Thursday, August 18, 2016

Buddha: The End of the Beginning / Jesus Christ: The Beginning of the End

Rudolf Steiner:

"We look back to the culture of the ancient rishis. They spoke about the origin of human beings. They pointed to the world in which human beings existed before they descended to their incarnations. This teaching penetrated through the centuries and millennia. The great Buddha taught it when he said: Through their urge to incarnate human beings lost everything which created the connection with the world of our origins. His call was to leave the world of incarnations again so that the soul can live once more in the spiritual worlds of its origins. And the prophets, in proclaiming the coming of Christ, pointed to a future in which human beings would once again find the proper goal on Earth. And then Christ himself appears and fulfills the Mystery of Golgotha. Now human beings can be led toward the divine-spiritual future of the Earth through the Mystery of Golgotha.
There is perhaps nothing quite as moving as two sayings which are similar in the Buddha and in Christ and which can place before our soul the contrast between the ancient and modern time. The Buddha is standing among this pupils; he points to his body and says: 'I look back from incarnation to incarnation, how I always entered such a human body as I am wearing now. And this temple of the body has been built for me by the gods each time anew. And each time the soul seeks to enter this temple of the body in new incarnations. But now I know that it is no longer necessary for me to return to a temple of the body. I know that the timbers have broken and the poles have disintegrated. Through my knowledge I have liberated my soul from this body. The wish and desire to return into such a body has been killed off.' That was the great, the mighty, result of the ancient times which looked back to the origins of humanity. The Buddha and his pupils and successors strove to become free of the body. What a mighty difference to when Christ stands before his closest pupils and says ... 'Destroy this temple of my body and in three days I will raise it up again.' He, Christ, does not long to be liberated from the temple of the body. He wants to rebuild it.
Not as if Christ himself would be here again in such a physical body in following incarnations. But what he teaches his pupils and all human beings is this: to return to the Earth temple from incarnation to incarnation in order in each one to make the Christ impulse greater and more intensive, so that we human beings can take in more and more of this Earth existence in order finally to stand there so we can say that we have worked on these incarnations to become more similar to Christ. And we become more similar to him in that we take into this temple of the body what Christ let stream out from the cross on Golgotha as his own being. This we let stream from human soul to human soul because that is the only way we can understand one another now. This is what is common to all human souls in the future of the Earth. And then the time will come in which the Earth will pass away, in which it will break apart and disintegrate, and in which human beings in a spiritualized state will pass on to the next incarnation on another planet.
The words of the great Buddha: 'I feel how the posts of the temple of my body no longer support me, how the timbers are collapsing' — they can stand before our soul as the end point of our common human origin. And when we look at what Christ say to his disciples: 'I will raise up this temple of the body in three days' — that can be for us like the beginning of the period which points to the goal of the Earth. And we can extend these words because we can say: Let this temple be destroyed in death, but we know that we will use the best forces we have made our own in this incarnation for the next one. We have received these forces in giving our soul to the cognition of Christ. In this way we will advance from incarnation to incarnation. When human beings raise up this temple of the body for the last time, they will have obtained an understanding of the future, common goal of the Earth.
It is the Mystery of Golgotha alone which can be the common impulse for all humanity for the development of humanity and the Earth."

                       pp. 173-4

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