Monday, October 8, 2012

The Dalai Lama and The Christian

A man who has been assigned the title Dalai Lama will be in Williamsburg this week. I recently found out that some people, who are affiliated with a Christian Church, are going to hear him speak. They have paid for tickets and are eager to attend.


This gave me pause. I know that this Dalai Lama is a part of the Buddhist belief and is a proponent of peace. But I didn’t know much more about him. I am simply not the person to make assumptions and jump on the next train to Judgementville, so I have been reading and studying. Thankfully I have spent the past 30 years studying the Word of God and His son Jesus so I don’t have to find out what I, as a Christian, believe. I can now see the contrast and I know pretty easily where I stand on this issue.

If you are still with me I would love to share some of my thoughts about this man and His ideology.

 First of all he makes it quite easy to see what he believes and how important they are to him. On his website he states his three main commitments. They are:
the promotion of human values,
the promotion of religious harmony,
and what he sees as his responsibility to act as the free spokesperson of the Tibetans in their struggle for justice.

Sounds good.
Except for a Christian.

The promotion of human values is loosely defined as all the good things that people are capable of… Sure we can all understand that being kind and forgiving is something we should all do, but why? The Buddhist teaching wraps this around a word called Karma.
In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve. Usually, men of ordinary intellect cannot comprehend the actual reason or reasons. The definite invisible cause or causes of the visible effect is not necessarily confined to the present life, they may be traced to a proximate or remote past birth.
According to Buddhism, this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, "nature and nurture", but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate.
They got the misery part right. According to Scripture we are all born with a sin nature that creates misery wherever we go (Romans 5:12). But this sin isn’t an accumulation of sin from our past lives. Each person is a unique and precious creation of God (Psalm 139:13-14), therefore they cannot be held responsible for the sins of another person who has died.
For the Buddhist there is only ethical living and meditative appeals to exalted beings for the hope of perhaps achieving enlightenment and ultimate Nirvana. More than likely, one will have to go through a number of reincarnations to pay off his or her vast accumulation of karmic debt.

The simple truth is we can not achieve a sinless state without Redemption from a Holy God. The Lord explains simply in the Bible that we all are far from holiness (Romans 3:23) but we can be forgiven and restored to His plan for our lives if there is a Sacrifice. And Jesus did it all for us when He died, an innocent holy offering for our sin (John 3:16)
As far as living in this enlightened state, that is what Christians do through the work of the Holy Spirit as we “grow in Christ” It isn’t difficult or unattainable to be a better person. But the key difference is that we are not doomed to pay for our sin through many sad hopeless lives. The kind things we do like feeding the hungry caring for orphans, treating the sick, we do out of love for Jesus not out of a need to break free of the sins of 20 reincarnations.

How about Number 2?
The promotion of religious harmony… Please understand that means making your religion (your personal belief) secondary to all other beliefs and not promoting your religion to anyone…ever…for any reason.
As Christians we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life. If anyone rejects Jesus he is cut off from God and eternally damned. John 14:6
This is pretty important stuff.
A person accepting Jesus’ atoning sacrifice is life or death in the largest understanding of those words to a Christian. So, if I truly believe this then sharing my faith with others is like choosing to pull a person from a burning building or from the path of a bullet.
If I truly believe my Christian faith, I must make it preeminent and not be willing to compromise my faith for another.

When asked, the Dalai Lama himself said this:
I believe it is possible to progress along a spiritual path and reconcile Christianity with Buddhism. But once a certain degree of realization has been reached, a choice between the two paths will become necessary. 

Hmmm… Make a choice is basically what he said.

His last point is about the freedom of Tibet. I am not too well versed in any of the conflict with China or the oppression of the Tibetan people, but I’m sure it is there. I applaud anyone who stands for the oppressed and tries to make life better for them. But I have a tiny inkling that this man is using his beliefs and the obvious appeal of peace for all to draw attention to a small poor country that needs help. So, as a Christian I do agree that the Tibetan people should be aided. They do not need to be converted to my faith for me to offer them help. That is not what my Jesus taught. But I certainly hope that the Dalai Lama would not place restrictions on uncompromising Christians who wanted to help his people if he had the chance to do so. As of right now it is a country closed to Christian missions.

My conclusion is this: the Dalai Lama is a simple religious leader who believes he is a reincarnated holy man. He may have a worldly peace but he does not know and trust Jesus as his personal savior. He is doing good to stand for the people of Tibet, but I cannot ascribe to his teaching about man’s karma or the need for homogeneous religions.

And finally, if you are a Christian and you are following this man as a teacher you are 100% on the wrong track. His teachings directly conflict with the basic tenants of our Christian faith and I strongly urge you to spend time with a Godly mentor and deep study of the Bible to decide which faith you truly do believe.

Some links I recommend for more information:

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