Eternal Fire "First Vision" Account

But it is only when all outward appearances are gone that there is left that one principle of life which exists independently of all external phenomena. It is the fire that burns in the eternal light, when the fuel is expended and the flame is extinguished; for that fire is neither in the flame nor in the fuel, nor yet inside either of the two, but above, beneath, and everywhere.

This is a statement attributed to the Buddha in one of the earliest Buddhist texts:

“But it is only when all outward appearances are gone that there is left that one principle of life which exists independently of all external phenomena. It is the fire that burns in the eternal light, when the fuel is expended and the flame is extinguished; for that fire is neither in the flame nor in the fuel, nor yet inside either of the two, but above, beneath, and everywhere.”
Mahaparinirvana (Supreme Nirvana) Sutra

Source: The Wisdom of Buddhism, ed. Christmas Humphreys (London: Curzon Press, 1987): 127.
Some similarities to Joseph Smith’s First Vision seem to include:

  • Passing beyond the relative into the absolute, beyond “natural objects” (external phenomena or outward appearances)
  • Finding there a burning fire
  • Seeing an eternal light associated with the fire
  • The fire seems supernatural, doesn’t consume fuel, and it doesn’t burn like normal fire
  • The fire/light is all-pervading, enveloping, and everywhere

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