April 22, 2008
I have not been fortunate enough to hear the Dalai Lama speak (other than on the news). As Christians, I believe we should seek out events like this, and approach them with an open mind. By experiencing other faiths via their most learned leaders, we find common ground on which to start discussions non-Christians. And, in my experience, it has led me to search the Bible on ideas I may not have considered previously.
I read something the other day that brought this a little closer, "The equal toleration of all religions is the same thing as atheism". Saying that I lived in the far east and thought at times that it would be "nice" to be a budist. I guess it was because of the lovingkindness given to me by some of the people there who practiced the religion along with us martial arts students. You see you never get into a fight when you're mad, because then you have no control. Being a budist is about control and how you are perceived by others. I am a Christian, but that sense of control in giving your lovingkindness to others is essential for us all. Love God and Love One Another. In God's Grace John
As born again Christians, I do not think we should spend time listening to the Dalai Lama or other religious leaders. The mere presence of Christians at such events shows to the world that we agree with what the Dalai Lama says.<br><br>We have to be different. Think about this: every minute we do not spend with our Lord Jesus Christ, is a minute we spend with his opponent. Jesus said in Mathew 12,30 or Luke 11,23 â€œAnyone who is not with me is against me. Anyone who does not gather sheep with me scatters them." No doubt the Lama is scattering them, but are we Christians gathering them by attending such meetings? If you accompany a friend who is looking for the truth, that may be a different case. Such meetings may trigger good discussions, but can also be dangerous.<br><br>Certain things may be good the Dalai Lama says, and the worldly people believe "he is a good man". But in the eyes of our Lord "All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no-one who does good, not even one" (Romans 3,12). (Including myself ;-) )<br><br>We need Jesus Christ and he is the "one way": John 14,6: 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me".<br><br>Concentrate on our Lord and do not give honor to others.<br><br>Greetings from Switzerland!
"...every minute we do not spend with our Lord Jesus Christ, is a minute we spend with his opponent. "<br><br>I don't see how interacting with other faiths is time not spent with Jesus. He doesn't leave me, He's there protecting me, keeping my mind clear and my eyes open.
In Paul's sermon on Mars Hill (Acts 17), he obviously had some knowledge of the beliefs of the people he was speaking to, and he used that knowledge to reach them. I think it is good for Christians to have some knowledge of other beliefs rather than hiding from them.<br>That being said, it may not be right for everyone to go hear the Dalai Lama. Some people may not be strong enough in their own knowledge of truth to discern the difference. I would advise lots of prayer before going.
I have personal opinions, but I won't mention them. One thing I will mention is the 17th chapter of the book of Acts. Paul is in Athens at Mars Hill talking to Greek hedonists. He's respectful. He's very aware of their culture. He even mentions one of their writers and quotes him. Paul grew up as a strict Jew who probably would have had nothing to do with anything Gentile. So it shows me these are things he opened himself to and listened to after he became a Christian.<br>My opinions change over the years, but I've found that there is always a different way to look at the stories of the Bible, different interpretations on how to approach anything. Hearing the Dalai Lama speak, these are kinds of things you will eventually have to come to your own decisions on.
I can appreciate the value of understanding other religions. When Paul spoke to the diverse religious groups in Athens, he quoted one of their poets and said â€œFor as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worshipâ€. He was careful to do a bit of study. There is no virtue in being proud of your ignorance as some Christians are. Real apologetics requires that you understand the other personâ€™s point of view, whether that means reading a book on atheism, knowing the history of philosophy, being familiar with the Koran or the Bhagavad Gita. So I have no problem with investigating various religions. However one must remember that satan does not appear as a nasty, ugly horned creature, he appears an an angel surrounded with light. He is the great imitator who quotes the Bible and speaks enough truth so that he can carefully slip in a deadly lie. <br><br>I am not surprised the Dali Lama is a â€œvery kind-looking man who has a real peace about himâ€. There are different kinds and sources of peace. Jesus said, â€œMy peace I give you, not as the world givesâ€. I would compare this situation to meeting two doctors. They both look the same, they both have compassion and lovingkindness, but the first doctor treats a cancerous tumor by excising it with surgery, the second advocates wearing magnetic bracelets. The kindness and love of the second doctor leads to death. <br><br>The Dali Lama believes himself to be the Incarnation of spirit being, the Buddha. I think Christians have another word for that.<br><br>I agree with John that the equal acceptance of all religions is the same thing as atheism. Strangely enough, the Romans called Christians Atheists because they refused to participate or believe in the multitudes of other gods, idols and religions. I may agree with the Dali Lama on the issue of Tibet but I would not make common cause with him.
