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Buddha is also a European saint...
The ancient tale of Gautama Siddhartha, the founder of Buddhism, spread from
his homeland to Europe, where he became a Christian saint with the name of
That's the conclusion of a group of Korean researchers who have conducted a
multi-linguistic study of the westward spread of the story of the Buddha.
"It is apparent that the name Iosaphat originates from Buddha," Paik
Seung-wook, a lecturer of Spanish at Seoul National University said.
According to Paik, while the Buddha's tale spread westbound, his name
"Buddha" or "Bodhisatta" in Sanskrit, changed gradually in accordance with
various linguistic backgrounds with similar accounts of the tale.
For example, it changed to "Bodisav" in Persian texts in the sixth or
seventh century, "Budhasaf or Yudasaf" in an eighth-century Arabic document
and "Iodasaph" in Georgia in the 10th century.
The name in turn was adapted to "Ioasaph" in Greece in the 11th century, and
"Iosaphat" or "Josaphat" in Latin since then.
"The gradual change of the name shows the westward spread of the tale from
Nepal (where the Buddha was born) to Persia, the Middle East, Greece and
Europe," Paik said.
Paik is a member of a project research team undertaking a study of the
literary interchange between the East and the West. The Korean Research
Foundation is sponsoring the study, and the study results were published in
the June-July edition of the bimonthly "Antiquus."
As it spread, the tale adapted different versions according to various
religious backdrops. In the Greek account, a hero Ioasaph, a prince in
India, one day witnessed blind, sick and old people on the streets outside
of the palace. The scenes shocked the innocent prince and led him to
contemplate the agony and emptiness of life. One day, a Christian monk named
Barlaam visited the anguished prince and taught him the religion.
Enlightened, Ioasaph abandoned his secular values and led an ascetic life
until his death. This account has a striking similarity to that of the
In Europe, the story spread to most regions, especially since the 11th
century, and the tale's hero has been acclaimed as the champion of
Christianity, not Buddhism.
"There are slight differences in accounts in different texts. For example,
in an Arabic account, the prince married a woman, but in a Greek text, he
overcomes temptation from female figures," Paik said.
According to Paik, there have been previous studies in Britain and Germany
on the cultural transmission of Buddha's tale to Europe, but he said this
study is the first time scholars approached the subject in a comprehensive
and multi-linguistic way.
"The research covered eight languages: Sanskrit, Georgian, Arab, Turkish,
Persian, Greek, Latin and Spanish. Our team studied the original text in six
languages, and the other two in English," Paik said. [KOREA TIMES]
Public greet His Holiness with standing ovation,
warm smile from Archbishop
By Tsering Tashi (Office of Tibet, London)
GOTHENBURG, 12 June: His Holiness the Dalai Lama was twice given
standing ovation this evening in this second largest city of Sweden, as
he entered and left the Scandinavium indoor auditorium after
participating in a lively public dialogue on ???Looking for Meaning in the
Present World?with Archbishop K.G. Hammar, the head of the country??¡ê¡ès
The dialogue, moderated by the well known Swedish TV presenter and
author Ms. Annika Hangstrom, was attended by nearly 7,000 people
according to organisers, who said hundreds of people bought tickets only
hours before the commencement of the event. The presentation was
translated by Ms. Malin Ekstrand, whose fine translation especially of
the funny and interesting comments shared by the two religious leaders
received much applause from the audience.
>From the dialogue that ensued, it was apparent that both the
Archbishop and His Holiness, who is regarded as the world??¡ê¡ès most
prominent and respected Buddhist leader, shared openness and respect for
each others religious traditions. The also shared the view that through
different religious approaches they could learn from each others
???I know that some Christian brothers and sisters have learned from
Buddhism some techniques on how to cultivate compassion and patience.
Christian brothers and sisters lead a simple life and are very practical
in providing social services and education,?His Holiness said.
The Archbishop, who also mentioned about his awareness of the Tibetan
situation, told the audience that he was pleased to meet with His
Holiness because of his unassuming nature despite having won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1989.
