Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:37 am

PeterB wrote:There simply is no need for a more exotic explanation.

You party-pooper, Peter!
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:41 am

Hi Ben.... :anjali: Sorry...
But... scroll forward a millenium or two..to Merton, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Keating et al..and it starts to get very interesting.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:52 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
mogg wrote:Its not weak at all Kim, its called circumstantial evidence. Sometimes people want to think that someone will discover a time capsule with all the detailed step by step processes outlined whereby A led to B. It doesn't happen like that. The reality is, there is no history of monasticism of any kind in Christianity aside from individual hermits. Buddhism enters Europe, unquestionably, and then at some stage Christian monasticism appears. Is it 100% certain? Of course not. Is it the most plausible explanation available? In my opinion, yes.

Hi, Mogg,
With the knowledge I have got, convergent evolution is as good an explanation as your hypothetical Buddhist influence.
You say, "Buddhism enters Europe, unquestionably," but I don't know of any evidence for that. Then you say, "and then at some stage Christian monasticism appears," but Christian monasticism didn't begin in Europe. And you give no evidence and no dates. I don't expect - or even want - a time capsule. I would just like something more akin to evidence one way or the other.

:namaste:
Kim

Kim, it would appear the "knowledge you have got" ain't so crash hot. I think you mean 'parallel evolution' rather than 'convergent evolution', but nonetheless, I am doubtful whether using biological terminology to elucidate spiritual development is a sound one.
To address your second comment, here's a snippet from wikipedia pertaining to Emperor Ashoka:

Ashoka also sent many prominent Buddhist monks (bhikshus) Sthaviras like Madhyamik Sthavira to modern Kashmir and Afghanistan; Maharaskshit Sthavira to Syria, Persia / Iran, Egypt, Greece, Italy and Turkey; Massim Sthavira to Nepal, Bhutan, China and Mongolia; Sohn Uttar Sthavira to modern Cambodia, Laos, Burma (old name Suvarnabhumi for Burma and Thailand), Thailand and Vietnam; Mahadhhamarakhhita stahvira to Maharashtra (old name Maharatthha); Maharakhhit Sthavira and Yavandhammarakhhita Sthavira to South India.

There is some debate about precisely when and where Christian monasticism began, but Egypt is as good a place as any to put forward, and Buddhism was well and truly established there.

The kind of evidence you are looking for doesn't presently exist. That however, does not disprove the opinion I am advancing.
Last edited by mogg on Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Coyote » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:25 am

This isn't my field so if there are those who know more feel free to offer more conclusive evidence for/against. In my quick research I can't find any scholar who finds a link between Buddhism and Christian monasticism per se, but as I said earlier I have read somewhere, in a reputable source (I think...) that indian ascetics influenced those who would come to influence the early christian movement and the desert fathers in particular- such as John the Baptist and other similar figures and movements (essenes?). I can't find it though, and I could be wrong.

Edit: of course even if this is true, it is a far cry from saying Christianity "borrowed" from Buddhism. I think that is unlikely.
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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Ben » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:28 am

PeterB wrote:Hi Ben.... :anjali: Sorry...
But... scroll forward a millenium or two..to Merton, Bede Griffiths, Thomas Keating et al..and it starts to get very interesting.


No worries, Peter.
At this stage, I am more interested in the cross-cultural influences of presbyterian scholasticism and western colonialism on Buddhism during the late 18th and 19th Centuries and how those influences are still present and active today.

I am sure there is a wealth of interesting material in the history of the ancient and medieval church (I've read some of St Augustine) - unfortunately I just don't have the time at the moment to pursue that avenue with the attention and consideration that it deserves.
kind regards,

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725

Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Coyote » Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:36 am

If you want to look a modern comparison between Christianity and Buddhism look no further than eastern orthodox such as Fr. Seraphim Rose (he was a Buddhist before he converted) and other American Orthodox monks. Whether there was a conscious influence or not, I remember, back when I was into that kind of thing, listening to various talks by these monks and thinking that they sound very "buddhist". Their teaching on the ego is uncannily similar to some Indian teachings, above and beyond the teachings of their predecessors. The ego is an illusion, that kind of thing. Removal of desire. All very "Buddhist" but of course this stretches back into very early times so it is again unlikely for there to be any real influence. It is interesting to compare though.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby binocular » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:20 am

Sambojjhanga wrote:So what do you all think?


