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Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts

 
Ordovician
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Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
First let me speak a bit about the Cannon itself. I have, in my own very humble and limited way, been exploring it for almost 20 years now, and I have even translated a very small amount of the material into English for the first time ever, to my limited knowledge. I am devoted to the Cannon as a stainless repository of Dharma and related wisdom.

The Taisho Tripitaka is the most comprehensive cannon of Mahayana Buddhist holy texts, or Sutras, plus commentaries and other related writings, mostly in classical Chinese and pre-modern Japanese. Compiled in the early 20th century, it is enormous: the total collection contains 5,320 individual texts, some allegedly going back as far as roughly 25 centuries.

To give you an idea of the size and "flavor" of sacred Buddhist texts, here is one row of such texts from a famous Buddhist temple repository in Korea:

https://imgur.com/otZ1XPM


The texts in the above collection have been preserved for centuries through a complex architectural schema that channels in the wind and uses a special earthen floor to modulate conditions for preservation. In recent times they tried to move the above collection into a "safer, more modern" building, but many of the texts immediately began to decay, so they moved them back to the original treasury. It remains a great mystery of architecture, design, and engineering as to how exactly the ancient building was constructed to preserve the texts.


And below a shot from a collection in Tibet:

https://imgur.com/Sbzyvzv



For those of you who wish to check out the original and can read Classical Chinese and other ancient languages, the entire corpus has been digitized and is online here:

[link to 21dzk.l.u-tokyo.ac.jp (secure)]

Here is a 36-page "map" of the Corpus with English titles (PDF file):
[link to www.onmarkproductions.com (secure)]


Of the 5,320 texts in the collection, I estimate that only roughly 500-600 have ever been translated into Western languages.

The Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, an institution in Tokyo, was established in the early 1980s by a wealthy Buddhist with the aim of translating the entire Corpus into English. In the last 40 years they have done a magnificent job with some of the more famous texts, but it seems doubtful that even working each day, they will meet their original goal of finishing the project by 2200 AD. However, endowed with a vast sum of money, if all goes well, they will keep going however many centuries it takes.


Now, if you will forgive that lengthy introduction, let's look at the specifically Christian texts in my next post.
PSA

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Very interesting, thanks!
Duddha

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
bump Super excited to see the results of your efforts. Thank you for doing this.
Simple Sojourner

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04/06/2021 11:59 AM

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Appreciate your work. Always interesting to learn more legacy information.
Ordovician  (OP)

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Each of the texts in the Taisho Tripitaka Cannon is numbered, and they are collected into "volumes."

The texts I would like to examine are numbers 2142, 2143, and 2144. They are found in Volume 54, which caught my eye because of its enigmatic title: Gai Kyo Bu, which literally means "outside-teachings-section," or more contextually translated, "Non-Buddhist texts."


Bundles of volumes are further classified into what one might call "Groups:" There is a "Zen Group" of Zen Texts, the "Agma Group" of the earliest teachings, the "Esoteric Group" of what were originally generally secret texts kept from the eyes of all but advanced Vajrayana initiates, and so on.

Volume 54 is part of a rather small group that caught my eye because it is dubbed the "Miscellaneous Group." It contains sub-categories with names that include "Catalogs," "Encylopedias and Dictionaries," "Japanese Sectarian Writings," "Apocrypha", "Lost Writings" (How can they be "lost" if they are collected here? Will have to investigate) and something mysterious called the "Dark Cloud Group"... Curiously the source with which I am currently working totally blanks out even the titles of this Group. Very strange.

This whole wing of the Cannon seems to be viewed as a sleepy backwater of jumbled (and perhaps in some cases dubious) material that doesn't really fit anywhere else,

Anyway, zooming in to concentrate on Volume 54,the Gai Kyo Bu, I wondered (and still wonder) why "Non-Buddhist texts" are even included here to begin with. It would be as if the Bible had a book called "Heathen Writings."

The texts in Volume 54 are as follows:
)
Texts 2137 and 2138 : The "Counting Treatise" and the "Victory Treatise", respectively. My prelininary investigations show they may belong to two now-defunct ancient Indian faiths, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

Texts 2140 and T2141: "Manichean Teachings." Maniheanism is a now-dead religion that once had enormous reach. You can read about it here if interested:
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]

And finally the three that caught my eye: 2142, 2143, and 2144: Titled "The Luminous Religion" or Keikyo in Japanese.

