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Author Topic: What The? Buddha is an Orthodox Saint...  (Read 6572 times) Average Rating: 0
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88Devin12
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« on: July 31, 2011, 07:53:26 PM »

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Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?
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« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2011, 07:55:54 PM »

Let's say this, if the EO really revered Buddha, that would be another stumbling towards the EO-OO unity. Wink
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« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2011, 07:58:40 PM »

Let's say this, if the EO really revered Buddha, that would be another stumbling towards the EO-OO unity. Wink
Well, apparently it was due to an account that regarded them as Christians. So if it is true, it was understood that St. Josaphat was a Christian, so his canonization was based upon that. I really doubt the Buddha would have been canonized otherwise.

If you think about it, if they understood him to have been a Christian, we would have been OO by default, so they were essentially canonizing someone they thought was a saintly OO Christian. Wink
« Last Edit: July 31, 2011, 07:59:38 PM by 88Devin12 » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2011, 08:04:40 PM »

Well, this thread is interesting...
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« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2011, 08:08:05 PM »

Hmm... I guess it is modern scholars who believe it is the story of Buddha due to the similarities between the life of St. Josaphat and Buddha. So you could reject the modern scholarly opinion.

Icon of St. Josaphat:


There is apparently St. Barlaam, St. Abenner (father of Josaphat) and St. Josaphat.
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2011, 08:09:24 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh
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« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2011, 08:11:18 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life. Geography could also be considered, as St. Abenner and St. Josaphat were both kings/emperors of India.

Catholic Encyclopedia (1913):
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Barlaam_and_Josaphat
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02297a.htm

http://www.monachos.net/forum/archive/index.php/t-4401.html
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« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2011, 08:19:50 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life. Geography could also be considered, as St. Abenner and St. Josaphat were both kings/emperors of India.

There's been a topic on this before. Supposedly "Josaphat" is a mutation of "Bodhisattva" via Arabic. While completely plausible it also ignores that Josaphat is also actually a Hebrew name in the OT; which makes me iffy about this whole deal, because I know in the past people assumed a lot of similar names were related that weren't at all because they sound the same. I'm not sure the proponents of the Buddha theory actually took that into account at all.
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« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2011, 08:26:39 PM »

Hmmm. Interesting. Still, the concept, and the fact, of leaving one's high-status life to go practice poverty and the quest for spiritual betterment, is certainly not only part of Buddhism.
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« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2011, 08:31:12 PM »

Indeed, in my Church the names of Sts Maximus and Dometius are read in the diptychs of every liturgy. They were the sons of a Roman emperor, they left their Father's palace and sought to live an austere monastic life.
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« Reply #10 on: July 31, 2011, 08:33:51 PM »

Hmmm. Interesting. Still, the concept, and the fact, of leaving one's high-status life to go practice poverty and the quest for spiritual betterment, is certainly not only part of Buddhism.

Not to mention this Saint is said to have lived 900-1000 years after the Buddha. I think it was mentioned on another site that this St. Josaphat could have consciously made a decision similar to Buddha, in the way that many other Christian Saints have made conscious decisions that mirrored Christ's life.

St. Josaphat probably would have known the story of Buddha well, and while a Christian, he could have consciously made the decision to abandon his kingly life like Buddha. (not to mention that Christianity doesn't speak too highly of kings either)
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« Reply #11 on: July 31, 2011, 08:46:48 PM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?
I suggest you read the book. I think you will enjoy it. I've read 1-st part of it (in Georgian) and it was very nice reading. The teachings in it is entirely Orthodox. In it you won't see Buddhism's teaching. There's some resemblance between the stories of Buddha's life and Iodasaph's (Josaphat) life though but there are also differences. Barlaam (who is a Christian ascetic and who will become the teacher of Iodasaph) for example goes in the prince's house hidden as a beggar. This is the time when Christians are persecuted by Iodasaph's father. In Buddhism there's no story like it. As I said though some of the life details of Iodasaph resembles to that of Buddha (e.g. he is predicted by a sage to become great spiritual leader; his father decides to put him away from the difficulties of life and keep him in a environment full of luxury)
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« Reply #12 on: July 31, 2011, 09:17:44 PM »

In my opinion, this looks like another game of "The Virgin Mary is a reproduction of the Pagan Mother Goddess."

Modern Scholars have so many kooky opinions of Christianity. I wouldn't take too much stock in it.
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2011, 09:22:35 PM »

In my opinion, this looks like another game of "The Virgin Mary is a reproduction of the Pagan Mother Goddess."

Modern Scholars have so many kooky opinions of Christianity. I wouldn't take too much stock in it.

Well said.
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« Reply #14 on: July 31, 2011, 10:01:18 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life. Geography could also be considered, as St. Abenner and St. Josaphat were both kings/emperors of India.

