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 occultism — 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 the power that mankind will develop little by little as the wisdom of the Eightfold Path proceeded from him; after about three thousand years from now men 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 else had happened than the setting in motion of the Wheel of the Law by the great Buddha, in three thousand years from now humanity would have become capable of knowing the doctrine of compassion and love. But it is a different matter also to have acquired the faculty to embody it in very life. Not only to know about compassion and love, but under the influence of an Individuality to unfold it as living power — there lies the difference. This faculty proceeded from Christ. He poured love itself into men and it will grow from strength to strength. When men 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 Ego over mankind; this they will owe to Christ.
Source: Rudolf Steiner – GA 114 – The Gospel of St. Luke – Lecture Nine – Basel, September 25, 1909
Previously posted on October 23, 2013