"The Truth about Buddhism"


November 29, 2017

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. And it is also a transnational religion meaning that we find Buddhists in every country in the world, and there are a number of countries in the world that are majority Buddhists. Most Buddhists would think of themselves as going to one of three schools of Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism, which we find in South and Southeast Asia. Mahayana Buddhism, which we find in East Asia. And Vajrayana Buddhism, which we find in Tibet and Mongolia.

Speaker 2: When someone encounters Buddhism for the first time, the first and most natural question, really, that's a question I suspect that you've been asking for yourselves, is simply this. Who was the Buddha and who was the man who set this incredibly rich and complex religious tradition in motion?

Buddhism really starts with the story of Prince [Adharta 00:04:49], who was born in present day Nepal, 25 hundred years ago. And when he was born, a great sage came down from the mountain and told his father, the king, that your son will either be a great emperor or a great spiritual teacher.

Speaker 3: An unexpected guest arrived. He was the revered hermit and astrology, Acita, whom nobody had seen for years. As Acita looked at her son, Queen Maya saw tears come to his eyes.

Speaker 4: Do not be alarmed, [inaudible 00:05:32], mine are only the tears of an old man who knows that he will not live long enough to learn from the teachings of your son.

Speaker 6: Will he be a great king?

Speaker 4: He'll be the master of the world. Or its redeemer.

Speaker 6: When he grows older, Acita, he can become a teacher like you if he wants, but first of all, he must follow me and be a king.

Speaker 4: It may be as you wish, but the gods often betray the wishes of mortal men.

Speaker 6: He will be a king.

Speaker 1: The king was determined that his son would become a great emperor, so he vowed to shield his son from the suffering and misery of the world and kept him inside the palace walls, where he lived a life of luxury and hedonism.

Speaker 7: Siddhartha indulged in a life of pure pleasure. Every whim satisfied. Every desire fulfilled. I wore the most costly garments, ate the finest foods. I was surrounded by beautiful women. During the rainy season, I stayed in my palace where I was entertained by musicians and dancing girls. I never even thought of leaving.

When he was 16, his father, drawing him tighter into palace life, married him to his cousin. It wasn't long before they fell in love. And so, the stories say, he indulged himself for 29 years until the shimmering bubble of pleasure burst.

Speaker 8: His father does everything he can to never let him leave, never let him see the suffering that life is. But one day, he goes outside.

Traveling through the kingdom and he has the first of four encounters. He sees an old man and he asked his attendant and the attendant says, "Oh, that's change. One doesn't always stay young and perfect." Then, on the next tour outside, he sees a sick man and doesn't quite understand what it is. He asks his attendant and the attendant says, "Oh, that happens to all of us." And on his third trip outside, he meets a corpse and he recognized impermanence and suffering and death as the real state of things. The world that he had been protected from, shielded from, kept from seeing.

Speaker 9: And he was shocked. He was shocked and he realized, "This is my fate, too. I will also become old. I will also become ill. I will also die."

Speaker 8: And then, the fourth trip outside he sees the spiritual seeker, someone who has decided to live a life completely other than his life in order to escape from impermanence, suffering, and death. So he has this sort of traumatic encounter with the pain and suffering of life.

Speaker 7: 29 years old, profoundly troubled, Siddhartha was determined to comprehend the nature of suffering. He resolved to leave the palace. His wife had just given birth to a baby boy. Siddhartha called him Rahula, fetter.

Speaker 8: He names his son fetter. He names his son ball and chain. This is the fetter that will keep me tethered to this life.

Speaker 3: Evening, Siddhartha went into his wife's room. A lamp of scented oil lit up. His wife lay sleeping on a bed strewn with flowers, cradling their newborn son in her arms. He gazed from the threshold, deep in thought. If I take my wife's hand from my son's head and pick him up and hold him in my arms, it will be painful for me to leave.

He turned away and climbed down to the palace courtyard. His beloved horse, Kanthaka, was waiting. As he rode toward the city's northern wall, he leapt high into the air. Mara, the tempter god of desire, was waiting. "You are destined," Mara told him, "To rule a great empire. Go back and worldly power will be yours."

Siddhartha refused.

Speaker 9: He left grief and probably absolute puzzlement and dismay in the hearts of wife, in the infant son who was innocent and yet was suddenly fatherless. And, of course, his own father.

Speaker 7: Siddhartha was alone in the world for the first time. On the bank of a nearby river, he drew his sword. "Although my father and stepmother were grieving with tears on their faces," he said, "I cut off my hair, I put on the yellow robes and went forth from home into homelessness. I had been wounded by the enjoyment of the world. And I had come out longing to obtain peace."

Siddhartha wandered south to the Holy Ganges River. Once a great prince, now he became a beggar, surviving on the charity of strangers.