"Luminous Religion"? What the heck was that all about?


Turns out I'm not the first to have wondered this. In the early 1900s a number of Japanese scholars concluded they were "Buddified" versions of teachings that could originally be attributed to the Nestorian Branch of Christianity.

Nestorian Christianity: The Plot Thickens...

To be contiued...
Ordovician  (OP)

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Nestorian Christianlty:
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]
Nestorianism was condemned as heresy at the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) and from there began to move east, where it split into various branches and received a more enthusiastic hearing in different nations. You can read the Wiki above if you are interested.

One "spur" of Nestorianism came to be called the "Church of the East":
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]
Zone of influence -- Middle East, South India, FAR EAST.

Now we are getting somewhere.

Like many of you, I was taught the Jesuits brought Christianity to China in the 1500s. Turns out they were Johnnie-come-latelies.


"The Church of the East or the sometimes referred to as Nestorian Church historically had a presence in China during two periods: first from the 7th through the 10th century, and later during the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in the 13th and 14th centuries. Locally, the religion was known as Jingjiao (Chinese) (pinyin: Jingjiao; Wade–Giles: Ching-chiao)4; lit. The 'Luminous Religion').

Woah.
Ordovician  (OP)

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
So here are the three "Nestorian" texts. I wish GLP let me print the Chinese characters, but it doesn't. So we have to work purely in English here.

Text 2142: Xuting Míshisuo Jīng I translated this (perhaps clumsily) as "Prologue to the Lost Poem" but it has been translated by an actual pro scholar as the "Sutra of Hearing the Messiah." It has been eplored to some extent by a man named Jean-Pierre Charbonnier, who writes:

Composed of 206 verses, the document provides a basic outline of the fundamental teachings of Christianity. It begins with twenty verses of invocation about the invisible God and to the heavenly spirits that serve him, followed by a description of humanity and the distance caused by sin and the condition of mortality. The text continues to speak of the virgin birth and the death of Jesus Christ. The manuscript is incomplete, ending abruptly and mid-verse discussing Jesus' death.

Text 2143: Daqín jing jiao san wei meng du zan "Luminous Religion's Hymn of Perfection of the Three Majesties": Title translated by me and an unknown scholar. Not much info I could scrape up on this one; apparently there is a copy in Paris somewhere, however, so its on the scholarly radar.

Its a bit long but here is my preliminary translation of part of the first passage. NOTE: I am not a pro and I do not vouch for the accuracy of this translation.


"The sole unchanging thing the being of the root of all that is good. Now I recall all the mercy and blessings of this kingdom. The Magnificent Son of [???], the universal holy one, has saved myriads of people in the world of suffering. The king of those beings that live, the lamb of mercy, the lamb of compassion, the lamb of suffering...His Son is located at the Right Hand of the Father; there is no seat higher than His."
and it goes on...quite beautiful.

The next text, Number 2144, gave me a bit more difficulty...at first.
Ordovician  (OP)

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Looking at Number 2144, it contained a number of characters I don't recognize. HOWEVER, the title is very close to the title on this tablet:

https://imgur.com/12qTHVj


Is the text the same? I can't vouch for that, but there seems to be relationship. So while I won't attempt to translate 2144 (not yet anyway), I will give you the information on this tablet, which, fortunately for us, is rather famous:

[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]

"The heading on the stone, Chinese for Memorial of the Propagation in China of the Luminous Religion from Daqin...The name of the stele can also be translated as "A Monument Commemorating the Propagation of the Ta-Chin Luminous Religion in the Middle Kingdom" (the church referred to itself as "The Luminous Religion of Daqin", Daqin being the Chinese language term for the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD."

A translation of the tablet into English was made in the 1800s and can be found here:
[link to sourcebooks.fordham.edu (secure)]

A nice excerpt:

Twenty-seven sacred books [the number in the New Testament] have been left, which disseminate intelligence by unfolding the original transforming principles. By the rule for admission, it is the custom to apply the water of baptism, to wash away all superficial show and to cleanse and purify the neophytes. As a seal, they hold the cross, whose influence is reflected in every direction, uniting all without distinction. As they strike the wood, the fame of their benevolence is diffused abroad; worshiping toward the east, they hasten on the way to life and glory; they preserve the beard to symbolize their outward actions, they shave the crown to indicate the absence of inward affections; they do not keep slaves, but put noble and mean all on an equality; they do not amass wealth, but cast all their property into the common stock; they fast, in order to perfect themselves by self-inspection; they submit to restraints, in order to strengthen themselves by silent watchfulness; seven times a day they have worship and praise for the benefit of the living and the dead; once in seven days they sacrifice, to cleanse the heart and return to purity.

