the buddhist monk

As many people know, I have this obsession for Cars (the Disney/Pixar movie), specifically the character Tow Mater. I mean, I absolutely love this movie and all of the paraphernalia that goes with it. I have a Cars Christmas tree, Tow Mater socks, Tow Mater piggy banks and stuffed…well…tow trucks. And to add to my latest collection, in light of the debut of Cars 2 this summer, I am dying to have the Cars cake pan.  I found it the other night on Williams-Sonoma’s website.  I was ecstatic.  It was the perfect combination of something I love (baking) combined with another thing that I love.  The only problem was that it was $40 which is a little bit pricey for me.  However, I put it in my shopping cart to purchase in a few days.

So today, I decided to check Target.com like I usually do every week.  While there, I decided to just see if they had any kind of Cars baking supplies. Lo and behold, they had the SAME pan for 15 dollars cheaper!  Amusingly enough, this has been one of the most exciting things that has happened to me this week.

This past Tuesday was Buddha’s birthday, and they celebrate it big time here in Korea. They decorate the whole city, and probably country, with hundreds and thousands of lanterns. Everywhere. People put these up weeks before the actual birthday.  His birthday is even a national holiday. Businesses close and people parade in the streets. It’s like Thanksgiving or Christmas.  Last weekend in Seoul, they had a whole festival dedicated to Buddha’s birthday that was 5 days long. I got the chance to go, and it was pretty fun. On Tuesday (the actual birthday) one of my friends and I decided we would go to the Buddhist temple nearby to see what festivities were going on.  

We got to see inside of the temple, and inside there were people praying to him and bringing him sacrifices. I also got to have a very interesting conversation with one of the monks there. He spoke very good English, and so we had sort of a theological discussion for an hour or so. He said that he had studied Christianity and Islam, but in the end he chose Buddhism because of the freedom.  As he continued he said that with Buddhism, Buddha just suggests whether or not you should do something but there are no laws.  It is all up to the person to control themselves and make decisions for themselves in the end.

As I sat there and listened to him, I just wanted the right words to say to show him that there was so much he was missing. I just wanted to tell him that Buddha wasn’t going to be there for him when things fall apart, and that if all you do is depend on your mind, then where do you turn when that fails you too? My heart broke for this man. My heart broke for all of the people there to worship Buddha.  Because he was just a man. He offers no hope for the future. And he doesn’t have an unending love for those who follow him.

I have made it my goal to study up on Buddhism and read works of how to talk to Buddhists about Christianity and to go back and talk to the monk about Jesus. And not in a “I’m right and you are wrong” kind of way – because I don’t want to push him away. I just really don’t want him to live an empty life anymore. Shoot. There are so many times that I don’t want to live an empty life anymore. It can get so hard to become distant from God when it becomes your responsibility to take your faith into your own hands. The monk told me to come back anytime and talk to him, and I am going to take him up on that.

I will let you know how it goes. Please pray for me to be able to show God through my words and actions.

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One Response to the buddhist monk

  1. Very interesting stuff…”hunting the good stuff” is full of great advice. Korea is full of ups and downs.

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