Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. - Irenaeus

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why BUDDHISTS need Jesus

Buddha the Hindu
by Dale Brown
The life of Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), who came to be known as the Buddha "the Enlightened One" is know only through the traditions of his followers. These traditions were handed down orally until several centuries after his death when they were committed to writing. By this time they had become more legend than fact.

The Buddha was born in what is now southern Nepal into a wealthy ruling Hindu family. According to tradition, at his birth it was predicted that he would become a great Universal Emperor or Teacher and that four signs would be shown him the course he should follow. His youth was spent in luxury, protected from much of the world’s misery by his father Suddhodhana.

At age twenty-nine, to his father’s dismay, he was exposed to the four signs that were to set the course of his future. For the first time in his life he saw old age (a decrepit old man), sickness (a man ravaged by disease), death (a corpse), and true serenity (a wandering religious mendicant). In reality, it is told, the men that Siddhartha saw were gods who had taken disguises in order that Siddhartha might become Buddha. The first three signs were recognized as the presence of suffering in the world. Because of the accepted Hindu idea of reincarnation, suffering was not finite but for eternity. In the fourth sign, the peaceful euphoria of the religious wanderer, became Siddhartha’s goal; to solve the riddle of suffering, how it came into being, and how to dispel it.

He then went through a soul-searching period during which he did away with his wealth and took upon himself the life style of a monk. "The Noble Quest" as Buddhist tradition calls this time helped him develop techniques of meditation and self-discipline.

When Siddhartha was thirty-five years old, while he was still struggling with the problem of suffering, he was surrounded by various gods and along came Mara, the Buddhist devil. While he went through this time of temptation he achieved "nirvana", the ultimate detachment from the world that brings an end to suffering, thus he became fully enlightened, the "Buddha".

Buddhism, like Jainism, became somewhat of a mystical protest against the Hindu Vedic ritualistic formalism and its caste system. Buddha said, "Not by birth does one become an outcast, not by birth does one become a Brahmin, (priest)". In Buddhism one deals with problems within through right thinking, conduct and spiritual discipline rather than through the rites of sacrifice to nature deities.
One’s goal is to attain Nirvana by which through right thoughts and deeds one may break the fatalistic Hindu idea of reincarnation and enter a state of calm insight, passionlessness, and wisdom, no longer subject to rebirth into the sorrows of existence.

It has been said that Buddhism, like Hinduism, is a family of religions rather than a single religion. As time passed and Buddhism was pressured out of India by the traditional Hindu priests and made its way into China and Japan. It went through many changes. At times it conflicted with the local religious beliefs but often it has homogenized with some of the ideas of the native religions. During the Sung Dynasty (920-1279) in China the Taoist and Confucian rivals found themselves borrowing from each other. In the late sixth century in Japan the Shinto ("Way of the Gods") religion became tolerant to Buddhism. As a result there are many different schools of thought and practice in Buddhism today. In Theravada doctrine Buddha is not a god but a teacher. Then, in Mahayana Buddhism there are countless Buddhas or Bodhisattvas. Innumerable manifestations in celestial and terrestrial realms give rise to a whole pantheon of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. These become in effect deities and helpers whose aid may be sought through offerings and invocations.

With the aid of the Tibetan Book of the Dead the Lama priests or monks of Tibetan Buddhism practice various degrees of Tantric magic, exorcism, divination and celibacy. In 1587 the Grand Lama came to be called the Dalai (Ocean Wide) Lama and eventually gained both temporal and spiritual power over all Tibet. The Dalai Lamas were regarded as the patron deity of Tibet. In 1951 the Dalai Lama was driven from Tibet by Chinese Communist soldiers. Since then he has traveled abroad influencing the western world through his many lectures and public appearances.

Zen Buddhism is a form of Buddhism which became popular in Japan. It stresses meditation, which is used to free one from reliance upon ordinary objective logic. As a result the Zen Buddhist creates his own standard of reason and often appears as though he is on some kind of cosmic picnic removed from all logic and reality.
Many Buddhists are looking forward to a coming Buddha or Maitreya who they claim parallels the Christian teaching of an expected return of Christ. The problem with this parallel is that the Buddhist definition of Christ is quite different from the one given to us through the historic record of scripture.

The historical documents of Biblical Scripture tell us that Jesus, unlike Buddha, was born of a virgin. He died on the cross and shed his blood for our sins. He proved that he was more than an ordinary man by rising from the dead. This Buddha could not do.

Jesus warned us that there would be those who would come and claim they too are Christ. "Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." (Matt. 24:23&24)
Don’t settle for a counterfeit Christ when you can know the true and living Christ. He is ever present, to fill every void and to be your closest friend. And, in Him dwells the fullness of Deity in bodily form (Col. 2:9). He knows yoru every secret. Nothing is hidden from his eyes.

Jesus said the Holy Spirit of God would be left in His place as a comforter and teacher forever (John 14:26,16). God gives those who believe in Jesus Christ power by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8, 2:1-21). God worked miracles through His early followers by the power of the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:17&18) and because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, He still confirms His word through His servants today.

You too can be cleansed from your sins and filled with the Holy Spirit. If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believed in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you shall be saved (Rom. 10:9). "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."

If you are in need of a miracle in your life, Jesus is waiting to answer your prayer. He said, "whatever you ask in My name that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." (Jn. 14:13)
Jesus said, "Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32&33). Therefore repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ that you may be save. He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on Him (Acts 2:38, John 3:36).
Jesus said to Thomas, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me." (John 14:6) Notice he did not say he was one of many ways or many paths. Either He was a liar, a lunatic or truly Lord.

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