Buddhists

Sharing The Gospel With Buddhists

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.                  1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (KJV)

In this section we will provide some witnessing guidance, a brief overview of what Buddhists believe, a prayer for Buddhists, testimony and PDF overview, plus links and praycast films. The attachments will teach you how to share the gospel with Buddhists.

Guidance on sharing the gospel

 

Share the Cross

Buddhists do not believe in Heaven or in eternal life. They believe that if they follow the teaching of Buddhism strictly and leading a perfect life they will escape a cycle of rebirths and cease to exist. This end to the soul is called Nirvana. Share the teaching of the Cross and the power of the Blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse their sins. Explain they are slaves to sin and no amount of self denial or discipline will release them from the bondage of sin and death, only receiving Jesus Christs salvation will set them free. Their weakness for His strength.

Use your personal testimony and share examples of Gods healing and love with them. If the Buddhist is of Japanese decent their may be cultural barriers, to them, Jesus’ death on the cross possesses none of the qualities they admire in their society, such as serenity, strength, and honor.

Serenity, strength, and honor can all be seen in the trial of Jesus Christ and the teaching of the Cross. You can show them how Jesus refused to defend Himself, how He forgave the Roman soldiers and those who tortured Him, how He showed love to those crucified with Him and His mother and disciples who were there. 

Show them Old Testament prophecies that were fulfilled about the Life of Jesus Christ and the Crucifixion (many Bibles have a list of these prophecies or you can do a simple Google search).  Just as there were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness.  Point out to them that Christ is a living God and He conquered death. His death paid the price for our sins. Christ died for us because He loves and cares for us. Only a God who has suffered as He had can identify with our inner torments; only a God who really cares for us would allow himself to be so cruelly afflicted; and only a God who truly is God could rise from the dead and give eternal life to those who follow Him. Show them we have broken Gods law and that we need forgiveness, preach the Cross.

Show them they can be free of torment and bondage of evil spirits

Buddha taught that speculation about spiritual beings hinders achieving spiritual enlightenment, however, many Buddhist groups are very concerned with appeasing evil spirits and are enslaved by spiritual bondage. Most Buddhist fear evil spirits and want to appease them. When sharing the message of salvation with Buddhists be prepared for spiritual warfare! Pray for the Buddhist you are sharing with, wrestle with Father God for them and when it comes to sharing the gospel with them it will seem easy. Pray and fast if you have to, be organised and have scriptures read to share with them that will address their questions and show them the path to life through the finished work of Jesus Christ. Plead the Blood of Jesus Christ on your sharing and only share what you have peace on through spending time with Father God in prayer.

Explain to the Buddhist that we don’t need to appease evil spirits because we have power over them through Jesus Christ, show them the scriptures. Jesus has already won that battle and given us His name, His authority and the power of His Blood, and we can resist them, and cast them out just as Jesus Christ did. Show them examples from the Gospels, show them Luke 8:26-39 where Jesus cast out a legion of evil spirits. You have to emphasize Christ’s authority and power over all evil spirits with the holy scripture.

Choose your words carefully

Be Careful what words or phrases you use while sharing the message of salvation. To a Buddhist they may have a totally different meaning especially if they are originally from culture and belief system.

A good example is the term being “born again” to a Buddhist this would represent failure because Buddhism teaches that through a cycle of rebirths you can reach Nirvana. The term “being born again” may confuse them and give them a negative view of what accepting Jesus Christ as saviour and Lord means. Instead use the term ‘new birth’. Explain to them that by accepting Jesus Christ as saviour we are born as a new person spiritually and are saved eternally. Explain that it is not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual one.