It is difficult to find a name to express the excellence of the true and unchangeable doctrine; but as its meritorious operations are manifestly displayed, by accommodation it is named the Illustrious Religion. Now without holy men, principles cannot become expanded; without principles, holy men cannot become magnified; but with holy men and right principles, united as the two parts of a signet, the world becomes civilized and enlightened."


Last Edited by Ordovician on 04/06/2021 01:17 PM
Swamprat

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
bump

babybump
We aren't cut out to be socialists.We are the people who couldn't be constrained by Europe. We are the malcontents, idealists, speculators, dreamers, inventors, debtors and criminals who would not be chained. We don't play well with others, we are brash, outlandish and cunning. let us do what we do best; let us be Americans.
Alien Seb Fiend

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Ahh very nice.. The timing works out nicely too, as it wasn't until the 4th century that the bible was codified as a single whole, becoming a state religion, and so on, and from there being spread around in various flavors makes quite a lot of sense. There's probably texts from other faiths in the tripitaka of taisho as well?
Ordovician  (OP)

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
There's probably texts from other faiths in the tripitaka of taisho as well?
 Quoting: Alien Seb Fiend


As noted there are two that seem to be from two Indian philosophical schools or perhaps ancient religions I'm not familiar with, and a some Manichean writing too.

Of course, the extent to which "Orthodox Buddhism" itself has been influenced by other religions is open for debate. It's often a prickly debate. There are some who see a lot of Zoroastrian influence in some strains of Pure Land thought; it's hard for me to say one way or the other.
Alien Seb Fiend

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04/06/2021 01:33 PM

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
I do see a lot of Indian Yogic influences in later religions, though it's not very politic to discuss such things as people are entitled to their Faith in whatever way works for them.. Based on the amount of inter-connection between those regions of the old world, via the silk road, for example, means that there should be a lot of cross-influence!


The Great Way is broad,
Neither easy nor difficult.
With narrow views and doubts,
Haste will slow you down.
Attach to it and you lose the measure;
The mind will enter a deviant path.
Let it go and be spontaneous,
Experience no going or staying.

- Seng Ts'an (?-606)
(Note that Zen comes from India, via the yogi Bodhidharma)

Last Edited by Alien Seb Fiend on 04/06/2021 01:47 PM
Harry Dresden

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Jesus was a Buddhist. Most of his teachings were taken from Eastern Religions.
MostHolyFace

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
"The sole unchanging thing the being of the root of all that is good. Now I recall all the mercy and blessings of this kingdom. The Magnificent Son of [???], the universal holy one, has saved myriads of people in the world of suffering. The king of those beings that live, the lamb of mercy, the lamb of compassion, the lamb of suffering...His Son is located at the Right Hand of the Father; there is no seat higher than His."
and it goes on...quite beautiful.

The next text, Number 2144, gave me a bit more difficulty...at first.
 Quoting: Ordovician


BUMP

Thank you very much indeed, and great to see a true scholar on here and not just opinion based a 3 second attention span contribution.

You say it goes on quite beautiful if you have any more translated Pray please do share.

Pin Suggest
Green Karma
Bump

Thank You
Pray Hope & Dont Worry
Darkman

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Chimpinue

Thanks OP!
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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
bump

.
INFJ; We are the protectors; One Percent of the population.

We put a lot of energy into identifying the best system for getting things done, and constantly define and re-define the priorities.

We know things intuitively, without being able to pinpoint why, and without detailed knowledge of the subject at hand. We are usually right, and we usually know it.

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Gotta' bump to catch up on later after farm chores.

