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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: 171

2. The incarnation of Jesus is recorded to have been brought about by the descent of the divine power called the "Holy Ghost," upon the Virgin Mary.[289-3] 3. When Buddha descended from the regions of the souls,[290:1] and entered the body of the Virgin Maya, her womb assumed the appearance of clear transparent crystal, in which Buddha appeared, beautiful as a flower.[290:2] [Pg 290]3. When Jesus descended from his heavenly seat, and entered the body of the Virgin Mary, her womb assumed the appearance of clear transparent crystal, in which Jesus appeared beautiful as a flower.[290:3] 4. The birth of Buddha was announced in the heavens by an asterism which was seen rising on the horizon. It is called the "Messianic Star."[290:4] 4. The birth of Jesus was announced in the heavens by "his star," which was seen rising on the horizon.[290:5] It might properly be called the "Messianic Star." 5. "The son of the Virgin Maya, on whom, according to the tradition, the 'Holy Ghost' had descended, was said to have been born on Christmas day."[290:6] 5. The Son of the Virgin Mary, on whom, according to the tradition, the 'Holy Ghost' had descended, was said to have been born on Christmas day.[290:7] 6. Demonstrations of celestial delight were manifest at the birth of Buddha. The Devas[290:8] in heaven and earth sang praises to the "Blessed One," and said: "To day, Bodhisatwa is born on earth, to give joy and peace to men and Devas, to shed light in the dark places, and to give sight to the blind."[290:9] 6. Demonstrations of celestial delight were manifest at the birth of Jesus. The angels in heaven and earth sang praises to the "Blessed One," saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."[290:10] 7. "Buddha was visited by wise men who recognized in this marvelous infant all the characters of the divinity, and he had scarcely seen the day before he was hailed God of Gods."[290:11] 7. Jesus was visited by wise men who recognized in this marvelous infant all the characters of the divinity, and he had scarcely seen the day before he was hailed God of Gods.[290:12] 8. The infant Buddha was presented with "costly jewels and precious substances."[290:13] 8. The infant Jesus was presented with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.[290:14] 9. When Buddha was an infant, just born, he spoke to his mother, and said: "I am the greatest among men."[290:15] 9. When Jesus was an infant in his cradle, he spoke to his mother, and said: "I am Jesus, the Son of God."[290:16] [Pg 291]10. Buddha was a "dangerous child." His life was threatened by King Bimbasara, who was advised to destroy the child, as he was liable to overthrow him.[291:1] 10. Jesus was a "dangerous child." His life was threatened by King Herod,[291:2] who attempted to destroy the child, as he was liable to overthrow him.[291:3] 11. When sent to school, the young Buddha surprised his masters. Without having ever studied, he completely worsted all his competitors, not only in writing, but in arithmetic, mathematics, metaphysics, astrology, geometry, &c.[291:4] 11. When sent to school, Jesus surprised his master Zaccheus, who, turning to Joseph, said: "Thou hast brought a boy to me to be taught, who is more learned than any master."[291:5] 12. "When twelve years old the child Buddha is presented in the temple. He explains and asks learned questions; he excels all those who enter into competition with him."[291:6] 12. "And when he was twelve years old, they brought him to (the temple at) Jerusalem . . . . While in the temple among the doctors and elders, and learned men of Israel, he proposed several questions of learning, and also gave them answers."[291:7] 13. Buddha entered a temple, on which occasion forthwith all the statues rose and threw themselves at his feet, in act of worship.[291:8] 13. "And as Jesus was going in by the ensigns, who carried the standards, the tops of them bowed down and worshiped Jesus."[291:9] 14. "The ancestry of Gotama Buddha is traced from his father, Sodhōdana, through various individuals and races, all of royal dignity, to Maha Sammata, the first monarch of the world. Several of the names and some of the events are met with in the Puranas of the Brahmans, but it is not possible to reconcile one order of statement with the other; and it would appear that the Buddhist historians have introduced races, and invented names, that they may invest their venerated Sage with all the honors of heraldry, in addition to the attributes of divinity."[292:1] 14. The ancestry of Jesus is traced from his father, Joseph, through various individuals, nearly all of whom were of royal dignity, to Adam, the first monarch of the world. Several of the names, and some of the events, are met with in the sacred Scriptures of the Hebrews, but it is not possible to reconcile one order of statement with the other; and it would appear that the Christian historians have invented [Pg 292]and introduced names, that they may invest their venerated Sage with all the honors of heraldry, in addition to the attributes of divinity.[292:2] 15. When Buddha was about to go forth "to adopt a religious life," Mara[292:3] appeared before him, to tempt him.[292:4] 15. When Jesus was about "beginning to preach," the devil appeared before him, to tempt him.[292:5] 16. Mara said unto Buddha: "Go not forth to adopt a religious life, and in seven days thou shalt become an emperor of the world."[292:6] 16. The devil said to Jesus: If thou wilt fall down and worship me, I will give thee all the kingdoms of the world.[292:7] 17. Buddha would not heed the words of the Evil One, and said to him: "Get thee away from me."[292:8] 17. Jesus would not heed the words of the Evil One, and said to him: "Get thee behind me, Satan."[292:9] 18. After Mara had left Buddha, "the skies rained flowers, and delicious odors pervaded the air."[292:10] 18. After the devil had left Jesus, "angels came and ministered unto him."[292:11] 19. Buddha fasted for a long period.[292:12] 19. Jesus fasted forty days and nights.[292:13] 20. Buddha, the Saviour, was baptized, and at this recorded water baptism the Spirit of God was present; that is, not only the highest God, but also the "Holy Ghost," through whom the incarnation of Gautama Buddha is recorded to have been brought about by the descent of that Divine power upon the Virgin Maya.[292:14] 20. Jesus was baptized by John in the river Jordan, at which time the Spirit of God was present; that is, not only the highest God, but also the "Holy Ghost," through whom the incarnation of Jesus is recorded to have been brought about, by the descent of that Divine power upon the Virgin Mary.[292:15] 21. "On one occasion toward the end of his life on earth, Gautama Buddha is reported to have been transfigured. When on a mountain in Ceylon, suddenly a flame of light descended upon him and encircled the crown of his head with a circle of light. The mount is called Pandava, or yellow-white color. It is said that 'the glory of his person shone forth with double power,' that his body was 'glorious as a bright golden image,' that he 'shone as the brightness of the sun and moon,' that bystanders expressed their opinion, that he could not be 'an every-day person,' or 'a mortal man,' and that his body was divided into three[293:1] parts, from each of which a ray of light issued forth."