todays taught Christianity.... This is because the early Christian writings discovered in 1945 and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947 has given scholars a better picture of the early Christians. They were Jews who did not renounce their Jewish religion. They were believers in reincarnation and taught a special form of "resurrection" that had to do with becoming spiritually "born again." They believed that Jesus was God. They believed that Jesus would return within their generation. As you will see, the evidence also shows that the early Christians were much more believers in mysticism than probably most people are aware of today. "He who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it." - Jesus Christ, Revelation 3:12 Three thousand miles from where Jesus was born, another miraculous birth occurred: the Buddha. As the Buddha walked on water, passed through walls, and raised the dead, so did Jesus in his day. As the Buddha fed 500 with a few small cakes, so did Jesus work with loaves and fishes. Five hundred years after a terrible earthquake marked the death of the Buddha, the earth shook again when Jesus breathed his last. Given the eerie parallels between these two lives, one naturally wonders if their teachings were also similar. Jesus and the Buddha were teachers of a world-subverting wisdom that undermined and challenged conventional ways of seeing and being in their time and in every time. Their subversive wisdom was also an alternative wisdom: they taught a way or path of transformation. Thus both were teachers of the way less traveled. Jesus: “There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.” Buddha: “Stealing, deceiving, adultery; this is defilement. Not the eating of meat.” Jesus: If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also. Buddha: If anyone should give you a blow with his hand, with a stick, or with a knife, you should abandon any desires and utter no evil words. Jesus: Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, “Friend, let me take the speck out of your eye,” when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You, hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. Buddha: The faults of others are easier to see than one’s own; the faults of others are easily seen, for they are sifted like chaff, but one’s own faults are hard to see. This is like the cheat who hides his dice and shows the dice of his opponent, calling attention to the other’s shortcomings, continually thinking of accusing him. Jesus: Your father in heaven makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. Buddha: The great cloud rains down on all whether their nature is superior or inferior. The light of the sun and the moon illuminates the whole world, both him who does well and him who does ill, both him who stands high and him who stands low. Jesus: He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” Buddha: Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying: “I am freed from all snares. And you, monks, you are freed from all snares.” Jesus: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Buddha: If by giving up limited pleasures one sees far-reaching happiness, the wise one leaves aside limited pleasures, looking to far-reaching happiness. Jesus: Those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. Buddha: With the relinquishing of all thought and egotism, the enlightened one is liberated through not clinging. The above parallels should give you a taste of how similar these two teachings can be. Jesus: “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in a steal.” Buddha: “Let the wise man do righteousness: A treasure that others cannot share, which no thief can steal; a treasure which does not pass away.” Jesus: “Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.” Buddha: “Do not let there be a schism in the order, for this is a serious matter. Whoever splits an order that is united will be boiled in hell for an aeon.” What is going on, here? Were Jesus and Buddha spiritual masters inspired by a single cosmic source? Is the Christian “very God of very God” one with the Buddhist “God of gods?” You can’t help but be inspired as you contemplate the similarities of these two great religious leaders.