Jesus’ identity according to SGI Buddhism

L'identità di Gesù secondo il Buddhismo SGI

Bodhisattva Jesus”:  Jesus’ life was a record of struggle for the sake of people, trying to save them from ignorance and suffering.  This essential life-tendency of altruism and compassion - which Jesus expressed despite facing great challenges - is what Buddhism considers as the highest way leading to enlightenment, being the “Bodhisattva way”.

According to Mahayana tradition, Bodhisattvas make four universal vows:

(1) to save innumerable living beings, (2) to attain mastery over desires, (3) to master immeasurable teachings, and (4) to attain supreme enlightenment.  The essence of these Four Vows of Bodhisattva - can be also felt and verified through the flow of Jesus’ life.

In his dialogue with the British historian Arnold Toynbee, SGI president Ikeda identified Jesus as a Bodhisattva:

I believe that both St Francis and Jesus belong in what we Buddhist call the Bodhisattva World”.

There is a strong tendency in Christianity to consider Jesus or Christ as a “living essence”, and not just as an individual.  This is quiet clear through indications such as the “Christ in you” or that “God exists in your heart”.  In this perspective, Christ is synonymous with the spirit of love, compassion and devotion to helping others, features which coincide with what Buddhist call “the Buddhanature” existing as a potential in all people.

Jesus’ compassion and altruism was also reflected in the life of St Francis, whose focus was on helping ordinary people rather than claiming religious authority over them.  Many of his remarkable statements allude to the Bodhisattva way but perhaps his call for “overcoming self” is almost identical to the Buddhist principle of Self-Mastery (mastery over the mind and desires).

Reference to St Francis as a Bodhisattva in SGI literature fits his sincerity and actions expressing the Bodhisattva vows.


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