September 11th, 2014

(relatively) recent

Did you know the Buddha was once revered as a saint in the Catholic and Orthodox churches?

Earlier this year, I read The Travels of Marco Polo. It was the Wordsworth Classics edition, and sadly came without any notes; I decided to rectify this by reading my way through Sir Henry Yule's century-and-more old edition, which I've been doing online bit by bit; and have learned some fascinating things from it, such as the huge changes that have taken place in the route of the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the latter even changing from flowing into the sea on the south side of Shandong Province to the north side.

But perhaps the most astonishing thing I have learned is that the Buddha was revered as a saint in the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches! I couldn't resist doing a quick web search to see whether this is still the case, now the identification of St Joasaph (or Josaphat) with the Buddha is well-established; the Catholic Encyclopedia recognises this identification and stays silent that Joasaph was ever revered as a saint, but this page suggests the Orthodox Church in America, at least, still revere him as before his real identity was uncovered.

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