Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Was the Buddha (or Jesus Christ) black?

Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson, Ashley Wells, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly  UPDATED

Who were the Khmer of Angkor (Cambodia) or Olmecs of Mesoamerica (Mexico)? Why do these twin megalithic jungle empires show African features? (Number9photo/
Aha! He looks black. He is certainly depicted that way sometimes. One of his chief male disciples was very dark, the Dravidian Brahmin Great Moggallana. But he had golden skin.
Was the Buddha black?
(No, but Jesus was a dark African according to the Bible)
Bactria was Hellenized Shakya Land.
Happy Black History Month! The Buddha was from a land now almost exclusively Muslim, the war-torn country oppressed by the American military-industrial complex, Afghanistan (once Scythia, Shakya-Land, with one of its seasonal capitals at Kapilavastu, possibly modern Bamiyan).

The texts, particularly those in which the Buddha describes how karma resulted in every aspect of his body (the lakkhana or "Marks of a Great Person"), indicate that the Buddha (the former Prince Siddhartha Gautama of the Shakya Clan) was gold.
Black gold Buddha? (Tatlmt)
There were three colors at that time -- black, brown, and gold. If we examine the appearance of Central Asians in modern Afghanistan, the Pashtuns and Hazaras, Iranians and the peoples living in the many "stans," we see a combination of Asian and Caucasian features. Indeed, the Caucasus mountains are not so far away.

In ancient times, this region was the northwest frontier of what today we call "India" (Bharat, Jambudvipa). But the Buddha was not depicted in human form with graven images, as it was not the custom of India make such representations.
Zealot (Reza Aslan/
But no such rule seems to have been prevalent among the Shakyans (Scythians), who were eventually overrun by the ancient Greeks in Scythia, Bactria, Seleucid Empire, and other countries. So the very first human representations of the Buddha come from Gandhara and Afghanistan, his own home country.

These are likely the most accurate depictions. But because of the widely held belief (or politically-motivated propaganda) that the Buddha was from Nepal or northern India, logic dictates that the Buddha was dressed in Greek togas and other marks of a Central Asian/Scythian king because artisans were making him over in their own image. This is unlikely, given that his descendants were not so different from the neighbors, who still lived on the land, the Indo-Sakastan/Afghanistan/Shakya Land.

African Jesus? Moors influenced Europe?
But the Buddha's teaching, the Dharma, is indeed universal. It is applicable to all peoples, all skin colors, all types of humans and devas. The Buddha did not discriminate. On the contrary, he actively welcomed all castes, all socioeconomic statuses, all types. Even today, the "untouchables" -- discriminated against in Indian society -- find a welcome home in Buddhism. And there is a large Dalit movement to convert to this more welcoming Dharma.
Why do Khmer rulers, emperors in Southeast Asia, have black features? (Darryl Villaret)
Black is beautiful just like the child pharaoh, King Tut.
Jesus of Nazareth, on the other hand, as distinguished from Fantasy Jesus the Christ of Christian lore, was black. There is only one physical description of him in the official Christian Bible. That comes in Revelation, where he is described as bronze colored with nappy hair like that of a sheep. But white Christians are outraged. They need someone to worship in their own image, so a tall Aryan Jesus was created, blue eyes in Africa (Israel and Egypt are both in Africa, though we are misled to think otherwise).

Europeans made me "white."
Biblical scholar Prof. Reza Aslan in Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth does a great job of distinguishing the real, historical Jesus (Issa, Y'shua, Ieosus, Joshua, Son of Zeus/Yahweh, devaputra) from the fantasy European creation that is widely circulated today. No one would worship him, but the Holy Roman Empire adopted and utterly changed him and his teaching to their own ends, so with the help of the Vatican/Catholic Church he is widely revered in name and given a great deal of lip service.

The Eastern Orthodox tradition seems to have a better handle on the actual, historical figure. Icons throughout Armenia, the Coptic region (Egypt), and Russia often depict Jesus as a black man, a Middle Easterner, a man who lived in Egypt in his early years and probably never even went to Bethlehem but had to be made to so as to accord with a prophecy about King David.

The Aryan Jesus: Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany
Susannah Heschel (Princeton University Press)
Was Jesus a Nazi? During the Third Reich, German Protestant theologians, motivated by racism and tapping into traditional Christian anti-Semitism, redefined Jesus as an Aryan and Christianity as a religion at war with Judaism. In 1939, these theologians established the Institute for the Study and Eradication of Jewish Influence on German Religious Life. In The Aryan Jesus, Heschel shows that during the Third Reich, the Institute became the most important propaganda organ of German Protestantism, exerting a widespread influence and producing a Nazified Christianity that placed anti-Semitism at its theological center. Based on years of archival research, The Aryan Jesus examines... More

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