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June 28, 2010


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jason gosnell

I revisited Christian practice recently. At some point, i realized, that a lot of Christian practice is like Deity Yoga. in that sense, it doesn't matter about the historical Jesus so much since He is a projection space for your own Divinity. I suspect this was the case with the Gospel writers as well. Maybe they never knew Jesus, so how did they write about Him? Much of it came from their own psyches. That's where enlightenment lives anyway. Perhaps along with some actual sayings of the historical Jesus, it appears to me that they built into those stories many myths and teachings already in use. For example, in Greek mythology Zeus impregnates an earth woman producing a demi-god. That is some kind of basic structure for Essence entering into Form and producing a Non-Dual life form..."The Word (the Source) became flesh and dwelt among us."

Barry Briggs

Thank you for your interesting comment, Jason. I appreciate it.

I remember from my college studies that "resurrection cults" were a common phenomena in the eastern Mediterranean in the centuries before and after Jesus' time. There were also Theravadin monks in the region of Palestine and Egypt. If those days were anything like the current period, there was a great deal of cross-fertilization of ideas and forms.

Thanks again.

Maia Duerr

Looking forward to seeing what the Ox digs up!

This may be part of your meanderings over the next week, but I'm especially interested in the new wave of Christian (particularly Catholic) leaders whose teachings and practices are quite parallel with Buddha's teachings. Thomas Merton comes to mind, of course, as well as Father Thomas Keating and Richard Rohr (of the Center for Contemplation and Action in Albuquerque).

As someone who was raised Catholic and, while I was growing up, never heard about the contemplative practices that were part of that tradition long ago, I have deep appreciation for these people who are bringing that perspective forward once again. But it's certainly not something you hear about in mainstream Catholic dogma, for the most part.


A nice book is "Jesus Interrupted".
I think both Jesus and Buddha's words seemed truer, and common, before being "refined" by the religions that followed based on both of them.


Thank you for this post, Barry! I have always loved the teachings of Jesus.

Be well!



This (above link) is a short overview. After reading this post, I was recalling my teenage years, when I first read this book discussing the phenomena. The book, and it's theory, gave me insight into God's plan as seen in evolution. This strenghtened my faith, as I now also had a scientific basis for my faith.
Please notice how Dr. Bucke lists Jesus and Guatama on equal terms, along with some surprising recent persons.

Dr. Bucke led an extraordinary life, traveling the untamed west as a young man.
If I recall correctly, he nearly lost his life to the elements during a crossing of the Rocky Mountains, subsequently having both feet partially amputated and lived his life in pain.

A couple of my favorite litterary quotes;
"I was six when I saw that everything was God, and my hair stood up, and all," Teddy said. "It was on a Sunday, I remember. My sister was a tiny child then, and she was drinking her milk, and all of a sudden I saw that she was God and the milk was God. I mean, all she was doing was pouring God into God, if you know what I mean. ~J.D. Salinger, "Teddy," 1954

God is a verb, not a noun proper or improper. ~R. Buckminster Fuller, No More Secondhand God, 1963


I'm looking forward to this week!


Oh yes, this will be a great week of Ox herding - I'm sure of that!

You know, the Sermon on the Mount (Gospel of Matthew chapters 6 to 8? Something like that anyway) has to be among the most beautiful, inspiring, and challenging words ever uttered.

They belong there, right next to my favourite Sutras (the Universal Gate Chapter of the Lotus, the smaller Amida, the Perfection of Wisdom, and the Metta) as words to read again and again and to aspire to live by.

I'm really looking forward to your comments, Barry, this week. I'm sure you'll bring great new insights. Thank you already!

Barry Briggs

Thanks, everyone, for your comments, encouragement and also helpful suggestions for further reading. I appreciate your support more than I can say.

And...I fear that whatever I have to say will fall short, far short, of the potential of this topic. We'll see...


I'm a christian who also loves the teachings of Buddhism. I've read a couple of the Dalai Llama's books, and anything else I get my hands on. I've 'lurked' here for some time, but haven't commented much.
So....speaking of beautiful teachings, this is from Corintians. That would be the disciple Paul, I believe. It's very famous, but I never tire of it.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

mama p

Hi Barry, great topic! Especially as I seem to remember learning that the Mahayana school itself was influenced by Christianity, or at least the two systems-- both rooted in compassion-- percolated up in the collective spiritual psyche at roughly the same time, historically. (If anyone out there can corroborate on that with dates/agreement, please do, I'd love to remember this more accurately!)

Barry Briggs

Hi Mama P - The only research I know about the Christian/Buddhist "interface" is a paper that describes how Theravada Buddhist teaching may have influenced the development of Christianity. Theravada monks were certainly present in the Eastern Mediterranean region prior to the birth of Jesus and were known as healers ("therapy" derives from Theravada) and teachers. Here's the link:

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