When you explaining salvation by grace, that we are saved through grace it goes against the Buddhist mind set. They  are taught that you must work for something good and to attain nirvana you must observe strict religious practices and the required rituals, live a life free from wrong desires and actions, and perform many other traditions and works. There whole religious system is based on works. When you explain that salvation is a free gift it will be a totally alien concept to them, but show them in the holy scripture and the word of God will do its work. It will take time for them to understand God’s grace and forgiveness but remember love never fails and Buddhists are getting saved. You also have to explain the sinful nature of man that they are not able to resist the power of sin until they are born a new person spiritually receiving eternal salvation. Jesus gives us the power over sin and gave us His righteousness. Explaining  the importance of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the central role it plays in our salvation do not be surprised if the Buddhist finds this difficult to grasp at first. Because of their wrong teaching they may consider it bad karma that Jesus died this way.  “Take time to show the Buddhist that salvation is not a gift handed out to anyone, actions must be taken on the part of the seeker of God, but the value of the gift is found in God’s love for us”. Prepare appropriate bible studies precept  upon precept to help them grasp and understand this concept.

Show them Holy Scriptures from the Bible that explain that Jesus is the light of the World.

Remember that a practicing Buddhist knows all the failings and the hypocrisy presented in Buddhism.  When you share the life giving message of salvation, when you shine that light of scripture into their heart it will appeal to them and defiantly challenge them in a positive way.

Justin Kaewnopparat Testimony 

 Brief overview

Buddha was born Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakya clan, in the year 563 B.C. in the village of today’s Padaria in southern Nepal. As a king’s son (may have been only chief of a clan), Gautama was surrounded by beauty, protected from suffering and death. At the age of sixteen Gautama married Yasodhara and they had one son named Rahula. Usually all the streets were cleared of unpleasant things when Gautama went outside, but when he was twenty nine years old, Gautama encountered the four sights.

Four Passing Sights

  • a sick man,
  • an old man,
  • a corpse,
  • a recluse.

This led to the Great Going Forth and for six whole years Gautama wandered in search of the answer to human misery.  During this time he tried Raha Yoga and then asceticism (extreme self-denial and fasting).

Gautama decided, at thirty five years old to meditate under a Bo-tree (a type of fig tree) until he either died or found the answer to life’s riddle. After forty days (their is a difference of opinion amongst Buddhists some claim it was 49 days others say it was 6 years), he attained enlightenment or perfect knowledge. Through this “Bo-tree Experience” he became the Buddha, or the Enlightened One.

Gautama decided to share his experience with others and began to preach all over northern India for forty five years making converts. Gautama died in 483 B.C. at the age of 80 of food poisoning.

There are three main types of Buddhism:

  • Theravada – or the Doctrine of the Elders is followed in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, Cambodia (Kampuchea), and Vietnam. Theravada is closest to the original doctrines. It does not treat the Buddha as deity and regards the faith as a worldview-not a type of worship.
  • Mahayana – or the Greater Vehicle is strong in China, Korea, and Japan. Mahayana accommodates many different beliefs and worships the Buddha as a god. In Japan, one variation balances militant or aggressive Buddhism by seeking tranquility and peace in the struggles of life.
  •  Vajrayana – or Diamond Vehicle also called Tantric Buddhism or Lamaism is rooted in Tibet, Nepal, and Mongolia. Vajrayana has added elements of shamanism and the occult and includes taboo breaking (intentional immorality) as a means of spiritual enlightenment.

 Though there are extreme differences within the religion, there are some basic beliefs that are the same. One example is the “Four Noble Truths”. Suffering in life is inevitable. 
The cause of suffering is desire.
 The cure of suffering is the overcoming of desire. 
The way to overcome desire is through the
 Eight fold Path (see Jesus the true eight fold path). Saving oneself comes by following a regime (path or ritual) and meditation reciting mantras. There is no personal relationship with the Buddha (who died in 483 B.C) or any of the bodhisattvas (saviors who have foregone nirvana to stay back and help others to achieve it). Their Worship is an expression of adoration to the Buddha, ancestral spirits and evil spirits who they fear and try to appease. Buddhists struggle to make sense of their lives,  they live out their expected dharma (required conduct) as the painful and slow road to moksha (salvation) when all desire is eliminated and they achieve their final and ultimate enlightenment.

