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It seems likely to me that the prodigal son departed on a "hero's" journey, a la Joseph Campbell.
For some folks, in order to achieve spiritual growth, you must be ready to leave behind all you have become accustomed to- the family, cultural, and social props that both support you and confine you.
This enables one to see clearly- and to become able to see in a new way.
(In mathematics, this process is called "deconvolution").
Then, upon return, you are welcomed happily for you bear a huge gift: the gift of vision, the gift of new-ness.
It is through the incremental development of novelty that the world unfolds, an ever-increasing gift to (and from) the Divine.
So to answer your question- if the son became a Buddhist and brought back that spiritual treasure, he would be welcomed all the more...and the bible might have morphed into a sutra...