world, he goes forth from the household life into homelessness. Having gone forth, he by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attains to such a degree of mental concentration that he thereby recalls his last existence, but recalls none before that. And he thinks: ‘That Brahma, … he made us, and he is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, the same for ever and ever. But we who were created by that Brahma, we are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, fated to fall away, and we have come to this world.’ [Brahmajala Sutta, Digha Nikaya]
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Buddha on Prophets like Jesus
“Once, monks, there lived a master and a faith founder named Sunetta, who was free from greed for sensual pleasures. And there lived once a master and a faith founder named Mūgapakkha - Aranemi - Kuddālaka - Hatthipāla - Jotipāla - Araka, who was free from greed for sensual pleasures. This master however had many hundreds of disciples. And he showed the way to rebirth under the Gods of Brahma to his disciples [Comm: as "Angels in the vicinity of God" - an alternative translation closer to the understanding of the Western culture]. Those now, which did not show confidence, when the master pointed out the way to rebirth in heaven, all those arrived with the decay of the body, after death, into lower existence, on a suffering track, into the abysses, to hell. Those however, who showed confidence, all those arrived after the decay of the body, after death, on the lucky track, into heaven.
What do you think, o monks? If someone insulted with malicious thought these seven masters and faith founders, who had turned away from sensual pleasures and who had hundreds of disciples, wouldn't such a one load a debt on himself? “ - “Certainly, o Blessed One.” - “Who insults however, monks, only one human being, who has realized Nirvana with malicious intention or defames him, loads a still larger debt on himself. [Anguttara Nikaya.VII. 69 Defamation of the noble ones]
And another mentioning of Jesus like prophets of love and believers in a Creator in the Pali Canon
Bhikkhus, in the past, there was a Teacher called Sunetta, one free of greed who helped to cross the ford. The Teacher Sunetta had innumerable hundreds of disciples .Bhikkhus, this Teacher taught, to be born in the world of Brahma. Those who completely knew the dispensation of Sunetta, after death, were born in a good state in the world of Brahma. Some of those who did not know the complete dispensation of Sunetta, after death, were born with those attached to the creation of others. Some attached to creation, some with the happy ones, some with the Titan gods, some with the gods of the thirty three and with the guardian gods. Others were born with high clans of warriors, Brahmins and householders.
Then it occurred to the Teacher Sunetta. `It is not suitable for me to be born in the same plane as my disciples, after death, what if I develop loving kindness further.'
Then the Teacher Sunetta developed loving kindness for seven years. Having developed loving kindness for seven years, he did not come to this world for seven forward and backward world cycles. During the forward world cycles he was born a radiant god and during the backward world cycles was born in an empty Brahma paradise. There he was Brahma the supreme Lord, not conquered with sure insight wielding authority
There, he was Brahma, Brahma the great, the unconquered lord and master with sure insight, holding authority for seven times. Thirty six times he was Sakka the king of gods. Innumerable hundreds of times he was the righteous universal monarch, winning the four directions and establishing states. Bhikkhus, he was endowed with these seven jewels, such as the jewel of the wheel, the elephant, the horse, the jewel, the woman, the householder and the advisor. Bhikkhus, he had over a thousand courageous sons with valiant figures, for crushing foreign armies. They lived ruling over the earth righteously, without weapons as far as the limit of the ocean. Bhikkhus, that Teacher Sunetta with long life and long standing was not released from birth, decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness and displeasure, I say not released from unpleasantness.
What is the reason? For not realizing and experiencing four things. What four?
Not realizing and experiencing the virtues, concentration, wisdom and release of the noble ones. Now he has realized and experienced the virtues, concentration, wisdom and release of the noble ones. The craving to be is uprooted, the leader of being is destroyed. Now he has no more birth. [Anguttara Nikaya, VII 66]
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Buddha on the Path to God
Once two young brahmin students had an argument about which teacher shows the best way to God. In order to settle their argument they came to the Buddha and inquired from him, how to reach God. His full answer is recorded in the Tevijja Sutta, which you can read here. Below some excerpts, especially interesting for Christians, I find:
Not Knowing the Beauty of God
...'Just, Vasettha, as if a man should say, "How I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land!" 'And people should ask him, "Well! good friend! this most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady or a Brahman woman, or of the trader class, or a Sudra? 'But when so asked, he should answer: "No." 'And when people should ask him, " Well! good friend! this most beautiful woman in all the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know what the name of that most beautiful woman is, or what is her family name, whether she be tall or short or of medium height, dark or brunette or golden in colour, or in what village or town or city she dwells? 'But when so asked, he should answer: No." 'And then people should say to him, So then, good friend, whom you know not, neither have seen, her do you love and long for? 'And then when so asked, he should answer: "Yes." 'Now what think you, Vasettha? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?' In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'...
