Could Jesus have been taken to India as a child and taught Buddhism? Hmmm? Hmmm? Here's something that apparently showed on the BBC at some point:
OK, some silly speculation here (and more amusingly told in Christoper Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal),but a few points of comparison are made here between the teachings of Christianity (and how they're "unprecedented" as far as Judaism is concerned) and Buddhism.
I question the scholarship here; it's my understanding that it was Paul and the interpretation of the early Christians that came up with the idea of trying to teach Jesus to the heathens; as far as Jesus was concerned, he was talking to Jews. (Feel free to correct me, all you Biblical scholars reading this.)
However, it is worth noting that the influence, if there is an influence, goes both ways. In later (than Nagarjuna) Mahayana Buddhism, there's a doctrine of "three Buddha bodies" that sounds a lot like the trinity: there's the human Buddha who was on hearth, but then the Buddha is apparently also his own teachings, "a body of bliss or clear light manifestation," and in the third place, the Buddha has a body "which embodies the very principle of enlightenment and knows no limits or boundaries."
Of course, it could just be coincidence, or because both traditions are independently arriving at the truth, or because patterns of myth are common among cultures because just because there are only so many ways to tell a story and, as noted on the podcast, everything revered gets deified eventually.
As far as our Big Self/No Self distinction is affected by the three-Buddha body doctrine, on Big Self view, when you become Enlightened, you're moving in the same pattern as the Buddha and actually become the Buddha in his Totality. This expansion of the ego to become the universe, from what I understand, not an uncommon description as far as Eastern mysticism goes ("I am God, you are God, we are all God"), whereas for Western mystics (yes, this is an oversimplification), actually becoming God is a no-no, though you can through mystical experience witness the omnipresence of God, from which, as pointed out in our Spinoza episode, should imply that you are some part of God at the very least.
And for folks who've been reading this blog for the past few days, it should be obvious that this type of mystical experience is pretty foreign to Nagarjuna's claim that there is no ultimate truth. As an Enlightened being (insofar as that's even possible without the whole of creation also being Enlightened), you'd recognize the emptiness of phenomenal experience, and there is a recognition of oneness with all beings under samsara (i.e. within the experienced world), but not an identification with the totality of creation as an ultimate, underlying substance, because there is no ultimate underlying substance for Nagarjuna. The article I posted on the Ecological Self provides one route to understanding how there can be this unity, i.e. practical identification with the whole of creation that can lead to ethical action, without positing an underlying, ultimate metaphysical unity as many mystics are apt to do (just so I'm not obviously poking at a straw horse, here's a yack-a-riffic video I found searching the string "you are God.")
Also and irrelevantly, Christopher Mooreexplains Jesus and the whole Easter Bunny thing by attributing to Jesus the following: "Henceforth and from now on, I decree that whenever something bad happens to me, there shall be bunnies around."