Can just tell this is gonna' be a great thread, thx OP!
hf
And thought struggles against the results, trying to avoid those unpleasant results while keeping on with that way of thinking. That is what I call 'sustained incoherence.' ...David Bohm

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Jesus was a Buddhist. Most of his teachings were taken from Eastern Religions.
 Quoting: Harry Dresden


No, you are incorrect.
Every one of His teachings can be found in the Septuagint.
To be blunt, it is more likely the teachings of Jesus influenced both Hinduism and Buddhism.
The South is Rising Again!
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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
:Chimpinue:

Thanks OP!
 Quoting: Darkman
Triteia

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Thank you OP.
hugs
You have some ancient texts that I have not read here.

They all make perfect sense to the one who has been suffered unto The Lord.

Very interesting about the way the library was built to keep these ancient texts from decaying.

*****5 star thread!
Triteia
Alien Seb Fiend

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Jesus was a Buddhist. Most of his teachings were taken from Eastern Religions.
 Quoting: Harry Dresden


No, you are incorrect.
Every one of His teachings can be found in the Septuagint.
To be blunt, it is more likely the teachings of Jesus influenced both Hinduism and Buddhism.
 Quoting: Confederate Soldier


The Septuagint is from several hundreds years before Jesus. Some posit that Jesus might have traveled around learning from various spiritual types in his "missing years", so there would potentially be some influence there. The reality is that we don't really have any of Jesus's deep teachings, the stuff he is quoted as saying "the mysteries are not for them" when asked why he uses a lot of parables in the public speeches.

Buddhism was from around 500 years prior to Jesus, Hinduism much further back then that.

That being said, they could have been influenced, in their various flavors, in the millennias after Jesus, certainly! Buddhism especially is really just a set of instructions for personal-awakening, not an actual religion - it's only in combination with other preexisting cultural faiths that it's various offshoots were turned into a sort of religion. There are many Christian buddhists out there!

Last Edited by Alien Seb Fiend on 04/06/2021 02:13 PM
Agent 99

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
I'M SO JELLY.

Awesome!
Agent 99

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
There's probably texts from other faiths in the tripitaka of taisho as well?
 Quoting: Alien Seb Fiend


As noted there are two that seem to be from two Indian philosophical schools or perhaps ancient religions I'm not familiar with, and a some Manichean writing too.

Of course, the extent to which "Orthodox Buddhism" itself has been influenced by other religions is open for debate. It's often a prickly debate. There are some who see a lot of Zoroastrian influence in some strains of Pure Land thought; it's hard for me to say one way or the other.
 Quoting: Ordovician


This is truly fascinating!

Can you tell me about when Buddha became ill suddenly after he ate a special delicacy, Sukaramaddava, literally translated as "soft pork", which had been prepared by his generous host, Cunda Kammaraputta.

Cunda Kammaraputta was of a caste that performed what?
Skuaramaddava could also refer to other meat?
Alien Seb Fiend

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
According to Thich Nhat Hanh's wonderfully written biography of Gautama, "Old Path, White Clouds", buddha was served wrongly cooked mushrooms amongst other things, but in his compassion he went ahead and ate them anyway so as to not make the host feel bad. One might assume that he was quite old by then and ready to move on from this world..

Edit: Well my memory was pretty close, here's the actual passage:

https://imgur.com/a/06Zahtx

https://imgur.com/SB6mTTl


Last Edited by Alien Seb Fiend on 04/06/2021 03:20 PM
VQC

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Each of the texts in the Taisho Tripitaka Cannon is numbered, and they are collected into "volumes."

The texts I would like to examine are numbers 2142, 2143, and 2144. They are found in Volume 54, which caught my eye because of its enigmatic title: Gai Kyo Bu, which literally means "outside-teachings-section," or more contextually translated, "Non-Buddhist texts."


Bundles of volumes are further classified into what one might call "Groups:" There is a "Zen Group" of Zen Texts, the "Agma Group" of the earliest teachings, the "Esoteric Group" of what were originally generally secret texts kept from the eyes of all but advanced Vajrayana initiates, and so on.

Volume 54 is part of a rather small group that caught my eye because it is dubbed the "Miscellaneous Group." It contains sub-categories with names that include "Catalogs," "Encylopedias and Dictionaries," "Japanese Sectarian Writings," "Apocrypha", "Lost Writings" (How can they be "lost" if they are collected here? Will have to investigate) and something mysterious called the "Dark Cloud Group"... Curiously the source with which I am currently working totally blanks out even the titles of this Group. Very strange.

