Against The Stream ~ THINK ABOUT IT

SOME OF MY IDEAS MIGHT BE UNUSUAL and different, I know, and I make no apologies for this, because what would be the point in writing a book if there were nothing different in it than in other books?

Now, today—at least in Western countries—we have the precious freedom to investigate anything. Nothing is sacrosanct and beyond honest scrutiny anymore, unlike in medieval Europe, when people who had ideas different—even slightly different—than those taught by the Church of Rome, were branded as ‘witches’ or ‘heretics’, and often horribly tortured and burnt to death. We have made progress, therefore, and should take intelligent advantage of our freedom to investigate—and should protect it, too—so that we may break the bonds of ignorance and superstition.

Yes, some of my ideas might be a bit strange, but I ask no-one to believe me; on the contrary, I ask people not to believe, but to keep their minds open and to think clearly about things. Are you ready for another ‘strange idea’?

It sometimes surprises people when I say I feel closer to Jesus than to the Buddha, and I can almost hear them thinking: "What’s he talking about? He’s a Buddhist monk! How can he say such a thing!?" Well, you see, in the Buddhist scriptures, there is no record of the Buddha ever displaying anger, fear or sadness, and, at my stage of evolution, with an imperfect mind, I must admit that I cannot understand such a state, although I would like to be there. But, according to the Christian Bible—insofar as it can be relied upon at all—Jesus sometimes did get angry, afraid and sad, and this is something I can relate to, because I am subject to those emotions, too; aren’t you? This doesn’t mean that I’m condoning or justifying them here, but just being honest and realistic.

Christian apologists will say (and they always have explanations and excuses for things, even if their explanations are seldom convincing, and sometimes obscure matters even further) that Jesus deliberately showed anger, sadness and fear, so that ‘ordinary mortals’, like you and I, could see to what levels he was prepared to descend in order to help us understand and accept him as ‘our personal savior’; in other words, he was only pretending to be sad, angry and afraid, but wasn’t really so!

Like me now, Jesus had not yet gone beyond these emotions, and so—although he was undoubtedly further along the Way than I am—I can still see him, and understand him very well, whereas the mind of the Buddha, to me, is right now unfathomable. This is why I feel closer to Jesus than I do to the Buddha. The Buddha has crossed the Ocean of Existence, while Jesus is still in the process of doing so; he’s still walking on the water, somewhere between the Buddha and myself.

The Teachings of these two Teachers, however, is another matter—something apart from personality. As they stand today, it is difficult to compare them, because there has been plenty of time and opportunity, over the centuries, to edit and change them. We cannot reasonably suppose that they have come down to us in the present exactly as they were spoken by those Teachers so long ago. The recorded Teachings of the Buddha are still quite clear, though undoubtedly there have been additions. But those of Jesus are often cryptic, ambiguous, contradictory, lacking in compassion, and in parts, downright incredible—though this, I suspect, is due more to those who controlled and compiled the books of the New Testament than to what Jesus actually said. Much has been put into his mouth by people with vested interests who came after him.

Perhaps we shall never know what Jesus really said, as the records have been so distorted; the New Testament is probably the most-tampered-with book in the world. And there is the 18 years’ blank—like a deliberate erasure—in the account of the life of Jesus, from when he was 12 years old until he was 30. I often wonder why the Christians never found or invented things to fill up this mysterious and glaring gap, when they were so good at falsifying things. Can Jesus really have said nothing to his intimate disciples about his activities during these most-important formative years? It seems probable that—like in the ‘Watergate Scandal’, whereby Nixon and his henchmen erased or destroyed incriminating evidence about the secret and unauthorized bombing of Cambodia—some people got together and decided to omit what, to them, seemed ‘unsuitable’ for the general public. Such practices are known as ‘editing’ or ‘censoring’.

This blank in the life of Jesus has provided ample scope for speculation about what he was doing during those years. One concept is that he went to India to study the ancient wisdom there, and this is why his teachings have an Indian flavor about them in parts. But it would not have been necessary for him to go so far to learn about Indian thought, for the caravan-routes from the Orient to Egypt passed through Jerusalem. And 250 years before Jesus was born, the Indian Emperor Ashoka sent Buddhist missionaries to many places beyond the boundaries of his empire, including Damascus in Syria and Alexandria in Egypt, to reach which they would have had to pass through Palestine. So, the Teachings of the Buddha were known in that part of the world long before Jesus lived. There is speculation that the sect of the Essenes—whose records, the Dead Sea Scrolls, were found in a cave near the Dead Sea in 1947—came into being and developed out of Ashoka’s missions. The Essenes were ascetics who lived in desert communities, practicing vegetarianism and—in some cases—celibacy, which was something alien and unknown to orthodox Judaism. Jesus is thought to have been a member of the Essenes.

Now, the reason I have spoken abut this here is to show that there are other ways of looking at things than the ways generally accepted by the masses of people—ways that are no less valid than theirs, and maybe more valid and logical.

I once considered myself to be a Christian, but not any more, and never will again—at least, not in this life, and I don’t plan to be become one in a future life, either. In my opinion—based upon my research into Christian history—Christianity is the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetrated upon humanity. But this does not prevent me from respecting Jesus, does it? He had no control over what his followers did with his teachings after his death. I have said that I understand him very well, and I respect him greatly. He was a human being, like you and I, though more highly developed spiritually, of course. What a pity that his followers never understood him as such, but insisted upon seeing him as someone forever apart and different from them; no-one can follow in the footsteps of a ‘divine being’, but we can all follow those of a human being, can we not? Where one has gone, we can all go, as the Buddha said.

Is this idea so different that it cannot be considered a possibility?



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