Sakka, "chief of the angels" (Devanam Indo), lord of lords, king of kings, an "angel" who tossed the "demons" out of heaven, is one of the most prominent supernatural figures in Buddhism. (He has an entire subdivision of sutras related to him known as the Sakka Samyutta).
The Buddha explained that he rose to this station as the overseer of two space worlds or "heavens" (the Realm of the Four Great Sky Kings and the Realm of the Thirty-Three). The karma that led to that result was keeping seven meritorious vows when he was Magha of Macala, which seems to explain how the West came to call him "Michael." He existed in other iterations in ancient India, Greece, Scandinavia, Sumeria, Egypt, and Palestine/Israel.
- VIDEO: Sakka, "Saint Michael," Lord of the 33
- Sakka's ancient space flight (Jataka)
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Catholicism, in particular, as the largest religion in the world, has something in common with all traditions. It is "universal" precisely because it misappropriated so much from other traditions. Its symbols, stories, and characters -- which include the Buddha himself who was declared a saint (Saint Josaphat) from tales of his good works in the Birth Stories (Jatakas) where he is called the Bodhisat.
- The Buddha in Medieval Europe
- How the Buddha became a Catholic saint
- Catholic.org/Saints/FAQ: the Buddha, too
- Sakra Explained: pre- and post-Buddhist
The traditional calendar of saints includes Saint "Josaphat" or "Iodasaph," son of a fourth-century king of India. A convert to Christianity, Iodasaph abdicated the throne to embrace a life of ascetic piety. As scholars now widely acknowledge, what was once taken to be the biography of a Christian saint is instead the accidental Christianization of a story of Prince Siddhartha from the Jataka Tales. The legend of "Iodasaph," a garbled form of "Bodhisattva," meandered over various Buddhist, Manichean, and Arabic paths on its way to being baptized as a piece of medieval Christian hagiography. In various texts, the name appears as "Budhasaf," "Bodisav," and "Bwdysdf" -- all even closer to the original. So there you have it: Gautama Buddha, a Catholic saint! More
- Josaphat Meeting a Blind Man and a Beggar in Barlaam and Josaphat (The J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 9, fol. 31)
St. Michael is one of the principal angels; his name was the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against the enemy and his followers. Four times his name is recorded in Scripture:
(1) Daniel 10:13 sqq., Gabriel says to Daniel, when he asks God to permit the Jews to return to Jerusalem: "The Angel [D.V. prince] of the kingdom of the Persians resisted me . . . and, behold Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me . . . and none is my helper in all these things, but Michael your prince."
(2) Daniel 12, the Angel speaking of the end of the world and the Antichrist says: "At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince, who standeth for the children of thy people."
(3) In the Catholic Epistle of St. Jude: "When Michael the Archangel, disputing with the devil, contended about the body of Moses", etc.St. Jude alludes to an ancient Jewish tradition of a dispute between Michael and Satan over the body of Moses, an account of which is also found in the apocryphal book on the assumption of Moses (Origen, De Principiis III.2.2). St. Michael concealed the tomb of Moses;Satan, however, by disclosing it, tried to seduce the Jewish people to the sin of hero-worship. St. Michael also guards the body of Eve, according to the "Revelation of Moses" ("Apocryphal Gospels", etc., ed. A. Walker, Edinburgh, p. 647).
(4) Apocalypse 12:7, "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon." St. John speaks of the great conflict at the end of time, which reflects also the battle in heaven at the beginning of time. According to the Fathers there is often question of St. Michael in Scripture where his name is not mentioned.
They say he was the cherub who stood at the gate of paradise, "to keep the way of the tree of life" (Genesis 3:24), the angel through whom God published the Decalogue to his chosen people, the angelwho stood in the way against Balaam (Numbers 22:22 sqq.), the angel who routed the army of Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35).
Following these Scriptural passages, Christian tradition gives to St. Michael four offices:
- To fight against Satan.
- To rescue the souls of the faithful from the power of the enemy, especially at the hour of death.
- To be the champion of God's people, the Jews in the Old Law, the Christians in the New Testament; therefore he was the patron of the Church, and of the orders of knights during the Middle Ages.
- To call away from earth and bring men's souls to judgment ("signifer S. Michael repraesentet eas in lucam sanctam," Offert. Miss Defunct. "Constituit eum principem super animas suscipiendas," Antiph. off. Cf. The Shepherd of Hermas, Book III, Similitude 8, Chapter 3).
But, according to St. Thomas (Summa Ia.113.3) he is the prince of the last and lowest choir, the angels. The Roman Liturgy seems to follow the Greek Fathers; it calls him "Princeps militiae coelestis quem honorificant angelorum cives." The hymn of the Mozarabic Breviary places St. Michael even above the Twenty-four Elders. The Greek Liturgy styles him Archistrategos, "highest general" (cf. Menaea, 8 Nov. and 6 Sept.). Source
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