???Your Holiness, you are really a global person, one of the few not
trying to dominate the world but to serve the world and for that we are
grateful,?Archbishop Hammar said.
His Holiness, to the delight of the audience responded by saying that he
would describe the Archbishop firstly as a fellow human being, then as a
person with a genuine smile and finally for the position that he held.
When Ms. Hangstrom drew His Holiness?attention to his best-seller book,
???Ethics for the New Millennium? His Holiness said that since the
majority of the people in the world did not believe in religion, he felt
there was a need to encourage the promotion of secular ethics or human
action that produces happiness, which we all want.
???We do not want pain. We all want happiness,?His Holiness said, adding
that ???animals do not have religion?but they too want to lead a happy life.
With reference to happiness, Archbishop Hammar to the surprise of many
in the audience said that in the Christian bible there is no mention of
the word ???happiness? ???In our church it was used 20 years ago,?he said.
???The dialogue between the Dalai Lama and the Archbishop was very lively
and interesting. Even I did not know that the word happiness was not in
the bible,?the anchorwoman of Swedish TV4, Malo von Sivers, who also
attended the event, told this writer.
Stressing that that material progress alone is no guarantee for a happy
and contended life, His Holiness stressed the need to look at situations
from a wider perspective rather than from a narrow, self-centered
perspective, which His Holiness added that even accordingly to a
scientific study is a cause of ???heart attack?
The Tibetan Nobel Laureate??¡ê¡ès presence in Gothenburg was widely known
with even the city administration announcing its welcome on the electric
sign board displayed strategically on the motorway between the airport
and the city centre.
Katarina Malmer, who runs the Malmer Communication involved in the
production of the evening??¡ê¡ès public event said, ???This is not a commercial
announcement but a free service provided by the city administration to
also inform the people about His Holiness?visit. I think this is very
encouraging and shows how significant His Holiness?visit is to the city?
Erik Lenken who had come to hear His Holiness all the way from northern
Sweden said that the young people find much inspiration from the Tibetan
leader??¡ê¡ès message of hope and encouragement to indulge in positive actions.
???I have read most of His Holiness?books and he has helped me to live a
better life and to treat others well. He is my hero, he is my saviour,?
the 19-year-old Lenken said, adding, ???I wish there were more Tenzin
Gyatsos in the world? (His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama also is known
by the Tibetan name Tenzin Gyatso).
Mr. Tenzin Geyche Tethong, who has been the Secretary to His Holiness
for the last 40 years, told this writer that the evening??¡ê¡ès event was
very much in tune with His Holiness?efforts to promote dialogue among
the various religious traditions and also to bring more inter-religious
???Everyone seems to say it went very well. I think we should also give
credit for the success of this event to the Archbishop. He has been very
open about other religious traditions and receptive to His Holiness?
thinking. The dialogue is important and it helped to create better
awareness and understanding,?Mr. Tethong said.
Mrs. Kesang Y. Takla, who as the Representative of His Holiness the
Dalai Lama for Northern Europe, is accompanying His Holiness on this
trip, expressed satisfaction at the success of the programme for which
she has been closely working with organisers since the time they
submitted their formal invitation in 2003.
???His Holiness had a very constructive and meaningful dialogue with the
Archbishop. They covered several topics and discussed these from
different angles, which the audience appreciated very much judging by
all the applause in between,?Mrs. Takla said. ???After the event some
people came to say how much they enjoyed and benefited from the dialogue
between His Holiness and the Archbishop.?
Earlier in the day His Holiness gave a joint audience to more than 70
people representing the Association of Tibetan Buddhism in Gothenburg,
Vietnamese Culture Centre and the Tibetan Community in Sweden. He also
separately met with representatives of the Center for Cognitive
Psychotherapy at whose invitation he was in Gothenburg for this
programme with the Archbishop and tomorrow will be addressing their
International Congress of Psychotherapy, which according to them will be
attended by some 1400 participants, mostly scientists and teachers, from
over 40 countries and all the continents.