The buddhist Triad and the christian Trinity:
on the strange and simultaneous appearing of Christianism and the Great Vehicle
in the East in the Ist century CE
In the Ist century CE, in the huge Kushan empire ruled by syncretist indo-european sovereigns on a territory comprising, southern China, Kirghizistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, northern India and part of Nepal, where Greek and Aramaic were the two languages officially spoken and written along the Silf Road, a totally new buddhism appeared, called Mahâyâna, that today's historians of Buddhism still don't explain clearly.
The Kushan reign was established on the remnants of Alexander's ephimerous empire and the Indo-greek kingdoms that followed him, especially Gandhâra, famous for the indo-greek or Gandharian art, synthesis of the Greeks' technique and perfection, and of buddhist spirituality.
There, suddenly, new sutras appeared, such as in particular the Lotus Sûtra and the Heart Sûtra of Supreme Wisdom and new boddhisattvas raised with their message of compassion, universal salvation and renouncement to Nirvana for Human kind. Unlike the Buddhism of the Origins, the ultimate goal wasn't any more, in Mahâyâna, the dissolution of the Arhat, but the help of all human beings and the sharing of their condition on Earth.
Two of these new buddhas and bodhisattvas gained a very important role.
Amitâbha, the buddha of "Infinite Light", was a king called Dharmachakra - the Bearer of the Law Wheel – that had renounced his kingdom to become a monk and help all beings to free from illusion and suffering.
Manifested by his "genitor" Amitâbha: Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of Great Compassion, "the Lord that looks downwards to the sufferings of man", was sent in order to save Human kind. Avalokiteshvara was created from one eye and Târâ, his sister and consort of Compassion, from the other one. Avalokiteshvara had a white body, he crossed Hell and freed all human beings, but when he saw that they had all returned to it, he doubted about his wish to save them all and his body exploded in one thousand pieces. Amitabha created him a new body with eleven arms and Avalokiteshvara founds new strenght to fulfill his mission.
A third bodhisattva joined them: Mahâshtâmaprâpta, the "Arrival of a Great Power", a quite abstract and unseizable figure that turned later into tibetan Manjushrî with his sword of Wisdom, made of the thunder of sudden illumination.
And few people know that Maitreya, the messianic Future Buddha, also appeared in the Kushan empire at the dawn of the Ist millenium CE. His name, meaning "The Loving", or "The Friendly", has the same etymology as persian god Mithra worshipped from India to the Roman Empire. His cult became very important in the whole Mahâyâna but also later Theravada and his eschatology was an evident mix of zoroastrian, christian and buddhist faiths.
Now, the three buddhas precedently named were soon represented together in the Kushan Empire and later called in China the "Three Saints of the West" because their field of influence extended towards the sunset, and they reigned – we are still at the origins of Mahâyâna buddhism – in the Paradise of Pure Land of the West, that had itself just appeared during that same period in the same area, while there was no Paradise in the Buddhism of the origins. And this Paradise of Pure Land described in the Sûkhavâti Sûtra was reached through the constant prayers and invocations or repeating of the name of Amitâbha. There was no greater bliss than to contemplate the Three Saints of the West seated there, Amitâbha at the centre, Avalokiteshvara usually at his right and Mahâshtâmaprâpta at his left. Among all the pleasures of this Paradise, only one was missing: the women, that could not acceed it unless they became men at the moment of their death... A very masculine point of view, common with the last logion of the gnostic Gospel of Thomas*.
On the Silk Road of the 1st century CE, Jesus had met Buddha and early Christianity had clearly met Dharma. They had dialogued in Greek, Aramaic, Sanskrit... and the mysterious revolution of Mahâyâna, through a study of texts, iconography and traditions was finding its explanation.
Thank you to Glastonbury, and to the Oracle for helping spreading this new light.
François-Marie Périer, Glastonbury, august 2017
*After Peter's remark that Mary should get out of the disciples because women are not dignitous to enter in the Kindom of Heaven, Jesus tells them that he will make Mary-Magdalene male "for every woman that will make herself male shall enter in the kingdom of Heaven. But in the Great Vehicle, the Supreme Feminine Wisdom would soon play a very important role and conferm the gnostic and greek-orthodox conception of the Holy Spirit as being feminine. In the new path of the Great Vehicule, Feminine Wisdom and Masculine Compassion were painted under the form of the sexual union of Prajñâ and Karunâ at the center of the tantric mandalas.