A Visit to Granhult Buddhist Church
by Chr. Lindtner
A convenient and delightful way to learn more about the Buddhist
background of Christianity is to pay your local church an occasional
visit. In almost any church anywhere in the world, you will be
able to see and hear Buddhism in disguise.
True, the local priest or guide may not be able to assist you
in revealing the Buddhist sources or "subtexts" of what
he has to show you. He or she may even become surprised or offended
when you tell him the true story. For this, the true story, you
will need a Buddhist guide such as the book "Hemligheten
om Kristus", published in Klavreström on 9/11, 2003.Not
far from Klavreström you will find one of the few surviving
medieval timber churches in Sweden. It was erected not later then
1220. You can learn more about the old church from an official
guide by Marian Ullén.
In the south inner wall of the chancel you cannot fail to observe
at hole, the so-called hagioscope, by means of which those forbidden
to enter the church could follow the mass.
There is a Buddhist background for this. Being a mere human, the
father of the Buddha, the king of Kapilavastu, was forbidden to
enter the church in which the Buddha first preached his sermon
to the Gods. He had to remain outside the building. Still he could
look and listen to what went on inside, thanks to the power of
Hagioscopes were common in the Middle Ages even though their Buddhist
background may have remained unknown to those who devised them
for the benefit of those not permitted to enter the church.
Even the bells, known from all churches, have a Buddhist background.
Our Buddhists sources relate that the king of Kapila-vastu –
better known disguised as Capernaum (Greek: Kaphar-naoum) –
would have the bells ring in order to summon his subjects for
some important event.
Most interesting are the paintings, and among these the crucifix
and the background picture by Torbern Röding from Växjö,
When Torbern did this painting more than 300 years ago, he certainly
was thinking of Matthew 27: 51-53: "And behold, the curtain
of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth
shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and
many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and
coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into
the holy city and appeared to many."
Torbern would, I assume, have been highly surprised to learn that
the very same events had already been related in Buddhist scriptures
that antedate the Gospels of the New Testament.
Comparing the Buddhist and the Christian scriptures all the events
become much clearer:
A Buddha is sitting inside a stûpa, and he calls out: Good,
Good , Sâkyamuni! (Sâkyamuni is the name of the Buddha.
who preaches the Gospel.). All those who are present are amazed.
Where does the voice come from? Who is the man inside th stûpa?
With his finger, Sâkyamuni then tears the cover in two,
not from top to bottom, but from bottom to top. Inside the stûpa,
we now see, is an emaciated Buddha. He was the one who cried out
in Sanskrit: sâdhu, sâdhu, Sâkyamune. Now we
begin to understand why "Jesus" "from the cross"
cried: Eli, Eli, la´ma sabach-tha´-ni.
The Buddhist source then goes on to relate how the earth shakes,
how the rocks split and how the tombs were opened and an enormous
number of so-called bodhisattvas, holy men, emerged from the earth.
Coming up from the earth – see Torbern´s picture –
they went up to the stûpa, where the two Buddhas were now
By comparing the sources, you can now easily see how the original
stûpa the front of which was split in two, is assimliated
to the temple the curtain of which was torn in two. It is only
with the help of the Buddhist original that you will understand
who these many saints really were. According that source, the
life of the Buddha is almost without beginning and end. This means
that for millions of years he has converted numerous human being
to his so-called Dharma. Where hve all these holy men been staying
for such a long time? Answer: In their tombs. This explains why
they now no longer sleep but are raised. Now they help is needed!
The promise to help spread the Gospel of the Lotussûtra
– the source of alle these events.
As a rule, the authors of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John, combined several different Buddhist sources., thus fabricating
a new hybrid version. The new version they would then assimilate
to temples, stories etc. found in the Old Testament. It is in
this sense that Christianity can be described as Mahâyâna
Buddhism in disguise. The Buddhist sources were disguised by means
of words and ideas taken from the Old Testament.
On Torbern´s picture you not only see the holy men, the
rocks, the temple, and the figure on the cross. You are also struck
by the rather unusual oval form in which the picture is enframed.
Another Buddhist source explains what this egg is all about.
The Christian version of the Crucifixion has, in fact, three different
Buddhist sources. It is, therefore, pure fiction or fabrication,
having nothing to do with real history.
In the original Buddhist source, one Gautama, a predecessor of
Sâkyamuni, has been impaled, or "crucified". Hanging
there on the pole, he emits two drops of semen with blood. Not
without a sense of humour, Mark 15:21 imitates the sound and syllables
of the original Sanskrit, and the two drops of semen with blod
thus become – Alexander and Rufus! This is a most typical
way of "translating".
From the two drops of semen, two eggs develop. The Sanskrit words
for egg and skull are the same. The place where Gautama gave birth
to "Alexander and Rufus", you see, was also the place
of eggs and skulls.
The third Buddhist source describes the dying Buddha in the middle,
with a sal-tree on each side. By combining these different Buddhist
sources it is fairly easy to see how Matthew etc. arrive at the
picture of Jesus hanging in the middle, with a so-called criminal
on each side. The Gospels imitate the general picture, the motive,
but also, at times with confusing results, each word and phrase
in the original.
Now you understand why Golgotha, according to Matthew 27:33, was
the place of a skull.
When you go deeper into the Sanskrit sources, comparing them with
the Greek, you will find that there is almost nothing in the Greek
that is not already present in the Sanskrit.
This means that we can only understand the Gospels when we know
the Sanskrit originals.
Our brief visit to the oldest church in Sweden has given us a
good example of how one can learn more about Buddhism and Christianity,
well., simply by going to church with a mind open, of course,
for the historical background for what is seen and said.
Leaving the old church you will notice the curious form. Note
the shape of the roof. Such buildings are also known from our
Buddhist sources. The Sanskrit word is kûtâgâra.
a compound made up of kûta+âgâra. The noun kûta-
means "horn, peak, top", and âgâra simply
means "dwelling, house". The old building, therefore,
is a "top-house".
But there is more:
Curiously, the Sanskrit word kûta also means "deception,
Thus, the word kûtâgâra can also be translated
as "house of fraud"!
Such ambiguities are, in fact, very, very typical of the Buddhist
and the Christian texts to which I have here referred!
September 14, 2003, in Granhult
Dr. Christian Lindtner in Granhults Church.