Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Jesus in Japan

Last night Bro. Simon was talking about his early travels in Japan, with rucksack and sandals he spent five years criss-crossing the country, and as he puts it, "seeking to get to the bottom of this Zen thing." Well, he never got to the "bottom" of Zen, but he described meeting an elderly Buddhist, he too traveling by foot, and with his limited Japanese was able to understand that this old fellow was going to see the "grave of Jesus Christ!" Bro. Simon was rather puzzled at the time, listening to this Buddhist speaking of the grave of Jesus, and actually pointing toward a far off hill, and uttering in English, "Grave ... grave ..." So the journey began, the two walking side by side, the young American and the elderly Japanese, both hiking to the grave of Jesus. Bro. Simon's bemusement was only intensified when they came upon a wooden directional sign, and in the midst of Japanese characters were the printed English words: "Jesus Grave" with an arrow pointing straight ahead. Late afternoon they arrived, and this is what Bro. Simon copied down, transcribed from the wooden sign that was posted before a mound that had a large cross.

When He was 21 years old, Jesus Christ (イエスキリスト) came to Japan and studied theology for 12 years. He came back to Judea at the age of 33 in order to preach, but people there rejected His teachings and arrested Him to crucify Him. However, it was His little brother Jsus Chri (イスキリ) who took His place and ended his life on the cross. Jesus Christ, having escaped crucifixion, resumed His travels and finally came back to Japan, where He settled in this village, Herai, and lived till the age of 106 (other versions mention the age of 118 and the name of His wife, Miyu). In this holy place, the tomb on the right is dedicated to Jesus Christ, while the tomb on the left commemorates His brother, Jsus Chri. All of this is written in Jesus Christ's testament.

Bro. Simon said the Buddhist monk stared at the grave mound and the cross for a very long time, then turned to him and placed a gnarled but firm hand on Bro. Simon's shoulder before smiling a smile that only someone that had already gotten to the bottom of this Zen thing could smile.


joey said...

Strange! Is this story well known among the Zen in Japan? Do they really believe it? I guess every religion have their own version of Jesus story. The Theravada Buddhists believe that Jesus became a Buddhist before going back to Jerusalem.

Bro. Bartleby said...

Someone sent this link with photos!

zhoen said...

The Fortean Times has done at least one full article on this. Jesus in Japan