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From the book...

Love & Its Meaning in the World

Selected Lectures and Writings

Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophic Press

 

7. THE BUDDHA’S TEACHING

OF COMPASSION AND LOVE

SEPTPMBER 25, 1909, BASEL

from The Gospel of St. Luke

You will have gathered from the lecture yesterday that a record like the Gospel of St. Luke cannot be understood unless the evolution of humankind is pictured from the higher vantage point of spiritual science—in other words, unless the transformations that have taken place in the whole nature and constitution of the human being during the process of evolution are kept in mind, in order to understand the radical change that came about in humankind at the time of Christ Jesus—and this is necessary for elucidation of the Gospel of St. Luke—it will be well to make a comparison with what is happening in our own age, admittedly less rapidly and more gradually, but for all that clearly perceptible to those possessed of insight.

To begin with we must entirely discard the frequently expressed idea, readily accepted by mental laziness that nature or evolution, makes no "jumps." In its ordinarily accepted sense, no statement could be more erroneous. Nature is perpetually making jumps! This very fact is essential and fundamental. Think, for example, of how the plant develops from the seed. The appearance of the first leaflet is evidence of an important jump. Another is made when the plant advances from leaf to flower, another when its life passes from the outer to the inner part of the blossom, and yet another, a very important one, when the fruit appears. Those who ignore the fact that such jumps occur very frequently will entirely fail to understand nature. When such people look at humankind and observe that development in some particular century proceeded at a snail’s pace, they believe that the same will be the case during other periods. It may very well be that in a particular period development is slow, as it is in the plant from the first green leaf to the last. But just as a jump occurs in the plant when the last leaf has developed and the blossom appears, so do jumps continually occur in human evolution The jump made when Christ Jesus appeared on Earth was so decisive that within a comparatively short time the old clairvoyance and the mastery of the spiritual over the bodily nature were so transformed that only remnants of clairvoyance and of the former power of the soul and spirit over the physical continued to exist. Hence, before that drastic change took place it was essential that whatever of the ancient heritage survived should once again be gathered together. It was in this milieu that Christ Jesus was to work. The new impulse could then be received into humankind and develop by slow degrees.

There is a leap occurring in another domain during our own epoch, but not as quickly. Although a longer period of time is involved the parallel will be quite comprehensible to those who understand the character of the present age.....

We are living in an age when it is becoming impossible for human hearts to accept the Bible as it has been accepted during the last four or five centuries of European civilization Either people will receive spiritual science and through it learn to understand the Bible in a new way, or, as is now happening to many who are unacquainted with anthroposophy, they will cease to listen to the Bible. In that case they will lose the Bible altogether and with it untold spiritual treasures, actually the greatest and most significant spiritual treasures of our Earth evolution! This must be realized. We are now at the point where a jump is to take place in evolution; the human heart is demanding the spiritual scientific elucidation of the Bible. Given such elucidation, the Bible will be preserved, to the infinite blessing of humankind; without it the Bible will be lost. This should be taken earnestly by those who believe they must at all costs adhere to their personal inclinations and to the traditional attitude toward the Bible. Such, therefore, is the jump now being taken in evolution. Nothing will divert those who are aware of this from cultivating anthroposophy, because they recognize it as a necessity for the evolution of humankind.

Considered from a higher point of view, what is happening at the present time is relativity unimportant compared with what took place when Christ Jesus came to the Earth. In those days human evolution was at a stage where the last examples of its development since primeval times, actually since the previous embodiment of the Earth, still existed. Human beings were developing primarily in their physical, etheric, and astral bodies; the I had long since been membered into them but was still playing a subordinate role. Until the coming of Christ Jesus the fully self-aware I-being was still obscured by the three sheaths, the physical, etheric, and astral bodies.

Let us suppose that Christ Jesus had not come to the Earth. What would have happened? As evolution progressed the I would have emerged fully, but to the same extent that it emerged, all earlier outstanding faculties of the astral, etheric, and physical bodies, all the old clairvoyance, all the old mastery of the soul and the spirit over the body, would have vanished. That would have been the inevitable course of evolution. The human being would have become a self-aware I-being, but the I would have led more and more to egoism and to the disappearance and extinction of love on the Earth. Human beings would have become I-beings, but utterly egotistical beings. That is the point of importance.