Not Knowing the Whereabout of God
21. 'Just, Vasettha, as if a man should make a staircase in the place where four roads cross, to mount up into a mansion. And people should say to him, "Well, good friend, this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase, do you know whether it is in the east, or in the south, or in the west, or in the north? whether it is high or low or of medium size? 'And when so asked, he should answer: "No." 'And people should say to him, "But then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into something -- taking it for a mansion -- which, all the while, you know not, neither have seen!" 'And when so asked, he should answer: "Yes." 'Now what think you, Vasettha? Would it not turn out. that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?' 'In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'
The uselessness of mere prayer for ultimate re-union with God
24. 'Again, Vasettha, if this river Aciravati were full of water even to the brim, and over flowing. And a man with business on the other side, bound for the other side, making, for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, standing on this bank, should invoke the further bank, and say, "Come hither, O further bank! come over to this side!" ' Now what think you, Vasettha? Would the further bank of the river Aciravati, by reason of that man's invoking and praying and hoping and praising, come over to this side?' 'Certainly not, Gotama!' 25. 'In just the same way, Vasettha, do the priests versed in the Vedas, -- omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a holy man, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men unholy -- say thus: "Indra we call upon, Soma we call upon, Varuna we call upon, Sana we call upon, Pajapati we call upon, God we call upon" Verily, Vasettha, that those priests versed in the Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man holy, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men unholy-- that they, by reason of their invoking and praying and hoping and praising, should, after death and when the body is dissolved, become united with God verily such a condition of things can in no wise be!'
The necessity to overcome sensual attachments to attain company with God
26. 'Just, Vasettha, as if this river Aciravati were full, even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, on this bank, were to be bound tightly, with his arms behind his back, by a strong chain. Now what think you, Vasettha, would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravati to the further bank 'Certainly not, Gotama!' 27. 'In the same way, Vasettha, there are five things leading to lust, which are called, in the Discipline of the Holy Ones, a "chain" and a "bond."' 'What are the five?' 'Forms perceptible to the eye; desirable, agreeable, pleasant, attractive forms, that are accompanied by lust and cause delight. Sounds of the same kind perceptible to the ear. Odors of the same kind perceptible to the nose. Tastes of the same kind perceptible to the tongue. Substances of the same kind perceptible to the body by touch. These five things predisposing to passion are called, in the Discipline of the Holy Ones, a "chain" and a "bond." And these five things predisposing to lust, Vasettha, do the priests versed in the Vedas cling to, they are infatuated by them, attached to them, see not the danger of them, know not how unreliable they are, and so enjoy them'. 28. 'And verily, Vasettha, that priests versed in the Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man holy, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men unholy-clinging to these five things predisposing to passion, infatuated by them, attached to them, see not their danger, knowing not their unreliability, and so enjoying them -- that these priests should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to God, -- such a condition of things can in no wise be!'
Not even close to God they are and still believe they will meet him
31. 'Now what think you, Vasettha, and what have you heard from the priests aged and well-stricken in years, when the learners and teachers are talking together? Is God, in possession of wives and wealth, or is he not?' 'He is not, Gotama.'
'Is his mind full of anger, or free from anger?' 'Free from anger, Gotama.'
Is his mind full of malice, or free from malice?' 'Free from malice, Gotama.'
'Is his mind tarnished, or, is it pure?' 'It is pure, Gotama.'
Has he self-mastery, or has he not? 'He has, Gotama.'
32. 'Now what think you, Vasettha, are the priests versed in the Vedas in the possession of wives and wealth, or are they not?' 'They are, Gotama.'
'Have they anger in their hearts, or have they not? 'They have, Gotama.'
'Do they bear malice, or do they not?' 'They do, Gotama.'
'Are they pure in heart, or are they not?' 'They are not, Gotama.'
'Have they self-mastery, or have they not?' 'They have not, Gotama.'
33. 'Then you say, Vasettha, that the priests are in possession of wives and wealth, and that God is not. Can there, then, be agreement and likeness between the priests with their wives and property, and God, who has none of these things?'
'Certainly not, Gotama!'
34. 'Very good, Vasettha. But, verily, that these priests versed in the Vedas, who live married and wealthy, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with God, who has none of these things -- such a condition of things can in no wise be!'
35. 'Then you say, too, Vasettha, that the priests bear anger and malice in their hearts, and are tarnished in heart and uncontrolled, whilst Brahma is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery. Now can there, then, be concord and likeness between the priests and God?'
'Certainly not, Gotama!'
