A new José Stevens Article

Understanding Buddha and Christ’s Real Message

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Two of my favorite teachers and mentors are Siddhartha Gautama and Jesus of Nazareth, masters whose insight and clarity are extraordinarily valuable and even critical for self-awakening. Because their understanding of the logos is so comprehensive and taught so elegantly, the value of their contribution is more important today than ever. With the world in crisis it seems to me an excellent time to review not only the core of their teachings but something about their process in getting there. This is always a bit risky considering people’s investments in traditional religious interpretations of these teachers.

This article will probably chaff against many current beliefs about what the real message of Christ is. On the other hand it will probably not chaff much against the basic understandings about the message of Buddha. This is interesting considering that both were enlightened beings at the time of their exit from the physical plane and their messages are basically identical but filtered through different cultures, time frames, languages, and religious traditions. The difference lies with how the various spiritual traditions interpret the experiences and teachings their founding teachers. The Buddhists don’t get hung up on whether the Buddha was God or not but the Christians clearly do so, sometimes violently. In the end it is just semantics that create the differences but the false personality loves to exploit any conflict.

Read through the summaries of these teachers lives even if you are already familiar with them because you will find interesting and valuable tidbits embedded here that will help you understand them on a deeper level.

Let us begin with the life of Siddhartha Gautama, a seventh level old soul priest who became known to the world as the Buddha or Shakyamuni after his awakening. Siddhartha was a man born in the fifth century at Lumbini in the country known today as Nepal. He lived to be approximately 80 years of age and his ministry was predominantly in modern day India and Nepal. It is worth noting that before Buddhism arrived in the Himalayas a powerful form of Shamanism called Bon Po was the spiritual practice of the time. Certainly Siddhartha was influenced both by shamanism and by the ancient Hindu religion of India with its sources in the Vedas and Upanishads. The authors of these ancient texts were Rishis, otherwise known as mystics or shamans of their time. It is conjectured and a high probability that the Rishis were taught by plant medicines of their area.

A very handsome and powerful son of a king, Siddhartha was raised in opulence until at age 29 he left the security of his father’s palace to see the real world. He began his great search for truth when he discovered the presence of illness, old age, and death among the populace, showing him the transient nature of physical life. He tried many different paths and practices of austerity and determined that most of them were too extreme or out of balance in one way or another and after his awakening he preached moderation or the middle road.

Siddhartha Gautama became enlightened after a prolonged meditation under the Bodhi tree at Bodhgaya in Northern India. By that time he had spent years in various intensive shamanic and Hindu practices and he knew that the ego or false personality was the greatest obstacle to perceiving the truth of the logos. His intense meditation under the Bodhi tree was an initiation, a major confrontation with the ego, a kind of make or break stare down with illusion or maya. By this time he knew that physical experience was a dream (basically a controlled hallucination) and he was determined to deconstruct it and return to unity or non-dual consciousness.

By this time Siddhartha was most likely in his early to mid-thirties, the time when Essence normally pushes the false personality out of the way in order to carry out the life task. We could say that his meditation under the Bodhi tree came right on time.

As he sat under the tree in meditation Siddhartha was confronted by all the demons of his mind, distracting thoughts of every kind and caliber. He perceived beautiful scenes, sexually seductive scenes, terrifying scenes, and boring scenes, all in an attempt by his ego to retain control over him. With each scene he observed that this was just another part of the dream and therefore not real. Because Siddhartha was experiencing the dream of being human like all of us, he most likely had similar observations to what any of us might have during his meditation. This is perhaps a bit silly but his observations early in his meditation may have gone something like this: “Ok ego, throw me your best stuff. Nothing you try to show me is real. Sorry, I’m not going for it. There is no me to believe in you anymore. You are toast.” Eventually the false personality simply vanished as his mind became more tranquil and serene until it became totally silent. After a long stint he broke the back of the false personality and was now in a position to teach others what he had learned.

For many years he taught thousands throughout the land and eventually announced his intention to pass over. He became ill after being served a meal of pork but insisted that it was not the food that was killing him, but that it was simply his chosen time to go. That in a nutshell is the story of a dedicated and persistent great man who became the enlightened one in his day.

In some ways the Buddha’s teachings have been as misinterpreted as have the teachings of Jesus Christ. Much of this has to do with the distortions or translation from one language to another, or more typically translation through three or four ancient languages to modern English. For example, most texts say the Buddha taught that all of life is suffering. This is one of his Four Noble Truths. However it is unlikely that the Buddha would ever have said such a thing. He would have said that the experience of perceiving life through separation is suffering but that life itself is pure bliss. Who knows how many other mistranslations there have been?

Nevertheless the Buddha paved the way for countless others and of course had a powerful influence on Jesus of Nazareth who, some five hundred years later, came into contact with his teachings during his travels to India.

Now let us examine the life of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, a seventh level old king, born in Bethlehem to a poor Jewish family. Unlike Siddhartha who was protected from the world of pain for most of his first thirty years, Jesus was out in the world. Even as a youngster he was studying and teaching, even instructing his elders, often to their great chagrin. There is ample evidence that Jesus traveled extensively to study and train in the available mystic traditions of the time. Certainly he studied in Egypt where most of the world’s adepts were gathered at the time. Via his uncle Joseph of Arimathea, a merchant mariner, he visited the British Isles as a young man and was exposed to the shamanic Druids there. He was known to have traveled and studied in India with the Hindus and spent time in Tibet with where he was exposed to Buddhism and undoubtedly to Bon Po. By the time he returned to his home base he was a very well traveled and educated young man. Like Siddhartha Gautama, as a seventh level old soul he knew that physical reality was nothing more than a dream, a controlled illusion formed by belief, habit, and intention. He too was determined to break free of illusion or maya and become self-realized or enlightened. Like Siddhartha, on his path to self-realization, he passed through many trials and initiations before going deeply into mediation in the desert where he broke through to Christ consciousness also known as Sananda. Although a couple of years younger than Siddartha at the time of his awakening, he was in a similar time frame when he became enlightened at age thirty.