When Christ Jesus came to the Earth human beings were ready for the development of the Self, the I; for this very reason, however, they were beyond the stage where it would have been permissible to work upon them in the old way. In the ancient Hebrew period, for example, the Law, the proclamation from Sinai, was able to take effect because the I had not fully emerged and what the astral body, the highest part of the human constitution at that time should do and feel in order to act rightly in the outer world was instilled, impressed into it. The Law of Sinai came to human beings as a last prophetic announcement in the epoch preceding the full emergence of the I. Had the I emerged and nothing else intervened, humans would have heeded nothing except their own I-being. Humankind was ready for the development of the I, but it would have been an empty I, concerned with itself alone and having no wish to do anything for others or for the world.

To give this I-being real substance, to so stimulate its development that the power of love would stream from it—that was the deed of Christ Jesus on the Earth. Without him the I would have become an empty vessel; through his coming it can become a vessel filled more and more completely with love. Christ could speak to those around him in this way: "When you see clouds gathering, you say there will be this or that weather; you judge what the weather will be by the outer signs but the signs of the times you do not understand! If you were able to understand and assess what is going on around you, you would know that the Godhead must penetrate the I. Then you would not say, We can be satisfied with traditions handed down from earlier times it is what comes from earlier times that is presented to you by the scribes and Pharisees, who wish to preserve the old and will allow nothing to be added to what was once given to humans. But that leaven will have no richer effect in evolution. Those who say they will believe only in Moses and the Prophets do not understand the signs of the times, nor do they know what a transition is taking place in humanity [see Luke 12:54—57].

In memorable words Christ Jesus told those around him that whether or not an individual will become a Christian does not depend upon personal inclination but upon the inevitable progress of evolution. By the words recorded in the Gospel of St. Luke about the "signs of the times," Christ Jesus wished to make it understood that the old leaven represented by the scribes and Pharisees, who preserved only what was antiquated, was no longer sufficient and that only those who felt no obligation to put aside personal inclinations and judge according to the necessity of the times could believe to the contrary. Hence Christ Jesus called what the scribes and Pharisees desired "Untruth" —something that does not tally with reality in the outer world. That would have been the real meaning of the expression.

We can best realize the forcefulness of these words by thinking of analogous happenings in our own day. How would we have to speak if we wished to apply to the present age what Christ Jesus said of the scribes and Pharisees? Are there in our own times, any who resemble the scribes? Yes indeed! They are the people who will not accept the deeper explanation of the Gospels and refuse to listen to anything beyond the range of their own faculties of comprehension—faculties that have been unaffected by spiritual science; these people refuse to keep pace with the strides spiritual science has made in knowledge of the foundations of the Gospels. This is really everywhere the case when efforts, whether progressive or reactionary, are made to interpret the Gospels, for the fact is that the capacity for such interpretation can develop only in the soil of spiritual science. Spiritual science is the only source for deriving truth about the Gospels. That is why all other contemporary research seems so barren, so unsatisfactory, where there is a genuine desire to seek the truth.

Today, as well as "scribes and Pharisees," there are the natural scientists, a third type. We may therefore speak of three categories of people who want to exclude everything that leads to the spiritual, everything in the way of faculties attainable by human beings in order to penetrate to the spiritual foundations of the phenomena of nature. And those who, among others, must be impugned at the present time, if one speaks in the sense of true Christianity, are very often the holders of professorships! They have every opportunity for comparing and collating the phenomena of nature, but they entirely reject the spiritual explanations. It is they who hinder progress, for humankind's progress is hindered wherever there is refusal to recognize the signs of the times in the sense indicated.

In our days the only kind of action consistent with discipleship of Christ Jesus would be to find the courage to turn—as he turned against those who wished to confine truth to Moses and the Prophets—against people who retard progress by rejecting the anthroposophic interpretation of the Scriptures on the one side and the phenomena of nature on the other. Now and then there are really well-meaning people who occasionally would like to bring about a kind of vague reconciliation; it would be well if in the hearts of all such people there were some understanding of the words spoken by Christ Jesus as related in the Gospel of St. Luke.

Among the most beautiful and impressive parables in that Gospel is the one usually known as the parable of the unjust steward [Luke 16:1—13]. A rich man had a steward who was accused of wasting his goods. He therefore decided to dismiss the steward. The latter asked himself in dismay, "What will I do? I cannot support myself as a husband man for I do not understand such work, nor can I beg, for I would be ashamed." Then the thought occurred to him: In all my dealings with the people with whom my stewardship brought me into contact, I had in mind only the interests of my lord; therefore they will have no particular liking for me. I have paid no attention to their interests. I must do something in order to be received into their houses and so not be utterly ruined; I will do something to show that I wish them well. Then he went to one of his lord's debtors and asked him, "How much do you owe?" And he allowed him to cancel half the debt. He did the same with the others. In this way he tried to ingratiate himself with the debtors, so that when his lord dismissed him he might be received by these people and not die of starvation.

