Origins of Jesus Christ

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by Tommy Shue, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Aupmanyav.. good point, like Daoism, Gautama merely taught how to free oneself. No G!d required. In much the same manner, pantheism, panenteism and panpsychism "go beyond" G!d.
     
  2. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    Perhaps, knowing it to be True, Buddha Shakyamuni taught that speculation is fruitless on something which is utterly beyond the ken of both Humans and Buddhas.

    This is like asking who shot the poisoned arrow, which clan he is from, where he grew up, where he obtained the poison, how he learned to make it, whether it requried many teachers to perfect the method or whether it took only one, etc. ;)
     
  3. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    Honestly, I continue to be surprised by the readiness with which the iteration that Gautama is an atheist gets repeated so often. Perhaps, one could argue that what he taught could well be taught without reference to any deity. I can see that. But my sense is that assertions like that, while cogent and plausible in their context, are often turned into declarations of Gautama's apparent atheism. That would be misleading. The earliest texts showing Gautama's various reflections -- courtesy of the latest peer-vetted modern strictly secular research -- do not show atheism.

    On the one hand, some of the Mahayana texts are now viewed by the secular scholarly community, by professional scholars in modern academe, as being much later than the Pali Hinayana texts. In addition, even the Pali Hinayana texts have now been divided into early, middle and late. For instance, The Dhammapada (sp.?) is generally judged to be in the relative middle of the textual history of the Pali Hinayana tradition; while the sermons of the Digha-Nikaya collection are generally taken to be among the very earliest in the textual history of the Pali Hinayana tradition. Even among these Digha-Nikaya sermons, roughly 15 or so of the approximately 30 sermons in the Digha-Nikaya are taken to be significantly earlier than the other 15.

    It's among the earliest 15 of the 30 sermons in the D.-N. collection that we have the Mindfulness sermon and a sermon on attaining closeness to Brahma, who is the Hindu deity whom Gautama does believe in, although he does not credit Brahma with all the attributes that the traditional Vedic believers ascribe to him.

    In the sermon on Brahma, Gautama says --

    "Know, V¤seÂÂha, that (from time to time) a Tath¤gata is born into the world, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding, in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universe -- including the worlds above with the gods, the M¤ras, and the Brahm¤s; and the world below with its Sama¼as and Brahmans, its princes and peoples; -- and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in the letter and in the spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfectness."

    And in the same sermon, Gautama also says --

    "Then in sooth, V¤seÂÂha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from household cares should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahm¤, who is the same -- such a condition of things is every way possible!
    And so you say, V¤seÂÂha, that the Bhikkhu is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself; and that Brahm¤ is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself. Then in sooth, V¤seÂÂha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahm¤, who is the same-such a condition of things is every way possible!"

    Again, Gautama does not ascribe to Brahma, or to the gods generally, all the attributes that traditional Vedic/Hindu believers ascribe to deity (or that believers of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition ascribe to deity either, for that matter). For instance, Gautama does not ascribe creation to any deity. But Gautama does ascribe to the basic notion of there being such a thing as the divine in the first place, and so I do feel it unfortunate that some poorly read readers do not realize that.

    I am not placing any value judgement on being either a believer or an atheist. But very frankly, I am placing a value judgement on being ignorant and/or just plain wrong. I believe that's appalling. And I am placing an even more candid value judgement on glibly circulating bad-penny "information" without studying primary texts. I consider that reckless, careless and inconsiderate in the extreme.

    Somewhere the misconception arose that Gautama was wholly atheistic, which would mean to me that our best and earliest information somehow indicates that Gautama proactively maintained that no deities exist. That is manifestly not what he maintained at all. If what is meant instead by some of the remarks on Gautama submitted here is that Gautama viewed all deities and the divine as ultimately irrelevant, that is another thing. I would still view that as somewhat simplistic, but at least that would be based on some degree of reading of the original sermons, however eccentrically.

    I guess one can say that Gautama sometimes implies that the nature/existence/qualities of deity/the divine are ultimately unimportant. But he does believe the divine exists. His philosophy/doctrine may well be somewhat separate and apart from his beliefs with respect to the divine. But his beliefs re the divine are that it exists, but that its nature and function may not necessarily be central to true enlightenment.

    In some respects, this foreshadows Epicurus, who did credit such a thing as the divine, but who reckoned that deities were ultimately uninterested in human actions.

    Cheers,

    Operacast
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I quite agree.

    Thomas
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    I have a bit to short a attention span for Operacasts eloquent but long posts, but I tend to agree with the first part at least. I have never heard that he actually dismissed a divinity, please do correct me if that is the case. Choosing not to talk about some things is only an indicator as to the importance of that thing to what one is talking about. So for all I know, the divine or divines might have been very important to Buddha, but not in the points he was trying to make.
     
  6. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    I think that puts it very well. Thank you.

    Cheers,

    Operacast
     
  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Nice, Cup of Tea. Cannot give you a reputation. Operacast, Buddha had to tell things to the audience 2,600 years ago, when the education did not go beyond three Rs and study of scriptures. Most even did not have that, and in addition the background of hundreds of hindu Gods and Goddesses (not that there were no hindu atheists, or that hindism cannot survive the loss of Gods - 'Advaita'). But that is what the situation was.
     
  8. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    It seems I've heard repeatedly that he thought there was so much to concern oneself with regarding improving this life...the suffering, the poverty, the desperation....he devoted his time to addressing it rather than arguing, discussing, contemplating things like the potential of afterlife and G!d(s)....things which had been debated for centuries to no conclusion and which affected the current condition little if at all.
     
  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Buddha advised people not to discuss these four things:

    "The Buddha-range of the Buddhas (i.e., the range of powers a Buddha develops as a result of becoming a Buddha)...
    The jnana-range of one absorbed in jhana (i.e., the range of powers that one may obtain while absorbed in jnana)....
    The results of karma...
    Speculation about (the first moment, purpose, etc., of) the cosmos is an imponderable that is not to be speculated about. Whoever speculates about these things would go mad and experience vexation."

    These four things do not in anyway help to lessen a person's sorrow.
     
  10. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    "What, asks the Buddha, entitles us to believe that anyone meets Brahma face to face? Prompted by Gotama’s questions, the young brahmins concede that no living brahmin teacher claims ever to have seen Brahma face to face, nor has any living brahmin teacher’s teacher, nor has any teacher in the lineage of teachers for the past seven generations.

    Moreover, not even the Rishis, the ancient seers who made the Vedas available to man and whose words the brahmin priests learn and chant and transmit down through the generations, claim to have seen Brahma face to face. What we have, then, is the astonishing state of affairs in which the followers of the brahmanical religious tradition are striving towards a goal for the existence of which no one has any evidence. Their religious goal, says the Buddha, is laughable (hassaka), vain (rittaka) and empty (tucchaka)."
    http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/atheism.pdf

    Could anyone, even an atheist, say it more clearly? My problem is that I internalize information. If you ask for references, then I find it very difficult to reproduce them. But if you insist, I will find more for you. As for RigVeda, the hindu creation hymn, Book 10, Hymn 129, Nasadiya Sukta, that being my favorite http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/rigveda/rv10129.htm, clearly says:

    "Who verily knows and who can here declare it, whence it was born and whence comes this creation?
    The Gods are later than this world's production. Who knows then whence it first came into being?"
     
  11. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    There is a school of thought in Indian philosophy that takes the gods as powerful but not omniscient and not complicit in creation. It is this understanding of the gods that is referenced in the Rig-Veda citation above.

    As for the PDF article at the top of your posting, the description there of the thirteenth sutta of the Digha-Nikaya is profoundly misleading. The whole sutta is readily available on the web here --

    DN 13 - Tevijja Sutta

    When one reads the whole sutta, it's plain that Gotama Buddha is criticizing those Brahmins who claim encounters with Brahma while having been ill-equipped for such encounters in the first place. G.B. then goes on to explicitly describe just what is needed to encounter Brahma that such Brahmins lack: to wit --

    "He then dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbuded with compassion, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbuded with compassion, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, without ill will. 'Just as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard without difficulty in all four directions; even so, Va̅seṭṭha, of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with a heart set free (ceto-vimutti) though deep-felt compassion.
    'This I say, Va̅seṭṭha, is the way to the state of union with Brahma̅."

    It is astonishing to me that a modern writer like Richard P. Hayes should write such a wholly misleading piece like this and wholly ignore the whole last third of one of the earliest dialogues in the whole Pali tradition! The only laughable thing here is the hopelessness of typical Brahmins themselves as described in the sutta -- and the apparent ignorance or worse shown by Hayes in this article!

    Operacast
     
  12. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    Re: Her beauti

    It's obvious these postings from x8ialoiu are pure spam. It's time for the moderators to look at just what's going on with this poster right away.

