I was talking to my Buddhist priest the other day about Catharsis, and one criticism he had was that Bodhi doesn’t seem much like a normal Buddhist monk. Of course, it reflects badly on me that I must not have communicated very well in the text that he’s not!
Bodhi is a Christine. Who are the Christines? Well, they’re a figment of my imagination! But I didn’t invent them entirely from scratch. “Christines” are what Christians are called in The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ—an apocryphal Gospel of fairly recent origin. In fact, Bodhi references the Aquarian Gospel throughout both books as his go-to Holy Scripture.
In the Bodhi Trilogy, I started with the premise, “What if Madame Blavatsky’s cosmology were more or less real?” Madame Blavatsky was a late 19th century mystic who founded the Theosophical Society and wrote a few esoteric tomes of modern mysticism that still inform the New Age movements of today. Many if not most New Age groups and religions can trace at least some of their lineage back to Blavatsky. Going off an imagined premise that her worldview were more correct than most, it seemed likely to me that the Aquarian Gospel, a more or less Theosophical rewrite of the gospel story, would eventually come to the fore as the dominant, true gospel of the Christian faith. In that spirit, I assumed that its term for Christians—Christines—would also become the dominant term.
In retrospect, I worry that it’s all a bit convoluted. As you’ve noticed above if nowhere else, I’m a church-going Buddhist—not a Theosophist. For me, Theosophy is largely a fantasy world to play in. Studying the works and ranks of the Ascended Masters to me seems much like studying the works and ranks of the Jedi Masters.
Not to insult any Theosophists out there that happen to read this! I think Blavatsky and those who would follow in expanding and reinterpreting her teachings have provided the world with a powerful and engaging cosmology and theology or I wouldn’t have had any interest in studying it.
So, back to the main idea, Bodhi isn’t a Buddhist. He’s a member of a Christian denomination I’ve largely made up by combining elements from a few Theosophical sources, the Aquarian Gospel, and yes a few healthy dabs of typical Eastern monastic style. My hope was that I’d be forgiven any inconsistencies with adhering to any one, established monastic order or religious denomination from our time as Bodhi practices a faith that essentially does not yet exist in a world that would be largely foreign to someone from the 21st century.
What would it be like for an early Christian from 1st century Rome to imagine a 21st century Mormon missionary in America, for example? The massive shift in cultures, time, and geography from the writer and his readers would make that Mormon missionary seem pretty sci-fi to his 1st century, Roman contemporaries. But to those of us living in the 21st century, a Mormon missionary isn’t all that exotic or off-kilter a concept at all.