part II Buddhism was entrenched in Israel and PLASTINE PRIOR TO CHIRSTIAN AND ISLAM DISLOGING IT; YET IT ROVIDED THE WORDS ‘ALLAH’ AND ‘GOD’ BEING ANOTHER WORD ‘BUDDHA’ IN ANCIANT PLASTINE
With the publication of a research paper recently by Ven. (Dr.) Paravahera Pannananda Nayaka Thera, the Chancellor of the Ruhunu University of Sri Lanka has caused me think that Arabs was not that insipid?
This learned Thera’s research has identified pre-Islamic Arabia as the possible location of the hometown of a Great Buddhist Monk named Punna Thera who was indeed one of the first disciples of Sakyamuni Buddha.
Indeed this indefatigable research would be ignored by the judo Christian sects at a price, for it would definitely catch the imagination of the global intelligentsia!
In fact Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Nayaka Thera has linked up with the Sacred City “Mecca” in Arabia, as one of the place where an original Buddhist Shrine was built at the behest of Ven. Punna Thera while the Buddha was still alive.
According to his findings there were four Buddhist monasteries which have been built by the Buddha’s pupil Ven. Punna Thera. And all these four temples were hallowed by the Buddha Himself who had arrived on a visit. In fact whether Buddha has visited these places or not is of no importance, but if it can be established as a fact that there were 4 such temples in the sites that he mentions then it will upset the whole historical apple cart.
Until his publication of the Buddhist texts and their commentaries, no one seems to have hit upon, or realised such a possibility; that indeed Buddhism had been established in a West-Asian region, as far back as the 6th century B.C. while Gautama Buddha was still living.
Many civilizations and empires arose in this region; Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, Mycenaean, Cretans, Athenians, Persians, Hittite, Mitanni, that had left indomitable marks of their cultures. References to merchants, caravan traders, kings and courtiers and men in search of knowledge and wisdom; trekking dangerous desert terrain from East to West and vice-versa, are found in early Buddhist texts. But these were not taken seriously by the historians or archaeologists history up to now!
There has had been pioneer scholars, the likes of Sir Auriel Stein, Paul Pelliot, Albert Grunweddel, Ludwig Bachhofer, E.J. Rapson, Helmuth Von Glasenapp, Le Gocq, Guesseppe Tucci. They informed the world of the glories Buddhist civilizations which had existed and vanished due onslaught of time and Judeo Christian rapacity!
However with this monk’s indomitable work, we challenge the historical status quo! Indeed the glorious civilization which had existed has been marshaled and juxtaposed, tells an incredible tale. This prodigious work is ground breaking by any standard.
He informs’ that While tracing possible survivals of Buddhism’s expansion from its birthplace, the Middle India, I was fortunate enough to trace a few localities outside India, towards Far West and beyond the Northern barrier of Himalayan terrain where flourishing cultures of Buddhist Kingdoms had sprung up during pre-Christian centuries.” These has sprung up along the “Silk Route” in fact during the very life-time of the Buddha.
Enthrallingly, he informs that whereby I would be able to present a picture of that past golden age during which our Lord Gautama Buddha lived and tirelessly served the mankind for 44 years to aid the sentient beings from “universal suffering” (Dukkha) by expounding; The One and The Only Way, that is the “The Nobel Eightfold Path”
As far as Buddha’s teachings are concerned, the philosophy and the doctrine, it is the consensus of a large number of scholars of the present and the past century, that what the Buddha taught was unique. There was no creator God, no soul, no haven or Paradise was to be found nor hell but suffering. There were no cheap promises of virgin maidens living and some undeclared coordinates.
Teachings of no other founder of a religion on this planet earth can be said similar or identical, let alone superior to the Buddha’s “Dhamma” or teaching. This Dhamma which is better called Saddharma is now enshrined in the copious volumes known as the Tripitaka and penned in Lanka 3rd centenary BC.
Natural to query is if “Buddhism had been introduced to Arabia several centuries prior to the Christian era, why don’t we get any traces of its remains either in the form of religious literature or archaeological survivals?”
Again one may insists that, “had the Buddha been such a supra – human Being, His visit and stay in this part of the world would have made an indelible impression on the minds of the people of these regions. Therefore where is such an impressive effective impact?”The Buddhist texts refer to many instances of foreigners from distant lands coming to worship the Buddha, having heard of His presence ‘that a Great Being who calls Himself, the Buddha has appeared in the world’ and residing in Middle India (Magadha Kingdom). The story of Punna Thera is one such episode in which the main characters, Punna Thera and his brother were caravan traders from Sunaparanta.
According to textual reference, the very first lay disciples of Gautama Buddha, even before the Buddha established His Bhikkhu community namely the Sangha were also two caravan leaders who came from Uttrapatha (the Great Northern Highway) in their trading missions. They were known by their names Tapassu and Bhalluka.
Mahvegga I Speaks of this meeting in such a manner:
Now at that time the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika were going along the
High-road from Likable to that district. Then a devata who was a blood-relation of the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika spoke thus to the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika . ” My good fellows, this Lord, having just (become) wholly awakened, is staying at the foot of the Raj Ayatana, go and serve that Lord with barley-gruel4 and honey-balls, and this will be a blessing and happiness for you for a long time.”
Then the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika, taking barley‑gruel and honey-balls, approached the Lord, having approached, having greeted the Lord, they stood at a respectful distance. As they were standing at a respectful distance, the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika spoke thus to the Lord
Lord, let the Lord receive our barley-gruel and honey-balls, that this may be a blessing and happiness for us for a long time.
Then it occurred to the Lord: Truth Finders do not receive with their hands. Now with what shall I receive the barley-gruel and honey-balls? ”
Then the four Great Kings, knowing with their minds the reasoning in the Lord’s mind, from the four quarters presented the Lord with four bowls made of rock crystal, saying: Lord, let the Lord receive the barley-gruel and honey-balls herein.” The Lord received the barley-gruel and the honey-balls in a news bowl made of rock crystal, and having received them he partook of them.
Then the merchants Tapussa and Bhallika, having found that the Lord had removed his hand from the bowl, having inclined their heads towards the Lord’s feet, spoke thus to the Lord : “We, Lord, are those going to the Lord-for refuge and to Dhamma ; let the Lord accept us as lay-disciples gone for refuge for life from this day forth.” Thus these came to be the first lay-disciples in the world using the two-word formula.
Buddhist texts refer to them as the first two lay followers of the Buddha, who surrendered before the Buddha and His Doctrine (who sought refuge in the Buddha and the Dhamma)? The Pali phrase “Buddham Saranam Gacchami, Dhammam Saranam Gacchami” was first uttered by those two trader brothers who offered to the Buddha a regal repast full of “mead and pop-corn (fried grain). This type of food must have been a common food item, if not the staple diet, among the West Asians and those people who lived in the peripheral regions where corn and barley are grown as staple food.