Siddhartha joined thousands of searchers like himself, renunciants. Men and even a few women who had renounced the world, embracing poverty and celibacy, living on the edge just as spiritual seekers still do in India today.

Speaker 8: Now, at this time in Indian, there were lots of renunciants out there. It's a flourishing renunciant tradition. There are many different people who have given everything up and practice austerities and meditate in order to escape from the cycle of death and rebirth. The notion of reincarnation is something that's part of Indian culture, part of Indian civilization, part of Indian religion that was there long before the Buddha. And it was the, in a sense, the problem that the Buddha faced.

Speaker 7: Suffering didn't begin at birth and finish with death. Suffering was endless. Unless it was possible to find a way out, become enlightened, become a Buddha.

Speaker 10: The idea is from life to life, to progress more and more toward the enlightenment and become wiser and wiser.

Speaker 11: It could take them billion lifetimes if they're very stubborn.

Speaker 8: And becoming a Buddha, becoming enlightened, is the only way of getting out of the continual cycle of death and rebirth.

Speaker 7: With the authority of the priests worn thin and wisdom seekers like Siddhartha roaming the countryside, [poly 00:14:53] men emerged, teaching their own spiritual disciplines. Siddhartha apprenticed himself to one of them, a celebrate guru who taught that true knowledge could never come from ritual practice alone. It was necessary to look within. "You may stay here with me," the guru told him. A wise person, consumed well in his teacher's knowledge and experience it directly for himself.

Speaker 12: The person who was to become the Buddha, was very good at all those practices. He was a super student doing these practices, taking them to their limit. And no matter what he did in these practices, he was still stuck in the pain that he set out with.

Speaker 13: He ascends to these very rarefied states of consciousness. But it's not permanent. And it does not bring penetrating truth into the nature of reality. So these become a temporary escape from the problem of existence, but they don't solve the problem.

Speaker 7: Siddhartha apprenticed himself to another popular guru, but the results were the same. "The thought occurred to me," he said later. "This practice does not lead to direct knowledge, to deeper awareness." Disenchanted, he left this master, too.

Siddhartha continued to drift south, still searching for the answer to his questions. Why do human beings suffer? Is there any escape?

Speaker 8: He's trying and trying, and searching and searching. And he already experienced extreme luxuries and now he tries extreme deprivation.

Speaker 7: Among the renunciants, asceticism was a common spiritual practice, punishing the body as a way to attain serenity and wisdom.

Speaker 12: He tortures himself trying to destroy anything within himself that he sees as bad. The spiritual tradition of that time said you can be liberated if you eliminate everything that's human, everything that's coarse and vulgar, every bit of anger, every bit of desire. If you wipe that out with force of will, then you can go into some kind of transcendental state. And the Buddha tried all that and he became the most anorectic of the anorectic ascetics. He was eating one grain of rice per day. He was drinking his own urine. He was standing on one foot. He was sleeping on nails. He did it all to the utmost.

Speaker 7: "My body slowly became extremely emaciated," Siddhartha said. "My limbs became like the jointed segments of vine or bamboo stems. My spine stood out like a string of beads. My ribs jutted out like the jutting rafters of an old abandoned building."

Speaker 14: They were trying to master suffering by making their minds so strong they would forget about their bodies. Then, one day, Siddhartha heard an old musician on the passing boat speaking to his pupil.

Speaker 15: If you tighten the string too much, it will snap. And if you leave it too slack, it won't play.

Speaker 14: Suddenly, Siddhartha realized that these simple words held a great truth. And that in all these years, he had been following the wrong path.

If you tighten the string too much, it will snap. And if you leave it too slack, it will not play.

A village girl offered Siddhartha her bowl of rice and for the first time in years, he tasted proper food. But when the ascetics saw their master bathing and eating like an ordinary person, they felt betrayed, as if Siddhartha had given up the great search for enlightenment.

Come and eat with me.

Speaker 16: You have betrayed your vows, Siddhartha.

Speaker 17: You have given up the search.

Speaker 18: We can no longer follow you.

Speaker 17: We can no longer learn from you.

Speaker 19: To learn is to change. The path to enlightenment is in the middle way. It is the line between all opposite extremes.

Speaker 3: It was springtime. The moon was full. Before the sun would rise, Siddhartha's long search would be over.

Speaker 9: He sat down under a Bodhi tree in the shelter of the natural world in all of its beauty and fullness. And he said, "I will not move from this place until I have solved my problem."

Speaker 3: "Let my skin and sinews and bones dry up, together with all the flesh and blood of my body," he said. "I welcome it. But I will not move from this spot until I have attained the supreme and final wisdom."

All at once, Mara, lord of desire, rose to challenge him. With an army of demons, he attacked.