One of my professors personally interviewed the Dalai Lama a few years ago. His reflections and quotes from the interview can be found here:<br><a href="http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id=6599" rel="nofollow">http://www.phayul.com/news/art...</a>
I am Buddhist and found these replies interesting. I simply want to clarify something from Rick's post.<br><br>The Dalai Lama is not seen by himself, nor anyone else as the Incarnation of the historic Buddha. He is seen as the incarnation of Avalokitesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. He was not a "spirit being". He was a human being who reached enlightenment. The Buddha was also not a "spirit being". The Buddha was a human being who also reached enlightenment. Buddhism has dieties which are seen as external representations of states that we can achieve rather than as "gods" or "goddesses". Buddhism does not believe in a "creator God" and as such is seen more as a science than a religion by many. I wanted to clarify these things for those that are interested.<br><br>My opinion, as a Buddhist (hopefully it will still be respected) is that opening your mind to other opinions is a healthy thing. How else do you have an intelligent discussion about a topic if you know nothing of that issue. It doesn't mean you have to believe or participate in the opposing belief, it simply shows you have respect for others' opinions and beliefs and have obtained some knowledge so the words you speak will be accurate and appropriate. I grew up Baptist and became Buddhist almost 10 years ago. I have great respect for Christianity as well as other religions and support people's right to their beliefs and encourage them to rely on their faith, whatever it is, to lift and support them to do better for others. I would only hope that others, even Christians, would show respect for other beliefs, including mine, and listen to knowledgable voices such as the Dalai Lama to know more about how others believe. No one who truly practices Buddhism will try to convert you away from Christianity to Buddhism. The Dalai Lama even encourages others to maintain their religious affiliations and if they choose to practice such things as meditation, using Christian images, to do so. The Dalai Lama's public efforts are more towards spreading peace, love and respect than promoting Buddhism. Obviously, if he is speaking to Buddhists in the crowd, he will speak the teachings to them, but that is not an attempt to convert non-Buddhists. <br><br>In my opinion, it comes down to a matter of respect..respect for others' beliefs and opinions, without fearing that you have to give up your own in order to do so. Being exposed to other beliefs and traditions can give you greater appreciation and commitment to your own.<br><br>Thank you for your time.
If that you are being led by the Holy Spirit, if you end up at a Dalai Lama seminar you'd better believe it IS to fullfill the great commission. Not for personal gain and fullfillment or to learn from him what our sweet Savior can teach us in the living word, we learn how to love others by the perfect example and unique person in Christ Jesus. Which is probably where the Dalai Lama got the idea anyway, huh? : ) Peace brother!
Mr. Richards, Thank you for sharing your understanding of the Buddhist faith. I appreciate your response and as a christian agree with you that we should know enough to withhold intellegent conversations, and more importantly christian apologetics. And in an attempt to respond intellegently, I was an athiest until 25 and am a born again christian. I am trying my hardest to understand other faiths but today my biggest struggle with understanding any faith is how a once "christian" can walk away from Jesus. When I hear this it comes to my little knowledge that you may not have known the Lover of our souls in light of scripture. Christian schools don't spark love and adoration to a God, they just educate you and your parents force you to believe what they teach to get good grades. Being a christian is a personal relationship with Jahovah Jira our God who provides all things. If the Jesus that I have encountered and the Jesus that set me free from drugs, alcohol, bi-polar, schizophrenia is the same one you grew up knowing, then why would you need to reach enlightenment knowing that their are lost souls out there that desperately need Jesus. How does Buddhism help bring people out of the bondage of sin? Just asking... where does right and wrong come in?<br><br>I have one other thing that I don't understand and by all means I hope you respond in love. You seem like a very smart articulate man, I humbly say I am no where near where I should be on the christianity meter, but any 3rd grader knows that science is observable and testable. I don't understand how Buddhism can ever be a science. I hope you can help me understand. Meditation creates peace etc... we know that but reincarnation or the enlightenment or even the origin of humanity in the Buddhist belief which is essentially evolution. I hope you take this as a curiosity to ones belief and not as an attack by any means, again thanks.
