Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Buddha Prophesized Jesus?

Some time in 2003 a website from Thailand appeared on the internet with an article making an extraordinary claim – that in the 5th century BC the Buddha prophesized the coming of Jesus Christ, and that this prophesy can be found in the Buddhist scriptures, the Tipitaka. This article was quickly picked up by other websites and blogs and has since appeared in numerous others, as well as in several publications. Now (2009) there are at least four different versions of the supposed prophesy and yet more claims about it. Below is reproduced the most common version of this prophesy.

When Buddha was travelling and living in this world, there was an old Brahman priest who wore white robes who asked the Buddha, “How will all men and all Brahmins continue in their merit-making so as to escape the results of sin?” The Buddha answered, “Even though all of you give alms according to the 5 precepts, the 8 precepts, the 10 precepts, or the 227 precepts for 9 trillion years and you raise your hands and offer yourselves as a burnt offering, or you pray 5 times a day, you will still not escape the results of your sins. If you do this every day, your merit gained will only be equal to the smallest strand of hair of an unborn infant which is extremely small. You shall not enter heaven’s doors.” The old Brahman priest asked further, “What are we all to do to be saved?” The Buddha answered the old Brahman priest, “The results of sin and karma are very great, heavier than the sky, thicker than the earth, and so high that it would be like an angel dusting the corner-posts of the temple compound with a cloth post that are 18 inches high - dusting them one time per year - until the posts were worn down to the ground. When the posts are worn down, that’s how long it would take to end your sins.”
The Buddha said further, “I have given up my high position and entered the priesthood. I considered that even though I am good, I would have only a very small amount of merit at the end of the year. If I was given this same amount of merit for 100,000 epochs and live 10 more lifetimes, I would not be saved from sin’s results even once.
The old Brahman priest asked further, “So what should we all do?” The Buddha answered, “Keep on making merit and look for another Holy One who will come and help the world and all of you in the future.”
Then the old Brahman priest asked, “What will the characteristics of the Holy One be like?” The Buddha answered him, “The Holy One who will keep ??? the world in the future will be like this: in the palms of his hands and in the flat of his feet will be the design of a disc, in the side will be a stab wound; and his forehead will have many marks like scars. This Holy One will be the golden boat who will carry you over the cycle of rebirths all the way to the highest heaven (Nirvana). Do not look for salvation the old way; there is no salvation in it for sure. Quit the old way. And there will be a new spirit like the light of a lightning bug in all of your hearts and you will be victorious over all your enemies. Nobody will be able to destroy you. If you die, you will not come back to be born in this world again. You will go to the highest heaven (Nirvana)
.” ’