The curious thing about this meeting with the first lay disciples is that, scriptures does not inform of his very first sermon he would have had given as a thanks’ for the offering of alms to him as these lay disciples were. This part must have been edited off, as finding that these two characters as melted away from history as far as the compilers of the scriptures!
The home country of the two caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka who were the Buddha’s first lay disciples has been located at “Balkh’, a city in ancient Bactria and north of present day Afghanistan, through which ran the famous Great Northern Highway, “Uttarapatha”.
The story of Punna Thera as related in early Buddhist texts is exactly a reminder of those ferocious tribes in the Western regions (Aparanta). But Punna Thera, a well disciplined disciple of Gautama Buddha, knew that he could handle those uncouth people who were His kinsmen.
The connection between Ven. Punna Thera and that of the merchants Tapussa or Bhallika a bit hazy! But I am certain we will get this information soon enough?
Ven. Punna Thera who settled with his own following of monks at Sunaparanta, having caused to be built – four temples at the following sites: Ambahatta Pabbata, Samudragiri Vihara (a temple near the sea) where there was a magnetic rock engirting a stone platform used as a promenade for monks meditation practice.
The first Shrine built for Punna Thera was named Ambahatta Pabbata by the Pali scribes of Buddhist texts. The name suggests that it was either a rock-cut shrine or a temple built on a natural eminence (Amba or Amra Pabbata eminence).
I dare to identify this shrine Ambahatta or Ambatta of the early Buddhist texts with the pre-Islamic shrine Amrah on the Northern end of the Dead Sea.
A modern historian describes this shrine as follows: “Qusayr Amrah” meaning the little castle of “Amrah” stands on the edge of a wadi in the desert of the Northern end of Dead Sea. Here too among the remains of ancient monuments is a structure with a hemispherical dome, resembling a Buddhist Stupa (tope).
The second temple built for Punna Thera was named Samudragiri Vihara which had a magnetic stone promenade within a stone enclosure. But the great noise of the sea prevented Ven. Punna Thera from engaging in his much desired meditation.
I identify this temple site with the famous ‘Temple of Jerusalem’ where a magnetic rock is located. In Hebrew or Aramaic language Sela (which takes the form Patra in Latin or Greek?) refers to a stone or rock. Sela is also traceable to Indo-European origin. In Pali or Sanskrit, Sela-Saila is synonyms for rock, stone, mountain.
I am constrained to identify the Temple site at Jerusalem, the Holy of the Holiest of Christendom, as the exact location of the ancient Buddhist monastery Samudragiri Vihara built for Punna Thera, within close proximity to the sea. This might have been an ancient Judaic religious site where a Jewish temple complex dedicated to Jehovah, the great sacrificial god, existed, and later appropriated by those who were converted by Punna Thera to the peaceful non-sacrificial-ficial religion of the Buddha. This was exactly the case in regard to many early Buddhist religious sites and shrines. This was the case in ancient pre-Christian era Sri Lanka and also in India.
According to the Buddhist texts, the noisy waves of the sea close to this shrine, Ven. Punna Thera had tamed using his psychic (Idaho) powers.
Buddhist textual references mention that Punna Thera through his psychic powers caused the noisy sea to be calm (dead as it was). Hence the subsequent name ‘Dead Sea’ as mentioned above in this essay. Earlier it was known as the ‘Sea of Arabah’. We can check how this noisy sea was really noisy prior to taming by this monk by the preceding scriptures to making it dead subsequent. This is up to the Jewish historian’s to confirm!
The third temple was Matulagiri where the noise of birds troubled Punna Thera’s meditation and finally Ven. Punna Thera left for the fourth temple built for him by his rich caravan trader brother and that was named Makulakarama. This fourth temple is the one which the learned Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Thera identified as the present ‘Mecca’ shrine in mainland Arabia. Indeed that is the stone the Muslims circumambulate presently
At Sunaparanta, Ven. Punna Thera got down red-sandal wood to build a hall for the Buddha (Candana sala).
According to the story in the early Buddhist texts, the Samudragiri Temple was quite close to the sea, but today Jerusalem stands about fifteen (15) miles away from the Dead Sea as the crow flies.
Those who may disagree with my proposed identification might pose the question “How can a temple lying 15 miles away from the Dead Sea cause obstruction to its indwellers on account of the great noise of the sea? Surely, the Buddhist texts refer to an incident that had taken place more than 2,500 years ago. This can be checked using the Jewish scriptures to check whether prior to the incident did the sea make noise and suddenly it ceased to make a noise, and indeed must have been a miracle! This can definitely be checked for its veracity there must be documents if this was a fact!
It is quite possible that Jerusalem was at close proximity to the “Sea of Arabah’ as the “Dead Sea” was then known at the time of Punna Thera (Cir. 6th century B.C.).
Even the name “Jerusalem” can be considered as an early Aramaic form of ‘Samudra Giri’, the name of the Buddhist Shrine complex. The term giri meaning ‘rock’ can be equaled with the term Sela (later Petra) referring to ‘a rock” among Aramaic or Hebrew speaking people in ancient Sinai-Arabah region. Sala, Saila, Sela (meaning rock or stone), although taken as an Indo-European phonetic term could have either got into Aramaic or Hebrew (both of the Semitic family) or could have been borrowed from Semitic to Indo-European.
‘Jeru-Salem’ if it was an original formation meaning ‘rock near sea’ was expressed in Buddhist text as ‘Samudra – Giri’ when put into early Indian (Sanskrit or Pali). One has to further investigate whether ‘Jeru’ or ‘Jericho’ (another ancient site near Arabah Sea) has any relation to ‘Samudra’ or sea in ancient Indic phonemes.
Although our explanation is hypothetical, yet the fact remains, that Jerusalem was an ancient Holy Place where stood at least some of the items that are referred to in Punna Thera story.
We quote “There was a Sacred Rock (As-Sakhra) at Jerusalem, the place of pilgrimage for Muslims also. This was the ancient rock which formed the highest point in the temple area and on which David’s altar probably once stood.”
“Muslims believe that this was the precise point from which Mohammed had made his miraculous ascent to heaven.”
“The rock on which apostle of Allah set his foot when he ascended into heaven. This reference may be a survival of an historic event that took place in Ven. Punna Thera’s time when Buddha visited and sanctified the Rock Shine and placed His ‘Sacred Foot Print’, on the stone altar or dais there, a practice or an act the Buddha had done in sanctifying and appropriating such stone “Altar Shrines” of pre-Buddhist religious cult worshippers several places such as Sri Pada in Lanka.
Coming back to West-Asia, “Abd-al-Malik (A.D. 685-705) was the builder of the dome of the rock at Jerusalem”.
“Then Abd-al-Malik built above Sakhra a dome and hung it around with curtains of brocade and he instituted door-keepers for the same, and the people took the custom of circumambulating the rock, even as they had paced round the Kasbah (in Mecca!) and the usage continued thus all the days of the dynasty of Umayyad.
The Caliph of Damascus (of Syria, former Aram) of a vast Muslim empire in the 6th century A.D. thus built a dome above the rock and installed a practice of circumambulating at Jerusalem. This practice of worshipping sacred sites or objects is one that is common to Buddhism as has been instituted by Buddha Himself. It is known in Buddhist Texts as ‘Pradaksina that is going round a sacred object or person worthy of worship, in a clockwise manner for three times.
The third temple built for Punna Thera was known as “Matula Giri”, again a rock-hewn temple as the name suggests. This site was found not quite proper for the secluded hermit life of a Buddhist eremite of Punna Thera’s bearing, because of the noise made by large flocks of birds.
It is not possible for us to identify any ancient temple site in this part of Arabia close to “Dead Sea, with this third temple built for Punna Thera.
However, archaeologists have found several ancient temples of pre-Islamic Arabia within this locality. At Petra (or ancient Sela) a city few miles south of the ancient township Punon) referred to above and identified by us as the birth place of Ven. Punna Thera) are remains of large rock-cut shrines. Several cave shrines dating back to the period of the proto-Arabic Nabetean Kingdom of pre-Christian centuries have also been discovered in and around the Dead Sea.
At Petra (Sela), the chief attraction was a rectangular “black stone’ worshipped as a monument for the god of those ancient people. Furthermore the Arab god Allah, Allat, Al-Uzza was worshipped in the kabah and possibly represented by the famous ‘black stone’ in that place.
Our aim in this research study is not merely to identify possible sites in ancient Arabia with those referred to in the story of Ven. Punna Thera, but also to investigate further for more evidence to substantiate the thesis of the great scholar monk Ven. (Dr.) Pannananda Maha Thera who alone had made this remarkable research into Buddhist texts to locate the birth place of Punna Thera in far-West Arabia.”
The learned Thera suggests that the fourth temple named Makulaka Arama built for elder Punna Thera could be possibly the Islamic Sanctum Santorum, the shrine at Mecca. The name mecca (Mekka) agrees well with the temple (Arama) by the name Makulaka phonetically. But the problem lies how to draw a comparison between proper names found in the Indo-European group with one found in a different linguistic family, for Arabic being a language of the Semitic group.
However, the fact that the religious dialect of those regions, West of Hindu Kush up to the Mediterranean lands during the centuries before the Christian era was ‘Aramaic’ and the difference of opinion of scholars whether Aramaic the ‘Lingua-franca’ of the region was of Semitic or Indo-European origin is a matter worth further investigation and careful scrutiny. Even Jesus Christ preached His sermons in Aramaic.
As we have suggested above, the few centuries in between the date of the Buddha’s Presence in Magadha (Middle India) kingdom and the birth of Jesus Christ in Israel (ancient Arabah) have seen remarkable historical episodes in the Kingdoms along which passed the great trunk-route Uttarapatha, the Northern Highway linking East and West of the then known civilized world.
Now one may wonder what is the available archaeological evidence of this region, the North West part of Arabia, to locate possible Buddhist sites that could be traced back to pre-Islamic or even pre-Christian period.
Our investigations proved successful with substantial evidence and we are now able to locate not one but several sites that could reasonably be related to the period of Punna Thera’s habitation in Sunaparanta and the four monastic establishments or temples built at the request of Thera Punna.”
The very name ‘Sunaparanta’ has two words combined to give a meaning – ‘a far away country’, according to ancient Buddhist texts. That is ‘Sun’ and ‘Aparanta’ which also means, Sun of Aparanta. ‘Sun’ a locality in the major region or country of Aparanta. Aparanta according to Buddhist texts is the habitat of Aparantakas (a community or race) from a major region called Aparagoyana which is one of the four great continents according to the geography of the time of Buddha. It is to the West of Sineru. Sineru is the hub or centre of the Earth according to the reckoning of ancient Indian geographers and astronomers.
According to the Buddha’s Sermons (Suttas), when the sun rises in India it is the middle watch of the night in Aparagoyana. The sunset in Aparagoyana is the midnight in Jambudveepa (India), and sunrise in Aparagoyana is noon in Jambudveepa, sunset in Pubbavideha and midnight in Uttarakuru.
When we take into consideration this above explanation in early Buddhist Texts of the position of the sun in relation to the regions of Earth, it can be surmised that Pubbavideha is ‘Far-East’, Uttarakuru is the land of the ‘Americas’, and Aparagoyana is the whole of ‘Europe’.
These geographical identifications of earth’s localities by the Buddha, and commented upon by the Buddha’s disciples of the past, would have made the Europeans of Mediaeval centuries, reeling with laughter and those who pronounced such geographical identifications, (that reveal parts of the Earth having daytime while some other parts in the darkness of night, thereby suggesting the global shape of the Earth), would have been condemned to death on stakes and spikes for distorting the minds of the faithful on the belief in God’s great creation (what the Roman Catholic Church had done to poor Copernicus and Galileo).
The Buddhist texts show how Buddha had rejected over and over the belief in an “Eternal Being”, who is the creator of Earth and heavenly bodies with all the living beings.
Moreover, this geographical explanation is a clear verdict that the Buddha had a very scientific view of the planet Earth and considered it (the Earth) to be a globe around which the light (of the sun) falls in an anti-clockwise pattern. This factor alone shows the great knowledge that Buddha and His Noble Arhan disciples (the Maha Sangha) had about the Earth and other galaxies including our own ‘Milky way’.
Coming back to Sunaparanta debacle, let us continue to untwine the tangle by investigating further some survivals of pre-Christian archaeological data. Suna was a locality of the major region Aparanta (Hence Sunaparanta). Apranta means ‘far-end’ (Anta) of the Western border (Apara), when viewed from Magadha Kingdom in india of the continent Aparagoyana, the early name for Europe as we can now correctly conjecture, where only bullock-cart tracks (Goyana) were available and not great highways like the Uttarapatha and the Daksinapatha opened for thousands of caravan traffic.
Sunaparanta was apparently the Cul-de-sac or the terminus of the ‘Great Northern Highway’ (Uttarapatha, that linked Mongolia, China, Central Asia, South Russia and the major centres of the then known civilized world the Kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Aram (Syria), Arabia, Babylonia, Persia etc.
Where was the locality ‘Suna’ that has become famous or got such an importance for the Great Buddha to pay a visit and stay there on the invitation of Arhant Punna Thera (Worthy One). Araha or Arahan is an epithet of both the Buddha and His Noble disciples.
We have no hesitation in identifying the ancient ‘Suna’ of Buddhist texts with the historic ‘Sinai’ region between Egypt and Israel. ‘Sinai’ tract has been the bone of contention between the Arabs and the Jews, from pre-Christian centuries onwards. In the recent times ‘Sinai’ area was captured by the Jews from Egypt during the seven days war Israel waged with the combined armies of several Moslem States headed by Muhammed Abdul Nasser of Egypt. It is not etymologically impossible to compare Suna of Buddhist texts with ancient Biblical Sinai. But to strengthen our identification we need further evidence.
