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The Lost Christianity of X'ian

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posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 07:55 AM
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The story of early Eastern Christianity in China is an interesting one in that there was a genuine effort at syncretism with Taoist and Buddhist thought, which prospered for a couple of centuries before being suppressed, it's teachings and manuscripts then being gathered and stored away and sealed in a tomb shrine, before rediscovery.

These works aren't well known and generally only recently translated and made available, referred to as 'The Jesus Sutras', a lost form of Christianity, so i'll outline the historic background and nature of the texts here as i think they are of value and worthy of consideration.


In 635 AD, Christianity followed the Silk Road and entered China’s capital city of Chang’an, now known as Xian. Aleben, a bishop from Persia, led a contingent of two dozen monks on a 3,000 mile journey into the heart of China. The emperor of China, Taizong, welcomed Aleben and his monks, and the sacred scriptures Aleben carried.

In 1907, explorers discovered a vast treasure trove of ancient scrolls, silk paintings, and artifacts dating from the 5th to 11th centuries A.D. in a long-sealed cave in a remote region of China. Among them, written in Chinese, were scrolls that recounted a history of Jesus' life and teachings in beautiful Taoist concepts and imagery that were unknown in the West. These writings told a story of Christianity that was by turns unique and disturbing, hopeful and uplifting. The best way to describe them is collectively, with a term they themselves use: The Jesus Sutras.







In the Sutras, Jesus is called “the Jade-Faced One,” because, for the Daoists, jade is the stone of immortality. In the Sutras, the doctrine of original sin has no place. Creation is innately good. Concepts of dharma and reincarnation are explored

The early Chinese Church taught that not only feminine nature, but all human nature is in harmony with Nature itself. The Stone Sutra explains that, as in Daoist philosophy, the whole of creation is intrinsically good. Only when humans allow the goodness that is their birthright to be invaded by foolishness, greed, envy and pride do they become inharmonious with the rest of creation.





All of you should chant this day and night,
Because it brings back clear seeing,
And each of you will return to your own original nature,
Your ultimately true beingness,
Free from all falsehood and illusion.
And you will see these teachings are inexhaustible.

Anyone, even if they only have a little love
Can walk the Bright Path, and they will suffer no harm.
This is the way that leads to Peace and Happiness.
And they can come to this even from the darkest of darks





The inscription summarizes the life and mission of this Son, or Messiah and states that works of scripture were
preserved. In addition, it describes the way of life and liturgical practice of his followers in China, who named this doctrine Jingjiao the Luminous Religion or the Religion of Light

When Adam presents the name of this religion, he follows a form and terminology that mirror the work of Lao zi in Dao De Jing in which is written, “I do not know its name, so I call it ‘Tao’

Forced to name it further I call it ‘The greatness of all things.’” This sentence from a familiar Chinese classic, according to some scholars, likely provides the form for the statement in the stele’s text, “This ever True and Unchanging Way is mysterious, and is almost impossible to name. But we make an effort and call it by the name of “The Luminous Religion.”

Throughout the inscription, Christian practice is frequently termed “The Way” or the Dao





Now, what are the Four Essential Laws of the Dharma?
The first is no wanting.
If your heart is obsessed with something,
It manifests in all kinds of distorted ways.
Distorted thoughts are the root of negative behavior

The second is no doing.
The effort needed to hold a direction is abandoned,
And there is simply action and reaction.
So walk the Way of No Action.

The third is no piousness.
And what that means
Is not wanting to have your good deeds broadcast to the nation.
Do what's right to bring people to the truth
But not for your own reputation’s sake.

The fourth is no absolute.
Don't try to control everything,
Don't take sides in arguments about right and wrong.
What does the mirror do?
It reflects without judgment







Propogation of the Da Qin Religious System

The Jesus Sutras

Rediscovering the Lost Scrolls of Taoist Christianity

Mogoa caves


edit on Kam1231338vAmerica/ChicagoThursday0531 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 08:30 AM
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Nice one! I like these kind of threads and topics. I can read about stuff like this for hours. This Asian Christianity story also reminds me of the youth and also lost years of Jesus. I mean what did Jesus do when he was a child? He was in India wasn't he? I mean the lost years of Jesus...

