A Few Example Posts:

  • "The End of Faith: A Short Response to Sam Harris"
  • See also:
  • "A Long Response to Sam Harris' The End of Faith, by Neil Shenvi"

  • "Is John Piper the Best Answer to Emergence and Postmodernism?"

  • "Captured"

  • "The Storm is Over"

  • "If Golfing Were the Pursuit of Moral Perfection"

  • 11.02.2005

    My First Serious (but Basic) Look at Buddhism

    Close to where I live, a Buddhist Peace Pagoda is being established. This seems a little odd for us folks in the Smoky Mountains.

    Maybe some Buddha, sitting under a tree somewhere, asked himself,

    “Where can I find a culture most antithetical to eastern thinking and is thus unenlightened (in my view)....?

    Ah, East Tennessee! I will take Buddhism there.”

    So. It is here--and could be quite an opportunity.

    Now, I have looked at eastern thought in general terms before, but now, as a pastor, I feel a need to look more seriously at Buddhism in order to prepare myself to answer the inevitable questions.

    So. What is an unenlightened, black powder, muzzle-loading, hick-on-the-mountain to do?

    What else? I went to About.com and read the web pages there. The pages are like a “Buddhism for Dummies”--so I related to them fairly quickly--and gnawed on some venison jerky while gazing at the screen. (Not really. We haven’t made any for a while.)

    Anyway, I am aware that About.com may not be the best way to get my feet wet, but it does look like the folks over there put some thorough work into explaining the basics of Buddhism.

    I thought I would blog a little about my initial responses as a Christian. Any reader should keep in mind that I do not consider myself to be an expert on Buddhism, but I do have some grounds from which to form a Biblical response to the basics.

    This issue will take several postings. How hard can it be? (Don’t answer that...) Is not the Prime Directive of us WWW writers, “If it’s interesting, blog.

    You can read the short bio about the first Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama ) for yourself. He was a man seeking to make sense of life the best way he knew. His experience told him that life was not satisfying. In fact, he saw that life is inherently filled with suffering. One day, while sitting under a tree, enlightenment came to him during meditation. (“Buddha” means one who is “enlightened” or “awakened.”) He decided to share his enlightened understanding with others. This was a pursuit of compassion on his part.

    Buddhism includes, among other teachings, the Four Noble Truths of:

    • Suffering
    • the Origin of Suffering
    • the Extinction of Suffering
    • the Path that leads to the Extinction of Suffering

    Just for today, let me paraphrase what the First Noble Truth teaches in a nut shell (because that’s all I can handle.) Simply put: LIFE STINKS. Life is suffering through and through. It begins in suffering, prolongs itself in suffering, and it ends in suffering. Any momentary pleasures or joy is exactly that--momentary. Pleasure and joy only serve to add to suffering because they are illusory.

    Buddhism seeks to bring enlightenment about and escape from suffering.

    More on this next time.


    At 11:52 AM, Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

    I do open-air preaching in my town. In my experience, it is Buddhists who seem to get the most angry at the preaching of the Gospel. It really offends them.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    At 12:17 PM, Blogger John Rush said...

    I have not interacted much with committed Buddhist followers. The article in our local paper emphasized how nice and harmless and accepting and peaceful their view of life is.

    The exclusivity of Christ does offend the sensibilities of the age.

    I hope to point out how Christianity and Buddhism are antithetical--not to just stir up dust, but to show that Christ has a much better hope for us concerning suffering.

    Thanks Dyspraxic!


    At 5:01 PM, Blogger Joe said...

    It is amazing how many half-truths are accepted as whole tuths. Life certainly does contain suffering.

    But life in Christ gives us peace in the midst of the suffering if, and only if, we keep our gaze on Him. And that peace is both in the here and now and for all eternity!

    Looking forward to more about Buddhist thought.

    At 4:44 AM, Blogger eddyyansen said...

    You can search more about Buddhism in my blog.


    Best Regards,



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