Buddha : How Gautama became a catholic saint.

Buddha sculpture made of lost wax. At Patan, Nepal.

Among the many saints of the Catholic Church, one is perhaps the greatest saints of all times : Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, the “awakened one”. In the christian scriptures, he is hidden under the name of saint Josaphat whose life is a christianized version of Buddha’s life. According to the tradition, the indian king Abenner was persecuting the christian church founded by Thomas the Apostle in the 1° century. When astrologists predicted his son Josaphat would become a christian, Abenner isolated him from the world. Josaphat lived in his father palace for years till he met a christian monk, Barlaam, and converted to christianism. Later, Abenner converted too and abdicated to become an ermit. Josaphat became the king but finally abdicated also to live as an ermit with his master, Barlaam.

The story of the renunciation of the Bodhisattva or Bodhisat is known since the 4° century and is probably originating from the south indian state of Tamil Nadu. It travelled to Central Asia, Persia, then Europe. Josaphat became a saint in 1584 under the pope Gregory XIII. The Orthodox Church celebrate him on november 27 but after modern research on this story, saint Josaphat is likely to be removed from the martyrology in the next revision.

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