Speaker 8: Mara is the ruler of this realm of desire, this world that we all live in. And what he's afraid Siddhartha is going to do, when he attains enlightenment and becomes the Buddha, is conquer that world. That is, he's going to do away with desire. He's going to wreck the whole game.

Speaker 3: Mara did not give up. He sent his three daughters to seduce him. Siddhartha remained still. Siddhartha resisted every temptation Mara could devise. The lord of desire had one final test. He demanded to know who would testify that Siddhartha was worthy of attaining ultimate wisdom and his demon army rose up to support him. He reached down and touched the ground.

Speaker 20: The Buddha reaches down and, with his finger, touches the earth. And he says, "The earth is my witness." He said, "Mara, you are not the earth. The earth is right here beneath my finger."

Speaker 3: Siddhartha meditated throughout the night. And all his former lives passed before him.

Speaker 11: He remembered all his previous life, infinite numbers of previous lives. Female and male and every other race and every other being, in the vast ocean of life forms. And he remembered that all viscerally, so that means his awareness expanded to be all, so that all the moments of the past were completely present to him.

Speaker 8: He gains the power to see the process of birth, death, and rebirth that all creatures go through. He's given this sort of cosmic vision of the workings of the entire universe.

Speaker 3: As the morning star appeared, he roared like a lion. "My mind," he said, "is at peace." The heavens shook and the Bodhi tree rained down flowers. He had become the awakened one, the Buddha.

Speaker 1: Buddhism is different than the other major world religious traditions because it is not oriented around God, but oriented around man. And what Buddha taught, is that we create our own suffering and the path out of suffering lies with us. We can alleviate suffering by changing our perception of ourselves in our world. Buddha taught that we suffer because we crave, because we're focused on ego, and because we assume things are permanent when they're actually impermanent. And for Buddha, the way not to suffer is to recognize that everything is impermanent, even ourselves. And to recognize the transitory nature of all things. And once we do that, then we can achieve nirvana.

Buddhists believe that we're already enlightened Buddhas and we just have to realize that ourselves. And for Buddhists, because the focus isn't on God, we can transform ourselves to become enlightened. We can understand the world in a particular way where we see the truth of our own natures. And in that respect, Buddhism is a self-empowering religion that many people gravitate towards because it doesn't necessitate that they worship any particular deity or engage in any other type of ritual other than meditation, contemplation, and introspection.

Speaker 2: The Buddha didn't accept the existence of a single God who created the world.

Speaker 21: Now, that's why we turn to Romans one to start with here, because I feel that this passage describes Buddhism very well. It says in verse number 18 ...

Speaker 22: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth and unrighteousness because that which may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it unto them, for the invincible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen. Being understood by the things that are made, even as eternal power and god [inaudible 00:28:20], so that they are without excuse. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in our imaginations and a foolish heart was darkened, professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."

Speaker 21: And the Bible often uses the word fool or foolish about the person who does not believe that there is a creator God. Now, one of the most famous verses in the Bible, Psalm 14:1 says the fool had said in his heart there is no God. But notice, picking up there in verse 22 of Romans 1 it says ...

Speaker 22: "And changed the glory of the uncoruptable God into an image made like to corruptible man and to birds and four footed beasts and creeping things. Wherefore God also gaze him up so uncleanest through the lust of their own hearts to dishonor their own bodies between themselves who changed the truth of God into a lie and worshiped and served the creature more than the creator who was blessed forever. Amen."

Speaker 21: So what do we see here? A denial of the creator. The fool saying in his that there is no God. This is what the 500 million followers of Buddhism represent. Now, not only that, but it talks about the fact that they then would make an image of man as a replacement for God, or even an image of animals and four footed beasts and creeping things. This is what we would know as idolatry.

See, idolatry is a major feature of Buddhism. They don't just deny that God exists and deny the creator. But they also have a lot of idolatry in their religion. The most famous idolatry associated with Buddhism would be the image of Buddha himself. And you'll often see those statues that are usually made out of medal, a molten image, where you have Buddha sitting cross-legged, lotus style, and he's got a big smile on his face or a very stoic look on his face or all the different styles of Buddha's that you'll see. Often, you'll see Asian people that will wear a jade Buddha around their neck at the end of a necklace as well.

So, this is a huge feature of Buddhism. You go to restaurants that are owned by those who are Buddhist, you go into the homes of Buddhist people, you'll see all manner of idolatry. Molten images. Graven images. This is a big part of the religion.

How does God feel about idolatry? Look what the Bible says in Exodus chapter 20 verse 4. This is one of the 10 commandments, the second commandment. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is the earth beneath or that is in the water under the earth. Thous shall not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them, for I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."

