Ecclesiastes and Buddhists

Sharingjesusholistically-1This morning’s Friday Fax (I woke up early – 1:30am) has an interesting piece on Ecclesiastes and Buddhism from a new book called “Sharing Jesus Holistically with the Buddhist World” by David Kim and (DAWN Buddy) Stephen Spaulding.

From Friday Fax:

Ecclesiastes: bridge for Buddhists

“Siddhartha Gautama alias Buddha and Kohelet, author of the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes, used very similar methods to describe the basic problems of human existence and suggest solutions,” according to a recently-published book by David Lim and Steve Spaulding. “That makes Ecclesiastes an excellent contact point and bridge for explaining Biblical truths to Buddhists,” they say.

Experience-based description

Buddha’s statements are based on his own experiences and observations, as do Kohelet’s. Both make similar statements about life, but have completely different analyses and hence different solutions. Ecclesiastes’ foundation in experience is a helpful approach for Buddhists, because their own background helps them understand the statements.

Greed is humankind’s basic problem

Buddha’s “Four Noble Truths” declare (1) that life is suffering, (2) the suffering is caused by greed, (3) the suffering can be overcome by overcoming greed, and (4) there is a path to end suffering. Similarly, Kohelet sees humankind’s basic problem in selfish desire and greed. Greed has its source in the human will and selfish motives which oppose the will of God. Instead of seeking God’s will, people live as they see fit, with their own lusts and desires subjecting their own lives to suffering and unfulfillment.

Both look ‘under the sun’

In the Bible, the expression ‘under the sun’ occurs only in Ecclesiastes. The author deliberately restricts himself to observing humankind’s earthly activities, ignoring the possibility of a transcendent but immanent God. Both Buddha and Kohelet try to find sense in life outside of God. Basic ethics an some of the Creator’s attributes are “written in each person’s heart” according to Romans. If we do not reject Buddha’s moral teachings out of hand, but understand them as part of God’s general revelation to all people, it becomes possible to open God’s specific revelation and laws to Buddhists.

Source: David Lim and Steve Spaulding: Sharing Jesus Holistically in the

Buddhist World”

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Andrew

Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name “Precious” :-)

5 Comments

  • Well, this takes the cake! It’s bad enough you smug pious bible-thumpers feel a neurotic need to proclaim your xianity to other white folks upon meeting. (Do you really think we care what you believe?) But now you want to shove your views on Asians?
    Here’s some advice from the bible: by their actions you shall know them. So please stfu about your religion when talking to strangers and try to put your faith into practice by being a decent human being. Do it; don’t flap your pie-hole.
    Carry on.

  • Errr…
    Who says all buddhists are asians?
    Are not the guys who thrust buddhist books in town ‘shoving their views’ onto me?
    Sadly I suspect the previous spammer will not be back to answer these questions.
    As a footnote, whilst talking to muslims in Jordan and Israel/Palestine over the last week, I found myself in many conversations where Jesus’ words came naturally to the fore. They seemed very interested to discuss theology – so long as I was interested to listen and try to understand their islamic theology. Which if you know me is very surprising (I avoid anything that even smells like evangelism).
    J

  • The article said:- If we do not reject Buddha’s moral teachings out of hand, but understand them as part of God’s general revelation to all people, it becomes possible to open God’s specific revelation and laws to Buddhists.
    Right on!!
    This is fair and true.
    However, it is SPIRIT we are dealing with beyond the grace of God around Bhudda or Enoch or the little old lady up the street. SPIRIT, people…distinguish the spirits! It’s basic! Otherwise your head words fall into the ground like seeds that never ripen.
    And remember…Jesus was kind. Not religious. Kind.

  • read the brief history of buddhism in the appendixes of ‘the teaching of buddha’ by kyokai, AND the intro to ‘ecclesiastes’ in most standard versions of the bible AND you will discover the influence of buddhism in the mid-east in the 2d and 3d centuries BC…. so ecclesiastes if written by solomon in the 9th century BC was probably modified in the 2d and 3d centuries BC in the aramaic language under the influence of buddhist missionaries… and in the following religiously chaotic centuries found expression in many christian concepts… therefore, christians already have a great deal of buddhism in them already… they are just to uneducated to know it…

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