If he really spent them in India, these youth years, well than he was in Asia.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 10:46 AM
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reply to post by roundpyramid
 



Yes that would have made him a minor in Asia, but Jing Jiao Christianity is interesting in it's own right no...?


After all it seeks to meet Taoism half way, shedding some of it's less popular Doctrines such as original sin and getting friendly Dragons in exchange, so can't be bad!





posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 11:35 AM
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When I was a child I often wondered why the spread of Christianity was limited to non-eastern countries especially with the Silk Road. Also why Christ himself did not visit any other countries or continents. Being the son of God you would think that he would right? And so I started learning about other religions that do believe this. Mormons believe that Christ came to the Americas to spread the word (albeit much like this Chinese version) a amalgam of different history and views.

But then I am struck by Matthew 7



Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.


Followed by



Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves


And I am left wondering if all paths really do lead to God? If there are true teachings in other religions?
edit on 5-12-2013 by abeverage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 11:55 AM
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Really awesome read thanks for sharing


Reminded me of To make the human heart a temple, the soul an altar, and the mind a priest.

These were the missions of Jesus of Nazarene
. . .

Kahil Gibran

Was Jesus an Essene or a Christian? anyone know?



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 11:57 AM
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oxford
Was Jesus an Essene or a Christian? anyone know?



That last part really doesn't make sense...



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 12:37 PM
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reply to post by Kantzveldt
 


Hi kanztveldt,
Interesting stuff,

Are you familiar with the story of St Issa of Nazth,


One of the mysteries of the Bible has always been where Jesus was during his twenties. There is a huge gap in the biography from puberty until about three years before the crucifixion. The simplest inference is that he was working as a carpenter with his father and that nothing remarkable happened to him during this period. This prosaic scenario, Jesus as a salt-of-the-earth working man, is in character with the rest of what we know about him, and there is no good reason to invalidate it.

One rumor that has circulated for years has been that Jesus went to India during this time. There were well-established trade routes, so it would not be impossible. If Alexander the Great got there several centuries earlier, why not Jesus?

This book is the source of that rumor. In the late nineteenth century a Russian, Nicolas Notovitch, published a travelogue of a trip through India, into Kashmir, eventually reaching Ladakh in Tibet. At this point, the book takes a sensational turn. A lama informs him that Jesus is revered as a Boddhisattva, under the name Issa, by a splinter sect of the Tibetan Buddhists. While Notovitch is convalescing from a broken leg, an ancient manuscript read to him about Issa. This tells of Jesus trekking to India to study the Vedas and Buddhism. Jesus stirs up a caste war against the Brahmins and has to leave India. Then Jesus returns home, stopping off briefly in Persia, where he preaches against Zoroastrianism. This account was supposed to have been written shortly after Jesus' death.


www.sacred-texts.com...
There is a very very good theater quality documentary, by a French film maker, that details the story. He goes to Tibet, Nepal and the Hindu lush in search of St Issa. He also tracked down a contemporary piece of art that depicts Issa as he passed through some town.


edit on 5-12-2013 by punkinworks10 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by abeverage
 



The basis isn't of Jesus visiting China, but representatives of the Syriac Church, which had developed from the Jerusalem church, which held Aramaic as it's official language, and the first name of which had been 'The Way', in other words a Church which was and is as close to the Near Eastern origins of Christianity as possible.

In China they held discussion with representatives of Tao/The Way or Path and developed a Theological position acceptable to both parties, in which Christ was understood as 'the way' that found accordance with the Taoist Doctrine as the way being that which was most in harmony with nature, a singular and shining path.

Can this really be compared to the activities of an all American scam artiste such as Joseph Smith...?




reply to post by punkinworks10
 



Yes i'm familiar with most of those stories, but the Syriac church had established Christian communities in Tibet as well as China and Northern India when at the height of their influence, before the Islamic expansion, and there were lingering remnants and traditions of those which perhaps inspired such tales no...?

edit on Kpm1231338vAmerica/ChicagoThursday0531 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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roundpyramid
Nice one! I like these kind of threads and topics. I can read about stuff like this for hours. This Asian Christianity story also reminds me of the youth and also lost years of Jesus. I mean what did Jesus do when he was a child? He was in India wasn't he? I mean the lost years of Jesus...
If he really spent them in India, these youth years, well than he was in Asia.


Jesus couldn't have been in India or Asia because the Jews had to go to Jerusalem every year. Going and coming to India or Asia would have taken more than year.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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Kantzveldt
Yes that would have made him a minor in Asia, but Jing Jiao Christianity is interesting in it's own right no...?
After all it seeks to meet Taoism half way, shedding some of it's less popular Doctrines such as original sin and getting friendly Dragons in exchange, so can't be bad!


The early Christian writings talk about original sin, i.e. Jesus and Paul the Apostle.



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 03:32 PM
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abeverage
When I was a child I often wondered why the spread of Christianity was limited to non-eastern countries especially with the Silk Road. Also why Christ himself did not visit any other countries or continents. Being the son of God you would think that he would right? And so I started learning about other religions that do believe this. Mormons believe that Christ came to the Americas to spread the word (albeit much like this Chinese version) a amalgam of different history and views.
But then I am struck by Matthew 7
And I am left wondering if all paths really do lead to God? If there are true teachings in other religions?
edit on 5-12-2013 by abeverage because: (no reason given)


Here's a missionary story about how far back Christianity went into Asia.
www.intouch.org...

Not all paths lead to God. Only one path does and that is Jesus Christ. From John 14:6, [Jesus is speaking] "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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reply to post by Kantzveldt
 


Uhmm no,
St Issa was not a Christian, Issa was a Buddhist.
The short story is that around 10-20bc, a boy around 14 , Issa of Nazth, arrived in the Hindu kush with a carravan from the west .
He stayed with a monastery and studied the life of the Buddha, for several years. During thus time he made a name for himself by preaching, something that really wasn't done by contemporary Buddhists. His preaching was along the lines of good will to your neighbors, and a selfless and giving lifestyle.
He railed against the caste system and other inequities of the time.
When he was in his early 20's he traveled extensively in northern India, Tibet and eventually made his way to a very remote monestary in Nepal.
Here he continued his studies and is said to have attained enlightenment there at age 26?.
He wore extensive works while there , that still exist to this day. After haveing rilled up the establishment,with his talk of human equity and understanding, he decided to return to his home Nazth, in the far west.
He shows up again in the Hindu kush some 20 years later and tells a tale of surving crucifixion and escaping to return to the east where he continued to preach until he died of old age. He is buried at a shrine, high in the hindu kush, ans his tomb is scared to Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christians.
If you look at Christ his preaching was not what was being done in judaism at the time. Also the earliest dipicrions of Christ show him wearing garments that are closer to Buddhist monk robes than to a Hebrew way of dress. Also rosary beads are the same form and number as Buddhist prayer beads



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 05:07 PM
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reply to post by punkinworks10
 



But it was only a made up story which the author confessed was a hoax, there are links between the Syriac church and Tibet and China but not in terms of Christian origins.


Unknown years of Jesus

Early Christianity in Tibet

edit on Kpm1231338vAmerica/ChicagoThursday0531 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 05:55 PM
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Great thread as usual.

It just goes to show that the lines we draw between religions are mere social mechanisms of our particular time and place which must be transcended. All religions share a heritage.

'All religions, all this singing, one song.
The differences are just illusion and vanity.'

-Rumi

"No one, as far as I know, has yet tried to compose into a single picture the new perspectives that have been opened in the fields of comparative symbolism, religion, mythology, and philosophy by the scholarship of recent years. The richly rewarded archaeological researches of the past few decades; astonishing clarifications, simplifications, and coordinations achieved by intensive studies in the spheres of philology, ethnology, philosophy, art history, folklore, and religion; fresh insights in psychological research; and the many priceless contributions to our science by the scholars, monks, and literary men of Asia, have combined to suggest a new image of the fundamental unity of the spiritual history of mankind.

Without straining beyond the treasuries of evidence already on hand in these widely scattered departments of our subject, therefore, but simply gathering from them the membra disjuncta of a unitary mythological science, I attempt in the following pages the first sketch of a natural history of the gods and heroes, such as in its final form should include in its purview all divine beings--not regarding any as sacrosanct or beyond its scientific domain. For, as in the visible world of the vegetable and animal kingdoms, so also in the visionary world of the gods: there has been a history, an evolution, a series of mutations, governed by laws; and to show forth such laws is the proper aim of science." -Joseph Campbell



posted on Dec, 5 2013 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by Kantzveldt
 


Issa is well documented in Buddhists
writings of the time. The film maker spent something like ten years researching the film. He visited the actual monasteries and shrines, and Issa's tomb in Pakistan. There is a whole sect devoted to his teachings. There are even pictures of him painted while he traveled in the region.