[293:2] 21. On one occasion during his career on earth, Jesus is reported to have been transfigured: "Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart. And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment as white as the light."[292:16] [Pg 293]22. "Buddha performed great miracles for the good of mankind, and the legends concerning him are full of the greatest prodigies and wonders."[293:3] 22. Jesus performed great miracles for the good of the mankind, and the legends concerning him are full of the greatest prodigies and wonders.[293:4] 23. By prayers in the name of Buddha, his followers expect to receive the rewards of paradise.[293:5] 23. By prayers in the name of Jesus, his followers expect to receive the rewards of paradise. 24. When Buddha died and was buried, "the coverings of the body unrolled themselves, and the lid of his coffin was opened by supernatural powers."[293:6] 24. When Jesus died and was buried, the coverings of the body were unrolled from off him, and his tomb was opened by supernatural powers.[293:7] 25. Buddha ascended bodily to the celestial regions, when his mission on earth was fulfilled.[293:8] 25. Jesus ascended bodily to the celestial regions, when his mission on earth was fulfilled.[293:9] 26. Buddha is to come upon the earth again in the latter days, his mission being to restore the world to order and happiness.[293:10] 26. Jesus is to come upon the earth again in the latter days, his mission being to restore the world to order and happiness.[293:11] 27. Buddha is to be judge of the dead.[293:12] 27. Jesus is to be judge of the dead.[293:13] 28. Buddha is Alpha and Omega, without beginning or end, "the Supreme Being, the Eternal One."[293:14] 28. Jesus is Alpha and Omega, without beginning or end,[293:15] "the Supreme Being, the Eternal One."[293:16] 29. Buddha is represented as saying: "Let all the sins that were committed in this world fall on me, that the world may be delivered."[293:17] 29. Jesus is represented as the Saviour of mankind, and all the sins that are committed in this world may fall on him, that the world may be delivered.[293:18] 30. Buddha said: "Hide your good deeds, and confess before the world the sins you have committed."[293:19] 30. Jesus taught men to hide their good deeds,[293:20] and confess before the world the sins they had committed.[293:21] [Pg 294]31. "Buddha was described as a superhuman organ of light, to whom a superhuman organ of darkness, Mara or Naga, the Evil Serpent, was opposed."[294:1] 31. Jesus was described as a superhuman organ of light—"the Sun of Righteousness"[294:2]—opposed by "the old Serpent," the Satan, hinderer, or adversary.[294:3] 32. Buddha came, not to destroy, but to fulfill, the law. He delighted in "representing himself as a mere link in a long chain of enlightened teachers."[294:4] 32. Jesus said: "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill."[294:5] 33. "One day Ananda, the disciple of Buddha, after a long walk in the country, meets with Mâtangî, a woman of the low caste of the Kândâlas, near a well, and asks her for some water. She tells him what she is, and that she must not come near him. But he replies, 'My sister, I ask not for thy caste or thy family, I ask only for a draught of water.' She afterwards became a disciple of Buddha."[294:6] 33. One day Jesus, after a long walk, cometh to the city of Samaria, and being wearied with his journey, sat on a well. While there, a woman of Samaria came to draw water, and Jesus said unto her: "give me to drink." "Then said the woman unto him: How is it that thou, being a Jew, asketh drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? For the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans."[294:7] 34. "According to Buddha, the motive of all our actions should be pity or love for our neighbor."[294:8] 34. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you."[294:9] 35. During the early part of his career as a teacher, "Buddha went to the city of Benares, and there delivered a discourse, by which Kondanya, and afterwards four others, were induced to become his disciples. From that period, whenever he preached, multitudes of men and women embraced his doctrines."[294:10] 35. During the early part of his career as a teacher, Jesus went to the city of Capernaum, and there delivered a discourse. It was at this time that four fishermen were induced to become his disciples.[294:11] From that period, whenever he preached, multitudes of men and women embraced his doctrines.[294:12] 36. Those who became disciples of Buddha were told that they must "renounce the world," give up all their riches, and avow poverty.[294:13] 36. Those who became disciples of Jesus were told that they must renounce the world, give up all their riches, and avow poverty.[294:14] [Pg 295]37. It is recorded in the "Sacred Canon" of the Buddhists that the multitudes "required a sign" from Buddha "that they might believe."[295:1] 37. It is recorded in the "Sacred Canon" of the Christians that the multitudes required a sign from Jesus that they might believe.[295:2] 38. When Buddha's time on earth was about coming to a close, he, "foreseeing the things that would happen in future times," said to his disciple Ananda: "Ananda, when I am gone, you must not think there is no Buddha; the discourses I have delivered, and the precepts I have enjoined, must be my successors, or representatives, and be to you as Buddha."[295:3] 38. When Jesus' time on earth was about coming to a close, he told of the things that would happen in future times,[295:4] and said unto his disciples: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world."[295:5] 39. In the Buddhist Somadeva, is to be found the following: "To give away our riches is considered the most difficult virtue in the world; he who gives away his riches is like a man who gives away his life: for our very life seems to cling to our riches. But Buddha, when his mind was moved by pity, gave his life like grass, for the sake of others; why should we think of miserable riches! By this exalted virtue, Buddha, when he was freed from all desires, and had obtained divine knowledge, attained unto Buddhahood. Therefore let a wise man, after he has turned away his desires from all pleasures, do good to all beings, even unto sacrificing his own life, that thus he may attain to true knowledge."[295:6] 39. "And behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? . . . Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me."[295:7] "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal."[295:8] 40. Buddha's aim was to establish a "Religious Kingdom," a "Kingdom of Heaven."[296:1] [Pg 296]40. "From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."[296:2] 41. Buddha said: "I now desire to turn the wheel of the excellent law.[296:3] For this purpose am I going to the city of Benares,[296:4] to give light to those enshrouded in darkness, and to open the gate of Immortality to man."[296:5] 41. Jesus, after his temptation by the devil, began to establish the dominion of his religion, and he went for this purpose to the city of Capernaum. "The people which sat in darkness saw great light, and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up."[296:6] 42. Buddha said: "Though the heavens were to fall to earth, and the great world be swallowed up and pass away: Though Mount Sumera were to crack to pieces, and the great ocean be dried up, yet, Ananda, be assured, the words of Buddha are true."[296:7] 42. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."[296:8]

