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Dana Bratton &

Asher Mathew
2005

Buddhism

Understanding
Thai Buddhism
for Evangelism

The Buddha
Siddhartha Gautama

(563-483 BC)
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy founded in
India c.525 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, called
the Buddha. There are over 300 million Buddhists
worldwide. Born a prince and raised in luxury, he
left his family and possessions at the age of 29 to
search for an ultimate solution to the
problem of the suffering.

Basic Beliefs and Practices


o

The basic doctrines of


early Buddhism,
which remain common
to all Buddhism,
include the four noble
truths.

The Three Refuges


(Jewels)
o
o

The Buddha
The Dharma
(teachings,
doctrine)
The Sangha (the
Order)

Tripitaka

1.
2.

Three baskets
Vinaya Pitakamonastic rules
Sutta Pitakateachings of the Buddha
a. Versions of the Law
b. Other Lives

3.

Abhidhamma Pitakasupplement to the


doctrines (esoteric)

The Teachings of the Buddha


The Four Noble Truths

Preface to the Four Noble Truths:


The Middle Path
Two extremes to be avoided:
(1) Hedonism
(2) Asceticism
This Middle Path is the Noble
Eightfold Path, namely, Right
Views, Right Intent, Right
Speech, Right Conduct, Right
Livelihood, Right Effort, Right
Mindfulness, and Right
Concentration . . . .

By avoiding these two


extremes, we discover a
Middle Path, a path
which opens the eyes,
which bestows
understanding, and
which leads to peace of
mind, to wisdom, to full
enlightenment, to
Nirvana.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

1. The Noble Truth of Suffering


Birth is suffering, aging and deterioration is suffering,
disease is suffering, death is suffering. The presence
of hateful objects is suffering; the absence of lovable
objects is suffering; not getting what we desire [i.e.,
getting what we dont want and not getting what we
do want] is suffering. To put it briefly, the fivefold
clinging [attachment] to existence [through the body,
sensation, consciousness, perception, and volition -the five skandhas or components of human
personhood] is suffering.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

2. The Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering

The cause is the selfish craving [tanha, thirst,


desire] that leads to rebirth and which is
accompanied by lust for pleasure, seeking
satisfaction now here, now there. This selfish
craving takes three main forms: (a) craving for
pleasure, (b) craving for [continued] existence, and
(c) craving for non-existence.*
*Some traditions make (c) a craving for
prosperity or for personal happiness.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

3. The Noble Truth of the


Cessation of Suffering

Suffering ceases with the complete cessation of selfish


craving a cessation which consists in the absence of
every passion [nirvana, no passion, the blowing
out of tanha]. Suffering ceases with the laying aside
of, the giving up of, the being free from, the dwelling
no longer upon this selfish craving.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

4. The Noble Truth of the Path that


leads to the cessation of suffering
It is the Noble Eightfold Path, that is
to say, Right Views, Right Intent,
Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right
Livelihood, Right Effort, Right
Mindfulness, and Right
Concentration.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

Elaboration of the Noble Eightfold Path

Wisdom (prajna)

Morality (sila)

Meditation (samadhi)

Right views (Samma ditthi)


Right intent (Samma sankappa)
Right speech (Samma vaca)
Right conduct (Samma kammanta)
Right livelihood (Samma ajiva)
Right effort (Samma vayama)
Right mindfulness (Samma sati)
Right concentration (Samma samadhi)

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

1. Right Views
The Four Noble Truths
The doctrine of no-self (anatta, anatman)

Transitoriness (anicca): impermanence


The Five Components or Aggregates
(skandhas) of human personhood
Interdependent Origination

Karma & Samsara (rebirth)


Nirvana (what is it?)

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(No-self, contd)

The Five Components


(skandhas) of personhood
Body (rupa)

Person

Sensation (vedana)
Consciousness (vinnana)
Perception (sanna)
Volition (sankhara)

Mind (nama)

(No-self, contd)

The doctrine of

Interdependent Origination
(Paticca Samuppada)
The interdependence & relativity of
all things

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

The wheel
of
becoming

11.
Birth

12.
Aging &
Dying

1.
Ignorance

Heaven

2.
Impulse
to Exist

3.
Human
Demon ConsciousRealm
Realm
Greed
ness
Delusion
4.
9.
Hatred
Hungry
Animal
MindClingGhost
Realm
Body
ing
Realm
8.
Six 5.
Hell
Craving
Senses
6.
7.
Sensations Contact

10.
Becoming

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

2. Right Intent
(Resolution)

Right intent or resolution


is the intent or resolution to live & act
in accordance with right views.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

3. Right Speech

No lying
No slander
No harsh or rude talk
No profanity
No impolite or abusive
language
No idle or foolish
chatter

Strive to use language


meaningfully &
usefully

Learn to maintain
noble silence

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

4. Right
Conduct

No harming & killing


No stealing
No lying & deceitfulness
No sexual immorality
No use of intoxicants

The Five Precepts (for


everybody) & the Ten
Precepts (for monks & nuns)

(Eightfold Path, continued)

Eat moderately & not after


noon.
Stay away from dancing,
singing, & dramatic
spectacles.
Do not use garlands,
scents, unguents, or
ornaments.
Do not use high or broad
beds.
Do not accept gold or
silver (money in general?).

