November 18, 2017

WVS101FYI Sri Lanka

FYI. Ran across two links on Sri Lanka that may be of interest on their inter-religious situation.

Buddhist Extremists in Sri Lanka

 

 

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/buddhist-extremists-in-sri-lanka-and-burma-on-the-warpath/

 

Dilemmas and Aspirations of Postcolonial Buddhists and Christians in Sri Lanka

Here’s the blog’s address:

https://thuppahi.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/dilemmas-and-aspirations-of-ostcolonial-buddhists-and-christians-in-sri-lanka/

The Maitreya Project~False Prophets Will Arise To Decieve

Note:

(Since this article was published May 2011, the Maitreya Project has been relocated, rescheduled to be built in Bodhgaya, India, the original site chosen for the project. It has not yet been built and has been downsized substantially from it’s original design).

For false Christ’s and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

-Matthew 24:24

 

module 3 picture

Maitreya Buddha Statue to be built in Bodhgaya, India.

Background. The promise of a future Messiah is almost universal as a redemptive motif in the world’s great religions. For millions of Christians, we await the second coming of Jesus Christ in His glorious and resurrected form.  In Islam it is the 12th Imam whose advent prior to a prophesied Islamic Armageddon is the present preoccupation of President Ahminejab of Iran. Among Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana (Tibetan) Buddhists, Maitreya is looked upon as the future “Buddha to whom one could turn in hope” who will descend from the Tushita heaven to earth to reign in human form as did Sakyamuni at the end of the age.

 

Maitreya was the object of devotion of the Maitreya Cult in the early centuries AD in Northwest India.  Lewis Lancaster suggests that “the eschatological telos of the Maitreya cult was articulated relatively late in East Asia.” In Japan centering on Mount Fuji, the utopian cult of Maitreya saw him as “a divine figure whose chief function was to lead the distressed back to the “way of the eternal mother.” In Korea, he was seen as warrior, guardian, symbol of fertility, and “the spirit of possession in ecstatic religious experience,” and “the heralder of a new world.” Other royalty who claimed to be the incarnations of Maitreya included   Empress Wu of China (r.684-704) and King Alaungpaya of Burma(r 1752-1760). Buddha Mi-Lo of China who one sees in Chinese restaurants and temples represented by a fat, joyful countenance with many children, considered the Oriental Santa Claus, is also widely considered “an incognito appearance of the next historical Buddha, Maitreya.”[i]  Some believe the central statue of the main stupa at Borobudur in Indonesia was none other than Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future.

Hidden Borobudur Buddhist Temple

 

 

In Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Buddha Maitreya is included in the pantheon along with Hevajra (a Tantric deity from the 12th and 13th centuries A.D.), Garuda (a Hindu mythological being with a bird’s head), Lokesvara and Laksmi. Strangely many of “the titles all continue with the word mahanatha, ‘the great savior.’”  It was not unusual to hear “Come, Maitreya, come!”  As Christians we know our heart cry for centuries has been the certain hope of the Messiah’s return, “Maranatha, Come quickly, LORD Jesus.” Other translations are, “Our LORD has come!”, “Our LORD is coming!” or “Our LORD come!”  “Most expositors still regard the Jerusalem church as the most likely source of the phrase. (Colin Brown) The Apostle Paul encourages believers to live in the hope of His coming. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and ‘the dead in Christ shall rise first.” (I Thess. 4:16-18). We are not to grieve as the heathen “who have no hope.”