Now, is it interesting that those who make graven images and molten images are associated with those who hate God? Why? Because of the fact that people don't want to acknowledge God, they don't want to believe in the true God of the Bible, so they form and fashion their own god. And that's why those two things are associated there in Exodus chapter 20. You don't have to turn there, but in Isaiah chapter 30, if you would, you turn to first Corinthians 10. You go to first Corinthian 10.

In Isaiah 30 verse 22, God uses very strong language in his condemnation of idolatry, graven images, molten images. Listen to how God speaks about idolatry. He says in Isaiah 30 verse 20, "Ye shall defile also the coverings of the graven images of silver and the ornament of thy molten images of gold. Thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth. Thou shalt say unto it, 'Get thee hence.'"

I mean, that's pretty strong language condemning idolatry in the book of Isaiah. He says in first Corinthians 10 verse 14 in the New Testament, "Wherefore my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." Jump down to verse 19. "What say I then? That the idol is anything or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. And I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the lord and the cup of devils. Ye cannot be partakers of the lord's table and of the table of devils."

So even though Buddhism denies ... The first point is that they deny the existence of the creator. All types of Buddhists, all denominations of Buddhism deny a creator God. Non-theistic religion. But although they do deny the creator, they do believe in various deities or basically demons that they will worship and things like that. Although they don't believe that any of them is really God or the creator.

Speaker 2: These are advanced practitioners, you might say, of the bodhisattva path, who have reached the eighth further nine further tenth stages in the 10 stages of the bodhisattva path. And they've achieved extraordinary superhuman powers. These powers make it possible for celestial bodhisattvas to reside in the heavens, hence the name celestial. They're up there in the heaven. And it makes it possible, these powers make it possible for them to function as the Buddhist equivalent of the Hindu gods, because we're still operating here within the worldview and the religious system of traditional India.

Buddhists insist, though, that these great bodhisattvas have gone so far beyond the Hindu gods in their power and in their understanding of reality that it's really not appropriate to think of them as being even gods at all. So what we do, technically, when we speak about the celestial bodhisattvas of the Mahayana, is to call the, I suppose, Buddhist deities or call them simple celestial bodhisattvas in order to distinguish them from the Hindu gods.

This leads us, in an interesting way I think, into the heart of the Mahayana. I sometimes think that the most basic form of religious practice, especially in the theistic religious tradition, although it also applies here in the Mahayana, is simply to call on the name of the deity and expect the deity in some way to respond or at least to meditate in some way on the presence of the deity and the deities concern for you.

Speaker 21: And so they worship these devils. That's what the Bible says about idolatry in first Corinthians 10, that idolatry is the worship of devils. It is the worship of demons.

Speaker 22: Wherefore my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. What say I, then? That the idol was anything or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is anything? But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils and not to God. I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the lord and the cup of devils. Ye cannot be partakers of the lord's table and of the table of devils.

Speaker 23: So Buddhism is a kind of bait and switch. They appeal to people by saying, "There's no God. You don't have to take anything on faith. It's all verified by your own experience." But then the next thing you know, you're bowing down to a bunch of carved images and chanting the names of Hindu gods. Literally praying to demons. But you're told that these aren't really gods, they're just deities. They're just these ascended masters or celestial Buddha's, celestial bodhisattvas that you're going to pray to and get your prayers answered. But that's not what they start out telling people. They start out with, "Oh, there's no creator God." And that's how they suck in people who don't want to believe in God.

Speaker 21: And by the way, that's why Buddhism's becoming so popular in the United States today. That's why amongst a lot of those who live an ungodly and wicked life, Buddhism is appealing to them. They don't want anything to do with the God of the Bible. And as our country becomes more and more atheistic and as children are being brought up in school with atheism and agnosticism, well Buddhism's a perfect fit. Hey you can be spiritual but without God, without believing in God, without acknowledging the God of the Bible or really without believing in any god. No creator. This is why Buddhism is on the rise in the West in the last century and especially in the last few years.

But secondly this about Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to achieve what's called nirvana, which literally means extinguishment. That's what it means in the original language, the word nirvana. Now basically the goal of Buddhism, you're not even going to believe this, the goal of Buddhism is to die and never come back. Just to be dead. Just to be gone. That's the goal. Now, a lot of people misunderstand this and think, "Oh, nirvana, that's heaven." Or, "That's this wonderful place or a wonderful state that you get to and it's so great." No, no, no. It's just to die and never come back. That's the goal.

Now, I don't know about you, but that's not really aiming very high. The goal is just to die. It's just to be gone. And you say, "Well, why in the world would somebody have that as their goal, just to die and be gone and cease to exist?" Well, because Buddhism teaches that all of life is suffering. All of human life is suffering. Everything about our lives, everything that we do, everything that we experience is all suffering.

