It is not only possible but probable that there was considerable exchange of ideas between the three of the four major religions. Isis, Zoroastrianism and Buddism. The exception was Judaism, which was fundamentally opposed to changing anything. This interaction was emphasised by the rise of Manichaeism.
Mani was a Persian who in AD 242 set out to “complete” the message given by Jesus. he achieved this by “succeeding and surpassing” Christianity, Zoroastrian and Buddism. His followers subsequently claimed that mani himself was the reincarnation of Buddha,Lord Krishna, Zarathrustra and Jesus. What he attempted to do was create a single religion from all the others, something he believed Jesus had intended to do but that the message had become distorted.
Manichaeism has existed in Tibet since around 260 AD Adherents of the Religion of Light in Tibet strictly maintained Manichaean religious ideals all the while within a Buddhist context.
Over the years, Manichaeism began to appear, at least on the surface, like Vajrayana, Mahayana and Pure Land Buddhism throughout Tibet and China. The Religion of Light has had a profound effect on each of these Buddhist schools. At one time almost all of Tibet was practicing Manichaeism.
He perpetuated yet another mystery of faith by claiming that Jesus was born as a man but infused with the good god (Mazda, Isis, Buddha?) at his christening. Jesus suffering was real as the energy of the universe was trapped in a human body but his crucifixion was illusory. The religion he founded was structured to have two levels. The “Electi” had to follow strict rules of fasting ,self denial, and chastity. The “Auditon” need not follow the strict code bu were required to care for and honour the Electi, expecting that if they did this they would become electi in another incarnation.
Mani himself was crucified and subsequently acknowledged in Islam as the “Seal of the Prophets”
His followers were persecuted in their homeland and fled both east and west. The faith thrived in the Roman Empire and had a particularly strong following in the later Roman Army. The Church of Rome initially tolerated Manacheaism but in 387 started a pesecution of its adherents. This action coincided with the barbarian invasions and the two events may not have been unconnected.
St Augustine of hippo was a Manichaeist for the early part of his life and converted to the Church of Rome possibly to avoid persecution. He famously said-‘God give me chastity and continence, but not just yet.’ he also wrote ” The City of God’ virtually an apology for the Gothic sack of rome, which pointed out that god’s kingdom is spiritual, and not of this earth.
He was a prolific author who has had a great influence on later theological thinking and much of his writing cuts across the thinking of the Church of Rome of that time, possibly revealing Manichaeistic influences.