SEARCHING FOR THE “TRUE BUDDHA”?
In Myanmar, 90% of the population are Theravada Buddhist. There is a huge opportunity to share God’s Word, but it is not an easy task. Many Buddhists see Christianity as a Western faith — and faith is a big part of culture. Some Buddhists feel that Christian evangelists want to take away cultural identity by encouraging Southeast Asians to adopt Western practices.
Timothy, our partner at Good News Productions Incorporated (GNPI), sees things in a different light. Timothy explains that Guatama (Prince Siddhartha) was not Buddha (God); instead, Guatama sought the “True Buddha” (the True God). Guatama laid out a five-part description to identify the True Buddha in his teachings:
- He must be free from sexual relationships.
- He must have power over spirits.
- He must overcome death.
- His body must not decay.
- He must have power over nature.
Christians recognize that this description matches one person: Jesus Christ. And Timothy has found that Buddhists are receptive to discussions about the identity of the True Buddha. Many Buddhists have become Christians as the result of this teaching, including several Buddhist monks.
Timothy offers regular, month-long evangelism training seminars at the Myanmar Community Development Center. There, he teaches effective means of discussing the True Buddha. He also shares evangelical tools with students: Gospel songs, testimonies, books, charts and other material in local languages. Men and women travel from all over Myanmar to attend.