There's been a topic on this before. Supposedly "Josaphat" is a mutation of "Bodhisattva" via Arabic. While completely plausible it also ignores that Josaphat is also actually a Hebrew name in the OT; which makes me iffy about this whole deal, because I know in the past people assumed a lot of similar names were related that weren't at all because they sound the same. I'm not sure the proponents of the Buddha theory actually took that into account at all.
Apparently, the Georgian version (one of the earlier versions) has "Iodasaph"; and the Arabic, "Yudhasaf" or "Budhasaf". Only later did it become "Josaphat", likely due to its similarity to the Hebrew.
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« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2011, 10:13:17 PM »

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?
No:

St Isaac of Syria
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« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2011, 10:21:40 PM »

Hmm... I guess it is modern scholars who believe it is the story of Buddha due to the similarities between the life of St. Josaphat and Buddha. So you could reject the modern scholarly opinion.

Icon of St. Josaphat:


There is apparently St. Barlaam, St. Abenner (father of Josaphat) and St. Josaphat.
The icon says "Ioasaph" not Josaphat.

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« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2011, 10:28:39 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life.
There are a few other similarities as well. There are a lot of other accounts of people leaving their royal inheritance for a life of renunciation, but not many of those involve the king bringing seers or astrologers, who then make certain predictions that are not to the king's liking, leading the king to make sure that his son is given every pleasure, and is not told about the sufferings of life, especially about death. The St. John of Damascus version includes the distinctively Buddhist account of Josaphat, escaping from his father's control, encountering three types of sufferings: disease, old age, and death.

Personally, my avatar notwithstanding, I think the Barlaam/Josaphat story is an example of a "righteous gentile", an honorary Christian-before-Christ (as Justin Martyr described Socrates). So the Buddha may be described as a honorary Christian? What's so strange about that?
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 10:29:05 PM »

Hmm... I guess it is modern scholars who believe it is the story of Buddha due to the similarities between the life of St. Josaphat and Buddha. So you could reject the modern scholarly opinion.

Icon of St. Josaphat:


There is apparently St. Barlaam, St. Abenner (father of Josaphat) and St. Josaphat.
The icon says "Ioasaph" not Josaphat.

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That icon is on the page for St. Josaphat
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« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 10:30:45 PM »

Hmm... I guess it is modern scholars who believe it is the story of Buddha due to the similarities between the life of St. Josaphat and Buddha. So you could reject the modern scholarly opinion.

Icon of St. Josaphat:


There is apparently St. Barlaam, St. Abenner (father of Josaphat) and St. Josaphat.
The icon says "Ioasaph" not Josaphat.

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"Ioasaph" is an apparently earlier version of the name, as seen in St. John of Damascus' version of the story. Later, it became "Josaphat".
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« Reply #20 on: August 01, 2011, 12:36:28 AM »

"scholars" have too much time on their hands, and we should have more faith in the Church than this ...
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« Reply #21 on: August 01, 2011, 01:00:49 AM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life.
There are a few other similarities as well. There are a lot of other accounts of people leaving their royal inheritance for a life of renunciation, but not many of those involve the king bringing seers or astrologers, who then make certain predictions that are not to the king's liking, leading the king to make sure that his son is given every pleasure, and is not told about the sufferings of life, especially about death. The St. John of Damascus version includes the distinctively Buddhist account of Josaphat, escaping from his father's control, encountering three types of sufferings: disease, old age, and death.

Personally, my avatar notwithstanding, I think the Barlaam/Josaphat story is an example of a "righteous gentile", an honorary Christian-before-Christ (as Justin Martyr described Socrates). So the Buddha may be described as a honorary Christian? What's so strange about that?
I was waiting for someone to say it's awesome.
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« Reply #22 on: August 01, 2011, 06:53:58 AM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?

Elisha, Elijah, Moses...

Isaac the Syrian, maybe yes and maybe no.

Also, ROCOR glorified a Roman Catholic and a Lutheran. Though they may be trying to figure out how to fix that angel
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« Reply #23 on: August 01, 2011, 08:50:52 AM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?

Elisha, Elijah, Moses...

Isaac the Syrian, maybe yes and maybe no.

Also, ROCOR glorified a Roman Catholic and a Lutheran. Though they may be trying to figure out how to fix that angel
Who would they have glorified that were Roman Catholic or Lutheran? (
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« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2011, 09:07:20 AM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?

Elisha, Elijah, Moses...

Isaac the Syrian, maybe yes and maybe no.

Also, ROCOR glorified a Roman Catholic and a Lutheran. Though they may be trying to figure out how to fix that angel
Who would they have glorified that were Roman Catholic or Lutheran? (

he's referring to the servants of the Romanovs, the Royal Martyrs, who were also killed with the Royal family. They were willing to go to their deaths for Russia and the Tsar, which was an Orthodox position, and so they were baptized in their own blood, just as so many other Saints we have in the Church, such as the 40th martyr of Sebaste who never actually joined the Church.
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« Reply #25 on: August 01, 2011, 09:09:20 AM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?