It is in the Sinai tract the ancient township Punon is located quite surprisingly yet fortunately helping to strengthen our identification of Sunaparanta with this part of West Asia. We may surmise that Punon is a variant form of Punna Thera the name of the Buddha’s great disciple who dared to go back to His motherland despite the warning by the Buddha that Sunaparanta is a country inhabited by ferocious wicked people, as is aptly described a few centuries later by the anonymous author of the “Periplus’.
On this contention, it is not difficult to locate the ‘Punnon of Sinai’ as the home town of “Punna of Suna” of the major region Aparanta. Hence, Punna Thera of Sunaparanta of the ancient Buddhist texts.
A little towards South of Punon is the ancient city of Sela (or Petra in roman times) which has yielded rock – cut temples, houses, tombs, religious altars, etc. Sela is a city mentioned in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. It was the meeting place of caravan traders from East and West. To quote from a historian: “The historical city Petra was the same as Biblical Sela (or Selah) famous for its beautiful rock-hewn temples, houses, tombs, altars.”
Hence the caravan leaders of the like of Punna Thera and his brother, hailing from Buddha’s time would have easily given their family name to this town, known as Punon or else they got themselves identified with the town that was their place of birth, as Punna of Sunna!
(Or if modernized Punon of Sinai). Thus, Punna of Suna in the State of Aparanta should no more be a mystery shrouded with the passage of time.
Now the question can be raised, if Punna and Suna as proper names could be derived from existing or existed historical sites, why not the name Paranta or Aparanta? We have found that on the same analogy, even this is not an impossibility if we consider that the ancient Jewish Kingdom or locality Arabah of the lager Nabatean Kingdom was just located in the site where we traced Punon and Sinai.
The world ‘Arabah’ sometimes found as ‘Araba’ could be traced back to ‘Aparanta of early Buddhist texts. It could be surmised that this region that was originally called ‘Aparanta’ in the Pali texts had got into Aramaic or proto-Aramaic, a form like Apara or Abara and had called this region Apara, a short form of Aparanta which term later formed into Araba-Arabah through syncope and metathesis. It should also be noted that according to Bible scholars Aramaic was ‘Lingua-franca’ of the whole of West Asia during pre-Christian centuries. Even the Great Buddhist Emperor Asoka had to issue his rock-edicts in Aramaic and Brahmi both, when he addressed his people in the north-western part of India.
Later, when the Nabatean Kingdom of the Aramaic speaking people who were dominant in this part, fell to Hebrew speaking Jews (after the ruthless and devastating conquests by the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans), the Arabahs were pushed southwards. These people begun new kingdoms for themselves of and took the name Araba as their clan name or ethnic identity in contradistinction to Hebrew speaking Jews of Israel. We suppose that our view is a very logical reasoning as to how the Arabs and their country Arabia appeared in the world (Arabi in Sinhalese).
When these Arab Kingdoms were pushed further towards mainland Apranta (Apara – Araba), it is quite likely that the whole region got the name Arabia from pre-Christian pre-Islamic times.
The possible identification and that also hypothetically of sporadic sites in West – Asiatic region, alone will not help us to determine that Buddhism was established in this part of the world during the very lifetime of the Buddha and prevailed as the religious faith of many people throughout the pre-Christian centuries.
Therefore we have extended our survey into the field of religious cults and practices as well as ancient religious literature, art and architecture also to trace possible clues of Buddhism’s penetration in to this region so that our hypothesis should be confirmed absolutely.
Prior to the use of the term ‘God’ in the Holy Bible, as derived from Greek to English the old Aramaic texts of the Holy scriptures (the Bible!) known as Peshitta give the name Alaha for God. This is very intriguing. Even the Holy Quaran has ‘Allah’ for God which is identical with Aramaic Alaha, phonetically.
However, nowhere it is explained how this term Alaha-Allah had entered into pre-Christian and Christian – Muslim religious texts. Finding the origin of this Aramaic term ‘Alaha’ and the Arabic or Islamic term ‘Allah’ has enable us to solve a major riddle in regard to the term ‘God’ which overtook the word Alaha for the supreme Divine Being in the Christian Bible but had been retained in the Muslim Quaran.
Meanwhile it is also noteworthy that the Jewish term Jehowah (Heb: Yahaweh) for the “Creator”, ‘the Divine Being’, ‘Supreme God’ had never been used by Jesus Christ in the Christian Bible or by Prophet Mohammed in the Holy Quaran.
Why did they prefer Alaha and allah to the Jewish ‘Jehowah’, needs explanation by both Bible and Quaranic scholars, and how these terms Alaha-Allah for the ‘Supreme Creator’ came into the ‘Holy Scriptures’ of these two major religions, viz. Christianity and Islam also has to be explained and answered.
The other problem that baffled us in our present quest is the word ‘God’ which is widely used in almost every theistic religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Shikh, Parse, Bahai and may be English translations of the Texts of Judaism when they refer to their Supreme Divine Being and explain their doctrine in English.
I continued my search in every available dictionary, lexicon and encyclopedia, but not trace was there in any of these publications for the etymological origin of the word ‘God’ to determine whether it is from an Indo-European origin of Semitic origin or from any other linguistic family.”
Now, back to “Punna of Suna” (or Punon of Sinai).
Punna Thera, the great disciple of our Buddha had attained the highest path in Buddha’s dispensation. Therefore he was one of the ‘Maha Araha’ a great worthy one (also, Arahan or Arahat).
Had the Great Elder Punna Thera established Buddha’s dispensation (the Church or Sasana) in this part of Arabia (the “Sinai-Arabah” region) and had there been several hundreds or thousands of Ven. Punna’s converts to Buddhism, and among them a few hundred had entered the Buddha’s order of monks and had attained the final stage of liberation called the stage of Araha.
Therefore we are very happy to declare for the great delectation of Buddhists all over the world, that the strange word ‘Alaha’ by which the old Greek bible or the proto-Greek Aramaic Bible also known as the Peshitta manuscripts, identified the Glorious One, the Blessed One, The Supreme One, the God was nothing other than the epithet ‘Araha’ of our Buddha which even today millions of Buddhists all over the world in Buddhist countries especially, chant as a devotional hymn in praise of the Buddha.
Thus we have solve a major part of the mystery in regard to the epithet for the Supreme Being, the glorious, sinless Lord, who is Araha – Alaha – Allah, in Buddhism, Christianity and Islam all was no other than Buddha.”
One may question us how can Araha become Alaha and more so Allah? The answer is quite simple to linguists and philologists, who are aware of the linguistic law – Rhotacism – whereby ‘R’, and ‘L’ can interchange. (Refer also, Lambdacisms)
Historians of Arabic and Jewish religions have found that Alaha, Allah and Allat had originated from the Sinai region, which is exactly the location we have identified with Suna – Aparanata of the Punna story of early Buddhist texts. So this part of the world deified ‘Buddha” with acronym Allah.
