Behold the Lamb of God


Behold the Lamb of God

By Bhakti Ananda Goswami
11-Apr-04

CHRIST HAS RISEN HALLELUJAH !

DEAREST FRIENDS AND FAMILY,

BEHOLD ! HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW!

PEACE AND LOVE TO YOU AND YOUR DEAR ONES THIS BLESSED EASTER!

ALL GLORIES TO JESUS YUPA DHVAJA!

BHAKTI ANANDA GOSWAMI / BROTHER DAVID

AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

A SERIES OF CONTEMPLATIONS BY A BUDDHIST, A SHAIVITE AND A VAISHNAVA AT

THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

PART ONE: BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD...

A Pure Land Buddhist meditation at the foot of the Cross, by Bhakti Ananda Goswami

Humankind had entered a dark age of confusion and corruption.

Everywhere, in the name of God's revealed knowledge (Sanskrit Veda, Hebrew Yeda, Greek Oida), God's once-and-all-sufficient Cosmic Self Sacrifice as Purusha Yupa Dhavaja (Rig Vedic Purusha Sukta) was being horrifically mocked by the bloody ritualistic slaughter of innocent cattle, goats, lambs and other sacrificial victims, even sometimes by the tamasic sacrifice of humans. God's priesthood had become corrupted

and His temple had become a den of thieves transacting the life and death of slaves and sacrificial victims for blood-money. Into this culture of sin and death the Adi Purusha  Lord Lokeshvara (Vishnu) descended Himself to diagnose the condition of humanity and provide a cure.

Everyone knows the basic story of the Prince Gautama Buddha, but there is an oral tradition about Him that can only properly end with the words

"Behold the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world."

Here is my retelling of that legend, from the versions that I heard while traveling in the East.

As the run-away Prince Gautama, the Second Person of the Godhead (Amitayus-Lokeshvara Vishnu) had performed great austerities and had lived under the rigid discipline of various masters, only to find that their goals and methods of 'self realization' or 'enlightenment' seemed either undesirable and / or unattainable. After submitting to various disciplines and masters, He had become discouraged, thinking that the relief for suffering, which He was seeking for all beings, was unattainable. The world was pervaded with sin and its consequential suffering, and there seemed to be no remedy for it. Vedic religion was corrupt and what passed for 'spirituality' was a cold impersonal flight from the reality of the personal suffering of the beings in the saha world of birth, death, disease and old age.

Frustrated with His directed religious and 'spiritual' experiences, the Lord set off on His own as a wandering mendicant. As a solitary monk He headed up into the mountains, where He sat deep in meditation alone for many days at a time. Contemplating the suffering of the beings of the saha world, His desire to save them all increased day-by-day, until one day He was startled out of His deep meditation by a cry so pitiful, that it reached into the very bodhi heart of His compassion, and stirred Him once again to external consciousness.

A shepherd was bringing his flock down from the high pastures, and the pitiful bleating that startled the Lord had come from a desperate mother sheep, who had twin lambs, one of which was quite crippled and slow, lagging behind the flock, while the other was quite healthy and frolicking up ahead of the flock. In an instant the Mendicant Lord realized that the poor mother was emaciated and full of worry as she rushed back and forth between her sickly and her healthy lamb. She was just skin and bones due to her constant efforts to both help along her crippled baby and chase after her vigorous lamb, who had to be brought back, so that she could near his feebler twin. Her voice was strained from her constant calling to her frightened lame lamb "I am coming my  darling babe, mother is coming...I will not abandon you" and calling to her adventurous lamb "come back my darling babe ! Please do not make me chase you ! Please do not go so far ! There are wolves! You can get lost! "

In this way she was unwilling to abandon either of her precious babies, and was straining every fiber of her being to guide and protect them. Between their struggling and gamboling, she hardly had time to eat, and she ran-off so much of what she did eat, that she was starving. Yet despite her obviously impending starvation, she lovingly gave her sore almost milkless teats to her beloved babies at every opportunity that she could find.

With many sheep, the shepherd tending the flock seemed unaware of her plight, and if he had noticed, he probably would have sacrificed and eaten the crippled lamb, rather than to allow it to be the death of its valuable mother.

The Lord Teaches His Doctrine of Compassion

"It is better to ease the suffering of one dumb beast, than it is to sit in perfect impersonal meditation for an eternity" Thus the Lord declared His doctrine of compassion, as leaping to His feet, at once He approached the crippled lamb, and in spite of the worried mother's frightened protests, He lifted the little creature to His own emaciated shoulders, and  began to carry it.

