Samantha Allgood recently spent an extended time at GNPI-SE Asia where she helped with some English translation projects. She interviewed Regional Director TP about why he changed his approach in sharing with Buddhists. Samantha gained some valuable insights into the culture.
by Guest Blogger, Samantha Allgood, a student in British Columbia at the Canadian Institute of Linguistics.
“Everyday, day and night, day and night, I am thinking this – only this,” says evangelist TP, regarding his mission to spread the Gospel to his fellow countrymen in Myanmar. As regional director of GNPI-SE Asia, TP plays a key role in developing effective evangelistic tools and strategies to reach this Buddhist nation.
“Every Buddhist wants to worship the True God, but they don’t know what Gautama taught his followers. They don’t know how to worship the true God,” TP explains of Theravada Buddhists. Those who elevated Prince Siddhartha (Gautama) to the position of “Buddha,” the position of “god,” failed to grasp Gautama’s true message. “No, Gautama is not Buddha. Gautama himself [sought] the Buddha,” TP clarifies. TP believes that the key to Buddhist evangelism is leading one to question who the “true Buddha,” or the “true God,” may be, pointing one to correct worship.
In Gautama’s seeking, he taught his followers five attributes that the “true Buddha” must possess: 1) The true Buddha must be free from sexual relationships, 2) He must have power over spirits, 3) He must overcome death, 4) His body must not decay, and 5) He must have power over nature. By these standards, a Christian would recognize that Jesus Christ perfectly meets these qualifications.
During the early years of his ministry, TP recalls going village to village talking with the pagoda elders and the head of Buddhist monasteries. “Do you hate Islam?” he asked. They said they did. “Do you hate Christians?” he continued. They said no; they said Christians were good. To this, TP replied that he, himself, was a Christian and asked if he could share with them about Christ. They didn’t they want to hear of Christ that day because they said, “Christ is a western God, Christianity is a western religion…” “We have our own god – Buddha. We have our own religion.”
However, when TP asked his next question: “Shall we discuss about the true Buddha?” The resounding answer was ‘yes!’ Everyone at one such monastery was interested and many accepted Christ that day. Even the monastery head was convinced.
Please read A Kingdom Shaker’s Journey (Part Two) now.