Unraveling Saint Buddha

I invite folks to take a look at my latest musings on this topic over at www.traditium.com.


Regions of India had been captured by Alexander the Great, and some of the stories from the East traveled through Greek and even Arab cultures on their way to the West. Names were anglicized, specifics were lost. And at the end of the process there was St. Josaphat, the son of a king who went off into the desert with his faith. He was actually born Siddhartha Gautama but his title was Bodhisattva, in Arabic Budhasaf, in Greek Ioasaph, in Latin Josaphat.

Also known as Buddha.

The Buddha lived hundreds years before the Incarnation.

He did. I don’t see how what you quoted denies that but I’ll see if I can tweek it some :).

There is a useful article in the Catholic Encyclopedia: Barlaam and Josaphat:

The story is a Christianized version of one of the legends of Buddha, as even the name Josaphat would seem to show. This is said to be a corruption of the original Joasaph, which is again corrupted from the middle Persian Budasif (Budsaif=Bodhisattva).

Looking at things from the other direction, most Buddhists consider Jesus to have been a Bodhisattva – someone very close to enlightenment.


It was preceeded by this:

Still, stories persist through history of Christianity in India, a Christianity spread by Thomas, in the centuries after Christ. Indeed, there have even been stories of saints.

King Abenner, for example, is said to have persecuted the Christians of the third or fourth century, who tried to spread this foreign religion in his lands. He resisted and fought them at every turn. One day, though, his astrologer told him that the stars revealed that his only son, Josaphat, would one day become a Christian.

This horrified the king, and to prevent it the prince was kept close and watched over as much as possible. Still, the prince lived in the world and one day he met a hermit named Barlaam in the surrounding desert. Barlaam was a Christian and Josaphat became curious about his strange faith. Slowly, over time, Josaphat became a Christian. Eventually he left his palace to live in the desert to explore, practice and teach his faith.

Obviously someone who became a Christian couldn’t be Prince Siddartha who became the Buddha.

I believe we are now in full agreement :).

I was hoping, though, to provoke a discussion more on the merits, should anyone want to begin such a thing.


What exactly do you mean?

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