BUDDHA, JESUS AND ME (AND YOU)

Do you wish to become a Buddhist? 

My Tibetan Buddhist name is Sonam Yeshi.  I have taken the vows of a Bodhisattva.   My enlightenment began 40 years ago while alone on a starry Autumn night.  I have been pursuing this spiritual journey ever since.  Buddhism is a philosophy and a religion...it will be to you what you live it to be.  In my own personal practice my Buddhism does not speak directly of God or a god. Buddha was not, and is not, a god.   I bow to his image but I do not worship him or his image.  Buddhism is a system of ethical behavior.  It is a path on the way to righteousness...it is the path to a life of loving kindness.   My practice of Buddhism leaves open a pursuit of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This is not true for all Buddhists but for me Buddhist teachings have led me to personal realizations about God and eternity.   My practice demands I act on the epiphany that awakened me lo those many years ago.  I am a firm believer that the test of any philosophy (or religion) is: "Does it work?"  Within that answer will be found truths and the revelation of the Great Secret. You should check the world news and decide if the worldly ways work better than the ways I suggest you examine.  Which way will make you a better person?  If you expect to stand before your God some day, which way would give you the most confidence that you will be told "Well done good and faithful servant?"  If you believe your actions create an essence (Karma) upon which will be based your assignment (s) in the next life or lives, which path prepares you best?

To become a Buddhist you need only take refuge in The Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.  Say this three times:  I take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.  When you take refuge in the Buddha you are taking refuge in the life example of this itinerant  teacher who gave his life to  spiritual pursuit.  Taking refuge in the Dharma means you choose to examine with  a willing and pure heart his teachings.  The core teachings are the Four Noble Truths.  Buddha taught that life lacks eternal satisfaction and there is suffering.  There is a cause of this dissatisfaction.  The cause is our attachment to impermanent things.  There is an answer to this suffering and it lies within the following of the Noble Eightfold Path (Righteous  Outlook, Intention, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness and Concentration).  Taking refuge in the Sangha means you are joining that (loose or formal) body of people who wish to encourage each other and all beings in the pursuit of this spiritual path of discovery and enlightenment.  If you sincerely say the refuge vow three times (or even once) you are now a Buddhist.  Congratulations.  In some ways this is similar to (and totally compatible with) what Christians mean when they accept Jesus as their savior.  Indeed, some of us believe that Jesus was influenced by Buddhist teachings that existed 500 years before his birth.  My Buddhist practice has great reverence for Jesus Christ.  I encourage you to begin searching out the great wealth of knowledge and teachings available on the Internet and in the various Buddhist centers and Sanghas around the country.  There are different "schools" or denominations.  They are all compatible because they are all based on the Four Noble Truths.  It is a kind of cafeteria system of teachings and practices that are dedicated to helping each (from his or her particular station or situation) on the path to enlightenment and awakening.  If it works for you and follows the Eightfold Path it is part of your Buddhist journey. 

Fundamental to the practice of Buddhism for many of us is meditation.  Through this practice we clear our minds as rest and as preparation for learning better ways of pursuing the righteous path.  Even in a group we meditate alone.  You really can't fool yourself especially when you are alone.  Someone once said prayer is talking to God but meditation is hearing from God.  To begin to meditate you may wish to simply sit and count your breaths.  You could also sound a gong and follow the sound to its destination.  There are also many guided meditations that are helpful. 

My vows as a Bodhisattva tell me to offer aid and encouragement to anyone pursuing the Buddha's teachings.  I do this willingly.  (A Bodhisattva is driven by compassion on his or her journey to becoming a  Buddha.  The Bodhisattva has taken special vows to aid all in encountering the Dharma and enlightenment.  The Buddha was the original Bodhisattva and Jesus was a similar example of the Bodhisattva way of life.)  Feel free to email me for suggested sites and sources of information.  I can't be the teacher but I can share with you the sources that I find instructive.  I have no illusions.  All I am is a man who is in the process of awakening.  More than that would violate my vows.  I do this for the good of all sentient beings and include this information for the same reasons.  Again, congratulations.  You have taken a step toward a new level of spiritual endeavor.  It is a personal and private step. It is a pursuit where the journey and the destination become one with your soul, mind and spirit .

Traditionally among  Buddhists the prayer/vow that makes you a Buddhist is said three times in the Pali language.  The Pali language was used to record many of the Buddha's teachings.  You may wish to join us in this tradition and say the vow as many of us have:

Buddham saranam gacchami       
Dhammam saranam gacchami
Sangham saranam gacchami
   
Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami
Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
Dutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami
   
Tatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami
Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
Tatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami
   
        In English:
I go to the Buddha for refuge.
I go to the Dhamma (Dharma) for refuge.
I go to the Sangha for refuge.

For a second time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.
For a second time, I go to the Dhamma (Dharma) for refuge.
For a second time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.

For a third time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.
For a third time, I go to the Dhamma (Dharma) for refuge.
For a third time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.

One final thing.  We often recite a mantra.  This is a kind of prayer and a kind of statement of instruction and belief.  This is the most widespread one in Tibetan Buddhism:  "Om Mani Padme Hum (Often Pronounced Ohm Mahnee Padmay Hung)  Literally: The jewel is in the lotus.   It is the mantra of compassion.  According to the Dalai Lama, this mantra means one can transform one's impure body, speech and mind into those of a Buddha by following the path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom.  Many of us have found it has a remarkable effect when one says it with full sincerity and concentration.

You need go no further.  I'm sure you will hunger and thirst for more knowledge and teaching but you have a lifetime of essence in just this page of thoughts.  This is basic Buddhism...simple yet so very complicated.  It can be summed up as a life path where there is no possessiveness.   Discernment into the nature of reality is guided by love and compassion.

THE PURE HEART
   Christo-Buddhism
      Look, both  Siddhartha Gautama (The Buddha) and Jesus Christ (The Messiah) taught a message centered on the search for love and peace.  We are taught by them to pursue this search for a life of love and peace with all sincerity.  They set the example for how to live.  One was to forsake the love of possessions and pleasure and treat others as they themselves, would want to be treated.  Just as they journeyed about to teach, they taught that life is a journey where you must sincerely search for the truth.  Yes, you can be a Christian and a Buddhist as long as you are sincere in your beliefs and nothing you believe contradicts the prime directive of love.  Jesus and the Buddha allowed for sincere doubt.  They taught that a person reaches salvation through a pure heart.
     After each died, some followers determined to quantify, define, explain and record the teachings.  The followers of Buddha (later including many who obviously never heard  Buddha in person) have over the years met to formulate religious systems and teachings.  These religions and teachings are supposed to be vehicles for followers to carry out the messages and admonitions of Buddha.  Different sects have arisen and much has been added to the message.  These sects and teachings are useful only to the extent they do not conflict with the principle teaching that life is to be a journey in search of truth, love and peace.
     Now take the previous paragraph and simply replace the name Buddha with Christ. After each died, some followers determined to quantify, define, explain and record the teachings.  The followers of Christ (later including many who obviously never heard Christ in person) have over the years met to formulate religious systems and teachings.  These religions and teachings are supposed to be vehicles for followers to carry out the messages and admonitions of Christ.  Different sects have arisen and much has been added to the message.  These sects and teachings are useful only to the extent they do not conflict with the principle teaching that life is to be a journey in search of truth, love and peace.
     Today we have Tibetan, Pure Land, Zen and many other sects or vehicles in Buddhism just as we have Roman Catholics, Baptists, Mormons and many others in Christianity.  Each outlines a path to salvation and enlightenment.  Each is true and useful only as far as they work to help the honest person to travel the good journey of love and peace as taught by Jesus and The Buddha.

Can you be a Christian AND a Buddhist?  My friends, it is easier to be a Christian and a Buddhist than it is to be a Christian and a Republican...or a Democrat.  There is Buddhism written all over the life and teachings of Jesus.  Yes, you CAN be both a Buddhist and a follower of Jesus Christ.

 
There is strong evidence that Jesus visited the regions of modern day Tibet and India to study before his ministry began.  Remember that Buddhism pre dates Christianity by about 500 years.  The Gospels are silent for the most part about Christ's years prior to the age of 30.  Why?  The greatest man in the history of the world and a man many say is God...and no one knows the events and stories of his youth?  Please respect us more than that.  It is obvious that the stories were probably there but were removed because they would lead to teachings early church leaders did not want to include in the religion they wished to promote.  Karma and reincarnation come to mind!  They are alluded to in the surviving scriptures.  Christianity has become a nationalistic religion for every nation practicing the various official versions.  Jesus never intended that to happen.  If ever there was a true citizen of the world it would be Jesus.  You are only kidding yourself if you think Jesus wants George Bush (Or Bill Clinton or anyone else...) to be a political leader.  Jesus was dead set against mixing politics with religion.  Can you even imagine Jesus being a patriotic follower of any world leader you have ever studied?  Can you imagine Jesus supporting a war or an army?

 
Can you be a Christian or Buddhist and love America?  Yes, of course.  Love whom you choose.  Better yet, love everyone.  I love America but my love is not limited to one country.  Jesus and Buddha are the models...and they loved everyone!

 
Did Jesus really teach reincarnation?  For the sake of at least considering this possibility, please examine this scripture that slipped through the scrutiny and doctrinal convocations of so called church fathers: Mt 16:13-15
"13   When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14   And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15   He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am?
16   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God..."
It is obvious that the "men" Jesus referred to were some of his followers and listeners...why else would they have an opinion?  Jesus did not condemn their belief in reincarnation although this would have been the perfect time to do so...instead, he inquired as to from whom his immediate followers believed him to be reincarnated.
 
Matthew and Mark both record that Jesus taught John The Baptist was the incarnation of Elias.  Mark (10:29-30) speaks of reincarnation and eventual eternal life.  Matthew quotes Jesus as saying all who use the sword shall perish by the sword...we  know  all murderers are not killed in this life...many escape punishment IN THIS LIFE...so they must face their penalty in future lives or the scripture lies.

 
Paul in Ephesians writes in effect that God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.  In Galatians he states the Law Of Karma:  "You will reap what you sow."

 
Consider: Jn 9:1-3:
"1   And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2   And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3   Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him..."
Again this would have been the time to speak against reincarnation but Jesus accepts the doctrine and uses the concept to teach his lesson.  The disciples asked him literally if this man had sinned in a previous life and Jesus said he did not.  He went on to explain that he was born blind to show the greatness of God.  Jesus did not reject the truth of reincarnation.
 
Biblical verses such as MT 26: 52 and Mt 7:2 only make sense if seen within the context of karma and reincarnation.  Even the so called Golden Rule of Mt 7:12 is a wonderful prescription for establishing good karma.

 
So why the rejection of the concepts of karma and reincarnation?  Knowing what we know about some of the early leaders of what is called the church, we can see intrigue, power struggles and fear.  Let's face it, we common folk are much easier controlled by doctrines of heaven and hell meted out by an angry God and his representatives on earth.  The idea of universal salvation as the final reward for finally getting this "life thing" correct after multiple tries and incarnations is more in keeping with the heart of a loving God.  It will weaken the control religious and political leaders (The line between these two is usually blurred by both power structures) will have over the accumulation of wealth and power.  If the perfectibility of the human spirit (or soul if you choose)  is the measure of God's approval instead of the accumulation of power, wealth and status, civilization will be shaken to its foundation.  This is why Jesus Christ was persecuted...his so called crimes were minor...his greatest threat was that he presented a way of thinking and believing that threatened the powers of those days.

 
 
The "church"  has been known to persecute those they accuse of heresy.  Over the centuries they have convened councils to create orthodox belief.  Struggles and fatal conflicts have accompanied the disagreements.  In many ways current "church" doctrine may be the result of a process similar to that of the parlor game where a whispered story is started around the room and by the time it is whispered to the last person it bears little resemblance to the original phrase.  What have we "lost" in the way of scripture over the ages?  How about things like the Dead Sea Scrolls?  How many similar things have been found and destroyed...or had their truths restricted?   Think about the Inquisition and other violent actions to stamp out what were only ideas and beliefs?  For those who say the existing scriptures and core beliefs have been protected over the years by divine intervention, please consider the moral decadence of those who were the church leaders over the ages.  One shudders at the knowledge that monasteries sometimes had nearby cemeteries containing the bodies of multiple dead babies...the results of immorality hidden by infanticide.  These men and women were doing God's work?  Hardly.

 
 
Could anyone in their right mind believe that Jesus traveled to India and surrounding areas as a youth/student?  Can anyone believe that Jesus traveled to India (as it is believed by some) after he was crucified?  Weren't the distances too great for travel in ancient times?  Please look at the prehistoric times in the Americas.  In my archaeological work I have seen things such as volcanic glass from the Far West buried in Eastern mounds, foods such as corn being introduced thousands of miles from their origin, mica from the Atlantic states finding its way west.  All of these things were accomplished without the aid of the horses, donkeys and camels used in the Old World.  It may surprise some readers to hear that millions of sane, moral people believe Jesus came physically to minister in America after his death in the Middle East...this list of believers includes doctors, lawyers, teachers and congressmen.  Such concepts are not hard for these people to believe.

 
 
Why aren't there more scriptures to support reincarnation and karma?  Why are some present scriptures interpreted to be against reincarnation and karma?  First...there are many scriptures that favor reincarnation and karma.  The Gnostics left behind quite a record of teachings from the original times.  They support reincarnation and karma.  Remember that the Gnostics were persecuted and destroyed by the Roman Church which had become a political institution.  Emperors of the Roman Empire were religious leaders also.  They issued edicts to outlaw doctrines they found threatening to their power and wealth.  Constantine and Justinian are great examples of this.  There were often periods where more than one pope claimed the church leadership.  We may never know the extent of secret teachings they destroyed in their quest for power.
 
The early church had men such as Origen who taught reincarnation as a truth.  Later church (government) leaders outlawed his teachings.

Other scriptures and groups acknowledged reincarnation and karma.  The Essenes believed the soul was immortal and preexistant...the very basis for reincarnation to be true.  The Catholic Bible in The Wisdom Of Solomon says: "I was given a sound body to live in because I was already good."  Some Rabbis believe the proper interpretation of the Talmud would teach reincarnation.

Interpretation is so important.  For instance, some have pointed out that the Greek words for resurrection include words which also mean "awake."

 
 
Read all of the words of Jesus.  Do you honestly think this man would create a religion that teaches a little child would be sentenced to an eternal hell because the very morning she was to be "saved" during a missionary service, the preacher had a flat tire and didn't make it in time?  Hardly.  To test the truth of a scripture or a statement of a so called church leader, simply see if it fits within the general loving world view of Jesus' teachings.  It doesn't matter if it is Paul or some pope or some current Protestant spokesman.  If it does not fit within the spirit of Jesus' teachings it is of human and questionable origin and truth.  The abuses of church "fathers" are astounding.  Early leaders literally sold salvation.  They fought wars of conquest...they raped, stole and pillaged in the name of religion.  Read about the tortures and murders of the Inquisition!  Eventually Martin Luther rose up and led a revolt against the teachings and practices that had evolved.  He is considered the father of the Protestant movement...and his movement soon became as murderous and corrupt as the one he fought against.  Soon Christians such as the Pilgrims and Puritans were spreading their beliefs into the New World (lands they stole from the native populations).  So called Christian missionaries would help enslave peoples in Africa and Asia.  Modern religionists support political organizations and governments.  Priests, ministers and rabbis bless weapons of war, serve as soldiers/chaplains and call for the torture and death of perceived enemies.

 
 
So how can you be saved?  It is so easy.  You are already saved!  Whether you be Christian, Buddhist or anything else...you need only be alive to be part of a most fantastic kingdom.  Jesus and Buddha will teach you what you should do.  There are Commandments and Eightfold Paths but there is nothing greater than the calling to love your fellow creatures.  Meditate...pray...do what works for you best...but love all and act on that love.  This is the whole message of Jesus and Buddha.

SOME RANDOM TEACHINGS FROM JESUS CHRIST
 
   Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater...
    
   Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
   Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
   Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
   Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
   Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
   Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
   Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
   Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
 
 
    Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:  But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.  And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.  And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.  Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
  Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;  For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
    
    Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
  Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.


THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS
 
 THE FIRST NOBLE TRUTH  To live is to suffer.
     What is the Noble Truth of Suffering? Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, sickness is suffering, dissociation from the  loved is suffering, not to get what one wants is suffering: in short the five categories affected by clinging are suffering.
 
 THE SECOND NOBLE TRUTH  We suffer because we are improperly attached to things.
    What is the Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering?   It is craving which renews being and is accompanied by relish and lust, relishing this and that: in other words, craving for sensual desires, craving for being, craving for non-being. But whereon does this craving arise and flourish? Wherever there is what seems lovable and gratifying, thereon it arises and flourishes. 
 
 THE THIRD NOBLE TRUTH  Freedom from suffering can be attained.
     What is the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Suffering? It is the remainderless fading and cessation of that same craving; the rejecting, relinquishing, leaving and renouncing of it. But whereon is this craving abandoned and made to cease? Wherever there is what seems lovable and gratifying, thereon it is abandoned and made to cease.
 
 THE FOURTH NOBLE TRUTH  There is a path that leads away from suffering.
     What is the Noble Truth of the Way Leading to the Cessation of Suffering? It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.

Can you be a Christian AND a Buddhist?  My friends, it is easier to be a Christian and a Buddhist than it is to be a Christian and a Republican...or a Democrat.  There is Buddhism written all over the life and teachings of Jesus.  Yes, you CAN be both a Buddhist and a follower of Jesus Christ.

 
There is strong evidence that Jesus visited the regions of modern day Tibet and India to study before his ministry began.  Remember that Buddhism pre dates Christianity by about 500 years.  The Gospels are silent for the most part about Christ's years prior to the age of 30.  Why?  The greatest man in the history of the world and a man many say is God...and no one knows the events and stories of his youth?  Please respect us more than that.  It is obvious that the stories were probably there but were removed because they would lead to teachings early church leaders did not want to include in the religion they wished to promote.  Karma and reincarnation come to mind!  They are alluded to in the surviving scriptures.  Christianity has become a nationalistic religion for every nation practicing the various official versions.  Jesus never intended that to happen.  If ever there was a true citizen of the world it would be Jesus.  You are only kidding yourself if you think Jesus wants George Bush (Or Bill Clinton or anyone else...) to be a political leader.  Jesus was dead set against mixing politics with religion.  Can you even imagine Jesus being a patriotic follower of any world leader you have ever studied?  Can you imagine Jesus supporting a war or an army?

 
Can you be a Christian or Buddhist and love America?  Yes, of course.  Love whom you choose.  Better yet, love everyone.  I love America but my love is not limited to one country.  Jesus and Buddha are the models...and they loved everyone!

 
Did Jesus really teach reincarnation?  For the sake of at least considering this possibility, please examine this scripture that slipped through the scrutiny and doctrinal convocations of so called church fathers: Mt 16:13-15
"13   When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14   And they said, some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15   He saith unto them, but whom say ye that I am?
16   And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God..."
It is obvious that the "men" Jesus referred to were some of his followers and listeners...why else would they have an opinion?  Jesus did not condemn their belief in reincarnation although this would have been the perfect time to do so...instead, he inquired as to from whom his immediate followers believed him to be reincarnated.
 
Matthew and Mark both record that Jesus taught John The Baptist was the incarnation of Elias.  Mark (10:29-30) speaks of reincarnation and eventual eternal life.  Matthew quotes Jesus as saying all who use the sword shall perish by the sword...we  know  all murderers are not killed in this life...many escape punishment IN THIS LIFE...so they must face their penalty in future lives or the scripture lies.

 
Paul in Ephesians writes in effect that God has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.  In Galatians he states the Law Of Karma:  "You will reap what you sow."

 
Consider: Jn 9:1-3:
"1   And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2   And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3   Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him..."
Again this would have been the time to speak against reincarnation but Jesus accepts the doctrine and uses the concept to teach his lesson.  The disciples asked him literally if this man had sinned in a previous life and Jesus said he did not.  He went on to explain that he was born blind to show the greatness of God.  Jesus did not reject the truth of reincarnation.
 
Biblical verses such as MT 26: 52 and Mt 7:2 only make sense if seen within the context of karma and reincarnation.  Even the so called Golden Rule of Mt 7:12 is a wonderful prescription for establishing good karma.

 
So why the rejection of the concepts of karma and reincarnation?  Knowing what we know about some of the early leaders of what is called the church, we can see intrigue, power struggles and fear.  Let's face it, we common folk are much easier controlled by doctrines of heaven and hell meted out by an angry God and his representatives on earth.  The idea of universal salvation as the final reward for finally getting this "life thing" correct after multiple tries and incarnations is more in keeping with the heart of a loving God.  It will weaken the control religious and political leaders (The line between these two is usually blurred by both power structures) will have over the accumulation of wealth and power.  If the perfectibility of the human spirit (or soul if you choose)  is the measure of God's approval instead of the accumulation of power, wealth and status, civilization will be shaken to its foundation.  This is why Jesus Christ was persecuted...his so called crimes were minor...his greatest threat was that he presented a way of thinking and believing that threatened the powers of those days.

 
 
The "church"  has been known to persecute those they accuse of heresy.  Over the centuries they have convened councils to create orthodox belief.  Struggles and fatal conflicts have accompanied the disagreements.  In many ways current "church" doctrine may be the result of a process similar to that of the parlor game where a whispered story is started around the room and by the time it is whispered to the last person it bears little resemblance to the original phrase.  What have we "lost" in the way of scripture over the ages?  How about things like the Dead Sea Scrolls?  How many similar things have been found and destroyed...or had their truths restricted?   Think about the Inquisition and other violent actions to stamp out what were only ideas and beliefs?  For those who say the existing scriptures and core beliefs have been protected over the years by divine intervention, please consider the moral decadence of those who were the church leaders over the ages.  One shudders at the knowledge that monasteries sometimes had nearby cemeteries containing the bodies of multiple dead babies...the results of immorality hidden by infanticide.  These men and women were doing God's work?  Hardly.

 
 
Could anyone in their right mind believe that Jesus traveled to India and surrounding areas as a youth/student?  Can anyone believe that Jesus traveled to India (as it is believed by some) after he was crucified?  Weren't the distances too great for travel in ancient times?  Please look at the prehistoric times in the Americas.  In my archaeological work I have seen things such as volcanic glass from the Far West buried in Eastern mounds, foods such as corn being introduced thousands of miles from their origin, mica from the Atlantic states finding its way west.  All of these things were accomplished without the aid of the horses, donkeys and camels used in the Old World.  It may surprise some readers to hear that millions of sane, moral people believe Jesus came physically to minister in America after his death in the Middle East...this list of believers includes doctors, lawyers, teachers and congressmen.  Such concepts are not hard for these people to believe.

 
 
Why aren't there more scriptures to support reincarnation and karma?  Why are some present scriptures interpreted to be against reincarnation and karma?  First...there are many scriptures that favor reincarnation and karma.  The Gnostics left behind quite a record of teachings from the original times.  They support reincarnation and karma.  Remember that the Gnostics were persecuted and destroyed by the Roman Church which had become a political institution.  Emperors of the Roman Empire were religious leaders also.  They issued edicts to outlaw doctrines they found threatening to their power and wealth.  Constantine and Justinian are great examples of this.  There were often periods where more than one pope claimed the church leadership.  We may never know the extent of secret teachings they destroyed in their quest for power.
The early church had men such as Origen who taught reincarnation as a truth.  Later church (government) leaders outlawed his teachings.
Other scriptures and groups acknowledged reincarnation and karma.  The Essenes believed the soul was immortal and preexistant...the very basis for reincarnation to be true.  The Catholic Bible in The Wisdom Of Solomon says: "I was given a sound body to live in because I was already good."  Some Rabbis believe the proper interpretation of the Talmud would teach reincarnation.
Interpretation is so important.  For instance, some have pointed out that the Greek words for resurrection include words which also mean "awake."

 
 
Read all of the words of Jesus.  Do you honestly think this man would create a religion that teaches a little child would be sentenced to an eternal hell because the very morning she was to be "saved" during a missionary service, the preacher had a flat tire and didn't make it in time?  Hardly.  To test the truth of a scripture or a statement of a so called church leader, simply see if it fits within the general loving world view of Jesus' teachings.  It doesn't matter if it is Paul or some pope or some current Protestant spokesman.  If it does not fit within the spirit of Jesus' teachings it is of human and questionable origin and truth.  The abuses of church "fathers" are astounding.  Early leaders literally sold salvation.  They fought wars of conquest...they raped, stole and pillaged in the name of religion.  Read about the tortures and murders of the Inquisition!  Eventually Martin Luther rose up and led a revolt against the teachings and practices that had evolved.  He is considered the father of the Protestant movement...and his movement soon became as murderous and corrupt as the one he fought against.  Soon Christians such as the Pilgrims and Puritans were spreading their beliefs into the New World (lands they stole from the native populations).  So called Christian missionaries would help enslave peoples in Africa and Asia.  Modern religionists support political organizations and governments.  Priests, ministers and rabbis bless weapons of war, serve as soldiers/chaplains and call for the torture and death of perceived enemies.

 
 
So how can you be saved?  It is so easy.  You are already saved!  Whether you be Christian, Buddhist or anything else...you need only be alive to be part of a most fantastic kingdom.  Jesus and Buddha will teach you what you should do.  There are Commandments and Eightfold Paths but there is nothing greater than the calling to love your fellow creatures.  Meditate...pray...do what works for you best...but love all and act on that love.  This is the whole message of Jesus and Buddha.

 
ALL SCRIPTURE IS INSPIRED

"God is love"(John)

"The greatest is love"    (Paul)
 
"Above all things, have fervent love among yourselves"    (Peter)

 
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself...A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you...By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another...Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall also do to them; for this is the law and the prophets...But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you....But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High..."   Jesus

 
 
From Buddha,
   With Love:
Right Understanding
Right Thoughts
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindfulness
Right Concentration
These things are the very embodiment of love


THE NOBLE EIGHTFOLD PATH
 
1. Right View
Right view is the beginning and the end of the path, it simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truth. As such, right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. It means to see things through, to grasp the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and to understand the law of karma and karmic conditioning.

2. Right Intention
While right view refers to the cognitive aspect of wisdom, right intention refers to the volitional aspect, i.e. the kind of mental energy that controls our actions. Right intention can be described best as commitment to ethical and mental self-improvement.
 
3. Right Speech
Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline to moral discipline, which supports the other principles of the path.
 
4. Right Action
The second ethical principle, right action, involves the body as natural means of expression, as it refers to deeds that involve bodily actions. Unwholesome actions lead to unsound states of mind, while wholesome actions lead to sound states of mind.

5. Right Livelihood
Right livelihood means that one should earn one's living in a righteous way and that wealth should be gained legally and peacefully.

6. Right Effort
Right effort can be seen as a prerequisite for the other principles of the path. Without effort, which is in itself an act of will, nothing can be achieved, whereas misguided effort distracts the mind from its task, and confusion will be the consequence. Mental energy is the force behind right effort; it can occur in either wholesome or unwholesome states.

7. Right Mindfulness
Right mindfulness is the controlled and perfected faculty of cognition. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness.

8. Right Concentration
The eighth principle of the path, right concentration, refers to the development of a mental force that occurs in natural consciousness, although at a relatively low level of intensity, namely concentration.