They also believe in reincarnation and seek to obtain Nirvana (a state of nonexistence). Much of Buddhist worship revolves around appeasing evil or malicious spirits who are particularly harmful at certain times of the year. To the Buddhist, salvation is based on human effort and they believe there are many paths to God.

Jesus and the true eight-fold path

Buddhists think a that a good life consists of following the Eightfold Path, these stages of the eightfold path can be used to introduce Buddhists to Jesus Christ as:

Right Views: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6), and there is salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12).

Right Aspiration: Fights and quarrels come from selfish desires and wrong motives (Jams. 4:1-3); right desires and motives honor God (1 Cor. 10:31).

Right Speech: A day of judgment is coming when God will hold men accountable for every careless word they have spoken (Matt. 12:36).

Right Conduct: The one who loves Jesus must obey Him (John 14:21), and those who live by God’s wisdom will produce good actions (fruit) (Jams. 3:17).

Right Livelihood: God will care for those who put Him first (Matt. 6:31,33), and all work must be done for God’s approval (2 Tim. 2:15).

Right Effort: Like runners in a race, followers of Christ must throw off every hindrance in order to give Him their best efforts (Heb. 12:1-2).

Right Mindfulness: The sinful mind cannot submit to God’s law (Rom. 8:7), and disciples of Christ must have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5).

Right Contemplation: The secret of true success, inner peace, self-control, and lasting salvation is submission to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and setting your heart and mind on things above where He now sits in glory waiting to bring the present order of sin and suffering to an end (Col. 3:1-4). For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

If you are a Christian leader who has an outreach ministry to Buddhist people and you would like to write this page and add further articles please get in touch with us via the contact page (you retain all copyrights).

If you were a UK Buddhist and became a Christian and would like to share you testimony on this page so that others might hear and be saved, please get in touch with us via the contact page or at evangelism@ukmce.com (you retain all copyrights).

As you share the message of salvation remember:

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1 Corinthians 1:18-21 (KJV)

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; Ephesians 6:10-18 (KJV)

Prayer

Loving Heavenly Father God, we know that you are already working in the hearts of Buddhists in the United Kingdom. Cause your children to share with these lost seekers. Heavenly Father God give us divine appointments that will reveal Buddhists who are willing to open their hearts to salvation. Help them reach out to Buddhist nations that so desperately need to hear your message of salvation found only in Jesus Christ. Give them a burden that comes from you Lord.

Heavenly Father God we pray that United Kingdom Christians with Buddhist backgrounds will be obedient to boldly share the Gospel of salvation and their testimony with their Buddhist family, friends and community. That they will make their testimonies freely available online on YouTube and other websites.

Heavenly Father God, we pray for the United Kingdom Christian Church, that the believers will reach out with the gospel to the Buddhists in their local communities and that the Churches will see growth in the number of Buddhists becoming Christians. That the Church will have a big heart and look after them.

Thank you, Heavenly Father God, for the desire of your Church to share the message of salvation with Buddhist people in the United Kingdom. We pray that they will clearly communicate your truth. We ask you to bring about a great harvest as a result of their faithfulness.

Loving Heavenly Father God, let the Gospel permeate Buddhists lives in the United Kingdom, and shower your grace upon them so that they may reject their beliefs in karma. Set them free from the oppression of evil spirits that have ruled their lives. Show them that You have a perfect plan for their lives if they place their trust in you. Help them to understand your truth so that real peace through knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and saviour can replace their fear.

Heavenly Father God, the Buddhists are caught up in a hopeless cycle of belief in reincarnation. Help them to understand the difference between reincarnation and Biblical resurrection. Please show them through your Word and the witness of your children that their only hope for salvation and eternity in peace comes through the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

Buddhism, a Christian perspective Sharing_Jesus_in_the_Buddhist_world_handout.pdf © OCF Carlton Outreach Dept, 2006

Buddhist testimony – Paul back to life

Recommended tract – The Tycoon available to email free of charge click – Chick

English - The Tycoon

Prayer for Buddhist Nations

 

 

 

 

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