Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Buddhism and Christianity

A friend linked to this article earlier today on Buddhism and Christianity, “When Jesus met Buddha“.

It discusses the Eastern Christian churches, most of which are fairly unknown to modern Christians (to my dismay given their tenacity in non-European regions). I’ve been reading a little lately on the Japanese Christians of a few hundred years ago (who have interested me ever since I say how they hid their Christian items by making them look Buddhist).

One little bit from the article was particularly interesting. I’d love to see an academic source that backed this up as it was news to me. I expect that is correct since the author is a professor at Penn State but I’ve never heard of it before:

“One story in particular suggests an almost shocking degree of collaboration between the faiths. In 782, the Indian Buddhist missionary Prajna arrived in Chang’an, bearing rich treasures of sutras and other scriptures. Unfortunately, these were written in Indian languages. He consulted the local Nestorian bishop, Adam, who had already translated parts of the Bible into Chinese. Together, Buddhist and Christian scholars worked amiably together for some years to translate seven copious volumes of Buddhist wisdom. Probably, Adam did this as much from intellectual curiosity as from ecumenical good will, and we can only guess about the conversations that would have ensued: Do you really care more about relieving suffering than atoning for sin? And your monks meditate like ours do?

These efforts bore fruit far beyond China. Other residents of Chang’an at this very time included Japanese monks, who took these very translations back with them to their homeland.”

Food for thought, at the very least. The article also mentions the “Jesus Sutras” found in the caves at Dunhuang. I read a copy of these a few years back and found them interesting. As someone who was a childhood Christian and is a student of history and religion, I always find this kind of potential interplay fascinating.