Tuesday, July 21, 2009

‘Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer Guide’ by Hattaway Paul

The Outreach Blog posted this review of an interesting book, Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer Guide by Hattaway Paul. Seems the Christians want to covert us poor Buddhists the their mythical worldview. I'll take enlightenment over heaven any day.

Buddhism under siege from within

by Bhikkhu K. Tanchangya, The Buddhist Channel, July 17,

Kandy, Sri Lanka --The latest attempt to proselytize the Buddhist world comes in the form of a book entitled ‘Peoples of the Buddhist World: A Christian Prayer Guide’ by Hattaway Paul. Anthropologically speaking, the book deserves credit for its excellent well-researched materials as it deals with 238 distinct people-group profiles, photographs and maps of the Buddhist world – something that Buddhists are capable of producing, but are lazy to do so.

Make no mistake: this most conspicuous book is enterprisingly well done. But it has a hidden agenda: This book serves as a layout and roadmap of Christian evangelical interests and zeal. It is a precise blueprint, a battle plan drawn to craftily attack the peoples of the Buddhist world.

Educated and affluent Buddhists, however, should thank the author, an active evangelic leader for producing such an enlightening overview of the peoples of the Buddhist world because not many at all know about the majority of these 238 groups mentioned by him.

Indeed, many of these Buddhist communities are little-known and often forgotten. They are some of the most neglected peoples of the world. Much has been said on the evil intentions of the Christian evangelical missionaries for trying to ‘pray and touch the souls of ordinary people’ and bringing them into ‘the merciful rescue of God, the ruler of heaven’.

My intention here is neither to write a review of the book condemning it as anti-Buddhist nor to parrot the accusations labeled against such greedy evangelical missionaries but to urge my fellow educated and affluent Buddhist brothers and sisters of the civilized world to understand that the wisest solution to such proselytization of the Buddhist world.

It does not lie on how logically and convincingly we criticize such undertakings and how many anti-conversion laws we need to enact. The intention is to undertake an honest, objective re-examination of our own Buddhist system within.

It is often proudly claimed by us Buddhists that Buddhism has survived for 2550 years armed with its teachings of non-violence, tolerance, ability for different adaptation, and compassion. Perhaps we have forgotten the lost history of Buddhist lands of the entire Indian subcontinent.

We have lost Afghanistan and Pakistan (East and West) to Muslim invaders, India and Nepal to Hindus and far eastern regions of the Middle East to hard-line Muslims. Having lost so much, how much more are we waiting to lose? This is a question that every progressive Buddhist needs an answer to.

Despite having survived the historic onslaught of Islamic invaders, these unknown Buddhist lands face the grim reality of losing their communities to the onslaught of Christian evangelism. 20th century South Korea is an example of how easy it is indeed for Buddhism to fall prey to aggressive evangelism.

Historically speaking, the strength of Buddhist evolution centered on the members of its monastic - the Sangha. The Sangha institution became the backbone of the entire Buddhist community in any given social context, be it Theravada, Mahayana or Tibetan throughout its 2550 years of history.

The success of Buddhism is often measured by the strength of the Sangha.

Read the whole review.

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