Buddhism: Harmonizing With Christianity?

I recently met by chance with an acquaintance of mine, (maybe slightly more than an “acquaintance”) and he asked “what is new with you these days?” and he was very surprised to hear my response…I said I have become an ordained Christian Minister. More surprising to me, he told me that he too was a believer. Even more surprising to me, although he professed to be a Christian believer he said that he lives his life following the lifestyles of Buddhism!  After further explanation to me he stated that although he believes that Jesus is the Messiah he sees nothing wrong in following the teachings of Buddha as they are very similar.

When I started questioning him on how he came to that decision in his spiritual journey he quickly shut me down, and I could see him getting agitated. So before I left him I gave him some spiritual food for thought.

 Buddhism has an “Eight Fold Path” that is the basis tenet of their belief system. By following the “Path” you will be led to 1) Many Reincarnations 2) Erasure of Karmic Debt; all leading to Nirvana.

Conversely the Christian Bible tells us we must exercise the spiritual disciplines in order to transform our desires. Suffering is not overcome from the quashing of the “self” but through the “selfless” sacrifice of our sinless savior Jesus Christ.

In Buddhism the soul escapes the body and then dresses up in other bodies. Harmonize with Christianity? NO WAY! These two belief systems cannot be harmonized. Buddhism is a false doctrine and offers false hope. Whereas Christianity offers eternal life promised to us from a resurrected savior Jesus.

Since Jesus rose bodily from the tomb and had over FIVE HUNDRED WITNESSES, and he promised that he will return to us in judgment I must believe that. He is still alive. Where is Buddha?

Buddhists require great works to reach Nirvana; Christians do not have a works based faith. Christians only need to realize that we are ALL sinners and require the Grace of God to save us. We ask for forgiveness through repentance. We believe that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose in body three days later.

On the surface most people believe that Buddhism is a peaceful, anti-suffering religion. However I still have not met that many people that really know what Buddhism is all about. Most think of this little fat “Buddha” statue and Yoga, not researching it or really trying to understand it. It is also a favorite of Hollywood celebrities, and we know how well meaning they are…ahem.

Can you see how the two beliefs are similar? I can’t.

John 14: 6 (NASB)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

God Bless

Brian Mason

3 thoughts on “Buddhism: Harmonizing With Christianity?

  1. I will not respond to the lesson on Buddhism you supplied, but to a couple of issues I found with your response.

    You state “Buddhism has no specific beliefs”? I disagree. Here are some:

    1. Buddha is not a God
    2. You should not BELIEVE anything without thinking.
    3. Gods and deities are cultural
    4. Belief in the end of suffering
    5. Afterlife depends on your WORKS in this life
    6. Belief in meditation
    7. Belief that external situations are created by your internal mind
    8. Belief that everything is interconnected
    9. Belief in Karma
    10. Belief that sex is neither good nor bad
    11. Belief in moderation

    Jesus said that he is “THE TRUTH, THE LIFE and THE WAY”. There is no compromise in his words, so I can see no harmonization is possible.

    What is wrong with Buddhism you ask? If it is not of God it is of the flesh. Buddhists are lost. It is in contradiction to the Lord Jesus Christ’s words.

    You say I lack “understanding” of Buddhism…but I would say you lack understanding of the Holy Bible.


    Brian Mason

  2. Let me make a few points, as you don’t seem quite to grasp actual Buddhist teachings.

    Reincarnation isn’t seen as a literal thing in most branches of Buddhism. Vajrayana teaches it to be an actual occurrence, but they’re really the only ones who take it quite so literally. In Theravada and Western expressions of Buddhism, “rebirth” is seen as more of a moment to moment thing. The actions we take in one moment affect the outcome of the next.

    No specific beliefs are required in Buddhism. The Buddha said “Believe nothing merely because you have been told it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be kind, conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.” This means that we are to examine and question everything we are told, accepting things only as true after we have thoroughly examined each facet of it. Sometimes, in our examination, we find fault in the words of our teachers, or even in the teachings of the Buddha. However, the mere fact that perhaps we don’t believe everything they say does not negate the purity or truth of the rest of their teachings.

    In the purely contemplative traditions of Buddhism, such as Theravada, Zen, and, increasingly, Western Buddhism, practice is as follows: Meditate. No prayer, no demonic possession, nothing like that. We simply exist in the moment and accept ourselves as such. We focus on our breath, on the sounds we hear, on the sensations we feel. We do not “invoke” the Buddha, nor do we pray to him. The Buddha himself said that he is not a god. Often it is difficult to reconcile Eastern traditions with Western interpretations: in the West, statues signify idolatry; in the East, statues encourage remembrance and humility.

    Though I personally do not believe in any deities, I see no reason for Buddhism and Christianity not to complement one another. Buddhism is, above all else, a code of conduct. It is a way to detach the mind from expectations and longings, which gives us peace. You equate Nibbana to Salvation, but that is not a skillful representation of the truth. Nibbana is a mindset in which you are at pure peace with your surroundings. There is nothing in Buddhism from which we must be “saved” other than ourselves.

    Finally, a passing thought. If Buddhism, at the center of which is peace, understanding, thoughtfulness, serenity, slowness to anger, thinking critically of one’s actions, respecting all life, thinking of others before thinking of oneself, etc, stand in absolute opposition to your religion (as you claim), then perhaps your religion is of less benefit to the world than you would like to think. If such actions or ideas are discouraged, then why should anyone try to attain them? Is it really that Buddhism is as wrong as you think it is, or is it the mere fact that you lack understanding of it and therefore fear it?

    I apologize if I offended, these are simply my thoughts.

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