Did the Magi Bring Jesus A Gift From Buddha?

Did the Magi Bring Jesus A Gift From Buddha? December 16, 2019

Ok, I know this one is a stretch, but stay with me here.

The Magi who came from the East following the star of Bethlehem were disciples of Daniel, the Old Testament Prophet.

How do we know this? Because we read that Daniel stayed behind when the Babylonian/Persian captivity was over. We also know that Daniel was leading a school of mystics during the reign of Nebuchadnezzer and continued to teach disciples under the Persian rulers.

This is why those Magi knew about the signs of the birth of the Messiah which were revealed to Daniel in a dream in Daniel 9:

“From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One [the Messiah], the ruler comes, there will be seven “sevens”, and sixty-two “sevens”…after the sixty-two “sevens” the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing.” [Dan. 9:25-26]

So, this is why Daniel’s students “from the East” would have been looking forward to the birth of the Messiah, as foretold to them by their teacher. [NOTE: Babylon is/was directly East of Jerusalem as the crow flies]

Why do I believe those Magi also brought with them a scroll that contained the teachings of the Buddha?

First of all, because it explains why so many of the teachings of Jesus overlap with those of the Buddha.

For example:

Buddha was born about 600 years prior to Jesus. So, his teachings would have already had plenty of time to develop and become distributed throughout Asia.

Those Magi, Daniel’s students, were “wise men” which means they were eager to learn and motivated to seek out wisdom from a variety of sources.

So, it’s not beyond imagination that those Magi were well-acquainted with the teachings of the Buddha. And it’s not a stretch to think that one of them might have carried with him a scroll of those teachings.

For example, I did some digging and found out a few more details:

*Early Buddhists were known for their missionary zeal.

*The Silk Road of the First Century connected India, Asia, Persia and Jerusalem with one another.

*The Roman historian Philo records the presence of Buddhist monks in Egypt during the life of Jesus.

*Buddhists settled in many settlements within the Roman Empire, including Judea.

This map [see below] shows the trade routes between India, Persia and Jerusalem in the First Century:

 

Now, I know that this all sounds pretty hypothetical and super-sketchy, but it’s something I’ve been wondering about recently and I thought it would be interesting to see what you – my dear readers – might think of this theory.

I must also point out that none of this threatens the truthfulness of the teachings of Jesus. Whether God revealed these teachings to Buddha or to Jesus – or both – simply proves that God is no respecter of persons and anyone who truly seeks after wisdom and truth with their whole heart can expect to receive the same from God.

Truth is truth. All truth is God’s truth. Whether Jesus says it, or Buddha says it, or both say it. In fact, if both Jesus and Buddha affirm many of the same truths, this only strengthens the notion that the same God is speaking through both of them.

I’m interested in doing more research to see how far and wide the teachings of Buddha may have spread prior to Jesus and if it’s possible that wise men from Persia would have access to those teachings around the time of Christ’s birth.

Agree? Disagree? I’m eager to hear your thoughts.

**

Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife have returned to El Paso, TX after 25 years, as part of their next adventure. They hope to start a new house church very soon.
Keith’s new book, “Jesus Undefeated: Condemning the False Doctrine of Eternal Torment” is available now on Amazon.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Nimblewill

    Some believe that Christ came at different times as the Angel of the Lord or Melchizedek. If He did He would have taught these truths to everyone He encountered. I’ve heard it said that no all roads lead to God but that God can take any road He chooses.

  • Jon-Michael Ivey

    Magoi were Zoroastrian priests. I see no reason to assume any connection to Daniel or Buddha.

  • Bob Peacock

    This is fascinating and looking to read more. Thank you for your work.

  • Lisa Taylor

    This quote, “Truth is truth. All truth is God’s truth. Whether Jesus says it, or Buddha says it, or both say it.” makes my heart sing!