What are we to make of the claim that the Buddha spoke these words and that they are recorded as such in the Buddhist scriptures? The first thing one notices about this passage is that its style, structure, language, the similes used, etc. are markedly different from those found in the Buddhist scriptures. For example, the Buddha is rarely referred to in the Tipitaka as ‘the Buddha’; he is almost always called and/or addressed as ‘Tathagata’ or ‘Bhagava’ (Lord). Anyone familiar with that particular labored and repetitious style characteristic of the Buddhist scriptures will notice that it is absent in this passage. The term ‘burnt offering’ has no Pali equivalent (Pali being the language of the Tipitaka) because making burnt offerings was not a practice done in ancient India. Making burnt offerings is of course mentioned in the Bible. The word sin does not really have an equivalent in Pali, although it is a well-known Christian term. The practice of praying five times a day was not a Brahmin or a Buddhist ritual either. Nowhere in the Buddhist scriptures in Nirvana thought of as a kind of heaven, although those with little or no knowledge of Buddhism often mistakenly think they are the same. But perhaps the strangest thing about this passage is that it has the Buddha implying that one is saved (again more a Christian concept than a Buddhist one, Buddhists usually speak of being ‘liberated’) by making and accumulating merit, and that it is impossible to ever accumulate enough merit to be ‘saved’. Anyone familiar with even basic Buddhism will know that this is the antithesis of what the Buddha taught. In the Sutta Nipata (Chapter 3, Discourse 2), to give but one example, Mara, the Evil One, approaches the Buddha and tempts him to stop meditating and ‘accumulate merit’ instead. The Buddha rejects this suggestion saying ‘I have not the slightest need of merit’. In Buddhism, enlightenment is not attained by accumulating merit but by developing wisdom and understanding. In another discourse, the Buddha says that making merit for the next life is ‘not worth even a sixteenth part of having a heart of love.’ (Numerical Sayings, The Eights, Discourse 1). Here and in many other places in the Tipitaka, merit is considered of very little importance in the religious life. In short, the claim that this passage comes from the Tipitaka does not seem credible.
So does it come from the Buddhist scriptures and if so from where? Just as the Bible is divided into books, chapters and verses, the Buddhist scriptures are divided into books, chapters, discourses and sometimes into verses too. Not one of the websites or publications which reproduce this supposed prophesy ever give a reference to where it comes from in the Tipitaka - not the name of the book it is supposed to be in, not the chapter, not the discourse or the verse numbers. This should make one even more suspicious about the authenticity of this passage.
I have studies Pali for 20 years and can read the Tipitaka in that language. Despite my wide knowledge of the Tipitaka I know of nowhere where this passage or anything like it occurs. In order to double check, I sent copies of the passage to eight Buddhist academic institutions in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand asking if they could identify it as being from the Buddhist scriptures or even from any post-canonical writings. I received replies from seven of these institutions which confirmed my findings. All of them said that the passage is spurious. So the conclusion is clear. The claim that the Buddha prophesized the coming of Jesus Christ and that this prophesy is in the Buddhist scriptures is fraudulent and false.
But who would commit such a fraud? Who would knowingly and deliberately lie and for what purpose? As noted above, the passage in question contains several Christian terms and biblical notions. It’s content claims that the Buddha was asking people to await the advent of someone greater than him, i.e. Jesus Christ. Further, having surfed the net I have found that this supposed prophesy only appears on Christian websites. Considering all this, the conclusion seems inescapable. Either a Christian or a group of Christians have perpetrated this fraud. But why would disciples of Christ, a teacher who insisted on the highest ethical standards, be involved in lies, deception, chicanery and fraud? Only the person or persons involved can answer that question. But as a Buddhist, I find it strange that some people are so determined to spread what they believe to be the truth, that they are even prepared to tell lies.
About a year after this hoax began circulating, two scholar monks, one in Sri Lanka and another in Cambodia, wrote refutations of it and exposed it as fraudulent. Since the publication of these refutations, more details about the supposed prophesy have appeared. One of these additions goes like this. Just before the Sixth Buddhist Council in 1956, a Thai monk received permission to copy out the whole of the Tipitaka and while doing this he discovered the prophecy. After he had finished, the authenticity and accuracy of his copy was certified by his local village headman. Later, when the Sixth Council Edition of the Tipitaka was published, the monk discovered that the Buddha’s prophecy had been deleted, and he converted to Christianity. To give this tale an air of authenticity, names, dates and places are included in it, none of which can be authenticated or refuted, which is, of course, probably their purpose. When you can’t prove a fabrication, it’s hard to disprove it also. But once again, this story does not ring true.
A monk would not need ‘permission’ to copy out the Tipitaka any more than you or I would need it to copy out the Bible. If the monk was learned - and he would have to be to copy out the whole of the Tipitaka – why had he not read or at least heard about this prophesy before? The Buddhist clergy have been studying their scriptures for 2000 years. Surely at some point in this monk’s education someone must have mentioned this prophecy if it had really been in the Tipitaka! That a village headman in northern Thailand in the 1950’s would know Pali, let alone known it well enough to vouch for the accuracy of a copy of the Tipitaka, stretches credibility to breaking point. Further, the Tipitaka is a huge book, 45 large volumes in the Royal Thai Edition. It would take one person several decades to accurately copy it out, check it and re-check it. Then it would take the village headman just long to check and compare, word by word, one copy with the other. And another point! Why would a monk in the 1950’s want to or need to make a copy of the Tipitaka? The Royal Thai Edition was published in the 1920s, and has been widely available ever since!
The purpose of this addition to the hoax is obvious. After it was demonstrated that the fake prophecy was not and never has been in the Tipitaka, the fraudsters, or others with the same agenda, began claiming that the prophecy was there but that it was quietly removed during the Sixth Council. It is very easy to disprove this preposterous claim. The whole of the Fifth Council Edition (1871) was engraved on marble slabs and is still available for anyone to check – and the prophecy is not there! Besides that, there are numerous ancient copies of the Tipitaka, dating from hundreds of years before the Sixth Council Edition, and none of them have the supposed prophecy in them. Not one of the many ancient manuscripts of the Tipitaka in the libraries of the Pali Text Society in the UK, and the University of Copenhagen, all of them deposited in those libraries in the 19th century, have the prophecy in them either. And one last point. In the 19th century the famous Christian missionary Reverend Spence Hardy (1813-1900) learned Pali, studied the Tipitaka in detail and wrote numerous books trying to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity over Buddhism. If this prophecy had really been in the Tipitaka before the 1956 Council, Hardy would have surely found it and highlighted it in his numerous writings and sermons. But he never mentioned it or even alluded to it. This is evidence from a Christian source that this prophecy is not and never has been in the Buddhist scriptures. So like the prophecy itself, the claim that it was removed from the Tipitaka is an impudent lie.
From the Internet.

70 comments:

Aaron said...

Dear Bhante,

I suppose this hoax is a tit for tat response to the hoax that Jesus was Buddha's disciple? I'm surprised it took this long for people to come up with the reverse of the hoax about Jesus being Buddha's disciple.

Actually, I'm not too surprised that there are people who are prepared to lie in order to pursue their own agenda, even when it comes to religion. Even the Buddha himself warned of frauds wearing the yellow robe, right?

I think at the end of the day, what is important for an individual is to do the right thing, as you have done by critically analysing the claim and pointing out the parts that are untrue and why they are untrue.

Your entry is in the same spirit as that of the Buddha when he advised his disciples how to respond to criticisms of his teachings. You have internalised the teachings of the Buddha very well! I hope I can be like you some day.

reasonable said...

I hope this critical analysis by Bhante can be re-posted in those Christian websites' comment/feedback section (if any) that contained that lie about Gotama Buddha predicting Jesus' advent.

Perhaps Bhante can list some of those websites here so that some of us can spread the critical analysis to refute that lie?

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Please note that this article is taken from http://dhammaprotector.blogspot.com/2009/09/did-buddha-prophesize-coming-of-jesus.html
It would probably be best to spread this article on Buddhist wedsites

Honsing said...

The merit of the 5 precepts is incredibly great, let alone the 8 precepts. Hence I doubted the authenticity right from the second sentence.

May we all practice the 5 precepts diligently and ride on the benefits to develop our meditation and wisdom.

yuri said...

I have never heard the hoax about Christ as a diciple of the Buddha. But some believe that he somwhow knew about the Buddha's teachings. For one, I am sure of this. The Gospel by Thomas indicates it strongly, I find in it some parallels even with Dhammapada. The church fathers did not include this "apokryph" (secret teaching) into the New Testament. But the history of early Christianity is the history of conflict between so-called orthodox Christians who tied up Jesus with Old Testament and gnostics who based themselves on Thomas' gospel and denied Divine Birth story and insisted not on faith but on "knowing yourself". The victory of one faction over the other does not necessarily mean that it was really right. Many scientist think that Thomas' Gospel preceeded the New testament gospels in time.

reasonable said...

