Confucius also taught many wonderful things that might have led to a lessening of vexation and a cultivation of the perfections — but I don't see many people piling on to claim that Confucius was an "enlightened being." We can say the same thing about Marcus Aurelius and so on.
It seems like folks didn't see this important point of Malcolm? Why so much insistence about Christ being enlightened?
Esp given that no Buddhist masters have unequivocally endorsed Bible or Christ himself. Given that the history of buddhism starting from buddha himself is to refute other non dharmic teachings and teachers. Even shankaracarya or many other Indian teachers who had such clear system and rigorous training are denied any status of refugable beings let alone Christ whose vague, metaphorical words we are trying to interpret after studying buddhism.
Which 'enlightened' Christian teacher are we now going to listen to instead of vajradharas like ChNN? Even if there were Christian teachers claiming themselves to have been enlightened or who were talking similar things would they be totally reliable objects of Refuge?
But back to Malcolm's clear point from the quote: why not Confucius?
Arguing Christ is enlightened is like Hindus arguing shiva or ramana are enlightened. And we Buddhists clearly reject given their teachings are so much clearer than unclear teachings of a figure whose history is full of confusion, after whose death monstrous religion came to being, who was born out of jambudipa, who was never endorsed by any historical Buddhist teachers, whose practice we don't know shit about (mind you shakyamuni practice of many lives are available to us), who never talks about basic Buddhist ideas of relative samsara like six realms and such, who talks about creator, etc.
As in the earlier posts of friends here, people in other religions too try to compare absolute truths as stated in buddhism with their own notions which to me seems like a little easier to see similar as primarily because non Buddhists don't understand even conceptually what these absolute truths as stated in buddhism are. And it is perhaps easier to cast a metaphorical twist on these lofty words. Please don't forget to compare relative truths too which all Buddhist traditions and teachers talk about. Where does Jesus talk about and when has his followers ever talked about six realms, about other mundane right view?
TO claim Christ as enlightened is to cast him as someone worthy of going to Refuge. So to make such big claims requires extensive justifications. The first thing about Refuge is you refuse and reject other non Buddhist traditions and teachings completely as source of liberation. That is basic buddhism. To argue otherwise from my understanding is to have feeble faith in buddha. When a cause and condition arises it allows possibility and even encourages one to take Refuge in other beings and thus be further from liberation.