April,<br>Thank you for your comments and the respect in which they were delivered. I cannot speak for all Buddhist, but for myself only in answering your question about "walking away from Jesus". My belief on religion is that what speaks most to your heart and lifts you the highest is where you belong, and how you worship. Growing up Southern Baptist, I did not feel that it spoke to my heart or lifted me. What I felt was afraid. I had nightmares about burning in Hell for eternity and the sermons I heard in Church. What I saw in the churches I knew was hypocrisy. "Love thy neighbor unless his skin color is different"..."The more money you have, the better you are", etc. These are things I saw and experienced. I am not saying this is the case in all churches. I know that is NOT the case. But, it is what I saw and experienced. This did not speak to me. When I entered a Buddhist temple, I immediately felt "at home". I knew this was what I had been searching for. My practice in Buddhism has lifted me higher in serving others, rather than believing for my own benefit. That was one of the things that spoke most to me. The goal of reaching enlightenment was so that you could help others reach enlightenment and therefore eliminate their own suffering as well. If done solely for one's own good, then it was wasted. A primary goal with Buddhism is to learn to love all beings equally and to put others above yourself rather than acting for one's own benefit only. Right and wrong play a part in Buddhism as they do in all major world religions. The Buddha taught of virtuous and non-virtuous actions and the consequences of both. Concerning "observable and testable", the Buddha taught that his words were not to be accepted on blind faith. The teachings are meant to be questioned when they do not make sense. It was taught that the individual should apply the teachings of the Buddha and if they did not register true or valid, then they should be abandoned. The Dalai Lama has taught that when Buddhism conflicts with proven science, then Buddhism must change to reflect the truth. It is a philosophy of knowledge, of learning, of application, of introspection and growth. Buddhism is seen as a science more than religion by many because of the fact that there is no creator God. It can also been seen as a philosophy of living as well as a science.<br><br>I hope some of this answers your questions a little. It is obviously difficult to go deeply into 2,600 years of Buddhist teachings in a short space on a blog. I also feel a little uncomfortable sharing too much as this is a Christian site, and I am not here to try and take anyone away from Jesus. I'm not here to proselytize. I am here only to observe and respectfully comment when appropriate. I appreciate your desire to know more and be informed. An informed mind is an open mind. My experience has taught me that leads to greater respect for others. I would suggest that you research Buddhism through knowledgable Buddhist sources (not internet write ups by non-Buddhists of which there are plenty). But while you do this, hold on to your Christian beliefs which obviously are a very solid base to your life. Research to know and understand more, not to convert to Buddhism, or to learn arguements to convert Buddhists. Read with an open mind and open heart and use the information to broaden your mind, your understanding and your respect for others. I congratulate you on the progress you have made from your past personal demons and if you feel that Jesus has been the salvation from what haunted you in the past, then believe strongly and love greatly. But keep in mind that other beliefs, other religions have helped others do the same and what works for one may not always work as well for all. <br><br>Thank you again for your curiosity and your respectful manner.<br>Jay
I am a Christ-follower, and it's from my Christian heart that I say to you: we must attend these events, and offer heartfelt support the Tibetan cause. As Christians we recongnize that Jesus is Lord (I believe, like you, that he is world savior), but that doesn't mean we have to be so busy arguing with countries that disagree with us on who is Lord, that we a let a country with no God, and only a man-lord, get it's way (China). <br><br>We may disagree with Tibet on the God to follow, but China HAS NO God (Buddhists DO believe in an entity beyond the universe, like we do as Christians; it is untrue that Buddha, a man, is their God, or that they have no God). At least they believe in love and foregiveness, like we purport to believe in, as Christians. <br><br>China does not; China represents Satan; China is a violent/unforgiving military dictatorship that has in the past (e.g. mass starvation under Mao leading to 30,000,000 deaths) and currently (e.g. forced abortion under the 1-child-policy) committed mass genocide on its own people (umm...moral majority....ummm....you're against abortion in this country, but you support political leaders who cause our country to do business with China, which forces women to abort children in the 3rd trimester; the Chinese Gov't also allows women to kill their unwanted girls upon birth, with IMPUNITY), and we as the Christian West are allowing China to overtake a country (Tibet) whose rulership is based in 'lovingkindness', as people call it. <br><br>Do you know what could happen if China takes control of TIbet and takes ownership of the countries (I think most are Buddhist) to the west of the Himalayas? Do you care? Are you too busy arguing about which higher power to follow, that you fail to stop Satan?
