Buddha’s story appears in Christianity and Islam

Islam and Christian Versions of Buddha Balauhar and Budasaf or Bilawhar wa-Yudasaf is a legendary Islamic telling of the story of Siddhartha Gautama originating in the Sogdian language (Middle Iranian). The tale came into Christianity as the story of Sts. Barlaam and Josaphat, who were venerated in both the Eastern and Western churches.

Islamic version

The Bilauhar u Buddsaf story was translated into Pahlavi during the Sasanian period, and into Arabic in the Islamic era. This is not a strict translation of the Sanskrit Buddhacarita (Life of Buddha) but a collection of legends. The Arabic version is Balauhar wa Budasaf, in 8th Century and 10th Century versions.

The name changed from Budasaf to Yudasaf, then to Yuzasaf.

Christian version

The story of Barlaam and Josaphat or Joasaph is a Christianized and later version of the story of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha. In the Middle Ages the two were treated as Christian saints, being entered in the Greek Orthodox calendar on 26 August, and in the Roman Martyrology in the Western Church as “Barlaam and Josaphat” on the date of 27 November. In the Slavic tradition of the Eastern Orthodox Church, these two are commemorated on 19 November (corresponding to 2 December on the Gregorian calendar).

According to the legend, King Abenner or Avenier in India persecuted the Christian Church in his realm, founded by the Apostle Thomas. When astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, Abenner had the young prince Josaphat isolated from external contact. Despite the imprisonment, Josaphat met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. Josaphat kept his faith even in the face of his father’s anger and persuasion. Eventually Abenner converted, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam.