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Author Topic: What The? Buddha is an Orthodox Saint...  (Read 5380 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2013, 06:14:42 PM »

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

When studying Buddhism, one could say the philosophical discourses of Buddha are scientific.
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« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2013, 06:22:43 PM »

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? 

They have provided reasonable plausibility, such as the intermediate Manichaean version, the development of the name and so on. Another strong argument is that there was no such thing as a Christian king of India...
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« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2013, 06:42:44 PM »

Yea, the Buddha could be considered a saint.

To be a saint, one must first be a Christian (specifically Orthodox), unless something has changed to which I am unaware, eliminating any possibility of Buddha being a saint.

Quote
What is required is a virtuous life of obvious holiness. And a saint’s writings and preaching must be "fully Orthodox," in agreement with the pure faith that we have received from Christ and the Apostles and taught by the Fathers and the Ecumenical Councils.

http://oca.org/FS.NA-Document.asp?ID=83
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« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2013, 08:13:01 PM »

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? 

They have provided reasonable plausibility, such as the intermediate Manichaean version, the development of the name and so on. Another strong argument is that there was no such thing as a Christian king of India...

I agree.  Providing reasonable plausibility for the origin of their hagiographies, however, is different from proclaiming that Buddha is a saint in the Orthodox Church.   

Also, the reasonable probability was provided for the stories of Barlaam and Josaphat being derived from Buddha's life, not that the Church has explicitly canonized Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
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« Reply #49 on: April 21, 2013, 01:59:23 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.
>second


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

St Isaac of Syria

If one questions the claim that Saint Isaac of Syria was allegedly Nestorian, that claim will not withstand an objective knowledgeable scrutiny.
The same applies to the feeble theory that Saint Gregory of Nyssa was neoplatonist.
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« Reply #50 on: April 21, 2013, 02:28:36 PM »

Another strong argument is that there was no such thing as a Christian king of India...
That opinion is rubbish.  The Life of Saints Barlaam and Joasaph is historical verification of a Christian king of India. 
I perceive that preservation of ancient Christian tradition in India was more extensive under the long Islamic rule which the British ended.
 
Fr. Asterios Gerostergios of the Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, translator of an English edition of the Lives of Saints Barlaam and Joasaph, includes bibliographical reference to Indian sources of information that confirm this story including a historical Christian tradition in India.  The non-Chalcedonian Churches have a particularly strong presence in states like Kerala in the south of India.  I personally went to India myself and purchased an informative reference by a Indian priest of the Frankist church entitled the 'Thomapedia' By George Menachery ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Menachery ) which might be available from this website.  This particular book had loads of intriguing historical information. 
http://www.indianchristianity.com


That is but one Frankist website.  Many non-chalcedonian sources for Indian Christian history written by Indians also exist online. 
I remember visiting a non-Chalcedonian seminary bookstore and purchasing patristic books by a press in Trivandrum in Kerala.  These books included atrilingual edition of the Ladder of Divine Ascent in English, Greek, and Malalayam.  The preface indicated that the publisher had connections with Holy Tranfiguration Monastery in Boston. 
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« Reply #51 on: April 21, 2013, 02:34:10 PM »

Fr. Asterios Gerostergios of the Institute of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, translator of an English edition of the Lives of Saints Barlaam and Joasaph

Leaving aside the general argument here, I wanted to make an observation about this translation. While the commentary/ footnotes are valuable, and the illustrations are nice, the translation itself was rather sloppily done- it seems Fr Asterios basically took the old Loeb classic library translation and attempted to update it to modern English (e.g. replace all the "thou's" with "you's"). They also say they made some corrections in the translation, but in any case the revision is very haphazard and the archaic language of the old translation pokes through in many places (for example, the use of the word "leech" for "doctor"). It's a shame because the book is beautifully made otherwise.
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« Reply #52 on: April 21, 2013, 04:57:54 PM »

There is an OO tradition in India, but I am not aware that they ever formed a kingdom. Also it seems that they themselves do not have a local tradition of saints Barlaam and Joasaph/Josaphat. Rather, the Christian version of the story first appeared in Georgia.

I am not saying anyone "canonised" (i.e. glorified) Siddharta Gautama. But a manichaeanised, then christianised version of his life story came up, was considered authentic and thus added to the calendar.
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« Reply #53 on: April 21, 2013, 07:07:41 PM »

There is an OO tradition in India
?
Apologize, but I do not follow you.  What does this mean?

I am not aware that they ever formed a kingdom.
"In the Greek listing of Saints, Barlaam is not mentioned, though Joasaph is honored on August 26th. His title is "Saint Joasaph, Son of Abener, King of India."

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« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2013, 07:25:08 PM »

Found the following which is interesting:

http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/11/note-concerning-saints-barlaam-and.html

In various Slavic calendars of feasts today, November 19th is listed as the feast of Sts. Barlaam and Joasaph. A few notes are listed below just for consideration and to clear up some possible misconceptions.

1. In the Greek listing of Saints, Barlaam is not mentioned, though Joasaph is honored on August 26th. His title is "Saint Joasaph, Son of Abener, King of India."

2. Icons of the two Saints are rare, but where they are both depicted they both have halos.too long quote editted - MK
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« Reply #55 on: April 21, 2013, 08:00:50 PM »

it seems that they themselves do not have a local tradition of saints Barlaam and Joasaph/Josaphat.

I confess that I have not investigated this particular story's historical background in India very deeply.
I am convinced in any case that the desert of Sennaritis from which the monk Barlaam came is Shinar or Babylonnia - modern Iraq unless someone can prove that it is something else like the monastic desert of Egypt.

I distinctly remember once reading in an old Greek Synaxarion (nineteenth century edition from Athos) of Symeon Metaphrastes that listed a sixth century Saint of Aethiopia as a Saint of India.   I specifically knew exactly whch figure was under discussion as he was a friend of the Roman Emperor Justinian with whom he cooperated in an effort to reconvert people in the Arabian peninsula in the regions around Yemen who had apostasized into Judaism.

Possibly the story pertains to historical events in Aethiopia which does have a history of medieval Christian kings all the way back to King Ezana who was king of Aethiopia during the fourth century after Christ.  Verification of Saint Joasaph as an historical king of Aethiopia or other kingdom in its vicinity would be a matter of painstakingly sifting through the history of early medieval Aethiopian kingdoms.  The Christian Melkite kingdom of Makuria located in Sudan is an example of something that would have to taken into consideration.  My priest told me that Melkite is a name which non-Chalcedonians used to refer to Chalcedonian Christians.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Makuria

It seems to me that the dark skinned (non-Aryan) Dravidian peoples indigenous to southern India are Hamitic brothers of the indigenous peoples of Aethiopia anyway.

Although the ruling class Tigrayans of northern Aethiopia can be traced to a Semitic origin, they belong to the same Church (non-Chalcedonian) as most Thomast Christians in India.  
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« Reply #56 on: April 21, 2013, 10:02:56 PM »

Barlaam and Ioasaph

'According to an international best-seller of the Middle Ages, Ioasaph (also rendered Josaphat or Yudasaf) was the philosophically inclined crown-prince of "Inner Ethiopia, called India", whom the desert hermit Barlaam of Senaar or Balahvar of Serendip converted to faith in the True God. Versions of the story were written in nearly every widely-spoken European and Middle Eastern language and in the Ge'ez tongue of Ethiopia; the True Faith was variously identified as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Manichæism. The most influential retelling was the Greek version by "John the Monk", identified by tradition with St. John of Damascus but by several modern scholars with St. Euthymius the Georgian. The Greek text skillfully interweaves narrative action in exotic "Ethiopian" locales, entertaining fables (some later to re-appear as Sufi stories), and a detailed exposition of Orthodox Christianity based in part on the writings of John of Damascus and in part on an apologetical work of the second century, the original of which was rediscovered in the 1800s.'

'According to all versions of the story, Ioasaph's father was warned by an astrologer that his son would join an illegal religion and become a monk after experiencing sorrow; to forestall this, the king imprisoned his son from birth in a pleasure-palace. Ioasaph's quest for truth began when he managed to leave the palace briefly and observed old age, poverty, and disease in the city. A very similar story is, of course, told of Gautama Buddha, and the name "Yudasaf" bears an obvious resemblance to "Budhasaf", the standard Persian transcription of "Bodhisattva"; some scholars hear echoes of Sanskrit in other proper names as well. It is therefore frequently asserted that the story of Barlaam and Ioasaph originated as a Persian, probably Manichæan, retelling of the the life of Buddha, whom Mani numbered among the prophets. On the other hand, the most famous and central episode in Gautama's life, his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, is entirely lacking, and there is an equally complete absence of distinctively Buddhist theology or doctrine. It seems not impossible that the story may simply have been Sanskritized in the East in the same way that it was Hebræized in the Latin West where the names of the protagonists were conflated with "Balaam" and "Jehosaphat". Curiously, in spite of the existence of an Ethiopic version, the occurrence of at least one Nubian place name in the Greek, and the marked resemblance of the setting to the Axumite Empire, scholars do not seem to have suggested that the story might have roots in the African as well as the Indian "Æthiopia".'

- Norman Hugh Redington
http://ecole.evansville.edu/glossary/barlaam.html
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« Reply #57 on: April 21, 2013, 10:32:10 PM »

'It is therefore frequently asserted that the story of Barlaam and Ioasaph originated as a Persian, probably Manichæan, retelling of the the life of Buddha, whom Mani numbered among the prophets. On the other hand, the most famous and central episode in Gautama's life, his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree, is entirely lacking, and there is an equally complete absence of distinctively Buddhist theology or doctrine. ... Curiously, in spite of the existence of an Ethiopic version, the occurrence of at least one Nubian place name in the Greek, and the marked resemblance of the setting to the Axumite Empire, scholars do not seem to have suggested that the story might have roots in the African as well as the Indian "Æthiopia".'
http://ecole.evansville.edu/glossary/barlaam.html

I have noticed that Sir Henry Yule, translator and editor of a nineteenth century edition of the Travels of Marco Polo published circa 1900 takes the same opinion about the Buddhist origin of the story of Saints Joasaph and Barlaam.  The Buddhist theory is not new, but it seems to have originated with agnostics in protestant countries - not from Orthodox Christians who take the story at its word.


Funny how those who do not believe the story and argue for a non-Christian origin just so much ignore the black African Christian evidence.
Aside from the disqualifications of the buddhist theory mentioned above is that to argue that the story is in fact based on Buddha and not what it says internally is to make a liar out of the canonical Orthodox calendar of Saints and the holy synods who canonized them.
It is to say that the Orthodox Church does not have clue about the history of the saints whom it canonizes.  The Buddhist theory about Saint Joasaph can be found in books by nineteenth century european and american agnostics.  IS it not reasonable to suggest that this nineteenth century theory about Buddhism ignores the possibility of an African Christian historical setting because due to crude racism?

The fact that an African Christian historicity of this story would not barbarically violate its internal cohesiveness as the theories of agnostic intellectuals with no faith that dig through ancient Christian manuscripts and then issue their opinions about it as taken from Buddhism.  


My theory about the theory:  Modern atheists are biased towards the Buddhist religion because it closely identifies with their own faith.
That is the essence of Blavatsky and theosophy, and that is kind of spirit which I discern in such a theory.
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« Reply #58 on: April 21, 2013, 10:49:13 PM »


The Buddhist theory is not new, but it seems to have originated with agnostics in protestant countries - not from Orthodox Christians who take the story at its word.


I think this is the heart of the matter. 

In response to the question in the thread title, whatever the origin of the tales of Sts. Barlaam and Josaphet, Buddha is not an Orthodox Saint. 

Modern attempts, scholarly or not, to trace the connection do not somehow prove that, despite the Church's lack of knowledge, he actually is. 

Sorry.
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« Reply #59 on: April 22, 2013, 01:37:06 AM »

Buddhism is not close at all to the Western Atheist mindset. In fact, Buddhism aims at nirvana, whereas Western Atheists want self-realisation.

Now that Ethiopian theory is certainly worth discussing. Some questions must be clarified though: Which historical king should be meant? Why would Ethiopia have been identified with India? And especially, what do any Ethiopian accounts of these saints say exactly?

And btw, if there was some historical event in Ethiopia at the core of this tradition, how would that exclude heavy borrowing from the Buddha's story in the hagiographical account?
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« Reply #60 on: April 22, 2013, 09:41:40 AM »

Why would Ethiopia have been identified with India?