That was his object. The Gospel continues, possibly to the astonishment of some readers, "And the lord commended the unjust steward because he had done wisely." Those who set our to elucidate the Gospels today have actually speculated about which lord is meant, although it is absolutely clear that Jesus was praising the steward for his cleverness. Then the verse continues, "For the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light." This is how the sentence has stood for centuries. But has anyone ever reflected upon what is meant by "the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light?" "In their generation" is in all the different translations of the Bible. But if someone with only scanty knowledge were to translate the Greek text correctly, it would read, "For the children of this world in their way are wiser than the children of light"; that is, in their way the children of this world are wiser than the children of light, wiser according to their own understanding— that is what Christ meant. Translators of this passage have for centuries confused the expression "in their way" with a word that actually has a very similar sound in the Greek language; they have confused it, and do so to this very day, with generations, because the word was sometimes also used for the other concept. It hardly seems possible that this kind of thing should have dragged on for centuries and that modern, reputedly good translators who have endeavored to convey the exact meaning of the text, should make no change. Weizsäcker, for example, gives this actual rendering! Strangely enough, people seem to forget the most elementary school-knowledge when they set about investigating biblical records. Spiritual science will have to restore the biblical records in their true form to the world, for the world today does not, properly speaking, possess the Bible and can have no real grasp of its contents. It might even be asked, Are these the genuine texts of the Bible? No, in very important parts they are not, as I will show you in still greater detail.

What is the meaning of this parable of the unjust steward? The steward thought, if I must leave my post I must gain the affection of the people. He realized that one cannot serve "two masters." Christ said to those around him, You too must realize that you cannot serve two masters, the one who is now to enter human hearts as God and the one hitherto proclaimed by the scribes and the interpreters of the books of the Prophets.

You cannot serve the God who is to draw into your souls as the Christ principle and give a mighty impetus to the evolution of humanity, and the other God who would hinder this evolution." Everything that was right and proper in a bygone age becomes a hindrance if carried over into a later stage of evolution. In a certain sense the process of evolution itself is based upon this principle. The powers that direct the "hindrances" were called at that time by the technical expression Mammon. "You cannot serve the God who will progress and Mammon, the god of hindrances. Think of the steward who, as a child of the world, realized that one cannot serve two masters, not even with the help of Mammon. So too should you perceive, in striving to become children of light, that you cannot serve two masters" [Luke 16:11—13].

Those living in the present age must also realize that no reconciliation is possible in our time between the god Mammon— the modern scribes and scientific pundits—and the direction of thought that must provide human beings with the nourishment they need. This is spoken in a truly Christian sense. Clothed in current language, what Christ Jesus wished to bring home to those around him in the parable of the unjust steward was that no one can serve two masters.

The Gospels must be understood in a really living way. Spiritual science itself must become a living reality! Under its influence everything it touches should be imbued with life. The Gospel itself should be something that streams into our own spiritual faculties. We should not just chatter about the scribes and Pharisees having been repudiated in the days of Christ Jesus, for then we would again be thinking only of a past age. We must know where the successor of the power described by Christ Jesus for his epoch as the god Mammon is to be found today. That is a living kind of understanding, and it is a very important factor in what is related in the Gospel of St. Luke. For with that parable, found only in this Gospel, is connected one of the most significant concepts in all the Gospels. It is a concept we can engrave into our hearts and souls only if we are able once again, and from a somewhat different angle, to make it clear how Buddha and the impulse he gave were related to Christ Jesus.

We have heard that Buddha brought to humankind the great teaching of compassion and love. Here is an instance where what is said in esotericism must be taken exactly as it stands; otherwise it might be objected that at one time Christ is said to have brought love to the Earth, and at another that Buddha brought the teaching of love. But is that the same? On one occasion I said that Buddha brought the teaching of love to the Earth and on another occasion that Christ brought love itself as a living power to the Earth. That is the great difference. Close attention is necessary when the deepest concerns of humankind are being considered; otherwise information given in one place is presented somewhere else in a quite different form, and then it is said that in order to be fair to everybody I have proclaimed two messengers of love! The very closest attention is essential in esotericism. When this enables us to really understand the words in which momentous truths are clothed, they are seen in the right light.

