Does your Belief Contain the Truth?
Our church college group visited the Kunzang Palyul Choling Buddhist Temple in Poolesville, Maryland. Our hostess, Rinchen, one of the nuns, gave us a brief synopsis on the background of Buddha. I took good notes, but also wanted to do some extra research on the Internet. What’s so unusual about this religion and why believe in it? I heard that every path leads to God; it’s just that some beliefs will take a bit longer to get you there!
Our next question, “Does the Christian religion have power”? Depends on who’s doing the talking. Believers, who have experienced a supernatural healing, an end to their emotional pain, and a transformed life is just the beginning. How does it happen? Believing that Jesus is the Son of God as mentioned in John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Another question might be, “Does it take some effort”? One would have to read the Bible, the Old and New Testament, known as the scriptures to actually find out what’s going on. Jesus talked a lot about suffering and how to know the kingdom of God is at hand.
Jesus was born 500 years after Buddha. Buddha’s father was king Suddhodana and his mother was queen Mahamaya. They lived in the city of Kapilavastu in the 6th century B.C. It seems that one day the queen had a dream of a white elephant carrying a white lotus that entered her right side. It is said she went into the garden where the baby was born and had a painless birth.
The story is told that he immediately walked, spoke, and was received by Brahma. Brahma is explained as the third aspect of the Hindu trinity – Siva (will), Krishna (love) and Brahma (intelligence). I found many similarities between the Hindu religion and Buddha beliefs. This story really tests my logic. The queen gave him the name Siddhartha Gautama and later the astrologers said the young prince would grow up to be very famous.
Okay, you say, “stop right there.” We have an awareness many stories over the years are changed and doctored up to give an aura of mystery by well meaning, good faithful followers. We know a baby cannot be born out of the side of a female for one thing. So where does that leave us? Is this fable or fiction? I don’t have the answer to that question. The word Buddha actually means, “The awakened one.”
Our prince lived a sheltered life and we are told at the age of 29 he asked permission to venture out of the palace and saw for the first time old age, suffering and dying. He could not understand why this was happening. He made 3 other voyages out of the palace and finally decided he had to know the answer to suffering and left wife and son forever.
Buddha spent many years searching, and then one day decided to sit under a tree for 7 days till he received an answer. Kusala Bhikshu, a popular speaker in many schools, mentioned Buddha never spoke about the God of the desert, meaning the Jewish God. Obviously, he never knew Him. He said Buddha became a mendicant, (a beggar who owns nothing). It’s written that it took six years and a lot of suffering but he was able to stop his own personal suffering which is called Nirvana and undertook the mission to help others as well. A great deal of personal effort is needed by the follower of Buddha for this to be accomplished in their own life.
In Christianity, the only requirement is a belief in the Son of God, Jesus. He has the power to accomplish what no other religion can do, remove the pain, sorrow and suffering and can actually give a new life to the believer.
It is stated that just because Buddha did not believe in “God” that does not mean that other followers do not. I spoke to a visiting monk from Colorado at the temple and he told me it depends on the individual and that Buddha is looked upon as a respected and good teacher. Buddha found his answer in Nirvana which means, “The culmination of all knowledge and absolute wisdom.”
What most folks don’t realize is that the kingdom of God is inside everyone, it’s a living spark. Written in the New Testament 433 times and found in 75 verses. When that little spark ignites inside a person, many accomplishments may be achieved. Man will say they actually found “this or that by themselves,” but in fact, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob already planted the seed.
This is truth.