Why should the Bible believer be educated on Buddhism? Well, in order to effectively spread the Word of God, we must know what opposes it and what compliments it. We must know what others believe in order to effectively explain why they should believe as we do, and with about 400 million Buddhists around, there is no small chance that we will meet some. At the same time we must guard our minds so that we are not blown away with every wind of doctrine. To the young believer; I’ll tell you Buddhism is safe, go ahead and read his teachings, do some research, watch some documentaries. What you’ll find may enlighten you. (pun intended)
Buddha was a man, like me and you, he sought a better way of life and solutions to life’s pains and worries. Short of the joy that can be found coming into a knowledge of our Creator, I believe his goals were achieved. Buddha did not claim to be a god and he did not ask do be worshipped. The following of Buddha’s teachings to the most pure understanding looks almost identical to the lifestyle of Jesus and Paul. Buddha taught against evil, spoke of contentment, defeating the desire within ourselves, being charitable, and finding peace. He was a kind and compassionate man.
What is the difference? Buddha’s search and teachings targeted one thing, our struggle on earth. He was a deep thinking problem solver but did not address “the big picture” that we find in the Bible. Living at peace on earth aids us only temporarily, which is a very small time if eternity is considered.
Buddha also saw some things from a perspective of his time and place such as the belief in reincarnation. He had a slightly lesser regard for marriage than does the New Testament, although he did recommend monogamous marriage and give moral advice to married individuals.
The strong similarities are in the lifestyle recommended. Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “When you are a truly happy Christian, you are also a Buddhist. And vice versa.” Buddha teaches us that the desire within ourselves is between us and happiness, and I have found targeting this desire to be a helpful tool not only to be happier, but to avoid sin. I believe less desire = more happiness, more peace, and less sin. This view encourages us to take responsibility and control of our thoughts and actions rather than asking God to do all the work for us. (Biblical)
Conclusion: As a Bible believer, I compare everything I hear with the Word of God to discern whether or not it is true. I believe this is also how Buddhism should be approached and personally find his teachings very useful in my walk on earth. I think his teachings should be read with the mindfulness that he did not know his Creator as we do, and I suggest being watchful for any teachings that do not line up with the Bible.
Practicing Buddhists do not need to change their lifestyle to become saved and Christ-like, they need only to come to know Jesus and live by the Word of God.