  • Al Cruise

    I agree, there are many parallels in the Bible from earlier texts , some written hundreds of years earlier. The flood story for one. I also agree with you that truth is truth and love is love, neither need the stamp of Christianity or any other religion to make them so. They are absolutes.

  • independantvoter

    the persian empire was zoroastrian and where the first to accept the concept of one god.

  • Excellent choice Keith! Western Christians writing and seeking to understand the ancient wisdom and divine revelations in many of the eastern teachings is long overdue. Eternal wisdom is ETERNAL. One Divine Intelligence. One God. One Truth. Thank you for bringing some Light to the connecting spirit where east meets west. Wiliam L. Ingram/Author

  • COFines

    While speculation is fun and occasionally profitable in spirit, your question, Keith, is pretty much unanswerable. Even if by a big stretch it turned out to be true, it wouldn’t change much of anything significant other than perhaps opening up a few minds. If you are serious in this quest, I would recommend two fairly short books: The Jesus Sutras by Martin Palmer and the Lost Sutras of Jesus by Riegert and Moore. These are based on documentary and archeological evidence and relate the early eastward expansion of Christianity along the Silk Road on into China, where it gained quite a foothold in high places before eventually being stamped out along with Buddhism as foreign religions. In the early church, this eastern realm was bigger in extent than the western church including what we today call the Eastern Orthodox, and is all but unknown today, or if known, sneered at as “Nestorian.” Here are real connections to the Persians and to Buddhism.

  • Steve Gillette

    These magi were followers of heavenly signs (astrologers) which puts them out of line with Judaism and Buddhism.

  • RossM

    To start off with, you have to assume that there actually were Magi, and that they were not a fictive addition to Matthew’s birth story to parallel the priests of Egypt, to better align Matthew’s story with the history of Moses. But the main problem is the fact that (1) you need to search the Old Testament for parallel sayings too, and (2) you need to line up ALL of the Buddha’s teaching with those of Jesus to see how well they align. For example the Buddha would never have said Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all you soul and all your mind, because he taught that there are no Gods.

  • OffCenter Larry

    There is only one God. You get it. To paraphrase, “Love is love. All love is God’s love.”

  • James Elliott

    I was always given the impression that the Magi were Gentile mystics…the sort that were condemned by Jewish tradition/law…but if find the idea intriguing that they might be descendants/disciples of Daniel – which is credible. I think it is a little stretch to throw Buddha in there, but with the prophets proclaiming, and Matthew quite interested in, the nations showing up (“Every knee shall joyfully bow”) i don’t see any theological reason to dismiss the idea.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    this is what turns me off of christianity. you dont get to dictate how many gods there really are.

  • Brianna LaPoint

    Buddha and Buddhism are seperate from christianity and for good reason. i am well aware of the way christians are to other beliefs. its like a beauty contest judged by Grimhilde and the mirror. You cant win because the only winner is the queen with the mirror. Which reminds me. perhaps some self reflection would help most people especially those that condescend other beliefs outside of christianity

  • RMS

    It’s pretty well established within the archaeological community that ancient people traveled MUCH farther than we think possible. Otzi the ice man was crossing the alps in a several hundred mile hike, and nomads in Asia routinely wandered (literally) thousands of miles in their lifetimes.
    So I can certainly imagine a scenario where travelers are sitting around the campfire and one of them is like “Buddha? Yeah, my grandpa went to school with that guy!”

  • Tammy Mills Hanley

    A few years ago I began suspecting that while the Bible speaks only of God in Hebrew history, that didn’t mean God didn’t interact or care about other groups of people, sending prophets or even sons (not *begotten,* perhaps, but the angels are referred to as sons of God in the OT). Spreading the way we are to consider ourselves, others, and all creation seems to have mattered in many cultures years before the picture presented in the Bible is made available as it is.

  • Michael Flaherty

    Interesting speculation. Also there is a striking similarity between Buddha being confronted with three temptations under the bodhi tree by the demon Mara and Jesus’ three temptations in the desert.