What I found fascinating is that at one shrine in a high pass, in the Punjab, that is guarded from extremists , by mixed group of Buddhists, Muslims, and sihks.

One thing to consider is that, maybe the reason that the early church made early inroads into central Asia, is the message had already taken hold.



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 07:51 AM
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reply to post by punkinworks10
 



There doesn't seem to be any reliable evidence for this, only stories and suggestions of relatively recent times by those looking to exploit myth, if there was i'd be interested in seeing it, but i doubt that i will.




reply to post by BlueMule
 



Of course it is not really so easy to merge differing religious traditions, for example the Taoists would have had to have accepted Jesus as 'the Way' otherwise there was little to discuss...
edit on Kam1231339vAmerica/ChicagoFriday0631 by Kantzveldt because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 09:27 AM
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Kantzveldt

Of course it is not really so easy to merge differing religious traditions, for example the Taoists would have had to have accepted Jesus as 'the Way' otherwise there was little to discuss...


It's not easy but it is possible. It just takes an esoteric exegesis and some Divine inspiration.

There are always undercurrents of hidden esoteric theology in a religion that transcend that particular religion. When those undercurrents are united with the esoteric undercurrents of other religions a flow between religions is established.

Oh sure there are local exoteric and institutional concerns that offer resistance to the flow, like a boulder in a river. That's ok.

When world religion and myth is treated as a single unit and analyzed using the tools of the comparative fields, the perennial philosophy emerges. One is able to use that philosophy to transcend the ephemeral walls we build, thus going from personal to transpersonal identity.

"Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him." -Gospel of Thomas Saying 108

edit on 6-12-2013 by BlueMule because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 6 2013 @ 10:36 AM
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Kantzveldt
reply to post by abeverage
 



The basis isn't of Jesus visiting China, but representatives of the Syriac Church, which had developed from the Jerusalem church, which held Aramaic as it's official language, and the first name of which had been 'The Way', in other words a Church which was and is as close to the Near Eastern origins of Christianity as possible.

In China they held discussion with representatives of Tao/The Way or Path and developed a Theological position acceptable to both parties, in which Christ was understood as 'the way' that found accordance with the Taoist Doctrine as the way being that which was most in harmony with nature, a singular and shining path.

Can this really be compared to the activities of an all American scam artiste such as Joseph Smith...?




Actually it can be compared because Smith incorporated ideas of most likely false stories of the Native Americans to promote a new form of "Christianity". Incorporating popular ideas of the times into yet another branch of Christianity. Egyptian artifacts were extremely popular at the times and he took advantage of that notoriety and gullibility of the people.

In your example adding the Tao philosophies although congruent were not taught by Christ nor were they recorded in any part of the New Testament.

To me it is not much different than adding pagan holidays such as Christmas or Easter into the religion in order to convert pagans. All have been tactics assimilating the ideas, myths and yes even falsities of the regions it encounters to make a more homogenous religion...
edit on 6-12-2013 by abeverage because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by abeverage
 


Christ has visited every continent, in the form of His Message. Christians were commanded to go out into the world.

Others have taken Christianity and perverted it for their own gain, such as Mormons. Mormons claimed Native Americans were a lost tribe of Israel. Of course Smith did not start this belief, it goes all the way back to Columbus. It has been proven false.



posted on Dec, 8 2013 @ 04:40 AM
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texastig

roundpyramid
Nice one! I like these kind of threads and topics. I can read about stuff like this for hours. This Asian Christianity story also reminds me of the youth and also lost years of Jesus. I mean what did Jesus do when he was a child? He was in India wasn't he? I mean the lost years of Jesus...
If he really spent them in India, these youth years, well than he was in Asia.


Jesus couldn't have been in India or Asia because the Jews had to go to Jerusalem every year. Going and coming to India or Asia would have taken more than year.


oy, he was the Son of God, God in the flesh.

not much of a stretch to get to asia or india, in no time. no camel needed.





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