It happened quite often in Antiquity, so it wouldn't be strange.

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« Reply #61 on: April 22, 2013, 10:21:49 AM »

Why would Ethiopia have been identified with India?

It happened quite often in Antiquity, so it wouldn't be strange.

For instance, the Enlightener of Ethiopia appears in our Synaxarion on the 30th of November as "Saint Phrumentios, Archbishop of Ind(i)a".
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« Reply #62 on: April 22, 2013, 11:58:54 AM »

Why would Ethiopia have been identified with India?

It happened quite often in Antiquity, so it wouldn't be strange.

For instance, the Enlightener of Ethiopia appears in our Synaxarion on the 30th of November as "Saint Phrumentios, Archbishop of Ind(i)a".

Or what about Barlaam and Joasaph itself:   "...ἄνδρες εὐλαβεῖς τῆς ἐνδοτέρας τῶν Αἰθιόπων χώρας, οὕστινας Ἰνδοὺς οἶδεν ὁ λόγος καλεῖν - ...pious men of the inner lands of the Ethiopians, whom the story knows to call Indians." I don't have access to the Loeb translation right now, but it should say something like that as well.
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« Reply #63 on: April 26, 2013, 08:23:00 AM »

OT was moved to the Non-Religious Topics:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,51210.0.html
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« Reply #64 on: April 26, 2013, 08:37:52 AM »

Analogy is not proof. By the same logic, scholar like these in the future will say there never was a real rock star in the 20th century, just variant tales of the myth of the malasjusted imature talented musical genius. Far too much historical criticism is based just in the verisimilitude of analogies.
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« Reply #65 on: April 26, 2013, 11:06:46 AM »


List of Ancient Kings of Axum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_Axum

Although not exhaustive, this list does not seem to have any kings by the name of Adenner, Joasaph, or Berechias as mentioned in the story.
 
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/11/note-concerning-saints-barlaam-and.html

The tale of Barlaam and Joasaph takes place in "the interior regions of the Ethiopians called India."

Three Christian kingdoms were located between Axum and Aegypt:
1) Nobatia in the north
2) Makuria in the middle
3) Alodia in the south

All of these are possible Aethiopian settings, but I suspect that Alodia is the most likely since it is geographically located directly inland of Axum which would correspond more than anything else to "inner Aethiopia".

Alodia was also the biggest of all of these African Christian kingdoms and resisted conversion to Islam the longest, until the fifteenth century. 
The Alodians afterwards continued to survive as the Kingdom of Dongola.
The kingdom of Alodia seems to have converted to the Christian faith during the reign of Emperor Justinian.
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« Reply #66 on: April 26, 2013, 01:29:00 PM »


List of Ancient Kings of Axum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kings_of_Axum

Although not exhaustive, this list does not seem to have any kings by the name of Adenner, Joasaph, or Berechias as mentioned in the story.
 
http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/11/note-concerning-saints-barlaam-and.html

The tale of Barlaam and Joasaph takes place in "the interior regions of the Ethiopians called India."

Three Christian kingdoms were located between Axum and Aegypt:
1) Nobatia in the north
2) Makuria in the middle
3) Alodia in the south

All of these are possible Aethiopian settings, but I suspect that Alodia is the most likely since it is geographically located directly inland of Axum which would correspond more than anything else to "inner Aethiopia".

Alodia was also the biggest of all of these African Christian kingdoms and resisted conversion to Islam the longest, until the fifteenth century. 
The Alodians afterwards continued to survive as the Kingdom of Dongola.
The kingdom of Alodia seems to have converted to the Christian faith during the reign of Emperor Justinian.


I am deeply shocked to see you using modern cartography to illustrate the locations of ancient kingdoms. Surely you know all modern cartography is based on lies. You should adopt the mind of the Fathers and use maps like these:

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« Reply #67 on: April 26, 2013, 01:39:02 PM »

I am deeply shocked to see you using modern cartography to illustrate the locations of ancient kingdoms. Surely you know all modern cartography is based on lies. You should adopt the mind of the Fathers and use maps like these:

With this humoristic accent I'm locking this thread. If you want to make some posts related to the topic - PM me. Otherwise, keep discussing maps there.
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