Author Topic: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?  (Read 4992 times)

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2015, 08:41:44 am »
I think that Kshitigarbha Bodhisattva and Jesus have a lot in Common, the descent into Hell, the liberating of Hell souls.

I mean, just look at the names, Kshiti and Christ, similar yes?
Perhaps over time the name evolved into what it is now for Christians.


I've never think of that. Thanks for pointing this out!

Hi Kanji.

My advise is that you never think about it again LOL

"Christ" (from Ancient Greek: Χριστός, Christós, meaning "anointed") is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ (Māšîaḥ) and the Syriac ܡܫܝܚܐ (M'shiha), the Messiah:
Quote
The word Christ (or similar spellings) appears in English and most European languages. It is derived from the Greek word Χριστός, Christós (transcribed in Latin as Christus), in the New Testament as a description for Jesus. Christ is now often used as if it were a name, one part of the name "Jesus Christ", but is actually a title (the Messiah). Its usage in "Christ Jesus" emphasizes its nature as a title.

In the Septuagint version of the Hebrew Bible, the word Christ was used to translate into Greek the Hebrew mashiach (messiah), meaning "anointed." Christós in classical Greek usage could mean covered in oil, or anointed, and is thus a literal translation of messiah.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ

With that said, this doesn't mean that kshiti/christos don't share the same linguistic root (Proto-Indo-European), but it certain had nothing to do with Christianity --- if anything, there's a good possibility that Buddhism might have actually influenced Christianity to some degree, but IMHO still needs a bit more research to know for sure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Sutras

Offline Kaji

  • Pupil of Acala-vidyārāja
  • Member
  • Posts: 15
  • Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ!
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2015, 05:17:09 pm »
Thanks, Dharmakara!

Now that you've mentioned the word messiah, I feel obliged to share this. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) that this word and Maitreya have the same root.

I have not done the research to verify this, but it does make one see the potential connection that the Jews are expecting their messiah's arrival and Buddhists Maitreya's.

Having read your post and the quoted text, I do see that the word messiah means anointed - whereas the word Maitreya carries the meaning loving kindness, or benevolence. But then, in Sanskrit a name can carry more than one meaning. Take the name Avalokitesvara for example. I wouldn't be surprised if the name Maitreya also means anointed.

Regarding the broader question of whether there has been any relations or influence between Buddhism and Christianity - setting aside the theory/claim that Jesus had travelled to India and Tibet - well, my personal take on it is that... how is it important per se?

I'm not saying it is of no value to study their connection. What I'm leading to is that how the study can benefit Buddhists and Christians.

Having been brought up in a Christian family myself, and having read parts of the Bible, I can comfortably say that Jesus did walk the path of a bodhisattva. He certainty exemplified, taught and advocated ethical concepts such as kindness, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, etc. He also had a good go teaching students about renunciation and liberation.

I have read that Jesus did teach about karma and reincarnation but those parts have been edited out of the Bible, but let's park that aside too.

What Jesus had to face was to teach new concepts to the Jewish community, which had certain existing views. Buddhist or not, he had to exercise a fair bit of expedient means to send his messages across.

And if we Buddhists have to converse with Christians to share some of our concepts, perhaps more the secular and philosophical ones, so do we have to use expedient means. Whether he was a Buddhist or not, Jesus makes a great role model for us.

No, we aren't going out to "convert" Christians into Buddhists. All we need to do, I suggest, is to share our views and learnings. Don't dwell on the differences especially the technical and historical ones. Make use of the similarities and learn something new, for both parties. For example, Buddhists can definitely learn the effectiveness and widespread-ness of Christian charities and schooling.

At the end of the day, even if the Christian's heaven is not a pure land of any kind but simply the deva realm, we Buddhists can still create positive karmic bonds with Christians this lifetime. And when we have managed to escape Samsara and/or become enlightened we will come back to help them. This is the Mahayana way. Oh, and they will help us too. How can a bodhisattva's accomplishment be complete (for ascension to buddhahood) without helping those we have a bond with?

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2015, 07:33:57 pm »
Now that you've mentioned the word messiah, I feel obliged to share this. I have read somewhere (can't remember where) that this word and Maitreya have the same root.

I have not done the research to verify this, but it does make one see the potential connection that the Jews are expecting their messiah's arrival and Buddhists Maitreya's.