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

5. Right Livelihood
(Vocation)
Choose professions that promote life, peace,
& spiritual progress (especially life in the
Specifically prohibited professions: poison
peddler, slave trader, prostitute, butcher,
manufacturer & trader of liquor & other
intoxicants, weapons manufacturer & trader,
tax collector, caravan trader.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

6. Right Effort
(purification of the mind)
Preventing evil & unwholesome states of mind
from arising
Getting rid of such states of mind that may
already exist
Bringing about good & wholesome states of mind
Developing & perfecting good & wholesome
states of mind that are already present

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

Focusing of attention on:


Activities of the body (breathing, walking,
sitting, eating, heartbeat, etc.)
Feelings (anger, fear, joy, pleasure, pain, etc.)
States of mind (thoughts, ideas, etc.)
Ways of conceptualizing things (the Four
Noble Truths, the Wheel of Becoming, etc.)

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

(Eightfold Path, continued)

7. Right Mindfulness

(Eightfold Path, continued)

8. Right
Concentration

One-pointed concentration
1

The four absorptions:


2

Preliminary concentration
on the Four Sublime
Moods: love, compassion,
cheerfulness, & impartiality

3
4

Detachment from all sense objects &


from negative states of mind; thought
processes accompanied by joy
Cessation of all mental activities;
internal calm, peace of mind, joy to
the point of great elation
Cessation of all passions &
prejudices; continued sense of joy
Cessation of joy; total tranquillity &
equanimity -- Nirvana (& arhatship)

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

Four Stages of Advancement


along the Noble Eightfold Path
1 Belief in permanent self
2 Doubt
3 Belief in religious rituals
4 Sensual craving
5 Ill will
6 Desire for rebirth in worlds of form
7 Desire for rebirth in formless realms
8 Pride
9 Self-righteousness
10 Ignorance of the true nature of things

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

The Historical Evolution


of Buddhism

The Major Buddhist Traditions

Theravada (The Way of the Elders) - Sri Lanka &


Southeast Asia

Mahayana (The Greater Vehicle) - China, Korea, &


Japan (& Tibet & Mongolia)

Vajrayana (The Way of the Diamond Thunderbolt) Tibet & Mongolia


Vajrayana is a development within
the Mahayana tradition.

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

The Spread
of Buddhism

Spheres of
Influence

Buddhism
out of India
by 1000 AD

Theravada
Mahayana
Vajrayana

http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/Buddhism.ppt

Dharma (Buddhas Teaching)


D h a r m a ( B u d d h a 's T e a c h i n g s )
M ah ayan a
( la r g e r a ft )

T h e ra v a d a
( h in a y a n a , o r s m a ll r a ft )

T h e ra v a d a /M a h a y a n a

C h in a

B u rm a

U n it e d S t a t e s

Japan

T h a ila n d

C anada

T ib e t

S ri L a n k a

E u ro p e

T a iw a n
M a la y s ia

Chinese
Buddhist
celebration

The monks come daily to each


home for an offering

Coming of age to be a monk

Monks

Tiger Cave Mountain where they


have a foot bone of the Buddha

Atop
Tiger
Cave
Mountain

Atop Tiger Cave Mountain

Revering the foot of Buddha

Why havent they responded to


the Gospel?

Not sharing the Gospel with Thai


Buddhists in an understandable Way
Communication gap between Thai
Buddhists and missionaries
To be Thai is to be Buddhist
Lack of contextualization is partly
responsible for lack of response among
the Thai people

II. General approach to


contextualization in Thailand

Right attitude towards Thai culture


All that God created is good
Acknowledging Thai values which are biblical values
Use caution in choosing Thai Buddhist words to explain
Christian truth
Using Buddhist words to express Christian concepts
Designing new vocabulary to Christian concepts
Necessity of on-going contact to produce biblical
understanding among Thai Buddhists
Sharing the Gospel with Buddhists, not Buddhism
Necessity of loving people as they are

III. Thai concepts that may be


adopted to explain the Gospel

The origin of suffering (dukkha) and the attainment of


true happiness
Happiness is impossible because life is suffering (dukkha)
True origin of Dukkha is Adam and Eves ignorance
(avijja)
True happiness is possible when the true source of
Dukkha is identified
Dukkha, Anicca, and Anatta may be used to describe
Gods relationship with man
Israel is a source of suffering (dukkha) to God
Israels devotion to God is impermanent (anicca)
Israel destroys herself by her actions and disobedience to
God (anatta)

Sharing the Gospel continued

A probable misunderstanding by Thai Buddhist listeners


Merit transference (pattidana) and the Cross of Christ
Theravada Buddhism denies existence of merit transference
Two examples of merit transference as practiced by Thai
Buddhists i. Cloth Offering Ceremony at a Funeral ii.
Entering the Buddhist Priesthood
Double transference of merit in Christ Jesus has infinite merit
which is transferred to man
Mans guilt is transferred to Jesus
Discussing merit transference with Thai Buddhists
Merit transference provides an escape from Karma

IV. A Motivation to Avoid Sin:


Shame

Shame orientation versus guilt orientation


The nature of shame in Thai Society Motivation to avoid
sin because of shame

V. Illustrations from Thai history used


to illustrate the biblical truth of
substitution and sacrifice

The self Sacrifice of Queen Suriyothai.


The Contest for Chiang Mai, determined by who could
stay underwater the longest.

These two girls accepted


Christ!

Teach ESL, Christian songs, and the Bible

Tsunami devastation on Phi Phi


Island
A horrible tragedy, but an opportunity to
help and for evangelism