Re: [GTh] Thomas and Zen Buddhism
- Rich compares the GThom to Zen....
Zen Buddhism was started by Bodidharma about 650 A.D. He was from the Madras area of India and migrated to the Fukien province where he is famous for laying some of the foundations for certain styles of Chuan Fa. (Chinese Boxing)
The GThom therefor cannot be influenced by Zen, and had disappeared from the public during the time of the formation of Zen. There is a strong relationship between Zen and Taoism, which is much older. So if there is a relationship between the GThom and the Orient, it must be from Taoism, not Zen.
Kambun is a term that refers to Chinese poetry written in a style to emulate balance in life from the forces of yin and yang. We have some of these poems today from the earliest times in the formation of Taoism. The GThom resembles Kambun, but this may be due to other factors not related to Oriental influence.
The GThom is not koanic. A koan is a question that has no definite answer, like the question, "What is the sound of one hand clapping." This does not fit the literary form of the GThom.
As Crossan points out there is evidence that the GThom was written with known and accepted abbreviations of early writers of scripture. These writers also followed the principles of 'scriptural harmony' or 'analogy of scripture' This means that one passage is harmonized with the scripture as a whole, and not just analyzed as a separate and isolated passage. This is also a feature of Kambun, and this feature makes the two literary forms, the GThom, and Kambun, seem as though they may be related.
This does not eliminate a relationship of the GThom, and oriental philosophies, but it is unlikely that there is any literary borrowing either way.
Platter Flats, OK