If one tries hard enough, one can probably find similarity between any two things. It's how the mind works ...

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 26, 2013 10:31 am

Coyote wrote:If you want to look a modern comparison between Christianity and Buddhism look no further than eastern orthodox such as Fr. Seraphim Rose (he was a Buddhist before he converted) and other American Orthodox monks. Whether there was a conscious influence or not, I remember, back when I was into that kind of thing, listening to various talks by these monks and thinking that they sound very "buddhist". Their teaching on the ego is uncannily similar to some Indian teachings, above and beyond the teachings of their predecessors. The ego is an illusion, that kind of thing. Removal of desire. All very "Buddhist" but of course this stretches back into very early times so it is again unlikely for there to be any real influence. It is interesting to compare though.

You have chosen an odd example, given that Seraphim Rose in his book " Orthodoxy And The Religion Of The Future " not only repents of his own earlier involvement with Buddhism...but identifies Buddhism with what he sees as Satanic influences.

Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating among others are Christian monks who write of their being influenced by Buddhism.
But neither support the idea of an ancient influence on Christianity by Buddhism.
Rather that that a particular variety of Christian practise arrives by processes paralleled by some forms of Buddhist meditation, to a compatible outcome. These processes are called Apophatic prayer..prayer beyond words and concepts.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Coyote » Fri Apr 26, 2013 11:13 am

And yet Fr. Seraphim said of Buddhism: 'It's fine as far as it goes, but it does not go far enough'. I'm not saying there is conscious influence. But if I remember correctly there seemed to be some very (far) eastern influences in what I have read of modern orthodox spirituality. How far this goes back I do not know. Some of the ideas that I remember do have ancient roots, but seemed to me to go above and beyond that.

I've never claimed any ancient Buddhist influence. And yet it is interesting to compare their similarities. Apophatic theology is one area, as you mention.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:14 pm

I think it is what Ben said Coyote..I think its parallel evolution.
If you get a bunch of people in caves..some in the Himalayas, some in Greece and if those guys watch their breath and calm their minds then certain results will follow.
How those people then interpret those results may vary.

There is a very interesting record of a conversation between Thomas Merton and an old Tibetan hermit..although each practised according to their own tradition, when they compared notes they were amazed at the similarities in experience.
At one point the Tibetan laughs and says... " what is happening here..this cant be right."...

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby mogg » Fri Apr 26, 2013 12:50 pm

PeterB wrote:I think it is what Ben said Coyote..I think its parallel evolution.
If you get a bunch of people in caves..some in the Himalayas, some in Greece and if those guys watch their breath and calm their minds then certain results will follow.
How those people then interpret those results may vary.

There is a very interesting record of a conversation between Thomas Merton and an old Tibetan hermit..although each practised according to their own tradition, when they compared notes they were amazed at the similarities in experience.
At one point the Tibetan laughs and says... " what is happening here..this cant be right."...

Thomas Merton?!

In April 1966, Merton underwent a surgical procedure to treat debilitating back pain. While recuperating in a Louisville hospital, he fell in love with Margie Smith,[26] a student nurse assigned to his care whom he referred to in his personal diary as "M". He wrote poems to her and reflected on the relationship in "A Midsummer Diary for M." Merton struggled to maintain his vows while being deeply in love. He remained chaste, never consummating the relationship.[note 1] After ending the relationship, he recommitted himself to his vows.[27]

It appears he didn't get too far on the path Peter.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby PeterB » Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:55 pm

On the contrary. I think the fact that " he remained chaste " suggests that he did.
The sign of a person who is aware is not that they are human and tempted. Its the fact that they keep their vows.
Certainly the Dalai Lama thought so.
He described Merton as having an extraordinary insight into the nature of things.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Justsit » Fri Apr 26, 2013 3:18 pm

His Holiness at Merton's grave

Image

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby ground » Sat Apr 27, 2013 5:34 am

When there are two springs conveying water that originates from the same subterrestrial water reservoir it may not be appropriate to say that one spring "borrows" from the other spring. :sage:

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Zakattack » Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:21 am

ground wrote:When there are two springs conveying water that originates from the same subterrestrial water reservoir it may not be appropriate to say that one spring "borrows" from the other spring.

