Christ as a Buddha Figure: Buddhist sources for Christianity. Peter Myers, October 19, 2001; update April 2, 2005.

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To see Jesus as a Buddha figure is to see him as an enlightened teacher and exemplar, but not as a sacrificial victim.

Some books which explore this matter are

(1) Elmar R Gruber & Holger Kersten, The Original Jesus: The Buddhist Sources of Christianity, Element Books Limited, Shaftesbury, Dorset UK 1995.

(2) Holger Kersten, Jesus lived in India: his unknown life before and after the crucifixion, Element Books Ltd, Shaftesbury, Dorset UK 1986.

(3) Martin A. Larson, The Religion of the Occident: or The Origin and Development of the Essene-Christian Faith, Philosophical Library, New York, 1959 (also published as The Story of Christian Origins). Larson, however, is an iconoclast, like his hero Akhnaton.

(4) Zacharias P. Thundy, Buddha and Christ: Nativity Stories and Indian Traditions, E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1993 (Volume LX in the series Studies in the History of Religions).

(5) Also see Arthur Schopenhauer's seminal study of how cultural streams from India and Judaism merged within Christianity, in his book The World As Will And Representation, at schopenhauer.html.

Ethical universalism arose not from the Aryans who conquered India, but from those who rejected the Aryan caste system: the Jains, Buddhists and the like in India, and the Zoroastrians in Persia. In both cases, these revolutionary movements replaced "Race" with a universal Church.

Unabashed American Nazi Dr Revilo P. Oliver wrote, "The Zoroastrian cult and all the cults derived from it can be summarized in one sentence. They replace race with a church" (The Origins of Christianity, Historical Review Press, England, 2001, p. 152):

Schopenhauer was hugely influential on German thinking, and was avidly read by such disparate figures as Albert Einstein and Adolf Hitler. In places, Schopenhauer recognises that Buddhism was a revolution against the caste system; but in other places, he emphasises its continuity with Brahmanism (the religion brought to India by the Aryans). Schopenhauer thus unwittingly contributed to that confusion within Nazi thinking, which allowed racial particularism to be identified with a universal church.

Buddhist universalism was a revolution against Brahmanism; Hinduism developed, and later replaced Buddhism in India, by grafting Buddhist universalism onto Brahmanism as a rootstock, just as, in the West, Christianity grafted Buddhist universalism onto a Jewish rootstock. Buddhism has nearly died out in its Indian homeland, but still thrives in its diaspora; Christianity is presently dying out in the West, but thriving in the Third World.

One implication of seeing Jesus as a Buddha figure, is that he did not HAVE to die: the Crucifixion is merely accidental, having no sacrificial or redemptive value. As a result, any idea that Jews can be collectively blamed for it is rendered meaningless. Judaism is consequently seen as a quixotic tribal religion, incorporating some elements of the Wisdom literature of the Ancient Middle-East, and some barbaric elements.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh on Judaism and Buddhism

from his book The Mustard Seed: A Living explanation of the sayings of Jesus from the Gospel according to Thomas {I include this material, even though I don't hold Jews collectively responsible for the death of Jesus, for its comparison between the relationship of Buddhism to Hinduism, and Christianity to Judaism}.

{p. 291} "You will throw stones at me, you will throw stones at the Truth - but from the stones a fire will come up and burn you."

You cannot burn Truth, you cannot crucify Truth. You crucified Jesus. That is why I was saying yesterday that when Jesus was crucified by the Jews, he was not crucified - they crucified themselves. And the fire has been burning since then, and they avoid and they escape from the fire - but it follows. You can throw stones, but Truth is never hurt.

The moment you throw stones at the Truth, it means that you will be hurt finally, you will burn; a fire will come out of your own stones. And this is the whole history of the Jews: for twenty centuries continuously, they have been burning. And I am not saying that those who have been torturing them are right. No! I am not a supporter of Hitler, or others who have been burning or destroying Jews; no, they are not doing right. The Jews are carrying their wound within themselves - they create their Hitlers. ...

{p. 292} Jews are always in search of their Adolf Hitlers, someone who can kill them - then they feel at ease. ... And I tell you, unless they reclaim Jesus, they will remain in trouble.

Can you conceive of anything more criminal than to crucify a Buddha, to crucify a Jesus, to crucify a Krishna? ... This wound will follow the Jews. It is difficult to get rid of it - unless they reclaim Jesus.

The Hindus are better. That is why they are less guilt-ridden: they never killed Buddha. Buddha was more dangerous than Jesus: he tore up the whole of Hinduism from its very roots. ... But Hindus never killed him, that is why Hindus could live without guilt. Not only did they not kill him - they are very clever and prudent people - they even made him an avatar. {end}

To buy second-hand books on this topic -

by Holger Kersten:

by Zacharias P.Thundy:

by Martin A. Larson:

Arthur Schopenhauer's The World As Will And Representation:

I hope to develop this theme; any comments would be appreciated; write to me at contact.html.