This is not the place for me to talk about the Gospel of Thomas but since Yuri mentioned some points about it which I fear may result in readers jumping too fast to conclusion, allow me to briefly point out that the issue of the dating of Gospel of Thomas is very complicated and there are many scholars, including non-Christian scholars such as Bart Ehrman, who provided scholarly reasons showing it to be a document formed later than the "canonical" bible. In addition, whether or not it belongs to the category of Gnosticism is another area of continuing scholarly discussions (refer to scholar Elaine Pagel). A search in wiki will give an brief intro to the issues. Tentatively, given the various reasons from both sides of the camp, it seems to me, that Gospel of Thomas is slightly more likely to be composed after AD90.

yuri said...

I feel there is nothing wrong in discussing Gospel by Thomas here as in many ways it is closer to Buddhism than to Christian dogmas. Chronological problems are there but in no less measure than the same problems of The New Testament Gospels. I am with those scientists who are sure it was written earlier than NT Gospels. I compared similar sayings of Jesus in GT and NT - more than half of the GT sayings have parallels in the New Testament. And it is obvious to me what was the original saying and what was an edited one for the sake of dogma.

gustav said...

I think christianity is based on this principle of creating frauds, and making people powerless with this method, when it is done to you repeatedly over and over again, if you don't know more about it, you know very little indeed!

reasonable said...

Hi gustav,

I quote the Ven Dhammika's words, taken from his comments in "dhammaprotector" blog (mentioned by him in the 3rd comment above), and share it here:

"I have just come across the web site http://www.letusreason.org/Ecumen14.htm maintained by a Christian missionary named Scott Noble who is a scholar at Maejo University in Chaing Mai. In it he too examines the ‘Buddha Prophesized Jesus’ claim and shows it to be a fraud. He is also critical of those who have perpetrated this fraud and ends his expose by asking, ‘Does it make any sense to use a lie to bring people to the truth?’ So here we have a Christian more concerned about upholding truth than about making converts. It’s good to see."

Many times the problem lies not so much in a religion itself but rather lies in the supposedly followers. "unChristian Christians" (a term I borrow from Ven Dhammika) should be differentiated from Christianity.

:)

yuri said...

I feel Gustav makes a serious point. Christianity has used and still uses many tricks to make people believe... In Russia today our mass media is full of stories about miracles like crying icons of St Mary or descending flames at the time of Xmas in Jerusalem. Peter the Great with his own hands broke one such "crying" icon and found the secret cavities filled with myrrh and microscopc holes leading from them to the eyes. But mass media never mentions that but gladly reports about icons which "cry" today. Or take the holy relics... We are being re-christionised now - but this is our state's policy.

reasonable said...

Hi Yuri,

Those things u have mentioned are not Christianity itself but the wrong practices of some Christians, just as some Thai Buddhist monks' wrong practices does not mean that Buddhism itself is wrong. If we want to adopt a rational or reasonable approach in analysing issues, we should differentiate followers of a religion from the religion itself. :-)

gustav said...

I think and feel that this "Jesus-piece" has appeared because of the teachings of Lama Zopa Rimpoche. Zopa Has repeatedly taught and praised the value of keeping the 5, 8, or 10, or more precepts even for only one day, and promised enermous, unimaginable benefit therefrom. This fraud taked away it all, it literally promises the opposite from lama Zopa's teaching.

yuri said...

1.Dear Reasonable, in the same way we can justify communism, or even National Socialism (Nazism). Lies and confidence tricks, hypocrisy, bigotry and ruthlessness to so called «heretics» or «witches» were not just isolated cases but mass occurrances and clerical campaigns lasting centuries. Christians feel so moved by Christ's suffering on the cross. But the same Christians burnt people alive for saying that the Earth circles round the Sun. Jordanno Bruno was one such victim. But it is worth noting that his cosmogonic views were more like an official pretext. The real reason was that Bruno demanded that monasteries - being among the biggest landowners - must return land to peasants and stop exploiting them like serfs. One of the Fathers of America — Thomas Jefferson said that Christianity was the worst religion in the world as far as hypocrisy and ruthlessness are concerned. When Leo Tolstoy was anathemised by the Russian Orthodox Church for his critical remarks about Chritian dogmas and rituals, his life was endangered because of fanatics iunstigated by Church. There must be some reason for those anti-human manifestations in the Christian doctrine and dogmas. And probably because of very strong emphasis on faith. And in the way Christian Church is organised. Certainly, I will not deny many positive values and changes brought by Christianity. Yet we must see both sides of the coin.

reasonable said...

Hi Yuri,

Do u mean I was not correct to say that when we make judgement about a religion, we should separate the religion from its followers? The rational way to criticise a religion itself is by pointing out the errors of its core teachings, but those practices you mentioned has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus. To criticise Christianity u need to criticise the teachings of Jesus. Jesus did not teach his followers to go about lying to people to spread their religion. Jesus did not teach his followers to go around killing others becoz of differences in faith. So those faults u pointed out are the faults of those Christians who did things which Jesus did not teach them to do.

yuri said...

Dear Reasonable,
The serious problem with Christianity is that it is not easy to say what really Jesus taught. I already mentioned the struggle between two factions of early Christians. I suggest that you try to find the book «Misquoting Jesus» (The story behind who changed the Bible and why) by Bart D. Ehrman. It is about gospels — approved by Church and rejected ones. And it is a careful textological analysis of the New Testament, which shows inconsistencies, problems and contradictions in the God-inspired» gospels. What to believe? Jesus' message of love and forgiveness? Or him taking part in the Final Judgement when «bad sheep» will be thrown down into hell for eternal torture? ... (And that only through faith in Jesus we can avoid such unattractive future). Or should we hate our parents and our brothers and sisters and even our life which for the believers is God's gift? But that's what Jesus said (St.Luke's gospel)...
I am of the opinion that true teachings of Jesus are in St.Thomas' gospel, and I greatly appreciate them. But they are not Christianity of Christian Church. You separate the teaching (which is not consistant and is not free from contradictions) from the practice of Christianity, say in Dark Ages, when millions of people were burnt alive, drowned or mutilated in the name of Christ. MILLIONS!!! Once again I want to say that there is some reason for all that. Maybe in the way Jesus' teaching was presented by Fathers of Church and the way it was spread. The whole nativity story is an invention, to put it mildly. But unlike the story of Buddha's birth welcomed by angels and Gods, which has nothing to do with his Teaching, and can be disbelieved, the Divine birth of Jesus is a dogma, which you MUST accept, or you will not be a true Christian. Etc etc etc...

no said...

