Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world, although technically it is not a religion but a philosophy. Buddhism attracts about 376 million followers worldwide and was founded in Northern India between 553 BC and 460 BC. Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhism has many different traditions, but share a common set of fundamental beliefs. One fundamental belief of Buddhism is reincarnation. The concept is basically that people are reborn after dying. The Buddhist believes that most individuals go through many cycles of birth, living, death and rebirth. The person that dies may not ever return to the earth as the same entity, they may be similar but not the same. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana. This is a state of liberation and freedom from suffering. Besides that, there are many other practices a Buddhist adhere to.
I will list just a few short examples: The three trainings or practice: 1. Sila: virtue, good conduct, morality. 2. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation, mental development. Developing one’s mind the Buddhist believe, is the path to wisdom which in turn leads to personal freedom. Mental development also strengthens and controls our mind; this helps us maintain good conduct. 3. Pranja: Discernment, insight, wisdom, enlightenment. This according to Buddhist is the real heart of Buddhism. Wisdom will emerge if your mind is pure and calm. Buddhist also follow the eightfold path, in order to reach Nirvana. But in order to reach that enlightenment a Buddhist must master the eightfold path. The Buddhist must also follow rules, such as the five precepts. 1.”Do not kill” 2. Do not steal” 3. “Do not lie” 4. “Do not misuse sex” 5. Do not consume alcohol or other drugs”. The Eightfold path consist of Panna: Discernment, wisdom: 1. Samma ditthi Right Understanding of the Four Noble Truths. 2. Samma sankappa: Right thinking; following the right path in life. Sila: Virtue and morality: 3) Samma vaca: Right speech: no lying, criticism, condemning, gossip, harsh language. 4 Samma kammanta Right conduct by following the Five Precepts. 5. Samma ajiva: Right livelihood; support yourself without harming others. Samadhi: Concentration, meditation: 6. Samma vayama Right Effort: promote good thoughts; conquer evil thoughts. 7. Samma sati Right Mindfulness: Become aware of your body, mind and feelings. 8. Samma samadhi Right Concentration: Meditate to achieve a higher state of consciousness i.e.Nirvana. And I am sure there is much more a Buddhist has to do in order to achieve a higher consciousness.
This to me looks like a lot of work, to archive the ultimate goal of eternal bliss. Just as many other religions, Buddhism is a man centered religion/philosophy. It is man’s vain attempt to reach perfection or a higher consciousness, i.e. a higher state of mind. It is another attempt of man to be either a god or god like, archiving this by a set of rules, by rules that were implemented by man. The dilemma to me with Buddhism is that the teachers tell the people to live a certain way and if they do and follow all the rules, they will reach Nirvana. It’s like somebody telling you, here is Mount Everest, when you reach the top you will have Nirvana. But Buddha and his teachings does not give them any kind of equipment to climb Mount Everest and so people slip and fall, trying desperately to reach the top. I guess that’s where the reincarnation comes into play. If you don’t make it in this lifetime, try it in the next. If that fails, keep on trying and one day you will arrive. Buddhism is man’s attempt to become a higher enlightened person by their own strength and set of rules, just as other religions wanna come on their own merit to God, making their own version of god. A god that caters to them, a god that no one needs to be accountable to. They have a made themselves a Burger King god, “have it your way.”
Christianity teaches the opposite of what many Buddhist believe. The Bible declares that there is only one true and living God and that is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the Creator of all things. There is only one absolute truth and that is the truth that comes from God. There are many that will claim to be a good person, but by whose standards? Man’s standards or God’s standards? God has declared everyone guilty, we have all violated His Holiness and perfect standard.
In God’s eyes no one is good: “Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” Psalm 53:3.
People seek all kinds of ways to be spiritual and many claim to be spiritual or enlightened. They are either following a man-made religion or attempt to reach God on their own merit. The problem is that man is spiritually separated from God because of sin and there is not one that has not sinned before God. “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Rom 3:23.
It is the sin nature that everyone inherited that keeps man from fellowship with the true God. We are spiritually separated from God because of sin. God is a Holy God and in Him there is no darkness at all. Mankind apart from God is in darkness and the heart of man is the problem: “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jer 17:9. People are deceiving themselves by following teachers, philosophies and religions that promise them eternal life if they do certain things. People wanna come on the own righteousness before God, but no matter how hard someone may try to reach Him or to achieve a higher consciousness, it is in vain, because they are all man driven and self-centered.
The Buddhist tries to achieve a higher consciousness, Nirvana the ultimate goal, eternal bliss. The problem with that thinking is that the Bible does not teach about reincarnation, that people can come back and try over and over again until they get it right. Quite the opposite is true: “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment..” Heb 9:27.
There is only one life to live and death will come to everyone sooner or later. The Bible also tells us that there is either eternal life or eternal damnation. Humans have a spirit, in fact we consist of the flesh i.e. the body, a soul which is our consciousness and a spirit. The spirit of a person will not die after the death of the flesh and there are only two places for the spirit to go, either eternity in heaven or eternity in hell. Since God has declared everyone guilty it would seem that all go to one destination, Hell. But wait, there is good news, God in His mercy and His grace has provided a way to be reconciled to Him. That way is through Jesus Christ, He died and rose from the dead, so that those who would believe in Him by faith would be saved from the wrath and judgment of God to come upon sinful man. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
By believing and trusting in Him alone as Lord and Savior, people are born again of the Spirit and there is now no more gap between them and God the Father. God has reconciled those who believe and trust in the finished work of Christ on their behalf, it is the righteousness of Christ that the Father looks at, not the righteousness of man. The righteousness of Christ is imputed onto all who believe by faith. That to me is so much better than trying to transform myself into a higher consciousness. God did for me what I could not do for myself, a true transformation through His Son Jesus Christ. Buddha, Krishna, Allah cannot truly transform a person, people may try to better themselves, to become good, but in the end they will fall short of God’s glory. Jesus is the only one that truly transforms the life’s of people. I thank God for His revelation, His mercy and His grace. I thank Jesus Who became one of us, that loved me so much that He laid down His life for me, so that I can be with Him for eternity.
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mat 11:28-30.
Only Jesus can give us rest and it is only through Jesus that anyone can be at peace with the Father. Jesus is the only way to heaven and eternal life. Buddha is dead, Jesus lives, He is the true an living God.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6.