The Crucifixion


Yogi C. M. Chen

Besides the giving of the Ten Commandments, the most important event in Christianity was the crucifixion of the Lord. To be a good instrument of God, following the Commandments is most important, however, to affect conversion, the crucifixion is most important. Of all the accounts of the crucifixion, the best appears in the old Testment in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.

We should be more thankful to our beloved God who sent his only son here and had him suffered such a cruel death in order to wash away our transgressions, our iniquities, and our sins of past and future.

According to the New Testament, we know that the crucifixion was God's will and not that of Jesus, for Christ prayed three times that the chalice be removed from him. It would have been an excellent thing if our Lord's prayer had been answered and his life prolonged up until the present day for then we would still be able to see him. However, we should not feel that God requested too much of Jesus because many sutras give descriptions of how some Bodhisattvas burned their bodies as an offering to Buddha in exchange for the Dharma (teachings), for even a four-sentence hymn. From the biographies of many Buddhists we learn of those who suffered things worse than crucifixion by their own will. For example, Gautama the Buddha himself offered his body to an ancient Buddha and had given his body to hungry beasts as food in many of his previous lives.

Another such offering occurred in 561 A.D. when King Wu of the Northern Chou Dynasty wanted to destroy all traces of Buddhism in China. There was a monk named Jing-Ai who went to the king and advised him to end this project. The king refused this advice and then asked Jing-Ai to be his son-in-law. After refusing the king's proposal, Jing-Ai killed himself in a manner more pitiful than crucifixion. First he cut his flesh into pieces and hung them on each tree of the forest. At the same time he made a vow saying: "May the one who sees even a bit of my flesh develop the Bodhi-heart (a heart of wisdom and compassion), and follow the path of Buddhism in this life." Then he dropped his blood drop by drop on the mountain path and said, "May every being that touches one drop of this blood realize the truth of Buddhism through increased wisdom." He wanted to write these vows in blood but his holy blood became white and he could not do so. Therefore he wrote in ink even though his flesh was entirely cut off. Finally, he placed his heart in his folded palms, sat facing the western direction praying to Amitabha Buddha and died peacefully.

What a great and vivid holy supper that was. It was real flesh for bread and blood for wine. He who believes in him shall be forgiven his sins which have offended Buddhism. His bodhi-heart will develop and his practice in Buddhism will increase. We should shed some tears of sympathy for his holy death. Was it not a death more pitiful than our Lord's crucifixion?

We should read the Bible, believe in the crucifixion and give thanks to our Lord who died for our sins; but even further we should read the biographies of Buddhists.

Dear reader, I beg you to place your palms together now and repeat the following prayer three times:

O Lord Buddha and the great Monk Jing-Ai, I am affected by your holy death. I have taken your holy supper in my deep faith in you. May my Bodhi-heart be well developed by your flesh and my wisdom be increased by your blood according to your promise. Thank you wholeheartedly.

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