Chapter 8: Live in Eternity
The first question:
Since I have been with you I have come to know Jesus in a new light. As a Jew I could never accept his teachings. Never before did I think of him as an enlightened being, as I think about the Buddha. When I first came in contact with Buddhist teaching in Nepal. I felt an immediate affinity towards it. Here now in Pune, Jesus’ sayings are becoming comprehensible and acceptable. Yet still doubts persist. Why did he say it all in such a roundabout way, especially considering that he was talking to the common people? And look at all the confusion that has now been caused by the manner in which he spoke. It doesn’t make any sense to me, and I won’t feel completely at ease with Jesus as I do with the Buddha until this question is resolved. I have the feeling that if I need to read the New Testament I would still reject it.
First, it is very easy to accept something that is absolutely strange to you. To a Jew Jesus is not a stranger, a Buddha is a stranger. It is very easy to accept Buddha, it is very difficult to accept Jesus.
First, with Jesus you are acquainted, and acquainted through a certain conditioning - the Jewish conditioning. Jesus is a rebel for the Jew. The same is the case with Buddha for a Hindu: the Hindu finds it very difficult to accept Buddha. It is easier to accept Jesus, because for the Hindu and the Hindu mind nothing is involved with Jesus, no attitudes are involved; the relationship is a new one. But with the Buddha much is involved. Buddha was a rebel who spoke against Hindu orthodoxy, who tried to destroy the Hindu organization. Although he was the highest flowering of Hindu consciousness, still he was against the Hindu past. He was the future, but he was against the past. And the future has to be against the past.
So was the case with Jesus: he was the crescendo of Jewish consciousness, he was the ultimate flower of the whole Jewish history. But because he was the ultimate flower, he had to reject many things. He had to rebel against Jewish lethargy, the Jewish past, Jewish prophets. And the Jew feels very hurt.
It is like.I was born in a Jaina family. Now the most difficult thing for the Jaina is to accept me. It is not so difficult for a Christian, for a Jew, for a Hindu. The most difficult thing is for the Jaina to accept me, because he has involvements with me. He was hoping that I would confirm his past. He was expecting that I would go to the world and spread the message of Mahavira. Then he would have been happy. But now I have my own message, his expectations are destroyed. And not only my own message, I have a thousand and one things to say against the Jaina tradition - that hurts.