Elisha, Elijah, Moses...

Isaac the Syrian, maybe yes and maybe no.

Also, ROCOR glorified a Roman Catholic and a Lutheran. Though they may be trying to figure out how to fix that angel
Who would they have glorified that were Roman Catholic or Lutheran? (

he's referring to the servants of the Romanovs, the Royal Martyrs, who were also killed with the Royal family. They were willing to go to their deaths for Russia and the Tsar, which was an Orthodox position, and so they were baptized in their own blood, just as so many other Saints we have in the Church, such as the 40th martyr of Sebaste who never actually joined the Church.
OK, thank you.
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« Reply #26 on: October 10, 2011, 12:55:09 PM »

Assuming a Buddhist origin of St. Josaphat, would "Josaphat" continue to be a saint name that converts could choose for themselves?
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« Reply #27 on: October 10, 2011, 01:23:22 PM »

I think it's just cynism. The assumption is that if you find similar stories, even if separated by many years, one must be the copy of the other.

A king who receives astrologers, who raises his "little prince" in a golden cage is nothing that difficult to occur many times in history. Neither is adolescent rebelion to rules set by fathers and escapades. That at least two of these young persons in 10,000 years of human history would actually learn from this experience instead of getting in trouble is not only expectable, but really impossible not to occur.
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« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2011, 03:20:12 PM »

In my opinion, this looks like another game of "The Virgin Mary is a reproduction of the Pagan Mother Goddess."

Modern Scholars have so many kooky opinions of Christianity. I wouldn't take too much stock in it.

Most of them are just trying to get attention, recognition, sell books, etc.
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« Reply #29 on: October 10, 2011, 04:37:59 PM »

From what I recall of the scholarly version of this story, in particular the history of the name, the Sanskrit "Bodhisattva" was interpreted in a Manichean version of the story, written in I think Pahlavi (an Iranian language close to Persian), as "Bodisav". From the Pahlavi it received a Muslim Arabic version originally as "Budhasaf", but a typographical error resulted in "Yudhasaf" in later versions, since the Arabic letter for "b" is very similar to "y" (the difference being in whether or not two dots are written above the character). The first Christian version was the Georgian "Iodasaph" in the 10th century, later rendered in Greek in the 11th century as "Ioasaph", and finally when it got its Latin version the name was changed to the similar-sounding, originally Hebrew "Iosaphat". I'm not sure if Ioasaph is originally Hebrew, or if it were chosen just because it sounded like "Iodasaph". If the latter, I don't understand what happened to the Georgian "d", since Greek has a sound similar to "d". Why delete that sound? Perhaps someone with the time to read the original scholarly literature can tell me.

I have to say overall the scholarly story sounds pretty plausible, when the dates of the various versions are lined up after one another and you can trace the slight developments in the name and the story elements over time. I still would not feel too comfortable just accepting the account without any personal expertise in the matter, since I know how easy it can be to manipulate this kind of historical evidence to make a plausible and coherent story, when in fact the original raw evidence may be less compelling. Plus there's the awkward fact that the veneration of SS Barlaam and Ioasaph is now pretty well established in the Church, and story as we have it is rather different from the original story about Buddha. I guess it's kind of like creation and evolution and other cases where Tradition just doesn't fit with modern scientific or historical scholarship. I don't think there's much to do but try to give the Church the benefit of the doubt, while acknowledging that there are difficulties in reconciling the Tradition with our attempts at reasoning.
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« Reply #30 on: October 10, 2011, 04:50:00 PM »

We do realize that anybody can monkey around with Wikipedia, so who knows what's going to wind up there, right?  Wink Some of their articles on cities and countries have reasonably good content, but anytime you get into things where there are personal differences- religion and politics, especially- look out.  laugh

Googling it, it apparently has had books and other reports done on it, it's not just on Wikipedia.

Apparently the only part of the story that is similar is that St. Josaphat rejected his kingship and left it to live a more spiritual life.
There are a few other similarities as well. There are a lot of other accounts of people leaving their royal inheritance for a life of renunciation, but not many of those involve the king bringing seers or astrologers, who then make certain predictions that are not to the king's liking, leading the king to make sure that his son is given every pleasure, and is not told about the sufferings of life, especially about death. The St. John of Damascus version includes the distinctively Buddhist account of Josaphat, escaping from his father's control, encountering three types of sufferings: disease, old age, and death.

Personally, my avatar notwithstanding, I think the Barlaam/Josaphat story is an example of a "righteous gentile", an honorary Christian-before-Christ (as Justin Martyr described Socrates). So the Buddha may be described as a honorary Christian? What's so strange about that?

