Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Cross and the Lotus: A Dialogue on Sufferings

We live in an age fertile for the growth of Buddhism, a religion once upon a time seen as a highly metaphysical and mythical belief which did not appeal to the rational mind. Yet as we begin to see the relaxation of the grip of modernity in our lives, when truth is not so much perceived as controlled and static, but chaotic and dynamic, when materialism failed to address the deepest desire of mankind, when the supernatural is once again explored and extolled, when spirituality is pursued minus the autocracy and authority of organized religion, Buddhism flourished.

As the religion began to gain popularity, and in this age where interfacing with different ideologies is inevitable, to dialogue with Buddhism is certainly a good initiative if not a necessary one. As we approach them in dialogue whether in words or in actions, whether for evangelism or not, let us be a fairer critique to their position. And to be able to do so, we need to equip ourselves with a fairly reasonable understanding of this complex and complicated religion. And of course, understanding their position, we not only strive to be fairer critique but also better neighbours to our Buddhist friends. This is the objective of this presentation...[read on]


jacksons said...

Well done Jack!

Sze Zeng said...

Quality presentation and good points that you brought up: differences between both faiths in regards of suffering.

The Hedonese said...

yippee! We shall now invite some buddhist monks to a warm, learning and sharing interfaith dialogue

Sze Zeng said...

Hedonese, pls keep us update whenever there is a monk speaking in Agora. It should be very very interesting... i think...

discordant_dude said...

Anyone interested?

Parallels between Einstein & Buddha

According to general relativity, the concept of space detached from any physical content does not exist. **Einstein

If there is only empty space, with no suns nor planets in it, than space loses its substantiality. **Buddha

Quoted from "What Buddhist Believe - By Dr. K.Sri Dhammananda" - Chapter 14

"....... Buddha never encouraged rigid, dogmatic belief. He did not claim to base His Teachings on faith, belief, or divine revelation, but allowed great flexibility and freedom of thought ......................... scientist observes the external world objectively, and would only establish a scientific theory after conducting many successful practical experiments."

"Religion without science is crippled, while science without religion is blind."


Buddhist View Of Point:-
"In this body there are the earth element, the water element, the fire element, and the air element".'

Science View Of Point:-
The smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms; a group of like or different atoms held together by chemical forces.
Atoms are made up of 3 types of particles electrons , protons and neutrons


To find out more on BUDDHISM AND SCIENCE, join us at our Dhamma Talk &

Date : 18 October 2005 ( Tuesday )
Time : 8.00 - 10.00PM
Location : Kajang Buddhist Center ( BMSM Kajang )
No. 4, Jalan Reko, 43000 Kajang.
Enquiry : Sis Yin Yin ( 016-2376685 )

Ambassador said...

I fully
agree with Dan Kimball on the unwarranted "cleverer than thou"
attitude of an apologist. These "smart" apologists can win arguments
but will eventually lose friends or even souls. Our friends may say
things like what Gandhi said" I like christ but not christians". But
I thank God that the christians around me are not like that.(People
like dave, leon, john, david ting and steven sim are great
apologists and they do say sorry when necessary) Probably because we
are from a different emerging culture. Let's not forget we are not
only called to be apologists but also ambassadors for christ.
Further, as it is made popular by the Spiderman, "with great powers
come great responsibilites". We got to present the gospel and defend
our faith with knowledge, wisdom and character.(see

On the other hand, we should not, in Malaysian context at least,
present the gospel like a sales person carrying bags selling
merchandise from table to table at a hawker center. In Malaysia, VCD
seller (mostly pirated), lottery tickets sellers or people asking
for donations (hired by donations collection agency, where only 10%
actually go the the intended beneficiary). I am not trying to
belittle them, they are earning a decent living but the general
reflex of the public,when approached by them, is to shake their
heads. Some don't even look at them. Street evangelism has a part to
play but we got to beware of becoming a "nuisance" or "instruder"
of privacy.

With regard to Kimball's comments on saying "I don't know" more
often, I think he may have a point but that may not be a good thing
to do.While we recognise our limited knowledge, I think we should
strife to know the true. Isn't the knowledge of God and the truth is
fundamental to our belief? We will get closer to the truth if not
knowing the absolute truth if we have this hunger for truth. My fear
is that if we say "I don't know" too often, it may become the order
of the day - "we just don't know whether what we believe is true or
not." Where then is our conviction? An apologist without a
conviction? An ambassador who isn't sure which country he is

jacksons said...

Hey, good one Han Meng. An ambassador without a country, that is a really good way of putting it. So, we should be people of solid convictions, but not dogmatic certainty.

The Hedonese said...

Let's start an inspiring dialogue at the RZIM forum in follow up to Han Meng's post :)

It's been quiet too long

Mejlina Tjoa said...

Wow, well done Jack! This is a quality presentation. In my primary school, Buddhism was a compulsory subject. We were given the original teaching of Siddharta Gautama, not the evolved ones. For a period of time I was quite attracted by the teaching, and by the moral example of my Buddhist teacher who became a monk later on. But I was quite confused by all the different versions of Buddhism I saw in my family (mixed with ancestor worships) and my Buddhist friends who pass on different stuffs. From your presentation, I have a deeper appreciation of those teaching I received in the past and clearer understanding of its development. We can definitely learn more on this topic since it is a top-growing religion/system of thought now.

In my understanding, Buddhism concept of the essence of life is sufferings. The purpose is to get out of this wheel of reincarnation by mortifying all your desires. That is why ascetism is encouraged as a higher way of life to reach Nirvana faster.

Christianity has a far higher and balanced view of life, in that we acknowledge both the beauty and the darkness of the world. We are taught self-denial, not to kill our desires, but to sanctify them. We are to detach ourselves from the world, but unlike Buddhism where 'nothingness' is bliss, we are to attach unto Christ, where all our thoughts and emotions finally find their rest and Home.

I think, philosophies of the world can give some concepts of ideals when when it come to practice we are all perplexed in contraditions. But Christianity presents to us not an abstract ideal, but a Man, in flesh and blood and bone, the unity of the ideal and the real.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the observation and the thoughts mejlina.

I'll be attending a conference on Buddhism and Christianity in Myanmar next month (holidays courtesy of CWM). Hope to dialogue with some Buddhist scholars. Will bring back some reports later. :)


The Hedonese said...

amen, as a Christian hedonist, i think tat the solution is not in the extinction of desire, but the intensification and satisfaction of our deepest longings FOR what is most satisfying and most glorious - God Himself.

Lotus said...