Let us now turn to the other problem, the most baffling question of the etymological origin of the word ‘God’. We have searched high and low, to solve the mystery of ‘God’. We turned our investigations into almost every available lexicon, dictionary and encyclopedia, without any avail.”
Indeed he stresses that; We can now with assurance declare that the word ‘God’ is derived from nothing else but the word ‘Buddha’, “How could that be?”
Our researches proved that this word “God” is nothing but a derivative of the word “Buddha” from the secondary formation “Boddo”, an early form, how the ancient Indo-Greeks, (also known as Bactrian Greeks), Sakas, Parthians, and Kushanas (Yue-Chih) used in their documents to name the Great Lord, Bhagavat Buddha.
They make a jaw breaking effort, yet without success and pronounce, ‘Buddha’ like ‘Buddo’ or ‘Boddo’ (‘d’ as in ‘door’ or “do”). Sometimes I got amused but often disappointed, yet I could not help it but had to tolerate their great difficulty in pronouncing the name ‘Buddha’.”
However, now I feel happy that I had the good occasion to confront with such people because this very experience has been a pointer to solve the most intriguing thing, how the mystery word “GOD” appeared in the world.
In the coins issued by early Indo-Greeks (also known as Bactrian-Greeks), Scythians, Sakas and Kushanas of West Asia who were converted to Buddhism (a few centuries after the Alexandrian conquests of Persia and other kingdoms of Middle East) have for the first time in history of Buddhist iconography, the image of Buddha on the obverse side of their coins. This numismatic evidence is like “God sent” to me, the only clue to solve the present problem of the etymological origin of “God”.
Through my recollections, how my American and Australian students pronounced the word “Buddha” during my university lectures, I managed to trace its roots in the Indo-Greek numismatics. It could be presumed that the same problem had been encountered by the western people whether they are Greeks of West-Asians. They too must have pronounced the name “Buddha” as “Boddo” and inscribed it on the reverse side of their coins. The best example is the coin issued by the great Kushana Emperor Kanishka, with a standing image of the Buddha (on the obverse) with the legend BODDO.
Araha and Allah
I am sure the Bactrian Greeks (or the Indo-Greeks) as they were called by several scholars, to distinguish them from Selcuicid Greeks) had not used the dental ‘d’ in BODDO legend of the coins that was inscribed on the obverse side. Thus Bhagavat Buddha had been introduced to West-Asia and Middle East, as a Great Superhuman being worthy of worship, under the epithet “Boddo” during the first century of the Christian era and would have possibly replaced the former ‘Araha’ -Alaha (Allah) ideal of the original Buddhism.
Thus within a century at least of the Christian era, the Buddha – Boddo – Bod – God, ideal had been established and had penetrated into the region of Sinai-Arabah where the Araha – Alaha Allah concept of the supreme sinless compassionate Lord, was prevailing.
Based on our new discovery, we do not hesitate to declare that the mystic word ‘GOD’ has gone into the Holy Scriptures of at least some of those West Asiatic people (who held Araha – Alaha – Allah as the Supreme Being) through the linguistic or philological formation of BODDO’, during the first century of the Christian era.
Jews who held “Torah” as their foremost Sacred Holy Scriptures would not have yielded to those extraneous religious texts or scriptures of the Buddhist Sects established by Punna Thera, wherein Araha, Alaha or Allah appeared variantly. This can be clearly seen in the firm stand of Jews in recognizing Jehowah (Yehoweh) as their Divine father, the Supreme Creator, right throughout from pre-Christian centuries up to now, and not Alaha or even Allah as it has gone into Aramaic and Arabic Holy Scriptures, and more so the all loving compassionate Boddo, Bod, God who they thought would not conform to their ideal of an Eternal Creator God – Jehowah who does not hesitate to punish those who go against his commandments and covenents.
There must have been bitter resentment between the two factions, namely, the priests (or priest – kings) of Jehowah worshippers and the cave dwelling eremites who rejected the Jewish torah since the days of Ven. Punna who preached the peaceful doctrine of “Araha Sambuddo” and the “Kingdom of Righteousness and baptised their newly ordained novice monks (a custom that is still being continued in Theravada Buddhist countries), and eschewed circumcision and totally opposed animal sacrifice and killing in whatever form to appease a ‘fictional’ being.
“Allat according to recent study of the complicated inscriptional evidence is believed to have been introduced to Arabia from Syria”. (Ancient Aram) With the rise in power of Jehowah faction of the primary Jewish tribes who allied with the Alexandrian Greeks
Thus the Araha – Alaha worshippers, the peace loving original Sinai people continued to stay in the region with their cave dwelling monks, later known as Essenes (may be a derivative from Suna-Sinai), performing their religious rites and obligations based on high ethical order, morality and righteousness, and safeguarding and promoting the study and practice of their original Holy Scriptures the “Peshitta”, as opposed to the Jewish Torah.
However, they too would have had to face occasional persecution according to the whim and fancy of the Jewish priest kings.
Buddhist Greek Kings
During the same period one can witness that a neo-Buddhalogy was just emerging in the former Bactrian-Greek satrapies with territorial expansion of the imperial Kushanas under the great Buddhist Emperor Kanishka (cir.first.Century,A.C.)
Bactrian Greek Kings like Minander (of Milindapanha fame) had already become devout patrons of Buddhism. The rule of emperor Kanishka gave a great impetus to Buddhism by spreading it in far away territories beyond his imperial frontiers.
It could be surmised that the “Arahan Buddha” followers were still holding on to their scriptures the “Peshitta” and the temples in the vicinity of Jerusalem.
Their presence during the pre-Christian (pre-Jesus) days can be definitely proved by the re-discovery of the famous “Dead-Sea Scrolls” in the early fifties of the present century, the scriptures that belonged to the cave and forest dwelling monks known as Essenes and written in arachic Aramaic script.
According to the scanty information that was made available to the scholarly public by those Jewish-Hebrew scholars who jealously guard the “Dead-Sea Scrolls” for nearly fifty years without publishing them, under various pretexts, these documents belonged to the monks dwelling in forest or cave hermitages and were later called Essenes.
The ‘Dead-Sea Scrolls” do not refer at all to a higher Divine Being by the name of Jehowah, unless the recent editors (who jealously guard these documents) tend to interpolate or smuggle in, the name Jehowah, in between the lines of these ancient religious scriptures written in Aramaic.
It is remarkable that without any such evidence at their disposal, as the newly discovered “Dead Sea Scrolls”, some European scholars of the early decades of the present century have suggested that the “Essenes” could be an “original forgotten Buddhist Sect.”
Although the Jews rejected “the religion of the Araha” (or Alaha), the Arabs, from the original Arabah stock, were fortunate enough to have adhered to the great doctrine found in the “Scriptures of Araha” and preserved by the monks of the Sinai-Arabah region, (the Dead-Sea region).
