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Buddhism?s Relation to Christianity (A Miscellaneous Anthology with Occasional Comment)

Buddhism?s Relation to Christianity (A Miscellaneous Anthology with Occasional Comment)
$43.00
Item Code: NAC705
Author: Michael Lockwood
Publisher: Tambaram Research Associates, Chennai
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788184655537
Pages: 288 (Illustrated In B/W)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.8 Inch X 7.5 Inch
weight of the book: 770 gms
From the Jacket

There is a proverb in India to the effect that one shou1d not inquire too deeply into the origin of rishis (God-men) or rivers. This book, however, seeks to plumb the very depths of the great puzzle of the relation between the Buddha and Jesus.

The First Section features a select, annotated bibliography highlighting almost two hundred years of scholarly work on the remarkable parallelism between the messages and lives of the Buddha and Jesus. The Second Section deals with Buddhist sculptures, a number of which were created in the centuries BCE. They parallel episodes in the Christian scriptures.

The Third Section considers several stone inscriptions of King Asoka, who, in the third century BCE, ruled over most of India, and beyond, into what is now Afghanistan. These inscriptions reveal the spreading abroad of the Buddhist doctrine (Dharma), as far as Egypt and other countries around the Mediterranean. There are many parallels between Buddhist doctrine and Christian doctrine.

The Fourth Section examines the strange story of the most widespread legend of Christian sainthood during medieval times. The Buddha was somehow turned into a Christian saint and, in the 16th century, canonized by the Roman Catholic and other churches!

The fifth Section discusses several instances of parallel parables. It may be of interest to note that only Buddhism and Christianity have made extensive use of parables. The Sixth Section lists various parallels in the sayings of the Buddha and Jesus.

The Seventh Section attempts to emphasize certain pioneering developments achieved by Buddhism. as a missionary religion, prior to similar developments in Christianity. The Eighth Section takes up the contentious debate about the historicity of Jesus. Various arguments for and against his being historical are considered.

And, finally, the Ninth Section deals with two examples of extreme revisionism. Both of these theories argue that Jesus is not a historical person. And, further, they both hold that the evangelists who wrote the gospels of the New Testament were actually crypto-Buddhists. The pioneer of this extreme revisionism is the Danish Sanskrit scholar, Christian Lindtner, The strong reactions to his radical views have illustrated the basis of the Indian warning not to inquire too deeply into the origin of God-men or rivers.

The Author

Professor Michael Lockwood taught philosophy for thirty-two years at Madras Christian College, South India. His research has been mainly in the field of Indology. With his colleague, professor Vishnu Bhat, he published, in 1994, Metatheater and Sanskrit Drama — followed in 2005 by its second, revised and enlarged edition. Also, in 2005, the two colleagues published another work on classical Sanskrit drama: Charudattam: ‘Torso of a Masterpiece’. A few years earlier, in 2001. Dr. Lockwood, together with several colleagues, brought out the book, Pallava Art.

Now, in retirement, Dr. Lockwood has devoted several years to the present study of the relation of Buddhism to Christianity.

Preface

There is an ancient proverb found throughout India, expressed in many of its languages. In the Tamil language, it is:
Rishi-mulam nadhi-mulam araya-k-kudathu.

One should not inquire too deeply into the origin of rishis (God-men) or rivers.

The sources of mighty rivers may be tiny, muddy streamlets. The origin of God-men may be . . . well, very different from what one might have expected! Nevertheless, I have, instead, taken to heart the biblical admonition. “Test everything; hold to that which is correct” and I have presented, in the selected works and the commentary thereon, the results of serious investigations in archaeology and linguistics. The scholarship, in the Ninth Section especially, leads to conclusions which are startling and extraordinary in the extreme, and therefore require extraordinary evidence to support them. It has been my goal to present this evidence as accurately as possible. Sometimes even assuming the role of Advocatus Diaboli.