I am following this interesting discussion... luckily the Venerable is on leave, otherwise he will say too lengthy discussion ambling too far :)

wizwman said...

I always thought the Jesus story is a fabrication, an excuse to upgrade the old testament. Using the Jesus character and weaving in similar Buddhist parables & teachings of compassion the new testament was produced to modify the wrathful images in the old testament. Jesus appeared for a fleeting 2/3 years and then was dispensed of. I guess it would pose a problem to cooking up the tale if the character is around any longer.
In the past Christians say they won't listen to other religious teachings cos they believed those are words of Satan leading them away from God. But nowadays you see Christians in Buddhist talks and meditation, picking up Buddhist teachings. Some Christians now say their God is `energy' and they talk about cause and effect (karma), about letting go, about mindfulness etc. I believe in time to come bible version 3 will emerge.
I wish people have more integrity at least with religious beliefs which is so important and so urgent in their dwindling life.

yuri said...

Dear no, I feel that the discussion of Christianity has developed in such a wat that Rev's blog has become misused by us. I was going to suggest to switch over to our email addresses. But I do understand the position of Reasonable as myself for a number of years tried to become a good Christian. In vain as I finally felt I was knocking at the wrong door. And I am happy that I've found the Buddha's teaching which has effectively solved so many personal problems and offered the way to spirituality totally satisfying me. I see the problem in Christianity of the same kind as in Communism. Lofty ideas of universal brotherhood (internationalism), care for the most downtrodden and destitute people, ideals of full freedom and equality, the idea of collectivism and keeping social needs higher than personal needs. But everything is distorted by the idea of proletarian dictatorship and class hate. In the same way Christian Church tries to control your whole life and your mind, and is intolerant to other ideas, considering them Devil's work. And the same ruthlessness to its opponents.

reasonable said...

Hi Yuri,

Years before Bart Ehrman wrote his Misquoting Jesus I am already exposed (and had some practice) with "higher criticism" of the bible and "lower criticism" (e.g. textual criticism). Among trained evangelicals it is common to talk about, and sometimes accept, the non-historicity of this and that biblical events etc. Ehrman's book may seem to contain new stuff to some people but those stuff were nothing new to me and other well-read Christians. :) And being Christian, from my experience, is not to believe against evidence, but rather to be brave and honest enough to let evidence change one's conviction. One can remain a Christian without believing in the virgin birth, just as one need not believe in those supernatural tales surrounding Gotama Buddha's birth and yet can remain a Buddhist if one believes in the core teachings of Buddhism. The real critical event for Christianity is not d virgin birth but the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and one need not believe in it until one are convinced by analysis of data that Jesus' bodily resurrection is a likely event. I believe in being reasonable even in matters of religion. I am against blind faith or faith unsupported by proper reasoning. Both Buddhism and Christianity are great religions supported by proper reasoning. :)

yuri said...

Dear Reasonable, the central event in Christianity, as you say along with St.Paul, is bodily resurrection of Jesus. No resurrection — no Christianity. So you put a miracle to the fore and not Jesus' teaching. You speak carefully about its likelyhood. But I do not think there is the slightes possibility of it unless Jesus did not die on the cross but fell into a kind of deep trance. We have a Buddhist leader in Russia — Hambo Lama Yerdeneev - who was buried after his «death» in 1920s, already an old man then. According to his instructions a few years ago (when 80 years passed) his body was dug out and he is now in a special chamber in a Buddhist monastery in Buryatia and he was shown on TV. He was inspected by medical specialists and their verdict is that he is not dead, there is still some very slow biological life in the body and absolutely no usual signs of postmortem decay. The lamas say that he could be revived but as he did not leave any such instructions they refuse to do it. Now imagine, that they do it and Yerdeneev is «resurrected». Will it be the central event in Buddhism? Will it testify to the ultimate truth of Buddha's teachings? It will prove nothing for me except the fact that there are some yet undiscovered possibilities in human organism.

yuri said...

Dear Reasonable, sorry I overlooked your obvious intention to round up this discussion. I am ready for that too but only one final point - you speak about two great religions, but I am outside of them both. I am not a religious person anymore, and I see problems in both - Christianity and Buddhism - as religions. But I am in ernest search for Truth and the 8-fold Path has reformed me in many ways and has proved beyond any doubt that it does what it promises! Thank you for a very intelligent way of discussing such delicate subjects.

no said...

This is a fine discussion, reminding me how the Buddha debated the other ascetics and recluses of his time, mindfully and without acrimony. I would like to add a post here as, just like Yuri, I also "for a number of years tried to become a good Christian", a subject deeply ingrained in my being, and hope that Venerable would be magnanimous in allowing this post.

To "make judgement about a religion, we should separate the religion from its followers", said Reasonable, is indeed the only fair way. Reasonable's Christianity, being so reasonable, is something refreshing to me, perhaps it is because I was exposed mostly to the fundamentalist fire-and-brimstone variety. He says, "The real critical event for Christianity is not d virgin birth but the bodily resurrection of Jesus, and one need not believe in it until one are convinced by analysis of data that Jesus' bodily resurrection is a likely event." Perhaps the logic here is that the resurrection indicated a certain divinity in the person Jesus, so it is only reasonable to give attention to his teachings. But to know for sure it did indeed happened? So many possibilities, such as the one mentioned by Yuri, though I do realise a cogent case could be made for its having happened (I recall a book written by two lawyers who weighed the evidence for and against the resurrection and concluded that it is reasonable to believe it happened). Even if we concede that it happened, we are landed with the problem of figuring out the core teachings, and why the "risen" Jesus did not intervene in helping to sort out the diversity in beliefs and excesses. I recall Dr Maurice Walshe (the Buddhist scholar who translated the Long Discourses into English) once said that as Buddhists there is no need to reject that the resurrection happened, but he did not explain any further. I now share this view too. Why not a miracle? Every religion has miracles. So a miracle in Christianity does not mean that only Christianity is the one true religion. That would be irrational. We might say all religions are true, but their applications in various time and societies caused the diversity. As Yuri pointed out, the Gospel of Thomas and Buddhism have so much in common. I would also like to add that Islamic Sufism is also not in conflict. That "God" is a "jealous God" is just so much tribal crap invented at a time when the Jews were desperately trying to survive as a people. I believe Jesus tried to set aside all this by saying that the "Law" was fulfilled in him and therefore should be finished and be done with. Though personally Buddhism has helped me sort out many spiritual knots, all that flows from a compassionate heart, tending towards truth and goodwill, might we not consider to have come from the same fountain spring, be it called "God", "The Unknown", "The Unborn", "The Unconditioned" and so forth?

reasonable said...

Hi Yuri and Hi "no",

Thanks for the sharing of perspectives. You have raised questions which I am tempted to answer and clarify, but I have to reject that temptation because we are suppose to make short comments related to the Ven Dhammika's posts and not start our own topic here. So I will say just very briefly say that even if Jesus' resurrection is true it does NOT immediately means that Christianity is true. There are still some "chains of reasons" one need to appreciate first before one can arrive to accept the intellectual likelihood of Christianity. One miracle, even if true, does not mean a religion is true. This is not the place to discuss such details so let's leave it at that.

There are ways scholars can determine which are the likely teachings of Jesus just as there are ways to separate the likely teachings of Gotama Buddha from other teachings originated from others but ascribed to the Buddha.

I am happy that "no" mentioned d possibility of "the Unconditioned", "the Unborned" and "God" [the Non-contingent] being the same. It reminds me of the terms "Unborned" and "Unconditioned" used in this English translation [not sure if translation is accurate] of verses 80-81 of the Udana, a document in Tipitaka: "There is, O monks, an Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed. Were there not, O monks, this Unborn, Unoriginated, Uncreated, Unformed, there would be no escape from the world of the born, originated, created, formed."

Each of us has limited experiences and also blind-spots, so it is good to remind ourselves that our judgments are fallible [hence my conclusions are open to change]. By mutual-sharing we can enlarge our experiences and appreciate rational possibilities which we otherwise might not know of.

Shalom & Metta :)

yuri said...

Unborn, unoriginated... is NOT what Christian Church, or any other theistic religion means by God, though a few similar words are used in describing the Trinity along with very different ones. And it is not incidental that the Buddha never used the word "God" to denote the pure consciousness of the Universe. And it is interesting to note that in St.Thomas gospel Father Alive is never referred to as God or even Heavenly Father.

reasonable said...

Uncreated, Unconditioned, Unborn, Non-contingent are what theistic theologians would agree as part of the attributes of their God.

yuri said...

Such descriptions of the Almighty can be found even in ancient Egyptian faith, from which Judaism and Christianity borrowed certain tenets and myths. But there were others which the Buddha would have never used... In Middle Ages there was a very popular story widely read throughout Christian world. About Indian Prince Ioasaf, or in the Arabic original Iosafat which was a distorted word Boddhisattva. And yes, the story was about Buddha but with a difference. He left the Palace in search for truth, but found it from the Christian saintly person Varlaam. (I use the Russian rendering of his name). And Buddha (Ioasaf) was converted and spread Christianity to the whole of India and to many adjacent countries.
At the time of his death he prayed to the Trinity? and used not only these four adjectives but many more and all of them in line with the Buddha's teaching. But then he referred to God and the words were typically theistic - Creator, the Ruler and so on... To my mind that Story shows some knowledge of the Buddhist teaching... The funniest things of all that the Buddha under the name of Ioasaf has become the saint of Russian Orthodox Church and his icon is in one of the Kremlin's Cathedrals.

yuri said...

Sorry - a wrong article... The Buddha under the name of Ioasaf is ONE of the saints of the Russian Orthodox Church, as well as his Father Sudhodana under the name of Avenir. Their day is 2nd or 3rd of December. And a church devoted to him was in Moscow but it was destroyed in 1930s by bolshevik rulers. adigowns

Christine said...

Apparently this prophecy was taken from Buddhist Scriptures from a temple in Thailand.

According to this website, http://bibleprobe.com/buddhatoldofjesus.htm

“Permission was granted to copy these Buddhist Scriptures from Wat Phra Sing in ChiangMai Province. The person who gave permission was Phra Sriwisuttiwong in Bangkok. It is guaranteed that this copy is accurate according to the original, that there is no error in transmission, which is in the book of the district headman, the religious encyclopedia volume 23, book #29. This inquiry was made on October 13, 1954 A.D. (Buddhist era 2497)”

Perhaps you may wish to travel there to investigate the matter more deeply? If it were true, I think it will have massive implications for the Buddhist faith.

Shravasti Dhammika said...

Phra Sriwisttiwong could give his permission a hundred times, guarantees of accuracy could be given a thousand times, village headmen could verify it a million times, and the religious encyclopedia (which encyclopedia ?)vol.23, book #29 could…whatever it does, ten million times, the words attributed to the Buddha are not in the Tipitaka and never have been. Believe me, Christine, it’s a load of old codswollop.

waterpark said...

I've written a paper on this from a Christian perspective. If you'd like to see it I can e-mail it to anyone...

waterpark777@yahoo.com

Scott

Jake Elliot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jake Elliot said...

Hey Christina!

That's where I first saw this prophecy too.

http://bibleprobe.com/buddhatoldofjesus.htm

I should apologise. I plugged this article on a popular Christian forum, rather excited about this dsicovery. However, I was concerned that it might be false and asked if anyone could verify it's accuracy (is they lived in the Changmai region). It is possible that this would have furthered other Christian's to spread it across the web further. I have not seen any other web information on this.