"Verily I say unto you . . . heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."[296:9] 43. Buddha said: "There is no passion more violent than voluptuousness. Happily there is but one such passion. If there were two, not a man in the whole universe could follow the truth." "Beware of fixing your eyes upon women. If you find yourself in their company, let it be as though you were not present. If you speak with them, guard well your hearts."[296:10] 43. Jesus said: "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time. Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."[296:11] 44. Buddha said: "A wise man should avoid married life as if it were a burning pit of live coals. One who is not able to live in a state of celibacy should not commit adultery."[297:1] 44. "It is good for a man not to touch a woman," "but if they cannot [Pg 297]contain let them marry, for it is better to marry than to burn." "To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband."[297:2] 45. "Buddhism is convinced that if a man reaps sorrow, disappointment, pain, he himself, and no other, must at some time have sown folly, error, sin; and if not in this life then in some former birth."[297:3] 45. "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind."[297:4] 46. Buddha knew the thoughts of others: "By directing his mind to the thoughts of others, he can know the thoughts of all beings."[297:5] 46. Jesus knew the thoughts of others. By directing his mind to the thoughts of others, he knew the thoughts of all beings.[297:6] 47. In the Somadeva a story is related of a Buddhist ascetic whose eye offended him, he therefore plucked it out, and cast it away.[297:7] 47. It is related in the New Testament that Jesus said: "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee."[297:8] 48. When Buddha was about to become an ascetic, and when riding on the horse "Kantako," his path was strewn with flowers, thrown there by Devas.[297:9] 48. When Jesus was entering Jerusalem, riding on an ass, his path was strewn with palm branches, thrown there by the multitude.[297:10]