Knowing that the great teaching of compassion and love brought by Buddha is expressed in the Eightfold Path, we may ask ourselves, What is the aim of this Eightfold Path? What do humans attain when from the depths of their soul they adopt it as their life’s ideal, never losing sight of the goal and asking continually, How can I reach the greatest perfection? How can I purify my I most completely? What must I do to enable my I to fulfil its function in the world as perfectly as possible? Such people will say to themselves: If I obey every precept of the Eightfold Path, my I will reach the greatest perfection it is possible to conceive. Everything is a matter of the purification and ennoblement of the I; everything that can stream from this wonderful Eightfold Path must penetrate into us. The important point is that it is work carried out by the I for its own perfecting. If therefore, humans develop to further stages in themselves what Buddha set in motion as the "Wheel of the Law" (that is the technical term), their I-beings will gradually become possessed of wisdom at a high level—wisdom in the form of thought—and they will recognize the signs of perfection. Buddha brought the wisdom of love and compassion to humankind, and when we succeed in making the whole astral body a product of the Eightfold Path, we will possess the requisite knowledge of the laws expressed in its teachings.

But there is a difference between wisdom in the form of thought and wisdom as living power; there is a difference between knowing what the l must become and allowing the living power to flow into our very being so that it may stream forth again from the I into all the world as it streamed from Christ, working upon the astral, etheric, and physical bodies of those around him. The impulse given by the great Buddha enabled humankind to have knowledge of the teaching of compassion and love. What Christ brought is first and foremost a living power, not a teaching. He sacrificed his very Self. He descended in order to flow not merely into the astral bodies of human beings but into their I-beings, so that the I itself would have the power to ray out love as substantiality. Christ brought to the Earth the substantiality, the living essence of love, not merely the wisdom-filled content of love. That is the all-important point.

Nineteen centuries and roughly five more have now elapsed since the great Buddha lived on the Earth; in about three thousand years from now--this we learn from esotericism--a considerable number of human beings will have reached the stage of being able to evolve the wisdom of the Buddha, the Eightfold Path, out of their own moral nature out of their own heart and soul. Buddha had once to be on Earth, and from him proceeded the power that humankind will develop little by little as the wisdom of the Eightfold Path. About three thousand years from now human brings will be able to unfold its teaching from within themselves; it will then be their own possession and they will no longer be obliged to receive it from outside. Then they will be able to say, This Eightfold Path springs from our very selves as the wisdom of compassion and love.

Even if nothing had happened other than the great Buddha’s setting in motion the Wheel of the Law, humankind would have become capable of knowing the doctrine of compassion and love three thousand years from now. But it is a different matter to acquire also the faculty to embody it in very life. Nor only to know about compassion and love but, under the influence of an I-being, to unfold it as living--therein lies the difference. This faculty proceeded from Christ. He poured love itself into human beings, and it will grow from strength to strength. When humans have reached the end of their evolution, wisdom will have revealed to them the content of the doctrine of compassion and love; this they will owe to Buddha. But at the same time they will possess the faculty of letting the love stream out from the I over humankind; this they will owe to Christ.

Thus Buddha and Christ worked in cooperation, and the exposition given has been necessary so that the Gospel of St. Luke may be properly understood. We realize this at once when we know how to interpret correctly the words used in the Gospel [Luke 2:13—14]. The great proclamation is made to the shepherds. Above them is the "heavenly host"—this is the spiritual, imaginative expression for the Nirmanakaya of the Buddha.1 What is it that is proclaimed to the shepherds from on high? The "manifestation (or revelation) of the wisdom filled God from the Heights!" This is the proclamation made to the shepherds by the Nirmanakaya of Buddha, pictured as the "heavenly host" hovering over the Nathan Jesus-child. But something else is added: "And peace be to those on the Earth below who are filled with a good will"—that is, those in whom the living power of love is germinating. It is this that must gradually become reality on Earth through the new impulse given by Christ. To the "revelation from the Heights" he added the living power bringing into every human heart and into every human soul something that can fill the soul to overflowing. He gave the human soul not merely a teaching that could be received in the form of thought and idea, but a power that can stream forth from it. The Christ bestowed power that can fill the human soul to overflowing is called in the Gospel of St Luke, and in the other Gospels also, the power of faith. This is what the Gospels mean by faith. Those who receive Christ into themselves so that Christ lives in them, whose I-being is not an empty vessel but is filled to overflowing with love—such people have faith.