I was confirmed this prophecy was genuine by a monk who studied at Luang-Prabang in 2007 when I went there. He never got back to me, but convinced me through his conversation that it was real. He told me it was a future Buddha with disks in his hands and feet. (I noted in Burmha that Buddha is portrayed with disk-shaped in hands and feet on certain traditional calendars - coincidence?)

Also. I did go back to Thailand two years later and was in contact with some Buddhist monks (and British scholars). Some denied it, some said they read it and could give me the references when they had the time. The ones who denied it (the scholars), there argument seemed incredibly weak. Your article seems more plausible for me to doubt the credibility of the buddhist prophecy. But the actual Buddhist monks couldn't tell me if it was true or not. Fair enough, since I have a basic understanding of how the Buddhist/education system works over in south-east Asia.


So I don't know what to think of this prophecy anymore.

I wanted the truth of this to be resolved three years ago. (BTW- Thanks for your time in answering this debacle! It does indeed need to be resolved. The sooner the better!)

The dude said...

In my study of Christianity and Buddhism I have found that they both teach the same principles. Prayer, meditation, actions and thoughts. In Jesus's description of the kingdom, the kingdom is a field with wheat sown. The enemy, Mara, or the devil, sows the seeds of fear. You harvest both thoughts but separate the wheat from the chaff. Burn the chaff. Like the native American parable of the two wolves. The only difference being that the core christian belief is not in the resurrection of Christ but in his death. Since the dawn of human consciousness, the desire to sacrifice for forgiveness from the divine has been a core part of our conscience. Jesus was given the authority to and did give himself as the last sacrifice any human would need to be forgiven of his sins. It allows the human being a quick way of forgiving and accepting one's self and in turn being able to forgive and accept others. It brings the human soul to rest. "Forgiveness liberates the soul. It removes fear." -Nelson Mandella. Buddha was found in a peaceful land and saw the suffering in indulging in our base desire. The more you indulge, the more you want. Jesus was found in a war torn land and found suffering to be in the fear of the populace. Fear of the Roman conquest, fear of their own rulers, fear of famine, fear of each other. They were both gifts of God to humanity in it's different cycles. Buddha saw to stopping a peaceful population from becoming so apethetic as to lose it's humanity. Jesus saw to stopping a warrior population from becoming so blood thirsty as to lose it's humanity. Buddha taught to sacrifice pleasure to feel pleasure. Jesus taught to sacrifice your own life to experience life. To give up fear for love. Both supported the mission to support the weak, heal the sick, raise the orphan and feed the widow. That should be the human mission. The common thread. It's true Christian precepts are the same as buddhist.

1. Love God above all things. God is love. (Attachment to things is doomed to suffering.)
2. Love others as much as yourself. (No more and no less. A middle path)
3. Treat others as you would have them treat you. (Simple law on conduct.)

He also taught we are obsolved from the old jewish laws and brings a higher law as described. He was saying all cultures were obsolved by faith. No more animal sacrifice. No more human sacrifice. No more self sacrifice. Only the voice of Love. It was a message to the world. Jew or gentile.
Who knows? His teachings may have been for buddhists too. It doesn't mean stop praying meditating, and self discovering. It just means you don't have too. You can accept yourself as human and as loved by God the father either way. And God is a father in this case because Fathers are no where to be found in nations of war. "I have no parents, let heaven and earth be my parents.".

-A taoist, Christian, Buddhist, Samurai, humanist dude

The dude said...

A correction to my last post. Legalistic is a better word. Not so much blood thirsty.

Unknown said...

Oh, interesting thought:

Another way to disprove this is that the Buddha said "palm" of the Holy One's hands, not wrist. In the 1st Century in the area where Jesus' lived the wrist was considered a part of the hand and the Scripture says that Jesus' hands were pierced by the crucifixion nails. Historically the nails would be nailed into the wrists. It has been a LONG time medical and historical error that Jesus was pierced in his palm and not the wrist. Medically, a person cannot be crucified by being nailed in the palm as that person's body weight would be too heavy for the palm and the person would fall off of the cross. The nail must be driven through the wrist. And yet the Buddha allegedly said "palms," which is incorrect, unless "palms" includes the wrist in his culture and language in that time period somehow. Because of this, we can continue to further prove that this prophecy of the Buddha is a fraud.

Jonathon von Tischner said...

There is plenty of evidence to support Christianity, it doesn't need some made up prophesy. There are several great books by atheists who went to disprove Christianity and became believers, like "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" or "Case for Christ" or "Who moved the Stone." Youtube "Ancient Secrets of the Bible Shroud of Turin", or "Lies in the Textbooks" by Kent Hovind. God bless.

Lavanga Jayakody said...

I am Also from Singapore and a Christian , I happen to stumble on this page and I respect the view of this author, Please not that every christian does not approve the false fabrication and those prophecy stories , for me The Holly Bible is enough and the Message of Jesus Love and Salvation to Share the Gospel with any willing heart , rather than fabricated stories. that Buddha also said etc. We have to agree that people with various distorted minds exist and they do low level things to convert people to different religions but I as a Christian can say that this is wrong , If I need to talk to a Buddhist the Salvation message of Jesus I will talk to him or her plain what Jesus said and how he or she can become Friend with God thats all what matters I will never drag my self to such low levels to Preach the Gospell of Jesus

Unknown said...

What nonsense is this? Looks like someone thinking with the 'Christian cap" on with no idea what "Buddhism" is!! Please do not make a fool out of yourself writing nonsense like this.

Claire Bennett said...

Thank you. I heard this story, but it didn't ring true, and I suspected it was one of those, "urban legends of the Christian kind." It seems it is mostly sourced from a missionary to Cambodia, as I discovered on another site.