November 19 2012 Obama pours water on Friday Buddha at Swedegon Pagoda in Burma

In Thailand, there is a prophecy about the coming of Maitreya Buddha which has been the source of much controversy within Buddhist as well as Christian circles. John R. Davis in Poles Apart? Contextualizing the Gospel spoke of a document which according to an assistant professor at Chiengmai University was “written in the local language of the Old Kingdom located at the present Chiengmai.” The professor reading the document concluded that it was written “before the present Thailand was established. Therefore it is impossible that the writer of this document was influenced by Christianity.”  The Thai Pastor wrote:

 

“This unpublished document which I received from my father was a copy of the Buddhist Scriptures placed at Pra-sing Temple at Chiengmai. In one section of this document which is part of Buddha’s prophecy, a certain old Brahman asked the Buddha about how to be saved from sin. The Buddha answered that regardless of how many laws you have kept, or even if you pray five times a day, you shall not be saved.  Buddha continues saying that sin is too great to be washed away; even though I become a hermit, for more than eight ‘A-song-kai’ or am reborn for another ten times, I shall not be saved. The Brahman asked what Mettay’s character is. The Buddha answered that in his hands and feet are wounds, his side has wound which was pierced and his forehead is full of scars from wounds. He is the gold ship to carry you to heaven where you will find the “Tri-pra’ (the Crystal Triune god). Thus, give up following the old way. A spirit from heaven will come and dwell in your heart by which you will overcome your enemies from both four and eight directions.”

 

Whether the sutra is the actual recorded saying of the Buddha, or as some Buddhists claim, a conspiracy to Buddhaize Christianity, it reveals the longing of humanity’s heart for a Messiah.  “At the scene of the Buddha’s death, Buddha is reported to have said,

“I am not the first Buddha who came upon earth, nor shall I be the last. In due time another Buddha will arise in this world, a holy one, a supremely enlightened one, endowed with wisdom in conduct, auspicious, knowing the universe, an incomparable leader of men, a master of angels and mortals. He will proclaim a religious life, wholly perfect and pure; such as I now proclaim… He will be known as Mettaya, which means “he whose name is kindness.”

July 1 2014 Pope Paul and the Dalai Lama and African Bishop

It is this messianic hope that is the basis of the construction of the Maitreya Project and also the image that the present XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet taps into. He publicly claims to be the incarnation of Avalokitsevara, the patron deity of Tibet whose assignment it is to protect the Buddhist Dharma in the interim between Sakyamuni and prepare for the coming of Maitreya. He often says that his religion is kindness. To millions of his followers he is the living Buddha of this age. One Catholic in California attending his talk at Loyola Marymount, a Catholic University echoes the public opinion, ‘he is the closest thing in our present day to what one would call a hero.’  Just recently, Maria Schwarzenegger, a professed Catholic and the First Lady of California journeyed to Dharamsala, India with her Governor husband’s permission and invited the Dalai Lama to speak at the California Women’s Conference who just led 13,000 women in a meditation in Long Beach, California September 2006.

 

For us as Christians the impending construction of this ‘Buddhist Mecca’ represents one of the greatest global spiritual challenges to Christianity in the new millennium. How do we approach this? Stanley Mooneyham at one time Director of World Vision International (according to Davis) just prior to fall of Cambodia‘ centered in on Christ as the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies of Mettaya (Maitreya) which are also known in China, Thailand, and Cambodia.’  Some have even gone as far as replacing the word Jesus Christ with Mettreya “the Buddha of the end-of-all-times of this world that will make everything new.” [ii]  Sadly, contextualization and syncretism are becoming almost interchangeable as terms, leaving Christians and Buddhists confused and divided. In a conversation with Videsh, a Thai Buddhist monk, he stated that while he was actually interested in considering becoming a Christian, he had problems with symbols like that of the Christian cross emerging out of the Lotus. He said, “Let the Cross stand alone for Christ and the Lotus for Buddhism.”   God has stated that ‘He will not share His glory with another or give His praise to graven images.’ Should we not stand expressly upon the doctrines and iconic images that have been the expressions of the historic Christian faith?