36. 'Very good, Vasettha. That these priests versed in the Vedas and yet bearing anger and malice in their hearts, sinful, and uncontrolled, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united to God, who is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery -- such a condition of things can in no wise be!
'So that thus then, Vasettha, the priests, versed though they be in the Vedas, while they sit down (in confidence), are sinking down (in the mire); and so sinking they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.
'Therefore is it that the threefold wisdom of the priests, wise in their Vedas, is called a waterless desert, their wisdom is called a pathless jungle, their wisdom is called perdition!
Being asked, the Buddha teaches the path to re-union with God
37. When he had thus spoken, the young Brahman Vasettha said to the Blessed One: 'It has been told me, Gotama, that the Samana Gotama knows the way to the state of union with Brahma.'
'What do you think, Vasettha, is not Manasakata near to this spot, not distant from this spot 'Just so, Gotama. ManasakaTa is near to, is not far from here.'
'Now what think you, Vasettha, suppose there were a man born in Manasakata , and people should ask him, who never till that time had left ManasakaTa, which was the way to Manasakata . Would that man, born and brought up in Manasakata , be in any doubt or difficulty?'
' Certainly not, Gotama! And why? If the man had been born and brought up in Manasakata , every road that leads to Manasakata would be perfectly familiar to him.'
38. 'That man, Vasettha, born and brought up at Manasakata might, if he were asked the way to Manasakata , fall into doubt and difficulty, but to the Tathagata [Comm: the Thus-Gone, an epithet of the Buddha relating to his realization of Nibbana], when asked touching the path which leads to the world of God, there can be neither doubt nor difficulty. For God, I know, Vasettha, and heaven, and the path which leadeth unto it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Heaven, and has been born within it!'
39. When he had thus spoken, Vasettha, the young Brahman, said to the Blessed One:
'Just so has it been told me, Gotama, even that the Samana Gotama knows the way to a state of union with God. It is well! Let the venerable Gotama be pleased to show us the way to a state of union with God, let the venerable Gotama save the Brahman race'!
'Listen then, Vasettha, and give ear attentively, and I will speak!' 'So be it, Lord!' said the young Brahman Vasettha, in assent, to the Blessed One.
40. Then the Blessed One spake, and said:
Know, Vasettha, that (from time to time) a Tathágata is born into the world, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding, in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universe -- including the worlds above with the gods, the Maras, and the Brahmas; and the world below with its Samanas and Brahmans, its princes and peoples; -- and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in the letter and in the spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfect-ness.
41. 'A householder (gahapati), or one of his children, or a man of inferior birth in any class, listens to that truth. On hearing the truth he has faith in the Tathágata, and when he has acquired that faith he thus considers with himself:
"Full of hindrances is household life, a path defiled by passion : free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult it is for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection! Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-colored robes, and let me go forth from a household life into the homeless state.
'Then before long, forsaking his portion of wealth, be it great or be it small; forsaking his circle of relatives, be they many or be they few, he cuts off his hair and beard, he clothes himself in the orange -- colored robes. and he goes forth from the household life into the homeless state.
42. 'When he has thus become a recluse he passes a life self-restrained by that restraint which should be binding on a recluse. Uprightness is his delight, and he sees danger in the least of those things he should avoid. He adopts and trains himself in the precepts. He encompasses himself with goodness in word and deed. He sustains his life by means that are quite pure; good is his conduct, guarded the door of his senses; mindful and self-possessed, he is altogether happy!'
43-75. 'And how, Vasettha, is his conduct good?'
[1. The confidence of heart that results from the sense of goodness. 2. The way in which he guards the doors of his senses. 3. The way in which he is mindful and self-possessed. 4. His habit of being content with little, of adopting simplicity of life. 5. His conquest of the Five Hindrances, each with the explanatory simile. 6. The joy and peace which, as a result of this conquest, fills his whole being.]
76. 'And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of Love, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.
77. 'Just, Vasettha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard-and that without difficulty-in all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt love.
'Verily this, Vasettha, is the way to a state of union with God.
78. 'And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of pity , ... sympathy , equanimity , and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of pity. . . . sympathy, . . . equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.
79. 'Just, Vasettha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard -- and that without difficulty -- in all the four directions ; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt pity, ... sympathy, ... equanimity.
'Verily this, Vasettha, is the way to a state of union with God.'
80. 'Now what think you, Vasettha, will the Bhikkhu who lives thus be in possession of women and of wealth, or will he not?' 'He will not, Gotama!'
'Will he be full of anger, or free from anger?' 'He will be free from anger, Gotama!'
'Will his mind be full of malice, or free from malice?' 'Free from malice, Gotama!'