That is why the scholars of Islam have found it possible to declare that the concept of Allah is pre-Mohammed and had possibly derived from a religious concept got down from Sinai-Arabah area (or Israel-Palestine of the present day).” This observation confirms our derivation of Essenes from an original religious community from Sinai.
Most of the pre-Christian and later (appropriated) Islamic temple sites in Arabia as referred to above, including the famous shrine at Mecca (which was identified by the great scholar monk Ven. Dr. Pannananda Mahathera, as the Makulaka monastery of the Buddha’s day) has as the central object of worship a “Sacred stone dais”.
We wish to present a few more evidence to substantiate our thesis that the Buddha’s religion introduced to West Asia by Ven. Punna Mahathera, survived as a counter religious force to Judaic Monotheism, (in the same way original Buddhism played as a counter force to monotheistic, animal sacrificing Brahmanic Hindu religion in India) for many more centuries, preserving its originality intact until it was absorbed and assimilated into the two faiths namely. Christianity preached by Jesus Christ and Islam preached by Prophet Mohammed, yet preserving a good portion of Buddha’s original Doctrine – “Saddharma” and early Buddhist religious cults and practices like, circumambulating sacred objects of worship. erecting domes above shrines to symbolize the vastness of Buddha nature like the ‘vault of the sky’ or heavenly spheres; worshipping the great Buddha symbolically in the sacred seat or dais, fiery flame; crescent moon to remind the Buddhist Sabbath or Poya retreat; rejecting anthropomorphic images of the Supreme Buddha who is ineffable, elevating the Doctrine (Dhamma) on same part with the Great Divine Lord.
Now that we have produced substantial evidence to prove that they very name ‘God’ is a derivative of the name ‘Buddha’ through the Bactrian Greek – Saka – Scythian – Kushana word Boddo – Bod, it is incumbent on us to provide further facts to strengthen our thesis.
Jesus never preached on an everlasting, eternal heaven or Hades as is found in most other theistic religious systems. Jesus categorically denied such beliefs when He declared “heaven and earth will not last but my doctrine will last.” Jesus emphasized that everything will pass over. This is in conformity with Buddhism which declared everything is impermanent (anicca) and the ‘Doctrine’ of Nibbana the Supreme Bliss is eternal, Santana Dhamma. Jesus said, “my doctrine is not mine.”
As foreseen by the Buddha, in his admonition to Ven. Punna, ‘under violent, inhuman persecution and threats by the followers of Jehowah (the Jewish priests) of Sinaiparan (Sunaparanta) original Buddhism established by Punna Thera and his disciples and followers of the Nabatean kingdom of Arabah (around Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth) up to Sinai area, had retreated to mainland Arabia and Syria where they continued to survive as Arabs (or Beduin Arabs – Buddhist Arabs!), who build shrines with crowning domes, just like the Buddhist architectural type found in stupas (dagabas) in honor of their supreme blessed One, Alaha or Allah (or Allat) who was eventually deified as a merciful being, the Supreme Lord who is the great divine ruler (Allah-hu Akbar).
If our surmise and explanations can be justified, then it could be argued that in those Arab states where the Aramaic language prevailed, the Buddhist scriptures and practices too continued to serve with occasional changes and growth of extraneous cults and practices. That is why in every pre-Islamic Arab shrine we get domical structures which surmount the main temple like in Buddhist stupas. There are also sacred stone altars, platforms and stone daises that are the main attraction in those shrines e.g. at Jerusalem, Amrah, Petra, Mecca, etc.
Yet, we are fortunate to get a few survivals among which are early representations of the Buddha (in the exact manner how the Buddha images were carved in early sites of traditional Buddhist countries), crudely carved, e.g. the stone image of ‘Amado of Shukayamim’. According to a recent scholar this is ‘a complete statuette in the round, carved in alabaster. The modelling is done with care but the lower part of the body is quite out of proportion, due no doubt to considering the head as the most important part. The inscription of the base gives the name of ‘Ammyada’ of ‘Shukaymim’.
It could be presumed the name ‘Shukaymim’ of the figure represented in this statute as given in the archaic inscription carved out at the bottom, have preserved for posterity the revered name ‘Shakyamuni’ of Bhagavat Buddha, how the Lord Buddha is reverently addressed by the Buddhists in India, Tibet, China, Korea and Far-East as well as in Theravada countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Kampuchea, Laos, Vietnam and was also found in the earliest pillar inscription of emperor Asoka installed at Lumbini.
Thus by the time of Prophet Mohammed (cir 6th century AC), the origin of the concept of Alaha and Allah, worship was totally forgotten and shrouded in obscurity, excepting a few surviving early religious cults and scriptures handed down from generation to generation which preserved the basic tenets of former Arahat (Arahan) ideal of original Theravada Buddhism introduced by Ven. Punna, such as a high moral code (Sila), belief in rebirth in heaven and a final eternal blissful state (devaloka, brahmaloka and Nibbana), perambulating as a mode of worship (Pradaksina), wearing white clothes to signify religious sanctity (odata vasana), repeating many names of the Lord in praise of Him (nava arahadi Buduguna), no anthropomorphic images but aniconic, symbolic representations of the Lord (like a dais or altar, asana, flame of fire; foot print, dome or domical roof.)
God from Buddha
The reader of the present essay may now seek an explanation from us as to why and how the word ‘God’, if it was derived from ‘Buddha’ giving ‘Buddo-Bod’, was used by Jesus Christ and His followers had the Buddha been worshipped and was known as Araha or Alaha (and later Allah) among the West Asian countries of Aramaic speaking people including the communities with whom Jesus had moved. This was exactly a problem that had baffled us also. The answer to this problem can be found in the religio-cultural developments in the region under review.
Had we embarked on our investigation on the origin of the word ‘God’ without understanding and analyzing the political and religious background of this region, we would not have been able to find any answer to the problems that we faced.
The period during which Buddha was preaching His ‘Saddharma’ and establishing the ‘Kingdom of righteousness’ or ‘Buddha Rajjyaya’ (Buddha Khetta) in the circa sixth century BC had witnessed the emergency of various kingdoms and their merging into powerful monarchies in and around India, e.g. China, Achaemenid Persia, Egypt, Syria, Assyria, Greece, Crete, Babylonia and the Magadha Kingdom of India.
Middle East and West Asia had witnessed the greatest impact of politico-cultural upheavals of this period, mainly because of the influx of so many people to these regions through the great international highway, the eponymous Uttarapatha (Silk Route, as some do call). We have already referred to this phenomenon. The availability of such an international trunk-route that served as quick passage for information also,
By the time Jesus was born in Jerusalem, Buddhism in its stronghold kingdoms in north-west India had developed into Mahayana under the patronage of Saka-Kushana monarchs as has been explained above. The Aramaic speaking territories of pre-Christian centuries received all the inspiration from those Buddhist kingdoms and more so when emperor Kanishka expanded his territories under the Kushana empire.
Hence the change of doctrinal policy of Buddhism in these kingdoms it was natural for the ‘Aramaic world’ of West Asia also to receive its influences and impact.
