We live in what the ancient Rabbis called “Dog faced times.” The Rabbis weren’t being cryptic, but they were being metaphorical. They developed systematic methods of studying scripture. Which is how they turned a payton place set of myths and legends into a scripture which a good portion of the world reads for wisdom(Christians and Jews), and another good portion (Islam) immitates in their own scripture. It was that systematic approach to religion that is embodied in their earliest oral religion. And it is that systematic approach to religion that inspired Latins and Greeks (and later others) to learn the Jewish teachings of the Rabbi Jesu and make them their own.
So what does that have to do with Buddhism? more…

What it has to do with Buddhism is multifold.
For one thing those Rabbis, ancient and modern were using religion systematically, but that doesn’t always mean wisely, perfectly, or even correctly. Some of them were saints, but even these guys were operating within a tradition with it’s own stories, it’s own methods, it’s own skillful means. It’s own “Upaya” or skillfulness. They knew this themselves even if they didn’t teach it explicitly. It was in the acronym PRDS (pardes).
When they told a fable they knew what they were doing. When Paul crafted Christianity he had a purpose in mind. Everything he said in his more authenticated writings is consistant with “Kaballistic” or “received” (mystic/esoteric) jewish traditions. What wasn’t was that he taught it to outsiders. Judaism was and remains tribal in orientation. It was even a sin for non jews to celebrate the sabbath without conversion. Maybe that is the real reason the Christians moved the Sabbath from Saturday (Sabado in Spanish) to Sunday, and the holidays to a Solar calendar instead of a month based on.
And of course, we have two ways to approach these traditions. We can say “these are incorrect, childish, dangerous, perverse.” And try to replace them. You know the story; “Convert the whole world and there will be world peace?” But wait both Christianity and Islam tried to do that with Judaism. Or we can do what the earliest Buddhists did with Taoism, Confucianism and other tribal religions of ancient times. Find a way to harmonize them with the teachings of the Buddha. Can it be done? If you dig deep enough you can. There are secret harmonies between Judaism, Christianity and mystical sufism already with Buddhism. These religions influenced each other from the get go. What they couldn’t do was to dislodge or replace each other. And that is for a reason. It is the blind man myth again. If you call this beast called “Life” God, then you can see that each person is trying to understand “Him”/It/ the Law in his/her own way. Not to worship it/him/law, but to become one with life and ease the transition from stage to stage within our traverse of it.
The Holy sparks that kaballists talk about can become great bright lights if only the “husks” that contain them are polished to perfection so the light can shine through. But how do you polish something? You rub it against something else. Maybe that is our task.
And of course there will always be ignorant people who will attack you for thinking. Call you “heretic” for making choices. Oppose you at every step. And of course there will always be the bent and twisted people who twist things for their own purposes. And the sages with blind spots and millions of deluded followers. Deluded a common mortal. Enlightened a Buddha. Deluded a hell and land of misery. Enlightened a pure land.
And the dog faced times? Ever watch someone who owns dogs and how they become reflections of one another’s personalities. A Dog faced person is the leaders who lead us in this day. They appear eager and strong and taking the lead, but in fact they are on a chain. Turn the wrong way and watch what the master does with his dog. So it is with our current leaders in religion, politics, everywhere. And the owners of the chain are the guardians of greed, hunger, envy, animality, anger, stupidity and arrogance. They can only go so far before someone yanks on that chain. Apparantly “he” is us. But in reality it is the “king Devil himself:” Dai Ro Kuten no mao, the poisoner; samael. The deceiver; Mara. And the lies and fables we tell ourselves rather than confronting the truth.
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo;