Saturday, January 15, 2011

NEWS: The Buddha made a Christian Saint!

Wisdom Quarterly
The Bodhisat (Josaphat) is a saint in both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox Church.

The Buddha is a saint in the Catholic as well as Orthodox Church. This may sound like a joke or sacrilege, but such is the tendency of particularly Catholicism. It aggregates to itself adherents and greater legitimacy by canonizing popular figures.

For example, when the pope wishes to visit a country to proselytize, he usually announces a round of local canonizations. This gives people in that area Church figures to identify with. It is no wonder it long ago pulled in the world-famous spiritual teacher, the Bodhisat (the Pali word for Bodhisattva).

It does this more than ever now after disabling the Office of the Devil's Advocate, a real office in the Vatican which used to vigorously investigate claims of sainthood and make it difficult to beatify someone who was not thoroughly vetted.

The Buddha refers to himself in previous lives -- particularly, as pointed out by Rhys Davids, in the Jataka Tales or Buddhist Rebirth Stories -- as the "Bodhisat." These precursors to Aesops Fables spread far and wide and became much beloved legends in many countries and languages. They were so popular that their source was not kept track of as happens with, for example, limericks.

Another famous bodhisattva is the future buddha, Maitreya (whose name comes from the Sanskrit mitra, "friend"), which it seems might have given rise to Mithraism, as suggested in the groundbreaking work of Dr. Ranajit Pal. Wisdom Quarterly research concluded that "Maitreya" (the-liberator-to-come) was the origin of the dispossessed Bedouin "Hebrew/Jewish" people's idea and word "Messiah."

This idea is not so far fetched when we understand that Hebrews/Jews were Bedouin-style travelers living in India and elsewhere. They were engaged in trade all the way to the original "promised land," which was the Israelites' Kashmir, according to Holger Kersten in Jesus Lived in India: His Unknown Life Before and After the Crucifixion (Penguin Books, 2001, pp. 57-59) and Basem L. Ra'ad's Hidden Histories (Pluto Press, 2010).

It is no wonder Jews (like Jesus), then as now, are fascinated with Buddhism, Ladakh, Tibet, and Old Testament history, which saturates this land and is kept in the news nearly as much as the modern "Israel," whose original location is well explained by Ra'ad.

The other Bodhisat is the future Buddha Maitreya, the "Messiah" (Wisdom Quarterly).

Saint Josaphat
January 15, 2011 (

Saint Josaphat is said to have lived and died in the 3rd century or 4th century in India. His story appears to be in many respects a Christianized version of [the Buddha] Siddhartha Gautama's story.

According to legend, a King Abenner or Avenier in India persecuted the Christian church in his realm, founded by the Apostle Thomas. When astrologers predicted that his own son would someday become a Christian, Abenner had the young Prince Josaphat isolated from external contact.

Despite the imprisonment, Josaphat met the hermit Saint Baarlam and converted to Christianity. Josaphat kept his faith even in the face of his father's anger and persuasion. Eventually, Abenner himself converted, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit.

Josaphat himself later abdicated [the throne] and went into [s]eclusion with his old teacher Baarlam.
The story of Josaphat and Baarlam was popular in the Middle Ages, appearing in such works as the Golden Legend.

Although Josaphat and Baarlam were canonized in the Greek Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, there is no evidence that either ever existed.

Wilfred Cantwell Smith traced the story from a second to fourth-century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, to a Manichee version, to an Arabic Muslim version, to an eleventh century Christian Georgian version, to a Christian Greek version, and from there into Western European languages.

He traced Josaphat's name from the Sanskrit term Bodhisattva Maitreya, 2nd century, Gandhara. In Buddhist thought, a bodhisattva is a being that, while not yet fully enlightened, is actively striving toward that goal.

Conventionally, the term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment and via the Middle Persian bodasif.

Author Holger Kersten proposes an alternate explanation: "Josaphat" is derived from the Arabic "Judasaf" or "Budasaf," as written in an Urdu version of the tale. He ties this name to Yuz Asaf, a Muslim holy figure identified with Jesus Christ. This idea, which proposes Jesus escaped crucifixion and died in [Kashmir] India, was first introduced to the west by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. [Some might say Nicolas Notovitch actually introduced it to the West.]

1 comment:

Laohg said...

What? Can a god become a saint?