Therefore it could be easily explained that Jesus Christ also had become an ardent follower of the new school of Buddhism which had powerful and rich monastic centers in the Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian region that was the territory in the heart of the powerful Kushana Empire. This has been proved with evidence through archaeological discoveries by research scholars, who have found tangible evidence to prove Jesus’ presence in Kashmir which was the part of the great Buddhist Empire of Sakas and Kushanas both, during the first century before and after the present era.
It could be surmised that Ven. Isa or Jesus the Jew. was sent to Israel, with the backing and blessings of the powerful Mahayana Buddhist monks of the Kushana Empire who still would have had contacts with Alaha (Araha) Buddhists in Arabia and Palestine.
It would be interesting to refer to the hermit monks known as ‘Essenes’ who lived in caves and grottoes around the Dead Sea region and the discovery of religious scriptures written on parchments from sanctuaries near the Dead Sea and referred to as ‘Dead Sea Scrolls’. After nearly five centuries of the establishment of Sinai (or Esseni) Buddhist Church by Ven. Punna Mahathra, it could be presumed that there could have been a substantial number of followers of the great Alaha, the supreme compassionate teacher and his peaceful ‘Doctrine of righteousness’, even at the time of Jesus, both within Israel and in Arabia Proper.
The new teachings of Jesus must have brought shock waves on traditional Jews who during the pre-Christian centuries have been successful in curbing the extraneous Peshitta Scriptures and driving out the ‘Alaha’ followers beyond their territories to mainland Arabia, although they might have tolerated or were compelled to connive at some of the Suna (Sinai) monks, later called Esenes, who followed Alaha’s Dhamma to remain within their territory as long as they confine themselves to their cave dwellings and do not interfere with Jewish mainstream religio-politics with a vibrant monotheistic creator Yheowah orientation.
|Whatever the case may be, original teachings of Jesus Christ had to face great challenges and resulted in revisions and alterations, after several synods and colloquiums held by the Christian church fathers, before being acceptable to the rulers of Rome and their religious hierarchy to become one with the “Holy Roman Empire” which proved to be not so holy.
The very word ‘Peshitta’ for the Aramaic-Christian or proto-Christian canon can be traced back to an original Buddhist word for Lord Buddha’s teachings, namely ‘Bhashita’ which means “What was spoken” or the ‘original word’, ‘Truth’ and is also known as ‘Buddha Bhashita’.
The word “Peshitta” means “straight, sincere, true that is “the Original” and given to the ancient authoritative text to distinguish if from the other Bible revisions and translations.
Our contention that Buddhism in its original doctrinal form had spread along the Great Northern Highway, the Uttarapatha to several other kingdoms and regions outside India, during the very life time of the Buddha can be further substantiated if we analyze the religion of Ahura Mazda preached by Zoroaster in the Persian Empire of Achaemenids (present day Iran).
The God of Zoroaster was “Ahura Mazda”. Zoroaster was a contemporary of Gautama Buddha and was born around 570 B.C. according to ancient Iranian historiographical chronology.
The word “Ahura Mazda” has very close resemblance to “Arahan Buddha” which name had already spread beyond Arabia towards the Sinai-Jerusalem region through Ven. Punna’s mission and to the very heart of Achaemenid-Iran through the very first lay disciples of the Buddha, namely the two caravan leaders Tapassu and Bhalluka. It had been found that the birth place of Bhalluka was the township Bhalk a border township on the great trunk route Uttharapatha, close to or within the then achaemenid Empire.
The great Achaemenid (Persian) emperor Xerxes says: “That Ahura Mazda made his father Darius the Great, king of kings, while his grandfather Vishtaspa and great grandfather Rshama were both alive.
The Arab historian, Mazudi (A.C. 956), states that king Histaspas’s (Vishtaspa, grandfather of Emperor Xerxes) residence was in the city of Balkh, the capital of Bactria.
In my article on Balkh (which appeared in the “Encyclopedia of Buddhism”) and ancient site where very early Buddhist monuments have been discovered, I have referred to the fact that the first two lay disciples of Lord Buddha namely, Tapassu and Bhalluka the caravan traders, had hailed from Balkh and had come through the northern high way (Uttarapatha) to India and met the Buddha. The two brothers became the first two lay disciples of the Buddha, by surrendering themselves before the Lord (see supra).
Zoroaster a Buddhist
If the very first lay disciples of the Great Buddha were also Bactrians from Balkh, it is not unlikely that Zoroaster also had met the Buddha himself like the West Asian Ven. Punna the Arab (or Jew), who was a caravan leader himself from far away Sinai-Arabah (Suna-Apara). According to the same historian, “Zoroaster converted Vishtaspa, the father of Darius the Great and brought the kingdom under Righteousness”, also “the deliverer of the imperiled Empire with great wisdom and efficiency.”
The date of Zoroaster is further confirmed by the Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (cir. 360 A.C.), who says, “about the Magi and holy rites…. to this science the Bactrian Zoroaster made many contributions and after him the wise king Hystaspes, the father of Darius,” ….”Therefore it is possible when a date around 570-493 B.C. is assigned to Zoroaster lends some support.”
However, the above statements further confirm that Zoroaster was a Bactrian from Balkh, the place of origin of the very first, two lay disciples (Tapassu and Bhalluka) of the Buddha. Furthermore it is stated that “Airan-vej’ the place where Zoroaster was born, “was in the direction of Ataropatakan (Azervaijan).”
“Ataropatakan” can easily be identified as an early Iranian term for the eponymous “Uttarapatha”, the Great Northern Highway which ran through ancient Iran via Balkh in Bactria, in north-western part of India, and connected Middle India up to Sri Lanka through Dakshinapatha (Dekkan) the Great Southern Highway.
According to Zoroaster’s biography, ‘he was taken to Ahura Mazda (Arahan Buddha) by an arch angel named ‘Vohu Manah’. It is likely that Vohu Manah may have been a great disciple of the Bhagavat Buddha. We may identify ‘Vohu Manah’ tentatively with ‘Moggalana’ the Great Buddha’s chief disciple along with Sariputta.
On the command of Ahura Mazda, Zoroaster went to meet king Vishtasp (father of the great monarch, emperor Darius) and converted him.
The above passages suggest that Ahura Mazda (Arahan Buddha) personally instructed Zoroaster at a very friendly level and that incident was not a mysterious divine intervention as some modern writers and pundits try to interpret without giving any thought to the historical background, and the political episodes that took place in the Achaemenid Imperial Court, and also the unforgettable geographical factor, the northern Highway’ Uttarapatha (“Ataropatakan” in ancient Persian), that linked northern India and Persia.