Never were devotees of any creed or faith as fast bound in its thraldom as are the disciples of Gautama Buddha. For nearly two thousand four hundred years it has been the established religion of Burmah, Siam, Laos, Pega, Cambodia, Thibet, Japan, Tartary, Ceylon and Loo-Choo, and many neighboring islands, beside about two-thirds of China and a large portion of Siberia; and at the present day no inconsiderable number of the simple peasantry of Swedish Lapland are found among its firm adherents.[297:11]

[Pg 298]Well authenticated records establish indisputably the facts, that together with a noble physique, superior mental endowments, and high moral excellence, there were found in Buddha a purity of life, sanctity of character, and simple integrity of purpose, that commended themselves to all brought under his influence. Even at this distant day, one cannot listen with tearless eyes to the touching details of his pure, earnest life, and patient endurance under contradiction, often fierce persecution for those he sought to benefit. Altogether he seems to have been one of those remarkable examples, of genius and virtue occasionally met with, unaccountably superior to the age and nation that produced them.

There is no reason to believe that he ever arrogated to himself any higher authority than that of a teacher of religion, but, as in modern factions, there were readily found among his followers those who carried his peculiar tenets much further than their founder. These, not content with lauding during his life-time the noble deeds of their teacher, exalted him, within a quarter of a century after his death, to a place among their deities—worshiping as a God one they had known only as a simple-hearted, earnest, truth-seeking philanthropist.[298:1]

This worship was at first but the natural upgushing of the veneration and love Gautama had inspired during his noble life, and his sorrowing disciples, mourning over the desolation his death had occasioned, turned for consolation to the theory that he still lived.

Those who had known him in life cherished his name as the very synonym of all that was generous and good, and it required but a step to exalt him to divine honors; and so it was that Gautama Buddha became a God, and continues to be worshiped as such.

For more than forty years Gautama thus dwelt among his followers, instructing them daily in the sacred law, and laying down [Pg 299]many rules for their guidance when he should be no longer with them.[299:1]

He lived in a style the most simple and unostentatious, bore uncomplainingly the weariness and privations incident to the many long journeys made for the propagation of the new faith; and performed countless deeds of love and mercy.

"When the time came for him to be perfected, he directed his followers no longer to remain together, but to go out in companies, and proclaim the doctrines he had taught them, found schools and monasteries, build temples, and perform acts of charity, that they might 'obtain merit,' and gain access to the blessed shade of Nigban, which he told them he was about to enter, and where they believe he has now reposed more than two thousand years."

To the pious Buddhist it seems irreverent to speak of Gautama by his mere ordinary and human name, and he makes use therefore, of one of those numerous epithets which are used only of the Buddha, "the Enlightened One." Such are Sakya-sinha, "the Lion of the Tribe of Sakya;" Sakya-muni, "the Sakya Sage;" Sugata, "the Happy One;" Sattha, "the Teacher;" Jina, "the Conqueror;" Bhagavad, "the Blessed One;" Loka-natha, "the Lord of the World;" Sarvajna, "the Omniscient One;" Dharma-raja, "the King of Righteousness;" he is also called "the Author of Happiness," "the Possessor of All," "the Supreme Being," "the Eternal One," "the Dispeller of Pain and Trouble," "the Guardian of the Universe," "the Emblem of Mercy," "the Saviour of the World," "the Great Physician," "the God among Gods," "the Anointed" or "the Christ," "the Messiah," "the Only-Begotten," "the Heaven-Descended Mortal," "the Way of Life, and of Immortality," &c.[299:2]

At no time did Buddha receive his knowledge from a human [Pg 300]source, that is, from flesh and blood. His source was the power of his divine wisdom, the spiritual power of Maya, which he already possessed before his incarnation. It was by this divine power, which is also called the "Holy Ghost," that he became the Saviour, the Kung-teng, the Anointed or Messiah, to whom prophecies had pointed. Buddha was regarded as the supernatural light of the world; and this world to which he came was his own, his possession, for he is styled: "The Lord of the World."[300:1]


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