'Will his mind be tarnished, or pure?' 'It will be pure, Gotama!'
'Will he have self-mastery, or will he not?' 'Surely he will, Gotama!'
81 'Then you say, Vasettha, that the Bhikkhu is free from household and worldly cares, and that Brahma is free from household and worldly cares. Is there then agreement and likeness between the Bhikkhu and Brahma?'
'There is, Gotama!
Very good, Vasettha. Then in sooth, Vasettha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from household cares should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahma, who is the same -- such a condition of things is every way possible!
'And so you say, Vasettha, that the Bhikkhu is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself; and that Brahma is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself. Then in sooth, Vasettha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahma, who is the same-such a condition of things is every way possible!'
82. When he hid thus spoken, the young. Brahmans Vasettha and Bharadvaja addressed the Blessed One, and said:
'Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, Most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which is thrown down, or were to reveal that which is hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes can see external forms; -- just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to us, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And we, even we, betake ourselves, Lord, to the Blessed One as our guide, to the Truth, and to the Brotherhood. May the Blessed One accept us as disciples, as true believers, from this day forth, as long as life endures!'
Monks, do not fear to do good. Pleasantness is a synonym for good. Monks, I know of enjoying the results of pleasing and agreeable good, done long ago. I developed the thought of loving kindness for seven years and did not come to this world for seven forward and backward world cycles. During the forward world cycles I was a god of radiance and during the backward world cycles I was born in an empty paradise of God
There, I was God, Brahma the great, the unconquered lord and master with sure insight, holding authority for seven times. Thirty six times I was Sakka the king of gods. Innumerable hundreds of times I was the righteous universal monarch, winning the four directions and establishing states. Monks, I was endowed with these seven jewels, such as the jewel of the wheel, the elephant, the horse, the jewel, the woman, the householder and the advisor. Monks, I had over a thousand courageous sons with valiant figures, for crushing foreign armies. They lived ruling over the earth righteously, without weapons as far as the limit of the ocean.
Look at the results of good, how merits bring pleasantness. Developing the thought of loving kindness for seven years I did not come to this world for seven forward and backward world cycles During the forward world cycles I was a radiant god And during the backward world cycles was born in an empty paradise of God There I was Great Brahma for seven times, wielding authority. Thirty six times I was king of gods, ruling over the gods. Innumerable hundreds of times I became universal monarch in Jambudipa Head anointed warriors were the leaders of the people They ruled without punishments and weapons. I advised them, To rule this earth without force and impartially. Thus I earned for the clan much wealth and resources. I was endowed with the five strands of sense pleasures and the seven jewels By the enlightened ones showing compassion for the world It was told was the cause for my greatness and success in the world. With much resources and means I became a powerful, famous king in India. Who would not be pleased to hear this other than those born in darkness Therefore desiring your own good, honour the Teaching recollecting the dispensation.
Amazing, isn't it? After reading these passages from the Pali Canon which itself handed and written down in 80 BC you may really wonder how the Buddha could describe the quintessence of Jesus teachings in these few lines (overlooking all the obscure dogmas Christianity and the numerous churches developed over time in his name, like the priests of the Vedas Buddha was talking about, without direct knowledge of God)? Well, that is you might wonder if you never heard or read about the Buddha's thorough teachings before. Not in vain is one of the epithets of the Buddha "sattha deva manussanam" - the "Teacher of God and Men". This being said, Christians and other followers of (mono)theistic religions might be considered in effect pupils of the Buddha (from a Buddhist perspective, of course) - simply due to the fact that God (as Mahabrahma) himself has taken refuge in the Law (Dhamma) which the Buddhas (Awakened Ones) time and again will realize and share with all who are intent to understand the universe, the world and their minds. Therefore, though they might fight with him, he never will fight with them:
And it might explain why Buddhists never shed blood in holy wars or try to "convert" people.
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Links & Further References
The following links are a selection of discourses by the Buddha and his monks from the Pali Canon containing references to the Brahma world, Heaven and God:
Majjhima Nikaya 120 [link] - Buddha explaining different Brahma Worlds.
Majjhima Nikaya 49 [link] - Buddha teaching in the Brahma World. Shows the power of a Brahma God and his limits.
Anguttara Nikaya III, 61 [link] - A supreme being cannot be the cause of happiness and suffering
Anguttara Nikaya IV, 36 [link] - Awakening is beyond Heaven and Hell
Anguttara Nikaya IV, 123 [link] - Relationship between meditative absorption and re-union with God
Anguttara Nikaya VII, 66 [link] - More details about Sunetta, a Jesus of the past
For more general information in Buddhism this is a very nice introductory website: