Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/19

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INTRODUCTION

parallels more or less close in the Legend of the Buddha.

Both taught by parables, and in several instances the subject of their parables is the same (Sower: Prodigal Son: Seed and Soil). Much of their teaching is similar. The stress laid on the spirit as against the letter, the opposition between riches and spirituality, the inwardness of purity, are equally insisted upon in both systems. The formation of a Brotherhood or Church has been in each case the cause of giving permanent effect to the ideals of the founders, and as is well known even the external[1] cultus have many points of contact.

It is natural that such marked similarities should give rise to thoughts of the dependence of the later Christian on the earlier Buddhistic system. There was fully time since Alexander's visit to India for some knowledge of Buddhism to percolate Syria. Just as Jesus was entering

  1. are discussed in an apologetic sense by Dr. T. S. Berry in the "Donnellan Lectures," Christianity and Buddhism (S. P. C. K.).

  2. The Jesuit missionaries in Tibet were astonished to find many minute similarities between the religious ceremonies of the Lama and of the Pope.