Why could Christ be the supreme illustration of the power of "healing through the word"? Because he was the first to set in motion the "Wheel of Love" (not the "Wheel of the Law") as a freely working faculty and power of the human soul; because love in the very highest measure was within him—love brimming over in such abundance that it could pour into those around him who needed to be healed; because the words he spoke, no matter whether "Stand up and walk!" or "Your sins are forgiven," or other words, issued from overflowing love. His words were uttered from over flowing love, love transcending the limits of the I. And those who were able to some extent to experience this were called by Christ "the faithful." This is the only true interpretation of the concept of faith—one of the most fundamental concepts in the New Testament. Faith is the capacity to transcend the self, to transcend what the I can, for the time being, achieve.

Therefore when he had passed into the body of the Nathan Jesus and had there united with the power of the Buddha, Christ’s teaching was not concerned with the question, "How shall the I achieve the greatest possible perfection?" but rather with the question. "How shall the I overflow? How can the I transcend its own limits?" He often used simple words, and indeed the Gospel of St. Luke as a whole speaks to the hearts of the simplest people. Christ said, in effect: It is not enough to give something only to those who you know for certain will give it back to you again, for sinners also do that. If you know that it will come back to you, your action has not been prompted by overflowing love. But if you give something knowing that it will not come back to you, then you have acted out of pure love, for pure love is what the I does not keep enclosed but releases as a power that flows forth from a person [Luke 6:33—35]. In many and various ways Christ speaks of how the I must overflow and how the power overflowing from the I, and from feeling emancipated from self-interest, must work in the world.

The words of greatest warmth in the Gospel of St. Luke are those telling of this overflowing love. The Gospel itself will be found to contain this overflowing love if we let its words work upon us in such a way that the love pervades all our own words, enabling them to make their effect in the outer world. Another Evangelist, who because of his different antecedents puts less emphasis upon this particular secret of Christianity has for all that summarized it in a short sentence. In the Latin translation of the Gospel of St. Matthew still have the genuine, original words that epitomize the many beautiful passages about love in the Gospel of St. Luke: Ex abundantia cordis os loquitur. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks [Matt. 12:34]. This expresses one of the very highest Christian ideals! The mouth speaks from the overflowing heart, from what the heart does not confine within itself. The heart is set in motion by the blood, and the blood is the expression of the I. The meaning is therefore this: "Speak from an I that overflows and rays out power (the power of faith). Then will your words contain the power of Christ!" "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks!"—this is a cardinal principle of Christianity.

In the modern German Bible this passage is rendered, "His mouth overflows whose heart is full."2 These words have for centuries succeeded in obscuring a cardinal principle of Christianity. The absurdity of saying that the heart overflows when it is "full" has not dawned upon people although things do not generally overflow unless they are more than full! Humankind—this is not meant as criticism—has inevitably become entangled in an idea that obscures an essential principle of Christianity and has never noticed that the sentence as it stands here is meaningless. If it is contended that the German language does not allow a literal translation of Ex abundantia cordis os loquitur into "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks," on the ground that one cannot say "The abundance of the stove makes the room warm"—that too is senseless. For if the stove is heated only to the extent that the warmth just reaches its sides, the room will not be heated; it will be heated only when a superabundance of warmth comes out of the stove. Here we light upon a very significant point: a cardinal principle of Christianity, one upon which part: of the Gospel of St. Luke is based, has been entirely obscured, with the result that the meaning of one of the most important passages in the Gospel has remained hidden from humanity.

The power that can overflow from the human heart is the Christ power. Heart and I are here synonymous. What the I is able to create when transcending its own limits flows forth through the word. Not until the end of Earth evolution will the I be fit to enshrine the nature of Christ in its fullness. In the present age Christ is a power that brims over from the heart. Those who are content that their heart shall merely be full do not possess the Christ. Hence an essential principle of Christianity is obscured if the weight and significance of this sentence are not realized. Things of infinite importance, belonging to the very essence of Christianity, will come to light through spiritual science’s elucidation of the sacred records of Christianity. By reading the Akashic Chronicle, spiritual science is able to discover the original meanings and thus to read the records in their true form.