The thing is, you can't exactly blame people who repeat what they believe to be true, except that we all need to do more fact checking prior to spreading falsehood. Anyway, I am thankful Buddhists never converted to Christianity several hundred years ago, or you would have been killing Jews too.

curious said...

whichever Christian fabricated the Buddha prophecy story was an amazing character. Somehow he etched the story on numerous walls inside Buddhist temples in multiple countries. Then he convinced writers and monks in ancient Buddhist history to insert a prophecy of the Maitreya's coming to coincide with Buddha's prophecy of the decline of the Dharma (found in the following manuscripts or monk writings: Li tai san pao chi, Hui-yuen Kumarajiva, Life of Vasubandhu, Castra II Preface, Sang-ying - Castra Preface, Fu tsou t'ung chi, Fa-tsang Castra Commentator), Chih-k'ai, Fo tsu li tai tung tsai, Maham aya sutra and Nagarjuna Castro commentato, Mantra sect Shingonshyu? http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/aof/aof00.htm.). In these ancient writings, the decline of the dharma and the coming of the Maitreya were prophesied to occur between 300-600 years after Buddha's death. If this story was not fabricated by a Christian, I'm betting it came from the Buddhist, Asvaghosa.

Brad Bick said...

Maybe some Christians will investigate Buddhism because of this.

Nick Mitchell said...

Responding to Claire Bennett's statement about being glad Buddhists didn't convert to Christianity or else they would be killing Jews as well, I would like to send out a warning. True, the hatred for Jews really arises from Christian influence. Classic anti-semitic arguments from a Christian mindset is stating how the "Jews killed Christ" or some other ridiculous reason for why hatred for Jews is encouraged. The point is that Christians harbored on long forgotten histories and beliefs that caused hatred to arise towards the Jews. Knowing this, we need to be careful that we don't use the same sort of argument against Christians. We associate Christianity to this day with the concepts of social power, conquest, persecution, and bigotry. Although there are certainly horrible Christians out there, such as Westboro Baptist Church, the majority of Christians are no longer the oppressors, but the oppressed. They have become the Jews of today. We continue to think of Christians as if they have any real power in the world. Sure, the Pope and the Church has influence, but the Pope does not have armies he can send as he once did. Times have changed, and I think we need to recognize this, and recognize the fact that Christians are the most persecuted religious group of today. Check out this article concerning persecution of Christians: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/christians-the-worlds-most-persecuted-people-9630774.html. Just remember that when you are picturing the average Christian as a middle class white guy pulling up in his car, late to sunday worship, the average Christian is actually a starving mother in the third world who is generally getting her teeth kicked in for being a Christian. Just keep that in mind.

JALAL77able said...

I am wondering how people use lie for spreading what they believe, People does everything for spread their religion.I do not know what will they do with adding millions new follower to Christianity while pre-Christian dont even follow their own religion. On the Internet i found only this web site where someone show interest to show their lie. while on Christian web site they posted that lie everywhere. it's indicate that Buddhist are not interested in propaganda.

I am not Buddhist or Christian. But i like principles of Buddhist life..Thank you!

iseethereforiam self said...

http://www.faithlight.org/id61.html

The prophecy is true. -> (Permission was given to copy these Buddhist Scriptures from Wat Phra Sing Chiang Mai Province by Phra Sriwisutthiwong in Bangkok, Thailand. “It is guaranteed that this copy is accurate according to the original, that there is no error in transmission, which is in the book of the district headman, the religious encyclopedia volume 23, book #29. This inquiry was made on October 13, 1954 A.D. [Buddhist era 2497]

propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...

What really is bothering you about it. Both Christ and buddha sought truth and to free others we can look at it in this light perhaps. I read the prophecy is in a museum in Cambodia. There are also lost books of the bible not accepted by the scholars also.they claim the same defense of it doesn't follow the pattern somehow in style or language. We do know for sure and many Buddhist teachers agree that wisdom knowledge of Buddhism and writings even of king Solomon were shared among the traveling routes.

propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...

The prophecy is in a glass case in Thailand. A Buddhist monk translated it and circulated info. Christians did not start it. But find it of interest of course.

propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...

Brad Now that's a true perspective

propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...

Yes palms was considered part of wrist hand

propheticfire/ D. gansmann said...

Buddha probably would of listened and appreciated Christ from what I see of him also being a master of seeking truth. Would buddha argue and blame Christians? I think not. He would Say what he always says to seek truth and relieve suffering

Richard Morse said...

I don't ask this in anger but if you wrote all these people where are the letters? You make alot of claims to have searched and asked questions but where is the evidence of the answers? All is see is names of cities and places then your words alone giving the answers. I see no more evidence in this then the other side. Why should i believe this more? Sincerely a searcher

Ulisse Di Bartolomei said...

http://www.amazon.it/Sun-Myung-Moon-Little-Syndrome-ebook/dp/B011HRMB56/


Would you want to create your own cult? To became the pope of your group or even a messiah? No problem: some dollars, a bit of imagination and... done! Learn it through the Korean unifying movement of the self-styled “messiah plus reverend” Sun Myung Moon: the Unification Church! Very active in the richest countries in the world. From the campaigns against Marxism and Christian culture to the help for Jean-Marie Le Pen party in France, in 88s. Strategies “no profit” to recycle a remarkable amount of money, in normal activities “full profit”. The secrets of the fundraising and sales “door to door”. An economic empire built on fundraising, making anybody believing of feeding nagger kids and not doing that even for one. A deepened report of the most picturesque enterprise of the history: the Moon’s sect! Probably the cleverest fraud until now! A narration, that pertains one of the primary ruinous evil of our era: the impoverishing speculation on the money in purpose of mere acquisition, without producing nothing for the common benefit! A recognition in the language denoted of plagiarism and self plagiarism, that denote the interpersonal deal in the mystical micro-cults.

Somporn Kool said...