Correct, both words are derived from the same linguistic root, but we're talking about a language tree that's shared in common and not the aspects of a commonly shared eschatology --- for example, the Jewish and Christian tradition derive from a commonly shared eschatology, where doctrinally speaking the scholars from both traditions would not only have a hard time acknowledging the Mahayana concept of Maitreya as anything other than a false messiah, but Christianity takes it a step further, where Maitreya is considered to be the Anti-Christ himself.

Unfortunately, there's a certain degree of irony at play in all of this, namely that both would probably have no problem with the Maitreya of the Pali Canon, but the Mahayana tradition couldn't leave well enough alone.

Offline Kaji

  • Pupil of Acala-vidyārāja
  • Member
  • Posts: 15
  • Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ!
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2015, 07:37:20 pm »
(...)Unfortunately, there's a certain degree of irony at play in all of this, namely that both would probably have no problem with the Maitreya of the Pali Canon, but the Mahayana tradition couldn't leave well enough alone.
Sorry but what do you mean with your last phrase?

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2015, 09:14:10 pm »
Sorry, I was speaking strictly from academic position, namely that the earlier version of Maitreya found within the Pali Canon wasn't messianic in nature, so I suspect it would have been more acceptable.

Offline Kaji

  • Pupil of Acala-vidyārāja
  • Member
  • Posts: 15
  • Oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ!
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2015, 09:17:29 pm »
Pardon me if my knowledge of the Pali Canon is wrong here. I thought in the Pali Canon the Buddha also said that Maitreya is the bodhisattva that will become the next buddha in this world. Isn't that also messianic?

Offline Dharmakara

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4233
    • View Profile
Re: Buddhists: Is Christianity a Pure Land Practice?
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2015, 09:20:37 am »
In the arena of dialectics, such a statement would be considered to be an inopportune argument and you would have been shown the door. Why? Simply because the historical Buddha that's presented in the Pali Canon is not messianic in nature, so likewise the same can be said of all Buddhas past and in the future --- the Buddha of the Pali Canon did not possess the messianic attributes found within the Mahayana Canon:

Quote
After Avalokita and Manjusri the most important Bodhisattva is Maitreya, also called Ajita or unconquered, who is the only one recognized by the Pali Canon. This is because he does not stand on the same footing as the others. They are superhuman in their origin as well as in their career, whereas Maitreya is simply a being who like Gotama has lived innumerable lives and ultimately made himself worthy of Buddhahood which he awaits in heaven. There is no reason to doubt that Gotama regarded himself as one in a series of Buddhas: the Pali scriptures relate that he mentioned his predecessors by name, and also spoke of unnumbered Buddhas to come. Nevertheless Maitreya or Metteyya is rarely mentioned in the Pali Canon. He is, however, frequently alluded to in the exegetical Pali literature, in the Anagata-vamsa and in the earlier Sanskrit works such as the Lalita-vistara, the Divyavadana and Mahavastu. In the Lotus he plays a prominent part, but still is subordinate to Manjusri. Ultimately he was eclipsed by the two great Bodhisattvas but in the early centuries of our era he received much respect. His images are frequent in all parts of the Buddhist world: he was believed to watch over the propagation of the Faith, and to have made special revelations to Asanga. In paintings he is usually of a golden colour: his statues, which are often gigantic, show him standing or sitting in the European fashion and not cross-legged. He appears to be represented in the earliest Gandharan sculptures and there was a famous image of him in Udyana of which Fa-Hsien (399-414 A.D.) speaks as if it were already ancient. Hsiian Chuang describes it as well as a stupa erected to commemorate Sakyamuni's prediction that Maitreya would be his successor. On attaining Buddhahood he will become lord of a terrestrial paradise and hold three assemblies under a dragon flower tree, at which all who have been good Buddhists in previous births will become Arhats. I-Ching speaks of meditating on the advent of Maitreya in language like that which Christian piety uses of the second coming of Christ and concludes a poem which is incorporated in his work with the aspiration "Deep as the depth of a lake be my pure and calm meditation. Let me look for the first meeting under the Tree of the Dragon Flower when I hear the deep rippling voice of the Buddha Maitreya." But messianic ideas were not much developed in either Buddhism or Hinduism and perhaps the figures of both Maitreya and Kalki owe something to Persian legends about Saoshyant the Saviour.


Hinduism and Buddhism: An Historical Sketch
Sir Charles Eliot / Alexandria (1960)
pp. 398-399


 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal