Tuesday, August 16, 2005

First temple



My guide, Lek, is a Buddhist, and he brought me to a temple that was dedicated to the monk who founded it. The monk died 17 years ago and his body is preserved in the glass coffin you see here. There was a biography of the monk and he was an impressive man.

The whole experience of visiting a Buddhist temple was awkward for me, as a Christian. I want to show respect for other folks' desire to pursue holiness, without giving the impression that I make no distinction between Christianity and other faiths. I dealt with it by behaving the way I'd want a Buddhist to behave when visiting a Christian church. I was quiet and respectful, asked first before taking pictures, and listened to what Lek was telling me about the temple, the monk, and so forth. I asked questions about various things and found commonality with Christianity wherever possible. Lek showed me the Five Precepts of Buddhism, and I explained that we have Ten Commandments.

And I prayed quietly that all the hunger for holiness will help the Buddhists to find their way to the Father, as I do in Korea when confronted with Buddhism.

My fear isn't being unpopular; it's that I don't want to teach other people of other faiths that Christians are jerks. I want to leave a positive impression of Christians so that they'll be open to the Gospel. And frankly I don't know what to do around folks who actually have another faith. I'm used to dealing with straightforward unbelievers.

Just a little of what was going through my head and heart as I visited this beautiful site and pondered what the appropriate Christian response should be.

So, enjoy the beautiful pictures.





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