Speaker 2: And this is about as deep as you can go into the Buddhist concept of suffering. When they say that all is suffering they mean, of course, that some things are painful. They mean also that some things are impermanent, that all things are impermanent and pass away. But what they mean in the most fundamental sense is that there is no permanent reality that gives anything any identity that endures from one moment to the next. It's the great Buddhist doctrine of no self.

To recognize that there is no self, in the end, is not to lose anything important. It's simply to let go of the frustration and the attachment that brings suffering to this world. And in that sense, this extraordinary claim, all is suffering, becomes a claim about freedom, about buoyancy, about lightness, and about, in the end, nirvana.

Now, we face here with the concept of nirvana, a dilemma that's fairly similar to the dilemma we faced earlier with the concept of suffering. Nirvana is spoken of in the Buddhist tradition as being extremely desirable. It's something that we would really like to seek and yet we have to confront it, I think, initially as being a rather harsh concept, a concept that has to do with the extinction of things that for many of us at least are pretty desirable, pretty positive in our normal understanding of human life.

So we have to ask ourselves the basic question, why do Buddhists treat this as being such a desirable goal? What's so great about this? Why would you ever want to seek nirvana if it involves the extinction of all of these things that to many of us are really quite desirable?

The first answer to this question, I think, really has to be one in which we look very carefully again at the Indian assumption about the nature of reincarnation. I think the concept of nirvana forces us, really, to take quite seriously the negative aspect, the negative evaluation of the concept of reincarnation in this Indian tradition. If reincarnation is something you don't want, if you really don't want to come back again and again in some future life, then really what you want to do, what you seek, is the stopping of that. And the Buddha found how to do that. That was the great thing that he discovered.

Speaker 21: This is what Buddhism teaches. They teach that the goal is to never come back, to stop this endless cycle of reincarnation, which by the way, doesn't even exist. We know where Buddha's really at. He's burning in hell. He's burning in hell right now. Oh yeah, Buddha. With Buddha you don't have to take anything on faith. Well, how do we know that he achieved nirvana? How do we know he's not roasting in hell right now? In fact, that's where he's at.

Speaker 24: [foreign language 00:41:24].

Speaker 21: Let me read to you from Job three. This verse is the first thing that popped into my mind when I heard this. Job 3:20.

Speaker 22: Wherefore it's like given to him that is misery and life unto the bittering soul, which longed for death but it cometh not. And dig for it more than for he treasures which rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they can find the grave.

Speaker 21: I mean, that's Buddhism right there in the Bible. But anyway, look at Proverbs chapter 8 verse 32.

Speaker 22: Now therefore, harken unto oh ye children, for blessed are they that keep my ways, hear instruction and be wise and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For who so findeth me findeth life and shall obtain favor of the lord. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul. All they that hate me love death.

Speaker 21: Now, like I said, the word nirvana in the original language literally means extinguishment. And what they mean by that is that all desire is distinguished. Basically, you don't care about anything. Because they claim that the reason why you keep getting reincarnated and coming back is because you want to come back, you have all this desire that's unfulfilled so you got to get to where you just don't care.

Speaker 2: Well, I think we have to say, using the language of the Indian tradition that he was exquisitely free, first of all. He was free from desire, he was free from ignorance, and there was nothing in that sense that troubled him or disturbed his heart.

Speaker 25: Nirvana can be translated at freedom. Freedom from views. And in Buddhism, all views are wrong views. When you get in touch with reality, you no longer have views. You have wisdom. You have a [inaudible 00:44:58] encounter with reality. And that is no longer called views.

Speaker 21: Now, what is the relationship between Buddhism and suicide? Well, let me give you a quote from a very popular Buddhist, this is a Vietnamese Buddhist, he's very famous. [Thich Nhat Hanh 00:45:17]. He's 88 years old, vegan, buddy of Martin Luther King Jr, author of 100 books, et cetera. And he's referring to all these Vietnamese Buddhists who were committing suicide by throwing themselves into the fire, to express will by burning oneself therefore is not to commit an act of destruction but to perform an act of construction. See, it's very constructive to throw yourself in the fire.

Let's finish this quote here. This is to suffer, to die for the sake of one's people. No, somebody already did that. His name's Jesus. You don't need to throw yourself in the fire. That's not going to help your people at all. And why don't you throw yourself in the fire, buddy? You're 88 years old. Eating a bunch of vegan food. You haven't thrown yourself in the fire yet. But you like it when other people do it.

Here's what he said. This is not suicide. Suicide is an act of self destruction. This self destruction is considered by Buddhism as one of the most serious crimes. The monk who burns himself has lost neither courage nor hope. Nor does he desire non existence. The monk believes he's practicing the doctrine of highest compassion by sacrificing himself in order to call attention of and to seek help from the people of the world.

So, this is actually a wonderful ... It's not suicide. You just don't understand Buddhism. Lighting yourself on fire is constructive? It takes great courage? Okay. Look what the Bible says in Matthew 17:14.

