Buddha lived some 500 years before Jesus. When Jesus was a child, he and his parents fled to Egypt to escape the death edict of King Herod. It is highly likely that Jesus learned of Buddha and Buddhist principles from the ancient library of Alexandria or from Buddhist ascetics and/or monks. If this is the case, then Christ's "religion" may have some roots in Buddhism, something I have always suspected. In fact, if one were to do a synoptic study of the sayings of Buddha and of Jesus, one would find their teachings almost identical. Hmm...gives pause for thought, does it not? And, what about the Nag Hammadi texts, those other gospels that the Church deemed heretical and therefore never made it into the canon of the Bible, those writings that show a different kind of Jesus than the one we came to understand in Sunday School, Bible School and church? Also, one has to wonder about the missing years of Jesus: Where did he go? What did he learn? From whom did he learn? We may never know the answers to these questions, and so we are left to appreciate the mystery, no matter how hard we try to find the answers. But my mission here is not to find or to provide such answers. It's to make connections and to shed some light on becoming an enlightened being like Jesus, like Buddha, or any other spiritual master who has graced or still graces our planet. And there is nothing blasphemous about equating ourselves with such enlightened beings or with God because we are of the same divine essence.
My approach to God or Jesus or the spiritual path is probably not yours, nor do I expect it to be. We are each individual expressions of the Sacred, all emanating from the same Source, the Mighty Inner I AM Presence. We are all familiar with the Genesis 1:26-28 account of our being created in the likeness of God. This so-called “likeness” refers to God’s nature, the Infinite I AM. Our Real Self, our highest evolution, has a unique and eternal identity that is different from every other God Presence, yet at the same time, it is ONE with the Highest I AM Presence. Our Christ Presence (or God-Self, Soham, Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Tvam Asi, Higher-Self, Atman, Vishnu-Self, Krishna-Self, Buddha-Self, Christ-Self...call it what you will) is our inner teacher, our Voice of Conscience, our inner guidance system, our Inner Christ that connects our physical self on the spiritual path with our Highest Realized Self, or the I AM. I have my Real Self, you have your Real Self, and we all come from the One and the Same I AM. In other words, I am divine, you are divine, and we all come from the Divine even as we are human incarnations. You are every bit as much of God as I am, as Jesus is, as Buddha is, or anyone else. Jesus became a "Christ", an enlightened one like Buddha and other sages. He came to teach us how to become Christs as well, and not necessarily Christians. Big, big difference. His example shows us that we can reach enlightenment the way he did and as others had before him. He takes us beyond the dogma of religion and into the freedom of spirituality. May we all attain such enlightenment.
Photo courtesy Google Images: jesusforever.webs.com (artist unknown)