In Wikipedia, is the idea of one Samyaksambuddha different from the idea of two springs? What of the Christian idea of 'Only Begotten Son'?

:shrug:

Samyaksambuddhas (Pali: sammasambuddha) gain Nirvana by their own efforts, and discover the Dhamma without having a teacher to point it out. They then lead others to enlightenment by teaching the Dhamma in a time or world where it has been forgotten or has not been taught before, because a Samyaksambuddha does not depend upon a tradition that stretches back to a previous Samyaksambuddha, but instead discovers the path anew. In the Bahudhātuka Sutta ("Many Kinds of Elements Discourse," MN 115), the Buddha tells Ven. Ānanda:

It is impossible, it cannot happen that two Accomplished Ones, Fully Enlightened Ones, could arise contemporaneously in one world-system—there is no such possibility.

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

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby ground » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:23 am

Zakattack wrote:
ground wrote:When there are two springs conveying water that originates from the same subterrestrial water reservoir it may not be appropriate to say that one spring "borrows" from the other spring.

In Wikipedia, is the idea of one Samyaksambuddha different from the idea of two springs? What of the Christian idea of 'Only Begotten Son'?

:shrug:


Since you are quoting my words and since your response does not appear to match the intended message ...
"the same subterrestrial water reservoir" stands for the source of human creativity in the context of humans dealing with their dilemma
"two springs" stands for the two products of this source being mentioned in the context of this thread. Actually there are more than two springs since there are more religions in this world of humans.

:sage:

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Zakattack » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:33 am

ground wrote:"the same subterrestrial water reservoir" stands for the source of human creativity in the context of humans dealing with their dilemma

Does the literature about Jesus include a search for enlightenment to solve suffering? Or did Father God send his Only Begotten Son into the world, already complete with wisdom?

ground wrote:"two springs" stands for the two products of this source being mentioned in the context of this thread. Actually there are more than two springs since there are more religions in this world of humans.

What evidence is there for two sources from two searches? Is our own personal search another spring? Are there as many springs as there are meditators? Or is there one spring revealed by Samyaksambuddha from which all others drink?

:shrug:

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby ground » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:48 am

Zakattack wrote:
ground wrote:"the same subterrestrial water reservoir" stands for the source of human creativity in the context of humans dealing with their dilemma

Does the literature about Jesus include a search for enlightenment to solve suffering? Or did Father God send his Only Begotten Son into the world, already complete with wisdom?

ground wrote:"two springs" stands for the two products of this source being mentioned in the context of this thread. Actually there are more than two springs since there are more religions in this world of humans.

What evidence is there for two sources from two searches? Is our own personal search another spring? Are there as many springs as there are meditators? Or is there one spring revealed by Samyaksambuddha from which all others drink?

:shrug:

Sorry but I think you do not understand my message. Never mind. Don't bother yourself. It is not important. :sage:

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby Zakattack » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:02 am

ground wrote:Sorry but I think you do not understand my message. Never mind. Don't bother yourself. It is not important. :sage:

In the Bible, it is written:

John 8:28
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.

John 12:49
For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.

John 15:15
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Was Samyaksambuddha taught by 'the Father'? Is 'the Father' the same spring that has been posted; the same subterrestrial water reservoir?

Or was Samyaksambuddha without teacher? Or was 'The Father' Samyaksambuddha's teacher?

:shrug:
Last edited by Zakattack on Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Did Christianity "borrow" from Buddhism?

Postby ground » Sun Apr 28, 2013 6:11 am

Maybe you are trying to introduce another spring? If so go ahead. Human creativity must not be blocked. :sage:


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