Barlaam and Josaphat, also known as Bilawhar and Budhasaf, are legendary Christian saints. Their life story was based on the life of the Gautama Buddha, and tells of the conversion of Josaphat to Christianity. According to the legend, an Indian king persecuted the Christian Church in his realm. After astrologers predicted that his own son would some day become a Christian, the king imprisoned the young prince Josaphat, who nevertheless met the hermit Saint Barlaam and converted to Christianity. After much tribulation the young prince's father accepted the Christian faith, turned over his throne to Josaphat, and retired to the desert to become a hermit. Josaphat himself later abdicated and went into seclusion with his old teacher Barlaam.
The story of Barlaam and Josaphat or Joasaph is a Christianized and later version of the story of Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha. The tale derives from a second to fourth century Sanskrit Mahayana Buddhist text, via