'Worry no more my Woolly Mother, I am your servant now. I will protect and carry your precious baby"

And so it was, that with the crippled lamb on His shoulders, the Lord became the servant of a sheep. (Think my dear friends of the traditional early icon of Jesus as the Good Shepard, with the lamb draped over His shoulders !)

...but the story does not end here...

Soon Woolly Mother trusted her new servant, and was confident to leave her darling lamb with Him. Relieved of her worries, she would soon regain her health. Carrying the lamb, and striding down hill with the flock, the Lord reached the flock's shepherd, who seemed unusually preoccupied by something.

The Lord inquired as to why the man was so distracted:

"Why are you bringing your flock down the mountain at this time of the year" asked the Lord. "The upper meadows are lush and green. It is not yet the season to descend to the valley floor. Why are you headed for the valley?"

"Haven't you heard?" replied the shepherd. "The King has instructed the Brahmins to perform a great Vedic Sacrifice for the sins of the nation." "Thousands of sacrificial animals will be needed to atone for the sins of the people, the King and the Brahmins". "Preparations are underway for the greatest state sacrifice ever performed in our kingdom".

"Hundreds of sacrificial Brahmin priests, Mantrins to chant the Vedic Hymns, and other experts to assist in the sacrificial rites are coming from near and far. Thousands of crafts people, food-stuff peddlers and laborers are flooding into the city and the Great Temple is being readied for the biggest event in its history. We herdsmen and shipyards have been ordered to bring our herds and flocks, to provide the sacrificial victims. The altars, temple and city will be flowing with rivers of their blood, and the debt for the sins of the nation will be paid-in-full by the blood of these many victims!"

Both men grew silent as they walked side-by-side down towards the valley, and then in speechless grief, the Lord purposed in His heart:

"Ah, for all my lost sheep, who have no Shepard to protect them, and who are blindly heading towards the knife...IF I COULD GIVE MY LIFE FOR THEM I WOULD!"

There is more to the story, but I cannot tell it now.

Suffice it to say that the Lord condemned the great sacrifice and stopped it. Throughout the rest of His Earthly quest for the end of sin and suffering, and the relief of all beings in the saha world, the Lord Purusha Himself, as Prince Gautama, practiced self-sacrificing compassion.

Then in the end, He assured His followers that although His present dispensation would one day end, at that time the Buddha of Infinite Compassion would appear, and His order would have no end. In Pure Land Buddhism, this is the prophecy of the Adi Purusha's (Buddha's) return as Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Compassion.

Ever since Gautama Buddha disappeared, leaving this promise, Buddhists have been awaiting the coming of Maitreya, the Buddha of Infinite Compassion.

Upon the Yupa Cross of all creation, BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES

AWAY THE SINS OF THE WORLD. BEHOLD THE GOOD SHEPHERD WHO HAS GIVEN HIS LIFE FOR HIS SHEEP. BEHOLD THE ADI PURUSHA WHO ALONE CAN ATONE FOR THE SINS OF HIS CREATION. BEHOLD THE SAVIOR WHO IS THE SERVANT OF HIS SERVANTS. BEHOLD THE BUDDHA OF INFINITE COMPASSION WHO HAS TAKEN UPON HIMSELF ALL OF THE SIN AND SUFFERING OF THE SAHA WORLDS, WHO HAS ENDED ALL OF EARTH'S BLOODY SACRIFICES, AND WHOSE KINGDOM OF LOVE WILL HAVE NO END.

IN JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPARD, PURUSHA-BUDDHA'S DESIRE TO  GIVE HIMSELF FOR THE SALVATION OF ALL BEINGS HAS BEEN SATISFIED. AS A BUDDHIST AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS, I SEE MY LORD ADI PURUSHA VISHNAU-LOKESHVARA AS THE GOOD SHEPARD WHO HAS GIVEN  IMSELF FOR HIS SHEEP.

ALL GLORIES TO THE LAMB OF GOD WHO TAKES AWAY THE SIN OF THE WORLD ! ALL GLORIES TO THE GOOD SHEPARD WHO HAS GIVEN HIS LIFE FOR HIS SHEEP! ALL GLORIES TO JESUS CHRIST PURUSHA YUPA DHVAJA, WHO IS THE BUDDHA OF INFINITE COMPASSION !

JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPARD HAS DIED (FOR OUR SINS)

JESUS CHRIST THE GOOD SHEPARD HAS RISEN !

(BEHOLD HE MAKES ALL THINGS NEW !)

JESUS CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN

AND HIS KINGDOM WILL HAVE NO END!

HALLELUJAH !

A JOYOUS EASTER TO YOU ALL !

 

BHAKTI ANANDA GOSWAMI

(There is a voidist Buddhist interpretation of one version of this Buddhist legend in Sir Edwin Arnold's "The Light of Asia".)

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