    Sincerely,

    Operacast
     
  13. Operacast

    Operacast Member

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    In fact, further reading of Hayes's article (http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/atheism.pdf) shows that even Hayes is not really using this thirteenth sutta to show that Gotama Buddha questions the existence of deity altogether. Only the poster, Aupmanyav, who introduced us to this article is making that mistake. On page 3 of the Hayes piece, Hayes explicitly states --

    "The Buddha’s reaction to those who seek to meet the creator or who seek the unsur-
    passed lustre is not to deny that such things exist. "

    -- which was the same point I was making. It would be nice if those here who choose to cite such articles could bother to get the point of such an article right the first time -- and I include myself in that as having been overhasty in feeling that Hayes was making a mistake that actually only Aupmanyav was making.

    Operacast
     
  14. LilieKatz

    LilieKatz Interfaith Forums

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    You cannot study Jesus if you don't read the 4 Gospels in the New Testament. You need to get all the information you can. Cheers!
     
  15. Wolfman

    Wolfman New Member

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    As this forum is about the origins of Jesus, has anyone given any thought to the idea that Jesus was an Essene preacher? The Essenes were a Jewish sect that were adamantly against the Pharisees and the Sadducees (much like Jesus and his apostles) and a vast majority of Jesus' teachings mirror those of this particular sect. This theory makes the most sense to me personally, as the idea that he would be allowed to preach in synagogues without some form of education always struck me as odd. And the Essenes were monastic, so it could also explain why he seemed to drop off the map for a while.
     
  16. The Adept

    The Adept New Member

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    It looks to me like Jesus was an Essene, along with John the Baptist.
    His teaching upon the Temple of Herod modifications reflects their ideas that the Temple should have been more like the one imagined by the prophet and visionary Ezekiel. Or like Solomon's, without the segregations.
     
  17. taijasi

    taijasi Gnōthi seauton

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    I believe you are both on the right track.

    One view among many esotericists is that Mary and Joseph both belonged to the Essene community. They would thus have been much better prepared for the role they were to play, and also would have been able to assist Jesus more directly in his own, intended and future work.

    By an early age Jesus knew quite well what it was he would be required to do. This, New Testament Gospel accounts tell us this and provide clear, memorable examples. Further, we are even told that the `Three Magi' attended the birth of Jesus. Unless this is somehow an apocryphal or purely symbolic account, this lends further credence to the notion that God's Work was well-planned-out from `the very beginning.'

    Again, I think it makes complete sense that Jesus would have been raised in an environment where his future work was supported, and where he could have ready access to the resources which would assist him in his Mission. Today this is the case, it occurred in cases before his own. Why on EARTH would it not apply to this Noble, `Son of God'?

    John the Baptist,
    as well, would perhaps have been an Essense, disputes over the method and oil/water usage in Baptism notwithstanding. Or then, I may have this completely confused ...

    Regardless, yes, I think Jesus and his parents were Essenes, and there is much writing and testimony that further supports this view.

    One of the very problems that the intelligent person often has with modern Christianity is the haphazard, cobbled-together view of God which it suggests, or which we are supposed to buy into. It is as if the historians and theologians themselves are the experts, and God just some kind of puppet, easily manipulated when we need to bend things around again to make better sense.

    In this way, the very birth of Jesus becomes an afterthought, something we could have even come up with ... but which - apparently - God had to cook up, in order to correct that hogwash about a snake screwing over Eve in the `Garden of Eden.' Hmmm, Original Sin, damn that's gotta suck. I know, I know! We'll wed this notion with an already age-old MYTH which seeks to convey the importance of Sacrifice ... and voila! God "gives his only son," and before you know it, blind faith, vicarious atonement, and the sale of indulgences will lead us all to spiritual victory over death!

    Oh dear. Oh dear, indeed.

    Many of the theologians and historians who cooked up, and manipulated some of these beliefs, may not have intended such blasphemy, such INSULT to the Purpose, Intelligence and Love which must, perforce, apply to a `Perfect God.' But in all honesty, my pet cat is more consistent, more understanding, more Loving, and more intelligent, than such a tyrant. Even the New Testament does not lift our understanding altogether out of the realm of the absurd, because some of the nutjobs really did do a number on what even common sense should tell us - MAKES NO SENSE.

    I don't worship my cat, by the way, no matter what I may also think, or believe about Bast[et]. And nowhere will you find Jesus, Christed Jesus, asking you to worship him. I'll bet the Essenes didn't feel any great need to do that, either.
     
  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

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    Who is Hayes? I am not at all interested in what Hayes says. I was quoting the supposed words of Buddha.
     

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