Buddhists do not believe in an entity beyond the universe.Entity means a living being, and Buddhist don't believe there is a living being in the universe looking over us. Buddhist believe in cause and effect. They believe in if you make a peaceful action then the outcome will peace, If you do something violent the outcome is evil. Thats why Buddhists and the Dalai Lama don't "hate" China, for that's a negative effect, they only disagree with what they are doing. By saying China represents Satan only brings more hate into this world. But by disagreeing with their actions doesn't effect you or China but only the way you think.
I'm an Orthodox Christian and I should tell you the position of our Orthodox Church. According to our Church teaching, Dalai Lama and all the rest of heretics who does try to hide the Truth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and God-man Â in flesh and preach an opposite teachings to the one of Christ being our saviour and humanity redeemer is anti-christian in essence.<br>Nowdays world is gettings more and more anti-christian. I've written a small article on my blog - <a href="http://pc-freak.net/blog/less/4b" rel="nofollow">http://pc-freak.net/blog/less/...</a>Â concerning buddhism and it's bad influence on modern day business pratcices and society. You might like to take a look as I believe it will clear up better what our Christian attitude towards Dalai Lama and the the similar anti-christs who are of this age should be. And how buddhism and the rest of eastern non-christian teachings are anti-christian in their essence and their adoption in one's life produce more evil than good (without God there could be no good).<br>
Having read your article, I believe you have little understanding of Buddhism and what it really stands for and how it does indeed differentiate between good and badÂ behavior. If one were to take the vows for example, there are many things which are clearlyÂ inappropriateÂ for one to do, a code of conduct which is appropriate, and we see that exemplified in the Dalai Lama. I myself am an Orthodox Christian, and get upset frequently when I find people spewing hatred towards other religions. Take St. Paul's advice, take whatever is virtuous lovely and good, and discard the rest. You should be aware that from the Christian viewpoint, these other religions are to point people to Christ, have been given revelations according toÂ theirÂ culture and time etc ...Â <br>No-one on this board has suggested anyone should becomeÂ Buddhist, but may only appreciate what good they have... and simply leave it at that... I don't have the power and authority to condemn anyone.. do you?
Thank you so much for being open to His Holiness' teachings. One need not believe in the full on 'reincarnation everybody eventually gets to be a Buddha thing' to benefit from Buddha's teachings.
They say all masters teach the same truth. It is not surprising to Buddhists that Jesus' teachings are very much agreeable with Buddhist teachings. Buddha was not a god. He was just a man. The word Buddha literally means "fully enlightened one" Many Buddhists believe Jesus to be a Buddha. He is one of my favorite Buddhas. Jesus is also a Greatly revered Prophet in Islam.
You need not worry Buddhists are not out to convert others. The Dalai Lama, when asked about converting from Christianity to Buddhism, says, that one should remain Christian and be a good one, Buddha said:
â€œDo not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.â€
Thanks for Posting.
Add your comment to join the discussion!