April 16, 2021

“Robert, Come Home”

Q: What makes the Dalai Lama so popular with the America public?

A: Good natured Americans have been raised on “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” always fighting for the underdog, the oppressed.

I recall talking with a Tibetan Buddhist initiate we’ll call Robert from Arkansas who was attending an event led by the Dalai Lama in California.

He said, “I believe in the goodness of man and trust everybody implicitly. I find peace in Tibetan Buddhism that I didn’t find in the Assemblies of God.”

When asked, “Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes. I pray to God everyday.”

When asked if he believed in what Jesus taught he said, “I believe He was the Son of God and also everything he taught. Except I don’t believe a good God would send people to hell.”

When asked, “Don’t you as a Buddhist believe in hell?”

“No.”

“Then aren’t you practicing your own private brand of Buddhism?” we asked.

“Maybe I am.”

Was Robert a bad guy? No. He has been looking for peace in his heart, a practice to get there. He hadn’t rejected Christ totally, just Christianity.

He didn’t run away from us, he wanted to talk. He confessed he wasn’t a good debater. My heart broke. He has embraced what I call an “illusionary projection” of what he thinks Tibetan Buddhism is.

However, as in the justice system, “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” When we stand before the judgment seat of God, we are tried alone, unless we have embraced Jesus Christ as our redemption, our sure defense.

We told Robert as a spiritual pilgrim, there is just too much at stake not to seriously probe what he professes to put his hope in.

Paul, a Jewish brother who professes belief in Jesus Christ asked Robert,  “Can I pray and ask God if He has a word for you?”

Robert consented.

Paul gently and compassionately relayed the message,

“God is saying, ‘Robert, come home. Robert, come home.’”

It becomes more apparent that the Western embrace of Buddhism is postmodern in essence. One of the most famous lines of cinema hero Harrison Ford in “Indiana Jones” was delivered when he was facing a crisis and was asked what he proposed the best course of action would be. He said, “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go.”

It’s obvious Robert is a nice trusting American guy. Like so many, he has followed the path of the crowd of pop-religious seekers who have made willful, but ill informed choices.

About jstephens

James C. Stephens was a graduate of a Buddhist Study Academy and a Buddhist leader for fourteen years (1970-1984). In 1978, he married Elizabeth, a Jewish Buddhist at a Buddhist temple. Following an accident in Japan in 1981 while on a Buddhist pilgrimage followed by an intense three year spiritual search through various other faiths and practices, James and Elizabeth made the decision to become disciples of Jesus Christ. James graduated in 1999 with a MA in Intercultural Studies from Fuller School of Intercultural Studies and in 2010, launched http://www.worldviews101.com/ which offers a twelve week course "A Christian Perspective on the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism."

He and his wife enjoy Landscape architecture, gardening, making kombucha and kefir, film, screenwriting, literature, and music.