Light of Asia
As modern historians’ interpretations go Zoroaster’s founding of fire temples does not necessarily mean that the Zoroastrian religionists were fire-worshippers. They must have definitely lighted oil-lamps, and burnt incense, joysticks etc., in honor of the Great Compassionate Lord, the Bhagavat Buddha, the Supreme Light (“The Light of Asia” as Sir Edwin Arnold said, the flame of fire, the symbol how the Buddha was aniconically represented in pre-Christian art and sculpture), because Zoroaster’s teachings do not speak of fire-worship, or any invocation or incantation to a fire-god as the “Agni” cult of Indian Brahmins.
Zoroaster’s teachings are nothing but an emphasis on “Great Righteousness” like in the case of emperor Asoka’s conversion to Buddha’s doctrine of “Great Righteousness”.
Few religious terms of Zoroaster’s teachings as recorded in the Holy Text “Avesta” can easily help, even a modern day Buddhist layman, to understand the similarity of these doctrinal terms of Avesta with original Buddhist Textual terms, as for example, the selections of the book “Arda Virad” are called ‘Zad-Sparam” which can be easily compared with the Buddha’s noble Doctrine “Sad Dharma”.
The Holy Text ‘Avesta’ can be compared with the Buddhist term ‘Vastu’ or ‘Vattu’, e.g. Katha Vattu, and many Sanskrit Buddhist texts with name ending “Vastu” e.g. Maha Vastu.
The holy hymns or the stanzas of the sacred text Avesta are called ‘Gathas’ which is exactly the term used in original Buddhist texts and never found in contemporary religious texts of India or Vedic of Hindu origin.
When Zoroaster was killed, his temples and all his religious scriptures were put into flames. This shows that the killing of Zoroaster was an act of religious fanaticism. But the Doctrine of Ahura Mazda the Supreme Lord, the Great Compassionate Arahan Buddha, as we now dare to identify Him with Ahura Mazda, prevailed in Persia for nearly 300 years until the last of the Achaemenid emperors Darius II was killed and his city Persepolis, the metropolis, the metropolis of a universal emperor who ruled a vast empire from Mediterranean sea up to the Himalayas in “Righteousness”, the pride of whole Asia was totally destroyed and ruthlessly burnt with all her buildings, religious scriptures and monks and monasteries by the vicious, bellicose Alexander the Greek who set forth from Greece having murdered his own father and mustering only 20,000 (twenty thousand) foot soldiers to meet the mighty Persian army of 600,000 (six hundred thousand soldiers).
Alexander in hell
In the ancient Iranian (Persian) records, this pathetic story is mentioned thus: “Alexander had destroyed all priests and learned men and self destroyed and he fled to hell.
All these historical episodes prove beyond doubt, one salient fact, namely, although Buddhism the compassionate teachings of the Buddha for the establishment of righteousness (Saddharma) through moral order and mental culture, attracted to it vast crowds and was appealing to the intellectual community of the day, like the proto-Arabian Nabetean Kings, Syrian monarchs, emperors like Darius, Xerxes of Persia, Asoka of India, the Selcuicid and Bactrian Greek Kings like Minander (of Milindapanha fame), Kanishka the mighty Scythian-Kushana emperor, Devanampiyatissa of pre-Christian Sri Lanka, et al, and proved itself to be a great civilizing factor, yet it also proved to be a disastrous factor to great Kingdoms and empires to change from traditional jingoism to peace-making and peace-keeping with their powerful military machines put into cold-storage.
The name Abdullah also suggests that there were practicing Alaha religionists before the founding of Islam by Mohammed. It is quite obvious that Mohammed’s Islam is nothing but a revival of “Aloha’s Doctrine of Righteousness” the Saddharma of the Great Alaha (Arahan Buddha).
We believe we have marshalled sufficient evidence to prove that the Buddha was the Great Supra-human being worshipped as Alaha in pre-Christian West-Asia, which name later changed through linguistic formations into Allah from the original Buddhist concept Araha, a synonym of the Great Buddha which means the “Sinless One”, the most worthy Lord, deserving worship and veneration both by the humans as well as divine beings (Araha Sambuddo Sattadevamanussanam).
Now let us analyses Islamic (Muslim) religious textual passages for possible survivals of Buddhist concepts and parallel terms.
A noteworthy discovery is the statue of ‘Ammyad Shukaymim’ carved out of alabaster stone in the round. This statue resembles very much a Buddha image. We have already referred to the inscription on the pedestal of this statue and compared it with the name of the Buddha Shakya-Muni. Several other statues like this one in more or less worn out state have also been discovered from ancient Himyante Kingdom of South Arabia dating from pre-Christian centuries up to the 6th century A.C. (cir: 115 B.C.-525 A.C.)
The chapters of Holy Quaran are called ‘Surah’ which is quite identical with the Buddhist term Sutra (Sutta) for chapters or separate sermons or for the entire Buddhist Sutta Pitaka.
The practice of worship with circumambulation of sacred objects of shrines in Islam has its origin in early Buddhism in the practice of “Pradaksina”. This practice is said to have revived and re-instituted by Mohammed himself at such holy places like Sakhra in Jerusalem temple and Kabah Mecca temple.
In the present research study I have ventured to trace historical evidence based on literary and archaeological data to substantiate further our original hypothesis, that is, Buddhism was introduced to Middle-East and West-Asia (Arabia-Persia-Syria-Palestine-Israel, the Sinai Arabah in ancient documents, etc.) during the very lifetime of the Buddha.
Dead Sea Scrolls
We wish to add a further note regarding the original site that we have identified with the story of Punna Thera, that is the region around the ‘Sea of Arabah’ or ‘Dead Sea’ in Palestine where scholars have yielded some very valuable documentary evidence known as the “Dead Sea Scrolls” as far back as the early fifties of the present century.
We now suspect and our suspicion is not without justification, that these ancient documents from Dead-Sea cave temple sites have also something to do with original Buddhist missionary activities conducted by the pioneer Jewish, Arab, Buddhist monk, the noble Thera Ven. Punna.
These ancient documents speak of a leader or teacher of righteousness, who is the head of the eremites of the Qumran group of caves. This teacher of the Qumran group was addressing his adversary, the Wicked priest of Jerusalem.
The editors of these documents say: “we really don’t know who is speaking and who is being addressed”.
Another statement of the modern editors is as follows: “The third section of the MMT states that, ‘we have separated ourselves from the multitude of the people”, but it is uncertain whether this recalls a separation of the Qumran Sectarians from the mainstream Judaism as represented by the temple authorities in Jerusalem or some internecine dispute with the sect itself. It is not even, entirely clear that the ‘they’ group and the ‘You’ group are the same.”
According to our researches given in the present study the reader will not find it difficult to identify who these two groups are, the ‘they’ and the ‘you’ groups.
We may add emphatically that the ‘they’ group represents the wicked Jewish priests of Jerusalem who relentlessly opposed the Peshitta-Alaha ‘we’ group of the Sinai (Essenes) Buddhist patriarchs.
However the modern editors have, got a remarkable guess in regard to the ‘we’ sect when they say: ‘In some ways they look like Essenes”, thus giving a final approval, as it were to our thesis.
Author of : Origin of species According to the Buddha