 

Buddhism’s doctrine of assimilation may one day be found to be to blame for the confusion about the future coming Maitreya. Dr. John M.L. Young believed that Buddhism was changed early on by an encounter with Nestorian Christianity in China wherein a Buddhist, impressed by the claims of Christianity, nonetheless rejected the faith, but incorporated elements that he found attractive such as heaven, the idea of grace, and deity. Therefore, an unlikely departure from the Buddha’s early teachings which did not hold to a belief in an Almighty God of Creation were introduced by giving Amitabha, the authority as the “gracious Buddha of the Western Paradise and Infinite Light” to bestow upon his followers the grace of chanting the Nembutsu once to enter into heaven, which was still lower than nirvana however. Would it be possible that they also liked the glorious idea of the return of the Messiah, now the Mahanatha, Come Maitreya Come? theme “borrowed” from the Christian faith, not unlike they did from the Hindus, the God of the sun, the god of the moon, other Hindu gods, the Taoist, the Shinto gods,  in China, Korea and Japan, or Tibet for that matter? What does it matter when you don’t have an Almighty, Holy God to fear?

 

Imagine living prior to the construction of the Islamic pilgrimage site in Mecca. That’s the moment we find ourselves in this day. Over 5,000,000 Moslems make a pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca every year. And they must be Moslems. In the case of the Maitreya project, all will be welcome. When one thinks of the principality the “Prince of Greece” contending for the kingdom of Greece, we might ask, “Who is the principality contending for the control of Uttar Pradesh?”  Over 300,000 people live in proximity to the 750 acre site for the Maitreya Project in Kushinagar. The site was first imagined by a Tibetan Buddhist Lama Thubten Yeshe, “who first expressed his wish to build a huge Maitreya statue” in Bodhgaya in 1982.” [iii]  Then in 1995, Lama Zopa Rinpoche hoped for a statue about 171 feet high.  Then a Taiwanese architect Mr. C.Y. Lee said it was far too small and so now the Maitreya Project led by Peter Kedge will incorporate a 152.4 meter (500 foot) tall nickel-aluminum bronze statue of Maitreya Buddha seated on a Lion Throne built to last 1,000 years.  In comparison, the Statue of Liberty in New York would only come up to Maitreya’s knee.

 

The interior of the statue will house over 1,330,000 Buddhist objects of worship (idols) including the relics from the blood relic tour which is traversing the world raising $200,000,000 for the project. The land will be further defiled by over 100,000 stupas.  Strangely, the say, “They’re keen to develop the tree of life within this center.”  (Mandala Magazine Special Report on the Maitreya Project Nov/Dec 2000).  Why did they pick this term is a question worth pondering. The Dutch monk Marcel Bertels who is the director of the Maitreya Project said, “The Hindus in general have very similar explanations in their scriptures such as the Bhavagad Gita in relation to the benefits of the holy objects, so they support the project wholeheartedly.”  Sadly, in America when we objected to the Buddhist relics being shown in a Presbyterian Church on biblical grounds, the Pastor vigorously disagreed. A Catholic priest in Los Angeles, off the record said, “I would worship the relics of any holy person, Buddhist or Christian.”  We asked them the same question our LORD Jesus asked, “How can you serve two masters?”November 19 2012 Obama shoe and sockless in front of Swedegon Pagoda in Myanmar

November 19 2012 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Looking on as President Obama dips his hand in Buddhist ceremony in Myanmar temple-001 Stanley Ann Dunham Barack Hussein Obamas mother at Borobudur 1970 B Obama with monkey god talisman November 19 2012 Obama seeks to expand US influence in Asia Graffiti drawing of Obama smiling CBS News

 

Originally, the project was to be built in Bodh Gaya on a 40 acres located in the state of Bihar, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment and finished by 2005. Because of environmental and political considerations, it was moved to Uttar Pradesh to a site of 750 acres in Kushinagar, the site of the Buddha’s death. It is said that he died from dysentery after consuming the flesh of a wild boar.  So in some ways one might say they picked the cremation ground for the site of the Maitreya Project.

