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December 10, 2019

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Jack:

Who is unwilling to make any statements about the nature of ultimate reality? If you knew the answer to that you would see there is no danger at all in either positive affirmations about what is, or negations about what isn't. If truth is inexpressible, then falsehood cannot exist. Where are you in all of this? A little turtle peeking at you from the mud tells me you are quite upside down.

(Tried to submit this before but not sure if it went through.)

Most schools of Buddhism are reluctant to make any positive statement about the Absolute, and so some mistakenly see Buddhism as nihilism, while others understand it as a kind of via negativa.

One exception is the Shentong school that emerged in Tibet around the 13th century. They say that the Buddha nature can be said to have certain positive qualities such as clarity and luminosity.

Christianity is more like this. Christians say that God is Good, God is Love, God is Truth. The danger with this is that God - the Absolute becomes reified and reduced to conceptualizations and abstractions in the mind. The danger with the Buddhist approach is that by being unwilling to make any statements about the nature of Absolute reality, it is easily misinterpreted as a kind of nihilism, and this is why contemporary western society is so much more open to Buddhism than it is to Christianity - because secular atheists think Buddhism is Richard Dawkins + incense and smiling Asians.

Judaism contains all the truth of the dhama

Sandra:

I am not an expert on this by any means but I have looked into this over the years and conclude that Yeshua must have had some contact with the Buddhadharma. I for one do not think he travelled to India, but more likely, as Zennist has also pointed out, the Buddhadharma would have travelled to the Levant via the Silk Road. Consider as well that Aramaic was a trade language and this helps to fill in some of the gaps. The arguments about the influence of Buddhism on Yeshua's teachings are pretty well established (if not universally agreed upon), and if you look you will find them.

I think it's also worth pointing out that Buddhism was not invented by the Buddha so much as discovered/realized, and the principle of awakening to the nature of reality as taught by Buddhism is not dependent upon religious organization as mere "expedient means".

I also observe in early Buddhism, long before the Bodhisattva ideal became celebrated as it is today, the pratyekabuddha (or self-awakened) was considered superior in attainment to the arhat, as per some references I have posted here previously. Therefore why would it be impossible for Yeshua to have awakened to Buddhism on his own, without necessarily having contact with a monk or traveling to India?

Sorry for the interjection, I just find it a fascinating topic.

The more reasonable view is that Buddhist missionaries went to the Near East, Greece, Egypt and Africa several hundred years before Christianity. Let me also say that the modern view of Buddhism is incorrect and would have very little in common with Buddhism of 200 B.C. or earlier.

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