One of the things I was curious about, as a teenager (while I was questioning the religion I was raised in), was the fact that the Gospel of John had a Buddhist quality to it. A good number of the quotes in the Gospel of John are similar to quotes from the Buddha.
Between the ages of 12 and 30, (a gap of 18 years) Jesus was not mentioned in the New Testament at all.
I believe that at some point during those years, he may have travelled along the Silk Road to India. And while not necessarily converting to Buddhism, he certainly came into contact with the Buddhist religion, and indeed, may even have taught it as well.
For the record, the Buddhist religion was founded approximately 500 years before Jesus was born. So it had plenty of time to grow and flourish.
There are several good websites and one youtube video, I would like to mention here
Buddhism versus Christianity
Pagan Origin of the Christian Myths
Was Jesus a Buddhist?
Video - Did Jesus Learn Buddhism
Silk Road Transmission of Buddhism - Wikipedia
The Life of Saint Issa - Nicholas Notovich
The Life of St Issa
Evidence for Jesus' teachings being of Buddhist origin
The Tibetan Gospel of Issa
What got me started on this, was a book I picked up called - The Original Jesus - Subtitled the Buddhist Sources for Christianity - by Elmar Gruber and Holger Kersten. (1995)
More details can be found on this blog post -
And in this book -
which says the following
"Your Jesus was here."The Gospels record Jesus at the age of twelve in the Temple. Then about age thirty at the River Jordan. That leaves approximately seventeen years unaccounted for.During those so-called lost years, the child "increased in wisdom and stature," as Luke wrote. But was it in the carpenter shop at Nazareth?According to ancient Tibetan manuscripts, Jesus secretly withdrew from the home of Mary and Joseph at age thirteen. Young "Issa" joined a merchant caravan. Destination: India and the Himalayas.At Juggernaut, "the white priests of Brahma made him a joyous welcome. They taught him to read and understand the Vedas, to cure by aid of prayer, to teach, to explain the Holy Scriptures to the people, and to drive out evil spirits from the bodies of men."Buddhist scholars documented "The Life of Saint Issa" two thousand years ago.Nicolas Notovitch discovered the long-lost document in 1887 at the Himis monastery in Ladakh.Swami Abhedananda published a Bengali translation of the Himis manuscript in 1929.Nicholas Roerich quoted the same verses in a 1929 travel diary of his Asian expedition.And in 1939, a beaming lama at Himis presented a set of parchments to Elisabeth Caspari with the words: "These books say your Jesus was here!"Now you can read the controversial stories of these travelers together with the original Buddhist scriptures on the most important events that shaped the life and work of the Saviour Jesus Christ.An historical breakthrough that will shake the foundations of modern Christendom!
I think it is quite plausible that Jesus went to India. He would have had to have travelled along the Silk Road to get there and back again. Jesus was clearly familiar with the teachings of the Buddha. The Gospel of John certainly has many Buddhist like sayings. especially those from the Sermon on the Mount.