Speaker 22: And when they would come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him and saying, "Lord, have mercy on my son for he is lunatic and so avexed for oft times he falleth into the fire and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples and they could not cure him." Then Jesus answered and said, "Oh, faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil and he departed out of him. And the child was cured from that very hour.

Speaker 21: You see, the Bible associates throwing yourself in the fire with being demon possessed. That's what we see here. It's a death worship. It's a love and pursuit of death. And they can call it whatever they want, that's what I'm calling it. That is what it really comes down to.

But, in regard to that, the Buddhists literally worship Buddha's dead corpse. Literally. You see, when Buddha died, or as they would say, he reached parinirvana, complete nirvana. When Buddha died, they actually cremated his body and they made sure to divide it up in as many small pieces because they wanted to put it in all these different shrines where his dead corpse could be worshiped in as many places and by as many people as possible so that they could literally bow down and worship the dead corpse of Buddha.

Speaker 26: The Buddha died at the age of 84. His body was cremated but his bones remained unburned. They were distributed amongst the various tribes, rulers, and kingdoms who are now starting to follow the Buddhist way and who honored its founder by building monuments or stupas over his remains. In Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, stands the boudhanath stupa. It was first built in the fifth or early sixth centuries AD, then rebuilt and restored a number of times. Finally, as this giant enclosed tomb in the 14th century. It is the largest in the Indian subcontinent, a sacred place for thousands of Buddhists throughout the world.

Speaker 27: Buddhism consists, as far as Buddhists are concerned, in three things, which they called the three jewels, and those three things are closely connected. The first is the Buddha, the founder of their religion. The second is called the Sanga, and that is the community of monks and nuns. The third is called the Dharma. The Dharma refers to the preaching, the teaching, of the Buddha. In other words, it's what the Buddha discovered and it's also the truth.

Speaker 26: As you walk around the boudhanath here, you always have this sense that you're being watched. And that's because the Buddha's all-seeing eyes are always staring down at you. Something you won't find represented up there are the Buddha's ears and there is a particular reason for that. We're told that the Buddha said he never wanted to hear that he was being worshiped.

Speaker 21: Thank God for the resurrection of the lord Jesus Christ. Yeah, I serve a risen savior. He's in the world today. I know that he is living whatever man would say. He lives. He lives. Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. He lives. He lives. Salvation to impart. You ask me how I know ... Sing it! He lives. He lives. Within my heart.

Okay. Or you could worship the dead corpse of Buddha.

If we go around and ask people, "Do you know for sure if you died today you'd go to heaven?" A lot of them would say, "Yes, because I'm a good person." Or, "Yes, because I keep the commandments." Or, "Yes. I live a good life." But that's not what the Bible says. The Bible actually says that we're not saved by our good deeds or our good life. It says that we're saved by the Gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Now, the reason why it's important to understand that we're not saved by how good we are, the Bible says in Romans chapter 3 verse 10, "There, as it is written there is none righteous. No, not one." So none of us is righteous. I'm not righteous. You're not righteous. And the Bible says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Every single one of us has sinned before. And because of that sin, we come short of the glory of God.

Well, the Bible says there's a punishment for our sin. It says, "For the wages of sin is death." But not only are we going to die physically one day, the Bible talks about a second death. It says, "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

Now, what would we normally call that lake of fire? What would we refer to that as?

Audience: Hell.

Speaker 21: Right. And the Bible actually has a list of people that are going to hell. It says, "But the fearful and unbelieving and the abominable and murderers and sorcerers and whore mongers and idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone," which is the second death.

Now this doesn't really look like a room full of murderers to me. I don't see a lot of murderers in here, probably not a lot of sorcerers. Anybody in here into black magic and witchcraft? Probably not. So, you may not be a sorcerer or a murderer or anything like that. But you know what the Bible does say, "And all liars." And I know I've lied before. Who here has lied before? Yeah. Every single person. The Bible says, "Yay, let God be true but every man a liar."

Unfortunately, we've all committed that sin. We've all lied before. But the Bible said, "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." So according to the Bible, that's where we all deserve to go, to the second death, to the lake of fire, because we've all sinned. We've all lied. And let's be honest, we've done other sins, too. There are times when we've disobeyed our parents, which is a sin. There are time when we may have stolen something. Or even the Bible says just the thought of foolishness is sin. Even just thinking a stupid thought is a sin. And we have thousands of thoughts every day. I'm sure many of them are foolish. I'm sure many of them are stupid.

So we've all sinned, but the good news is that God loves us. And if God loves us, of course he does not want us to go to hell. But was he just kidding when he said that the lake of fire is where we're going if we've lied? No. That's no joke. But that's why Jesus Christ came to this earth to save us. The Bible says, "But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." And Jesus Christ was God in the form of a human being. Right? Because there's the father, the son, and the holy ghost. And these three are one.

And so, God himself came down to this earth in the form of a human being. He was born as a little baby, born of a virgin, and he was just a little baby and he grew up. And he lived a perfect life. He never sinned one time. He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin.

Now, Jesus performed a lot of miracles, didn't he? Does anybody remember some of the miracles that Jesus performed? Anybody remember one? Your hand popped up. Who's got one?

Audience: [inaudible 00:54:57].

Speaker 21: Yes. There was deaf man that he healed. What else did he do?

Audience: He healed a blind man.

Speaker 21: He healed a blind man?

Audience: [inaudible 00:55:04] turned water into wine.

Speaker 21: He turned water into wine. Great. Anybody else got one?

Audience: He raised Lazarus.

Speaker 21: He raised Lazarus from the dead. Wait, did she take yours? Is that it? Anybody else got one? What about when he fed 5 thousand people with five loaves and two fishes. You remember that? He did a lot of miracles. What about when Peter, remember his disciple Peter, actually whipped out a sword in the garden of Gethsemane, and Peter swung a sword and chopped off one of the servants of the high priest ear. And Jesus picked up the guys' ear and put it back on and healed it. Right? You remember that story?

Audience: Yeah. Yes.

Speaker 21: So Jesus performed a lot of miracles but he also preached the word of God. He also preached the truth. And a lot of people are offended by the truth. They get angry when they hear about the truth, when they hear the Bible preached it offends people. It angers people sometimes. And so, Jesus had a lot of enemies.

So eventually Jesus got arrested. And they arrested Jesus at night and they took him down at night and they actually put him on trial and then they beat him. They spit on him. They hit him in the head with a stick. And they also whipped him. And after that, they nailed him onto the cross. And the Bible says that when Jesus was nailed to that cross, that he himself bear our sins in his own body on the tree. That means that every sin that you've ever done and every sin that I've ever done, it was as if Jesus had done it. He was basically being punished for our sins.

And then, after Jesus died on the cross, they buried his body in a tomb of a rich man named Joseph of [Eramathia 00:56:40]. They put him in that tomb and put a big, giant stone over the door of where his body was laid. And his soul went down into hell for three days and three nights. And then three days later, what happened?

Audience: He rose.

Speaker 21: He rose again from the dead, right? And when Jesus rose again from the dead, he showed the disciples the holes in his hands and the hole in his side just to prove that it was really him.

Now, Jesus died for everybody in this whole world, but everybody's not automatically going to go to heaven. Because the Bible's teaching that there's one thing that we must do to be saved. And it asked that question one time. It said, "What must I do to be saved?" And they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thous shalt be saved." And that's it. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

So it does not say that you have to join my church to be saved. It doesn't say join your church to be saved. It doesn't say to join any church to be saved. Church is important. Church is good. But when it comes to being saved, the one thing that we must do to be saved is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved.

Now, there are lots of things that we should do. Right? What are some things that we should do? I mean, we should read our Bibles. We should pray. We should go to church. We should keep the commandments. We should do a lot. We should be a good student in school. We should obey our parents, obey the teacher. Those are all good things that we should do. But when it comes to what we must do, what we must do to be saved, it's one thing. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.

See, John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever, whoever, believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life." So notice it doesn't say whoever's good enough. It doesn't say whoever stops sinning. It says whoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life. The Bible says, "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves it's the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast."

So salvation is the gift of God. Let me ask you this. If I were to give you a gift today, would you have to give me money for that? If I'm giving you a gift? You're going like this but now you're going like this. All right. Yeah. If somebody gives you a gift, it's free. Right? So if I said, "Hey," what's your name?"

Akim: Akim.

Speaker 21: Akim? If I said, "Hey, I'm going to give you this Bible as a gift, Akim, but you got to give me $5,000." Is that a gift?

Audience: No.

Speaker 21: What if I said, "Okay, Akim, I got this Bible for you. It's a free gift. But my car's outside. I need you to clean it out and wash it and then I'll give it to you." Is that a gift?

Audience: No.

Speaker 21: Okay. What if I said, "Hey, Akim. I'm going to give you this Bible as a gift, but you're going to be my servant for the rest of your life. So you have to obey everything, whatever I tell you." Is that a gift?

Audience: No.

Speaker 21: No way. Okay. What if I said, "Here, Akim. I'm going to give you this Bible as a gift. It's yours for free." And then I came back two weeks later and I come into the class and I say, "Hey, Akim, I need that back." Is that a gift?

Audience: No.

Speaker 21: No. Because the thing about a gift is that a gift is free. And once you receive it, it's yours forever. You get to keep it, right?

So, let me ask you this. If God gives us the gift of eternal life, is he going to come back and take it away from us?

Audience: No.

Speaker 21: Is he going to break his promise and take it away? The Bible says, "This is the promise that he hath promised us even eternal life." So if God promised us eternal life, is he going to break that promise and take it away from us? So once he gives you that gift, it's yours.

Now, that's why the Gospel's called Good News because that's good news. The good news is, it's easy to go to heaven. Do you think a loving God would want to make it hard to go to heaven or easy to go to heaven?

Audience: Easy.

Speaker 21: If he loves us, right? It's easy. He wants us to be safe. He did the hard part when he died for us. That was the hard part, being crucified, being buried, rising again. All we have to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It's that easy to be saved. Okay?

And then once we receive that free gift of eternal life, there's nothing we could ever do to lose that because Jesus promised us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." Jesus said, "I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Once we're saved, we have eternal life. We're God's children. He'll never leave us or forsake us.

Now, if we go out and break the commandments after we're saved, we're still saved. But he will punish us on this earth. You will reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. And just as your parents will discipline you when you disobey, they'll punish you. But they're not going to throw you out of the family, are they? I mean, if you break a rule at your house ... Tell me a rule that's at your house. What's one of the rules at your house?

Kellyanne: No running in the hallway.

Speaker 21: There's no running in the hallway. Okay. And what's your name.

Kellyanne: Kellyanne.

Speaker 21: Kelly?

Kellyanne: Kellyanne.

Speaker 21: Kellyanne? So let's say Kellyanne goes home today and just starts running through the hallway. Just running through the hallway, just running up and down the house. Right? Do you think your parents are going to say, "You know, Kellyanne, you can't be our daughter anymore. You must leave home. We cannot have a daughter like you in our house. We're sending you away." Do you think that would happen?

Kellyanne: Probably not.

Speaker 21: Okay. But do you think that they're just going to smile and say, "It's okay. Just keep on running, Kellyanne." Do you think they're just going to be like a pit crew giving her water and Gatorade and telling her to keep running? No, they're going to make her stop. Right? And they're going to discipline her and say, "Hey. You break the rules you're going to be punished." But they're not going to throw her out of family.

Well, here, it's the same thing with God. If we break God's rules, he'll punish us on this earth, but he's not going to kick us out of the family. Okay? Now, if she commits a ... If she breaks a ... That's probably a small rule. There's probably other bigger rules where she'd get a bigger punishment. Okay? So let's say she breaks a huge rule, she's going to get a huge punishment. If she breaks a little rule, she's going to get a little punishment. But no matter what she does, she's still going to be their daughter. They're still going to love her. Right? They're still going to give her food and a place to sleep.

It's the same way with God. Once we believe on Jesus Christ, we're his children. He'll never leave us. He'll never forsake us. If we break the rules, he'll discipline us but he's not going to throw us out of the family. Does everybody understand what I'm saying today?

Audience: Yes.

Speaker 21: Who believes what I'm saying today? You believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again and that you're saved by believing in Christ. Who believes that? Okay. Well, listen, I want to pray with you real quick before I go. Okay? I'm just about done. I just want to pray with you and help you tell God that that's what you believe right now and just confess that to God right now.

So let's bow our head and pray. You can just repeat this after me and just say this to God. Dear Jesus.

Audience: Dear Jesus.

Speaker 21: I know that I'm a sinner.

Audience: I know that I'm a sinner.

Speaker 21: I know I deserve hell.

Audience: I know I deserve hell.

Speaker 21: But thank you for dying on the cross for me.

Audience: But thank you for dying on the cross for me.

Speaker 21: And rising again from the dead.

Audience: And rising again from the dead.

Speaker 21: Please save me right now.

Audience: Please save me right now.

Speaker 21: And give me the gift.

Audience: And give me the gift.

Speaker 21: Of eternal life.

Audience: Of eternal life.

Speaker 21: I'm only trusting you, Jesus.

Audience: I'm only trusting you, Jesus.

Speaker 21: Your death, your burial, and your resurrection.

Audience: Your death, your burial, and your resurrection.

Speaker 21: Amen.

Audience: Amen.

Speaker 21: Now, who just prayed that prayer right now and you meant it? Put up your hand if you meant that? Yeah. So here's the thing, here's what the Bible said. It said that if thous shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in thine heart that God is risen from the dead, thou shall be saved. He didn't say, "You might be saved." He said, "You shall be saved." Isn't that great news? So you already know the last chapter in your life. You already know that you're going to heaven when you die.

But the question is, how are you going to live your life in between, right? Do you want to just keep getting disciplined like if Kellyanne just ran through the hall every day? Do you want to keep getting disciplined? Or, do you want God to bless you and please God and you want to love God show him your love by obeying his command-