We can now understand how humanity advances into the future. The Bodhisattva who became Buddha five or six centuries before our era ascended into the spiritual world and now works in his Nirmanakaya. He has risen to a higher stage and need not again descend into a physical body. The powers that were his as Bodhisattva are again present—but in a different form. When he became Buddha at that time, he passed over the office of Bodhisattva to another who became his successor; another became Bodhisattva. A Buddhist legend speaks of this in words that express a deep truth of Christianity. It is narrated that the Bodhisattva, before descending to the incarnation when he became Buddha, removed his heavenly tiara and placed it upon the Bodhisattva who was to be his successor. The latter, with his somewhat different mission, works on. He too is to become a Buddha. When, in about three thousand years, a number of human brings have evolved from within themselves the teachings of the Eightfold Path, the present Bodhisattva will become Buddha, as did his predecessor. Entrusted with his mission five or six centuries before our era, he will become Buddha in about three thousand years, reckoning from our present time. Oriental wisdom knows him as the Maitreya Buddha.3

Before the present Bodhisattva can become the Maitreya Buddha a considerable number of human beings must have developed the precepts of the Eightfold Path out of their own hearts, and by that time many will have become capable of this. Then he who is now the Bodhisattva will bring a new power into the world.

If nothing further were to have happened by then, the future Buddha would, it is true, find human beings capable of thinking out the teachings of the Eightfold Path through deep meditation, but he would not find ones having within their inmost soul the living, overflowing power of love. This living power of love must stream into humankind in the intervening time so that the Maitreya Buddha will find not only human beings who understand what love is but also those who have within them the power of love. It was for this purpose that Christ descended to the Earth. He descended for three years only, never having been embodied on the Earth before, as you will have gathered from everything that has been said. The presence of Christ on the Earth for three years, from the Baptism by John until the Mystery of Golgotha, meant that love will flow in ever increasing measure into the human heart, into the human soul—in other words, into the human I—so that at the end of Earth evolution the I will be filled with the power of Christ. Just as the teaching of compassion and love had first to be kindled to life through the Bodhisattva, the substance of love had to be brought down from heavenly heights to the Earth by the Being who allows it gradually to become the possession of the human I itself. We may not say that love was not previously in existence. What was not present before the coming of Christ was the love that could be the direct possession of the human I; it was inspired love that Christ enabled to stream down from cosmic heights; it streamed into human beings unconsciously, just as previously the Bodhisattva had enabled the teaching of the Eightfold Path to stream into them unconsciously. Buddha’s relation to the Eightfold Path was analogous to the status of the Christ Being before it was possible for him to descend to take human form. Taking human form signified progress for Christ. That is the all-important point. Buddha’s successor, now a Bodhisattva, is well known to those versed in spiritual science, and the time will come when these facts— including the name of the Bodhisattva who will then become the Maitreya Buddha—will be spoken of explicitly. For the present, however, when so many factors unknown to the external world have been presented, indications must suffice. When this Bodhisattva appears on Earth and becomes the Maitreya Buddha, he will find on Earth the seed of Christ, embodied in those human beings who say "Not only is my head fitted with the wisdom of the Eightfold Path; I have not only the teaching, the wisdom of love, but my heart is filled with the living substance of love which overflows and streams into the world." And then, together with such human beings, the Maitreya Buddha will be able to carry out his further mission in the world's evolution.

All these truths are interrelated, and only by realizing this are we able to understand the profundities of the Gospel of St. Luke. This Gospel does not speak to us of a "teaching," but of the one who flowed as very substance into the beings of the Earth and into the constitution of human beings. This is a truth expressed in esotericism by saying: The Bodhisattvas who become Buddhas can, through wisdom, redeem earthly human beings in respect to the spirit, but they can never redeem the whole human being. For the whole human being can be redeemed only when the warm power of love, and not wisdom alone, flows through the whole being. The redemption of souls through the outpouring of love that He brought to the Earth—that was the mission of Christ. The mission of the Bodhisattva and of the Buddha was to bring the wisdom of love; the mission of Christ was to bring to humankind the power of love. This distinction must be made.

1. Nirmanakaya (literally, the "body that is built") refers, according to Theosophy, to the perfected human astral body as a state of being. "Nirmanankaya us (one who has become) a member of that invisible Host which ever protects and watches over humanity within Karmic limits? H.P. Blavatsky, The Key to Theosophy (Theosophical University Press, Wheaton, IL, 1991, glossary). As meant here, Buddhists would be more likely to use the term Sambhokakaya (the subtle, imagination body) since Nirmanakaya is considered to be the physical manifestation of the Buddha.

2. See Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45. The correct meaning has been preserved in the English versions.

3. There are countless references to the Maitreya Buddha in Buddhist literature see "Maitreya, the future Buddha," in Buddhist Scriptures (trans. Edward Conze, Penguin Classics New York, 1959). For Steiner's understanding of the Buddha's relationship to the Christ, see From Buddha to Christ (Anthroposophic Press, Hudson, NY, 1987).