Yes, this is what I understand. Thanks!  Smiley
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« Reply #31 on: October 10, 2011, 05:15:04 PM »

St. Josapha/Ioasaph is technically a Catholic saint as well.

According to Fr. Thomas Hopko, he is the Buddha.

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« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2011, 05:57:32 PM »

Well if some modern scholars and Fr. Thomas Hopko agree, then it's true!  All hail, St. Buddha.

Here's a helpful thread to show how to Venerate your St. Buddha statues.

I'm not knocking either Fr. Thomas or Samkim, for that matter, for posting that.  Still, that's just a priest's private opinion, which the Church probably believes is wrong.  Talk for thousands of hours and your bound to be off on some stuff; he'll readily admit that.  

All of the similarities and parallel origins aside, the story of St. Josaphat is fundamentally different than that of Buddha, as St. Josaphat becomes a Christian ( legendarily or not).  Just running away from home and being "wise" doesn't merit sainthood.  


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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2012, 01:16:15 AM »

Are there anymore "legendary" saints like St. Josaphat that the Orthodox acknowledge?
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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2012, 03:45:06 AM »

Quote
Barlaam and Josaphat is a Christianized version of the story of Siddharta Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as "Barlaam and Josaphat" on the date of 27 November.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barlaam_and_Josaphat

Is he the only non-Orthodox Saint we have?

Elisha, Elijah, Moses...

Isaac the Syrian, maybe yes and maybe no.

Also, ROCOR glorified a Roman Catholic and a Lutheran. Though they may be trying to figure out how to fix that angel

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« Reply #35 on: January 31, 2012, 04:32:03 PM »

All of the similarities and parallel origins aside, the story of St. Josaphat is fundamentally different than that of Buddha, as St. Josaphat becomes a Christian ( legendarily or not).  Just running away from home and being "wise" doesn't merit sainthood.  
There are more similarities than that, as I have outlined on this very thread.

Perhaps St. Josaphat being a saint is the Church acknowledging that, yes, one could have lived in India before Christ, and still be accepted by God.
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« Reply #36 on: January 31, 2012, 05:09:20 PM »


How dare you compare the Sayings of the Venerable Internet Fathers with mere unsubstantiated "rumors"! And again I say: how dare you!
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« Reply #37 on: December 08, 2012, 04:42:34 PM »

"scholars" have too much time on their hands, and we should have more faith in the Church than this ...

someone has to inform us about reality though. no?
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« Reply #38 on: December 09, 2012, 07:16:05 AM »

Is there really anything wrong with canonizing Buddha as a Saint? I mean, sure, he may not have been an Orthodox Christian, but he lived before God even became Incarnate and was probably never even exposed to Judaism either. But given his ignorance on God, he was probably as holy as a human could be in his circumstances. He rejected the vanity of the world and may have even experienced God on a spiritual level--even if he did not explicitely know who he was. Why not canonize him?

Oh, and for the record. Constantine is a Saint even though he was NOT Orthodox but an Arian who was Baptised by an Arian and supported the Arian view of God.
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« Reply #39 on: December 09, 2012, 08:03:27 AM »

"scholars" have too much time on their hands, and we should have more faith in the Church than this ...

someone has to inform us about reality though. no?
Another one?  Seriously tweety, you must stop buddy!  Here and there is fine, but this is too much!
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« Reply #40 on: December 10, 2012, 01:28:40 AM »

Is there really anything wrong with canonizing Buddha as a Saint? I mean, sure, he may not have been an Orthodox Christian, but he lived before God even became Incarnate and was probably never even exposed to Judaism either. But given his ignorance on God, he was probably as holy as a human could be in his circumstances. He rejected the vanity of the world and may have even experienced God on a spiritual level--even if he did not explicitely know who he was. Why not canonize him?

Oh, and for the record. Constantine is a Saint even though he was NOT Orthodox but an Arian who was Baptised by an Arian and supported the Arian view of God.

Give it a rest, James.
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« Reply #41 on: April 20, 2013, 02:51:56 PM »

Yea, the Buddha could be considered a saint.
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« Reply #42 on: April 20, 2013, 02:53:43 PM »

Funny that this thread was bumped just when I was re-reading Barlaam and Ioasaph.
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« Reply #43 on: April 20, 2013, 05:22:37 PM »

I just re-read the whole thread and I wonder if anyone who says it's not the Buddha has scientific arguments.
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« Reply #44 on: April 20, 2013, 05:54:21 PM »

I just re-read the whole thread and I wonder if anyone who says it's not the Buddha has scientific arguments.

Doesn't the burden of proof rest on those attempting to prove (not suggest) that saints Barlaam and Ioasaph are actually Buddha, and not merely representative of or inspired from a somewhat similar story? 

If we were discussing St. Siddhartha, this would all be a moot point.  Nevertheless, I'll look into the scholarly treatment when I get a chance.
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