We all can spend years of our times to argue on this matter and we will not go anywhere after all. Why don't you ask yourself this question, Am I knowing and being sure of what we're believing and putting our trust to so called gods or things that we worship for years that will help us to enter the HEAVEN the place that the Lord of all universe lives? if not why don't you ask for the true God with your sincere heart and I know for the fact that He will show Himself to all who asks because He loves us and He created us to be His children from the beginning and don't forget that our times on this earth are very short and we don't know about tomorrow. I was searching for this truth for years and i used to worshiped everything that people told me good, but my heart never been filled with peace and confident with hope of heaven until I came to Him who claimed that He is the way, the truth and life and He's only way to heaven

Marius Koala said...

there is too much confusion in what you wrote.

orthodox Christianity does not have a Thomas Gospile and in reality Orthodox Christianity was the birth place of Christianity and Cannon Law which is the basis of all modern economies. the "so-called" orthodox Christians gave Christians their bible as formulated. You should study history, religion before you make comments. (Antioch, and bible was written in Greek language and incorporated by Greek, Armenians and other lands at the time. thesaloniki, etc. ) also, just cause someone took science for 4 years with a degree does not put them in a position to recommend. As all studies, processes and methodologies can be changed, manipulated.

Also, orthodox means traditional and is the second largest Christian sect in world. At that time the roman empire was headed by Constantinople not Rome. You need to go study history and religion. Your seriously confused.

The roman Catholic church was joined with Eastern Christianity via constantinople until they installed a Pope which was forbidden. This is where there is all these cult type of Christian religions stemming from Catholic church of Rome. No break off from Orthodox churches, why ? Because they don't mix politics and religion as is forbidden.

Referring to Buddhism and Christianity, the Buddha foretold the comming of incarnate God 500 years from a specific point which is where the three wise men came from. The three wise men were Buddhists.

So to all the politically and self infested people you (" internal elementals of self catering pride, attachments and desires") need to lay off from the politics and stop trying to take owner ship over everything or blaming others to try and gain your "self worth". You can only reach a better understanding by studying, reasoning, and using common sense.

As both Christianity, Buddhism and many other religions state, God create everybody and everything from itself and only a path selflessness, love, happiness, giving and forgiving will people reach a higher state of their eternal being.

Stop the blame game.

+++ VOID +++

Tone Freshwater said...

Again I am reminded to quit the outer world in my search for truth, for it is only through the inner realization of truth will I ever see PURE truth. It is sad that Christians have to stoop to this level to attempt to convert lovers of the Buddha. At first I thought awesome, if the Buddha had this precise vision of the Holy one, then yes let's abandon the old way....but it was too precise and supportive of the limited Christian belief. I needed a more clear and sane understanding of this misleading prophecy. Your writing on this matter really helped. Going back inside now to resonate with the bodhisattva's. Namaste

Ruwan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruwan said...

I think it is better to watch this video from start to end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xY0Ib3aPG6Y

Marius Koala said...

I have respect for Buddhism mainly because of its neutrality and theology to seek the goodness in all things. but, think about this.

If God created everything from itself in complete love, compassion and knowledge including every living things in time and out of time and in all spaces already created and about to be created from itself.

Doesn't that make all of us equal ? Without need of any form of dali lama, buddavisa or other lineage of the flesh.

Aren't we all spiritual brothers and sisters ?

And isn't our purpose to life is to live, experience life on our own (suffering in physical flesh life), if we are all eternal beings from God, from the God self ? (Meaning you, me, Everybody is a piece of god)

And even God incarnated in its purest form either as a messenger, buddavisa, or Christ (the anointed one to end suffering) doesn't that still make us all the same as we all started before time was even created ? (Being a part of god) Afterall, if we are all eternal in spirit and the fresh isn't real.... Doesn't that also mean that we all existed before time before suffering.

Maybe sin or negative karma is the disconnection of our purest natural form of a being. Maybe life of suffering in this place (physical world) is occuring because is disconnected by God; while desire, fear, anger drives us...

Maybe things in life aren't always what they seem, we are not born with knowledge, we learn, live and enjoy.

Maybe all these things don't matter, Afterall we are from the same place. Just suffering in physical life during the very short period of time in our lives.

I think fear and desire is playing a role in discussions; there is no room for fear.

All people are great, and each person and life is precious and very important. Afterall, we don't exist for no reason.

Marius Koala said...

Thank you for stating the point that minorities are percicuted around the world. Especially Christians living in the middle east. I come from an area that we had to keep our religion quiet and to ourselves, we would suffer horrible (you won't even want to hear it) types of torture, sexual torture and starvation for being Christian. It bothers me when others put down other human beings or pick up a specific negative historical (political) event that occurred and blame everybody else.

Thank you ! Some minorities need some reassurance that they won't be forgotten and that their lives mattered.

Marius Koala said...

Thank you for stating the point that minorities are percicuted around the world. Especially Christians living in the middle east. I come from an area that we had to keep our religion quiet and to ourselves, we would suffer horrible (you won't even want to hear it) types of torture, sexual torture and starvation for being Christian. It bothers me when others put down other human beings or pick up a specific negative historical (political) event that occurred and blame everybody else.

Thank you ! Some minorities need some reassurance that they won't be forgotten and that their lives mattered.

Stacey said...

Its in cambodia?? Youre in the wrong country maybe>>> http://bibleprobe.com/buddhatoldofjesus.htm

Stacey said...

This is a very important issue do not brush it off as hoax till u find the documents!! God to Thailand and Cambodia maybe even do a documentary on it.....find it!!

Stacey said...

Yes you do so dont limit your research study it!!

Stacey said...

Do further research cause it may be in Cambodia!! http://bibleprobe.com/buddhatoldofjesus.htm

Stacey said...

Why is there an exclaimation by your post?? Wierd....lots of deleted ones as well. Is he trying to edit them to support his article only??:(:(

Stacey said...

And Buddhists should not just believe this one article but read the prophesy themselves in Thailand/Cambodia!! Someone should do a documentary on it letters not satisfactory u need to go!!

Stacey said...

Well if some said they read it than how can you belueve this article instead?? At least you talked to them in person....its a little known scripture so why would all of them have to know.:(:(

Stacey said...

Why not wait till youve done the research before making assumptions.....