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Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 105

he fasted for forty-seven days and nights, without taking an atom of food.[175:5]

[Pg 176]

The story of Buddha's temptation, presented below, is taken from the "Siamese Life of Buddha," by Moncure D. Conway, and published in his "Sacred Anthology," from which we take it.[176:1] It is also to be found in the Fo-pen-hing,[176:2] and other works on Buddha and Buddhism. Buddha went through a more lengthy and severe trial than did Jesus, having been tempted in many different ways. The portion which most resembles that recorded by the Matthew narrator is the following:

"The Grand Being (Buddha) applied himself to practice asceticism of the extremest nature. He ceased to eat (that is, he fasted) and held his breath. . . . Then it was that the royal Mara (the Prince of Evil) sought occasion to tempt him. Pretending compassion, he said: 'Beware, O Grand Being, your state is pitiable to look on; you are attenuated beyond measure, . . . you are practicing this mortification in vain; I can see that you will not live through it. . . . Lord, that art capable of such vast endurance, go not forth to adopt a religious life, but return to thy kingdom, and in seven days thou shalt become the Emperor of the World, riding over the four great continents.'"

To this the Grand Being, Buddha, replied:

"'Take heed, O Mara; I also know that in seven days I might gain universal empire, but I desire not such possessions. I know that the pursuit of religion is better than the empire of the world. You, thinking only of evil lusts, would force me to leave all beings without guidance into your power. Avaunt! Get thou away from me!'

"The Lord (then) rode onwards, intent on his purpose. The skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."[176:3]

Now, mark the similarity between these two legends.

Was Jesus about "beginning to preach" when he was tempted by the evil spirit? So was Buddha about to go forth "to adopt a religious life," when he was tempted by the evil spirit.

Did Jesus fast, and was he "afterwards an hungered"? So did Buddha "cease to eat," and was "attenuated beyond measure."

Did the evil spirit take Jesus and show him "all the kingdoms of the world," which he promised to give him, provided he did not lead the life he contemplated, but follow him?

So did the evil spirit say to Buddha: "Go not forth to adopt a religious life, and in seven days thou shalt become an emperor of the world."

Did not Jesus resist these temptations, and say unto the evil one, "Get thee behind me, Satan"?

So did Buddha resist the temptations, and said unto the evil one, "Get thee away from me."

[Pg 177]

After the evil spirit left Jesus did not "angels come and minister unto him"?

So with Buddha. After the evil one had left him "the skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."

These parallels are too striking to be accidental.

Zoroaster, the founder of the religion of the Persians, was tempted by the devil, who made him magnificent promises, in order to induce him to become his servant and to be dependent on him, but the temptations were in vain.[177:1] "His temptation by the devil, forms the subject of many traditional reports and legends."[177:2]

Quetzalcoatle, the virgin-born Mexican Saviour, was also tempted by the devil, and the


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