Christian Thoughts for Buddhists

Buddhists (approx. 6% of the world's population in 2005) share four primary beliefs, what they call the "Noble Truths."

1.) Life involves suffering, including things like sorrow, pain, and unfulfillment.

2.) Everything is impermanent and ever-changing. Our suffering is a result of our desire to have these temporary things.

3.) To be free from suffering, a person must eliminate all his desires for things that don't last.

4.) Desire can be eliminated when one follows the "Eightfold Path," including things like right thinking, right speech, and right meditation.

While a Buddhist's immediate goal is freedom from suffering, the ultimate objective is much more complicated. Because Buddhists believe that "self" is an illusion created by desires for impermanent things, they strive to eliminate desire so they can be "detached" from this existence and achieve nirvana, or, peaceful non-existence. Those who achieve this state of "peace" are considered to have reached enlightenment.

What does the Bible say to Buddhists?

1. Suffering is indeed a deviation from the real life that the Creator God intended. However, the objective is not to merely eliminate our ability to feel bad, but to eliminate the cause of human suffering -- evil. God has set in motion a plan to redeem the world from evil so that we can have true peace.

2. The peace that God offers us is not "non-existence," but actually a freedom to exist in the fullest possible way -- to experience "abundant life." God treats each individual as an important, unique creation whom He personally loves. The goal is not to merge into some "oneness" or "nirvana," but to fulfill the special, joy-filled purposes of the Creator.

3. Peace cannot be achieved by good works, no matter how "right" one's actions, thoughts, words, and intentions may be. God made a way for us to achieve final deliverance from evil, the cause of our separation and sufferings, and so we must put our faith in this "Way" -- the Lord Jesus Christ. Our faith in Him brings us peace, assurance, and the ability to live a new kind of life -- a life characterized by purpose, joy, and love.

4. It is true that all earthly things are temporary -- nothing that is seen is permanent. However, the Bible gives us good news: Jesus Christ and His kingdom will never end, and His character never changes. We can depend on Him as one who does not change like a shifting shadow (James 1:17). Thus, while the things of this world may be in constant flux, there is something real -- someOne, actually -- that deserves our love, devotion, and sacrifice.

Relevant Bible Passages: John 1:1-5, Romans 5:1-5, Titus 3:3-8, Revelation 21:3-7


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