The Introductory Section features a select, annotated bibliography highlighting almost two hundred years of scholarly work on the remarkable parallelism between the messages and lives of the Buddha and Jesus. It will become apparent that much of the serious and often radical study of this parallelism has been written in German and Dutch—and that the English speaking world has been slow and half-hearted in getting around to translating the radical works.

The Second Section deals with Buddhist sculptures, a number of which were created in the centuries BCE. They parallel episodes in the Christian scriptures. For example:

Plate II.9, where the Bodhisattva (the future Buddha) is shown accompanied by music of the heavenly hosts as he prepares to descend to earth from heaven. Parallel: Luke 2:13-14, where the heavenly hosts sing when Jesus descends from heaven to earth.

Plate II.29 & 11.30, the visit of aged Asita to the royal palace is shown, where he holds the baby Bodhisattva — represented only by his footprints on the cloth in Asita’s hands. Parallel: Luke 2:25-33: aged Simeon’s temple visit, where he holds the baby Jesus.

Plate II.70, Mara (the Devil) is shown with his army, after having tempted the Bodhisattva, who is represented, on the extreme left, only by a throne beneath the bo (bodhi) tree. Parallel: Luke 4:1-13: the Devil’s temptation of Jesus. Plate III.42. the Buddha (represented by a throne beneath the bo tree) is shown receiving homage from animals, and, later, from angels (devas) — Majjhima-Nikaya 36. Parallel:

Mark 1:12-13: the Spirit sent Jesus away into the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was among the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Plate III.14, the Buddha (represented by his footprints) walks on water. Parallel: Matthew 14:22-27: Jesus comes walking on the water, approaching his disciples in a boat.

The Third Section considers several of the stone inscriptions of King Asoka, who, in the middle of the third century BCE, ruled over most of India, and beyond, into what is now Afghanistan. These inscriptions reveal the spreading of Buddhist doctrine (Dharma) abroad through Indian missionary monks, as far as Egypt and other countries around the Mediterranean. There are many parallels between Buddhist doctrine and Christian doctrine. The Fourth Section examines the strange story of the most widespread legend of Christian sainthood during medieval times. It is the story of the two saints, Barlaam and Josaphat. Their sanctity was made official in the 16th century by the Roman Catholic Church. But by the 19th century, scholars in Europe had argued convincingly that this Christian legend was actually based on the life of the Buddha. Barlaam and Josaphat were, therefore, removed from Christian sainthood.

The Fifth Section discusses several instances of parallel parables. It may be of interest to note that only Buddhism and Christianity have made extensive use of parables. I have also introduced into the discussion the idea of a ‘meta-parable’.

The Sixth Section lists various parallels in the sayings of the Buddha and Jesus. Such parallels are found widely repeated on the internet. The Seventh Section attempts to emphasize certain pioneering developments achieved by Buddhism, as a missionary religion, prior to similar developments in Christianity.

The Eighth Section takes up the contentious debate about the historicity of Jesus. Various arguments for and against his being historical are considered. And, finally, we come to the Ninth Section, which deals with two examples of extreme revisionism. Both of these theories argue that Jesus is not a historical person. And, further, they both hold that the evangelists who wrote the gospels of the New Testament were actually crypto-Buddhists. Christianity, according to these theories, is a Judaized sect of crypto-Buddhism. The pioneer of this extreme revisionism is the Danish Sanskrit scholar, Christian Lindtner. The strong reactions to his radical views have illustrated the basis of the Indian warning not to inquire too deeply into the origin of God-men or rivers.

Contents

Preface 3
Acknowledgments 5
Section
1. Bibliographic Introduction 9
2. Buddhist Parallels in Sculpture13
3. Buddhist Parallels in Sculpture 49
4. The Buddha Becomes a Christian Saint61
5. Parable Parallels65
6. Parallel Sayings80
7. Firsts Established by Buddhism 97
8. The Historicity of Jesus 130
9. Two Examples of Extreme Revisionism 143
Appendices 275

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