Ways To Witness To a Buddhist
Buddhism -- non-Judaeo-Christian religion –"teaches that salvation and liberation involve a process of mind-body transformation that is effected through practicing restraint with respect to actions of body, speech, and mind. They lived extremely austere lifestyles refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life, but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence" ("Asceticism," Theological Dictionary, Timothy Ministries).
There are many Buddhists who have never heard about Jesus; there is a large number who have. Some have studied the Bible or have formed various opinions about Jesus in multiple ways. Some Buddhists view Jesus as a good human. Others see him as a Bodhisattva—an enlightened being who has the power to help people. In general, Buddhists are likely to be very inclusive in their beliefs. They may be happy to put up a statue or picture of Jesus with their Buddha image and the elephant god from India. They may even value Jesus as an enlightened Buddha.
These same people are likely to be surprised or even offended to hear a Christian say that Jesus is the only way for salvation. Buddhism may sound arrogant and ignorant, for they place great value on other teachers and other means of enlightenment.
In many Asian countries, Buddhism is reviving and growing. It is also significant to note that people in the West are turning to Buddhism in unprecedented numbers. Given that the Buddhist philosophy values balance, harmony, humility, and peace. How do Christians witness to the many Buddhists who either do not know anything about Jesus or have major misunderstandings about him?
1. What it is that makes it difficult for Buddhists to come to Jesus?
2. Do Christians and Buddhists share some similar concepts?
3. What are some of the significant barriers that you think would keep Buddhists from believing in Jesus Christ?
4. Should we even try to reach them? If so, how?
5. Above all, what methods would you suggest Christians use to reach this people group?
Brainstorm with me. CM
- Bowker, J. (2006). The great faiths explored and explained. New York, NY: DK Publishing, Inc.
- Wagner, Paul. n.d. Good News for Buddhists. Unpublished paper.