 

They will be building a number of hotels, temples, lecture halls, meditation halls, a university, monastery, nunnery, international hospital, pilgrim housing and food establishments to meet the requirements of those visiting the site. Millions of dollars are being raised from Buddhists all over the world who believe that they will accumulate great merit from giving to the Project. Last year the Dalai Lama met with CEO’s in Sun Valley, Idaho that represented trillions of dollars worth of assets; among them one of his disciples, Steve Wynn, the Nevada gambling scion who supports the Dalai Lama fiscally. Besides his well-known Hollywood following such as Richard Gere and Sharon Stone to name a few, his list of wealthy contributors continues to grow, including the US government who provides full secret service protection at its citizen’s expense, not to mention the CIA stipend that supposedly was paid to him personally in the past. As Avalokitsevara, the XIV Dalai Lama continues to bless Tantric masters and Sherab Pal, the emanation of the invincible conqueror Maitreya”[iv] to establish a Tantric throne for the Adi Buddha, the universal religious emperor. They also have promoted the benefits of the Maitreya Project to the Indian government on the basis of its affect on the local economy in terms of “health, education, long-term employment, technology, trade, tourism, agriculture, and other infrastructure services” (pg. 44).

 

Why does the Maitreya Project as a stronghold need to be dealt with in prayer by God’s people?

 

The Maitreya Project is one of the darkest provocations against God in this age. One is reminded of another King of old. “Thus Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel than all the kings of Israel who were before him.” (I Kings 16:33) He forsaked God and His commandments and followed after the Baals.

 

 

The Dalai Lama prayed in Pasadena and wherever he goes, “This ground anointed with incense and strewn with flowers, adorned with Mt. Meru, the four continents, sun and moon, I offer visualized as a Buddha realm. May all migrators enjoy this completely pure realm.” BUT, this is evil that this false priest brings on the nations. He has been given authority that does not belong to him. This land is not the Buddha’s realm. It has been purchased with a price by the blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

 

“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “all this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship me, all will be Yours.”

 

And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God and Him only you shall serve.”  (Luke 4:5-8) The point being that there is only ONE GOD, the LORD JESUS CHRIST of Nazareth who came in the flesh, was crucified for our sins, died, was buried, and resurrected on the Third Day and now sits on the Throne in heaven  at the right hand of Father God awaiting the Day of Judgment.

 

“Thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘Tell the man who sent you to me, thus says the LORD, ‘Behold I bring evil on this place and on its inhabitants, even all the words of the book which the King of Judah has read. Because they have forsaken Me, and have burned incense to other gods that they might provoke Me to anger with all the work of their hands, therefore My wrath burns against this place, and it shall not be quenched.” (II Kings 22:15-17).

 

Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of His throne (Psalm 97: 2).

 

He has declared that “all be put to shame who serve carved images, who boast of idols” Ps. 97: 7.

 

It is expressly forbidden in the Ten Commandments to make any graven images.

 

God is coming to judge the earth, its inhabitants and all their works. “He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth.” (Psalm 96:13) We are called to encourage all men, women and children to turn to Jesus Christ as the only way in this last hour, compelling them to forsake their idols, and enter into the ark of Jesus Christ’s salvation.

 

“The prohibition against serving other gods and the prohibition against making idols are linked already in the Decalogue(Exodus 20:3f; Deut. 5:7f).”

 

“Idols are abominations, behind which stand demonic powers (daimona), with which one cannot come into contact without moving God to wrath (Deu. 32:16f;21).[v]

 

The punishment for making idols and worshipping them is severe. Pray against the completion of the Maitreya Project, that more human beings may not be seduced into the way of idolatry by the construction of what would become a modern wonder of the world not unlike the Colossus of Rhodes. “Judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field” (Hosea 10:4).

 

Pray the LORD of the Harvest thrust laborers into the fields to bring in a harvest of Buddhist souls before the completion of this abomination and the spread of the defilement of idolatry around the globe. Millions are slated to visit this after its opening in 2010. They will come from all over the world where they worship Maitreya, an anti-Christ. They will come from Israel, Thailand, Burma, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Russia, Europe, the United States, Canada, Mexico, Africa, and South America. It will be a sad day for India and the world.

 

Remember, “Israel often succumbed to the temptation to open the doors to these powers, especially in when the rise of the Babylonian and Assyrian empires gave the impression that their gods were more powerful than the God of Israel (Isaiah 36:19f). Jer. 44:15-19 and Ezekiel 8 give graphic and terrible pictures of how widely heathen idol worship had spread in Israel in their day. The prophetic image to Israel was that the misfortune which had overtaken the people was God’s punishment for falling away from Yahweh and compromising with the heathen cultures (Is. 10:11; Jer 9:13-16; Ez. 8:17f). The call to repentance combined a demand for right behavior towards one’s neighbor (Amos 5:14;f; Hosea 4:1ff; Isa 1:15ff) with the demand to turn away from false gods (Hos. 14:8, Ez. 8:10; 1 Chron 16:26; II Chron. 25:15/Hosea 8:4f, 13:2; Jer.14:22; Hab2:18f) (Colin Brown, pg. 284).

 

Christians must be warned not to be snared and led astray by idolatry (I Cor. 5:10f;10:7-10,14-22).

 

Warn the Jews who are following after the Dalai Lama in India and Tibetan Buddhism. “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deu. 6:5)

 

“You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.” (Deu. 6:14).

 

Tibetan Buddhism is built on the Tantric subjugation of women and is evidenced by the Maitreya Buddha sitting on a Lion Throne and his feet on top of the Lotus, symbolic of the woman’s vagina.

 

An encouragement to the Body of Christ of the power of prayer. As a former Buddhist member of the Nichiren Shoshu Sect, I went on pilgrimage to the Sho-Hondo, the head temple Daisekiji near Mt. Fuji that was built to last 10,000 years at the cost of $100,000,000 in 1972. Over 12,000 Buddhists made pilgrimage there on a daily basis from around the world. The 500 priests were divided as to where the power for the idol came from. 250 believed the idol had the power, whereas 250 believed it came from something like a Christian god. Division entered the ranks of the priesthood and the eleven million member powerful lay organization, the Soka Gakkai led by Daisaku Ikeda. The High priest excommunicated all the members and paid $30,000,000 and bulldozed the $100,000,000 temple which is no more. God will not share His glory with another or give His praise to idols.

 

A sister wrote, “Remember the God who Reigns. Memorize biblical promises of victory: Exodus 14:13-14, 23:20-22; Deuteronomy 31:6; Joshua 1:9; 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17, 22; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37. Remember, these Scripture swords are the offensive part of your armor. Affirm them whenever you face spiritual battles, and you will experience the triumph of the God who reigns.”

 

Remember we are seated in heavenly places far above ALL principalities and powers seated with our LORD Jesus Christ. Remind the enemy of his fate and that one day all that he has done will be brought to remembrance at the great White Throne of Judgment. Till then let us pray for one another that we prosper in the harvest of souls, stand strong in the face of persecution, remaining faithful, holding fast to the promises of the ONE who said I will never leave you nor forsake you, and growing in His likeness.

 

May God bring millions of Buddhists to a saving knowledge of His Son Jesus Christ, and bless and preserve you and your families in the labors you undertake for His glory.

 

In Christ’s refuge and strength,

 

James C. Stephens

 

 

U.S.A.

[i] Sponberg, Alan and Helen Hardacre. Maitreya: The Future Buddha. New York, Cambridge University Press, 1988. Jaini, Padmanabh S.  “Stages in the Bodhisattva Career of Tathagata Maitreya.”

 

[ii] Davis, John R. Poles Apart? Contextualizing the Gospel. Kanok Bannasan, Bangkok: Thailand, 1993, pg. 120-121.

[iii] Mandala Magazine, Nov/Dec 2000. Special Issue on the Maitreya Project.  “Maitreya Project: Bodhgaya’s Beacon of Love” pg. 42-

[iv]  Empowerment Ceremony lead by the XIV Dalai Lama in Pasadena of the “Self-Generation Sadhana of the Thousand Armed Avalokitsevara written by the 7th Dalai Lama Gyalwa Kelsang Gyaltso.”

[v] Brown, Colin. Dictionary of New Testament Theology. Vol. II, pg. 284.