This whole wing of the Cannon seems to be viewed as a sleepy backwater of jumbled (and perhaps in some cases dubious) material that doesn't really fit anywhere else,

Anyway, zooming in to concentrate on Volume 54,the Gai Kyo Bu, I wondered (and still wonder) why "Non-Buddhist texts" are even included here to begin with. It would be as if the Bible had a book called "Heathen Writings."

The texts in Volume 54 are as follows:
)
Texts 2137 and 2138 : The "Counting Treatise" and the "Victory Treatise", respectively. My prelininary investigations show they may belong to two now-defunct ancient Indian faiths, but I'm not 100% sure on that.

Texts 2140 and T2141: "Manichean Teachings." Maniheanism is a now-dead religion that once had enormous reach. You can read about it here if interested:
[link to en.wikipedia.org (secure)]

And finally the three that caught my eye: 2142, 2143, and 2144: Titled "The Luminous Religion" or Keikyo in Japanese.

"Luminous Religion"? What the heck was that all about?


Turns out I'm not the first to have wondered this. In the early 1900s a number of Japanese scholars concluded they were "Buddified" versions of teachings that could originally be attributed to the Nestorian Branch of Christianity.

Nestorian Christianity: The Plot Thickens...

To be contiued...
 Quoting: Ordovician


Be interesting to see if any connection to the Turn...

Thread: As the World TURNs - 90 deg rotation. Mechanism and POTENTIAL DATE!!!

You sir, are a legend.
Chaos is a ladder...only The Climb is real.
neanderthal wisconsin

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
Jesus was a Buddhist. Most of his teachings were taken from Eastern Religions.
 Quoting: Harry Dresden

.
... huh! ... that would surprise Mary who was a virgin descent of abraham, issac, jacob ...
.
.

Our family celebrates The Lord's Feasts:
[link to www.grafted-promise.net]

Fools and the dead don't change their minds. Fools won't and the dead can't.

When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar. You are only telling the world that you fear what he might say. Quoting: CountryWise

Amos 5:13 - Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
ronwyattchuckmissler

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
The Nestorian Stele indicates that around 600-700AD there was a Christian church in every county in China...and it was embarrassing the buddhists, who used a lot of slavery in their monasteries
ron wyatt chuck missler
ronwyattchuckmissler

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
The Nestorian Stele indicates that around 600-700AD there was a Christian church in every county in China...and it was embarrassing the buddhists, who used a lot of slavery in their monasteries
 Quoting: ronwyattchuckmissler


[link to news.cgtn.com (secure)]
ron wyatt chuck missler
Alien Seb Fiend

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
The Nestorian Stele indicates that around 600-700AD there was a Christian church in every county in China...and it was embarrassing the buddhists, who used a lot of slavery in their monasteries
 Quoting: ronwyattchuckmissler


Mmm well like everything, power hungry people will do all sorts of things! I mean look at Christianity in North America as little as a few hundred years ago , with all our slaves!

Did you ever catch this movie about Christian missionaries going to feudal Japan, and the terrible hardships of Christians there? It was a very slow paced movie certainly, but intense! Just to get back on topic a bit:



Last Edited by Alien Seb Fiend on 04/06/2021 03:34 PM
neanderthal wisconsin

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
.
... druidism/tree of knowledge was carried over through the flood and then spread throughout the world ...
.
... the magi sought out "the King of the J*ws" ... and round 60+ ad the romans wiped out what they thought was the last of the druids ...
.
.

Our family celebrates The Lord's Feasts:
[link to www.grafted-promise.net]

Fools and the dead don't change their minds. Fools won't and the dead can't.

When you tear out a man's tongue, you are not proving him a liar. You are only telling the world that you fear what he might say. Quoting: CountryWise

Amos 5:13 - Therefore at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
Crypto-Tard

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Re: Buried deep in the Taisho Tripitaka Buddhist Cannon, I found several ancient Christian texts
5* and green pin!
Everyone has a plan until they get hit in the face.

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I am a "conspiracy theorist.” I believe men and women of wealth and power conspire. If you don't think so, then you are what is called "an idiot.” If you believe stuff but fear the label, you are what is called "a coward.”

--David B Collum

"The point of modern propaganda isn't only to misinform or push an agenda. It is to exhaust your critical thinking, to annihilate truth."

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GLP