Although we know little about what actually transpired in his fasts and meditations in the desert, we can have a fairly good idea of what he went through because the process is similar for all those enlightened beings, mystics, and shamans who confront the false personality. He had to starve it of belief, ignore it, not resist, and continue to refocus on oneness, being aware of his awareness, the experience of I Am. However unlike Siddhartha, Jesus chose to go through a final initiation that would not only test his skills as an adept, but would function as the ultimate teaching device for all his students. Although he had all the abilities and skills to avoid persecution by the petty authorities of his time, he chose to let events play out that led to the cross.

Now this next section is highly condensed so you may have to read it over several times to truly understand what is being said here. Better yet, read it and spend twenty or so minutes contemplating it. This is where so many people have lost the thread of what actually happened and ended up with widely divergent views. To understand this piece it is necessary to let go of concrete thinking, to let go of dualistic perception, and to let go of how we normally perceive everyday reality. Think more in terms of shamanic perception, quantum physics, parallel universes, and probable realities and you will have a better chance at getting it.

Currently there are many theories about how Jesus actually avoided crucifixion, escaped, and taught in foreign lands for many years thereafter. But as you shall see there is no reason to believe he did or did not live much longer and have further adventures. After all, he was an adept, fully capable of altering the dream of his life at will. Adepts are fully trained to suspend the ordinary laws of the physical plane. They are trained as sorcerers, shamans, rishis, wizards, and men and women of knowledge in the most positive sense of these words.

Thus finding no need to resist an aspect of the dream that he regarded as unreal, he let events play out as they might in one probable reality. He was fully aware that the physical body is merely a dream vehicle, and he had learned to detach from it and was not at all limited by it or identified with it. More than anything he wanted to convey this knowledge to his followers. Basically his message was this: “You are not your bodies, you are not limited to being human. You are Sons of God just like I am. You are so much more, so much greater than you think you are. Break through the dream and discover the truth of this. I will show you for a fact that you are not limited by the dream you think you are in. Wake up.”

So in one version of his dream, Jesus allowed the crucifixion to take place so that he could demonstrate that it was just another dream, just an illusion of the false personality. Even though he was whipped and tortured he had already become unattached, no longer identified with his body. Unlike all the faulty teachings of the various Christian religions who induce guilt by dramatizing the torture Jesus went through, his teaching was actually just the opposite. He wanted to demonstrate that he was not affected by anything they tried to do to him because it was just another samskara, another form of maya, and another falsehood. When he was on the cross and was reported to have said “Father, take this cup from me,” he actually meant, “Creator, let me not believe in or get distracted by any of this dreamscape. May the false personality of everyone be erased. Take this cup from everyone.” In this way Jesus showed the way to the ultimate confrontation with false personality. Like all mystics and enlightened beings he was saying, “Look, don’t believe in appearances. Don’t buy into this.”

If you get this, understand the absolute logic of it, you will see how distorted his teachings have become. In fact most interpretations are totally erroneous based on false personality pseudo logic.

Nothing Jesus did in his life was arbitrary. For Jesus everything was a teaching saying, “Look, you are me and I am you. Watch me and learn how it is. His apparent crucifixion was a way of saying, “All of you are being crucified everyday by the false personality. This is your choice. You can identify with this drama and suffer horribly or you can detach from it and know it is not real. Watch and see how I handle what appears to be this most horrible experience you can have. It’s not what you think.”

So three days later he showed up again to prove that nothing had happened to him. He was fine and so were they. Being an adept he could come and go at will with his body. Sure he could levitate, rise up in the air or come down just as many saints have done. He could appear in a room and then disappear. He could radiate with light, compassion, love, and wisdom. He was a vehicle for the infinite soul, the logos itself. Since that time, like all adepts, he has continued to teach because he is firmly committed to reminding everyone that this fragmented dream merely obscures a greater truth, that all is One.

People have seen Jesus the Christ and Siddhartha in the form of the Buddha all over this planet and have been taught by them for a long time. They are prime carriers of the Christ energy and the Buddha nature that each human being has within them. Since the Christ energy or the Buddha nature cannot be divided and is one awareness, Jesus and Siddhartha knew that everyone that ever lived and would live were actually themselves in disguise. They want people to know that. We are not all the man Jesus or the man Siddhartha, the transient personalities, but we are all the Christ, the Buddha, Sananda, and Shakyamuni.

It is not Jesus that saves but the Christ that saves and that means everyone everywhere is the savior. It is not Siddhartha that liberates but the Buddha that liberates making everyone the liberator. We save and liberate by waking up from the dream, letting go of the false personality, and being one. Saved from what? Liberated from what? Saved from being in the illusion of separation. Liberated from the dream of separation.

So let us get over all this silliness that has been perpetrated for so long by false personalities’ distortions of who Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama were. They were the guys that found out. They were, and are, and always will be in essence us and there is no problem, nothing to kill for, nothing to die for, nothing to fear. Let the good times roll for the one big one of us.

Jose Stevens

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José Stevens

José Luis Stevens, PhD is the president and co-founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru. In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power, Awaken The Inner Shaman, The Power Path, Secrets of Shamanism, Transforming Your Dragons and How To Pray The Shaman's Way.