Buddhism/Part 1

By: John Ankerberg, John Weldon; ©2000
The first in a series of articles explaining the teachings and practices of Buddhism.

Info at a Glance

Name: Buddhism.

Purpose: To eradicate suffering and attain enlightenment.

Founder: Gautama Siddhartha (ca. 563-483 B.C.).

Source of Authority: The Pali canon and other Buddhist Scripture, personal experience.

Claim: Through the Buddhas teachings, man can attain true enlightenment and find contentment.

Revealed Teachings: No early Buddhism, Yes (later Buddhism.

Theology: Nontheistic or atheistic (early Buddhism) polytheistic (later Buddhism)

Occult Dynamics: Altered states of consciousness, ritual, psychic powers, spiritism.

Key Literature: The Pali Canon, various other scriptures

Attitude Toward Christianity: Rejecting

Quote: “Rely upon yourself: do not depend upon anyone else. Make my teachings your light. Rely upon them: do not depend upon any other teaching.”[1] — The Buddha

“This whole world of delusion is nothing but a shadow caused by the mind.”; “…there is no world…outside the mind.”; “To Buddha every definitive thing is illusion.” “….things have no reality in themselves but are like heat haze.”[2]

Note: In America today, there are an estimated 1,000 plus Buddhist centers and millions of practicing Buddhists. “Later” or Mahayana Buddhism dominates in the West, and this includes Zen, Tibetan or Tantric, and Nichiren schools of Buddhism. In this chapter we will first examine Buddhism in general from a Christian perspective and then proceed to discuss the most influential Buddhist sect in the U.S., Nichiren Shoshu of America (NSA or NS). A discussion of Zen Buddhism can also be found in part I and a brief treatment of Tibetan Buddhism can be found in part II. Our present chapter also has appended the testimony of a former Tibetan Buddhist and why she became a Christian.

Because we cover three different Buddhist sects, we felt a general treatment of Buddhism was warranted, although as a world faith, Buddhism is not properly included in a text on cults and new religions. This was especially necessary to indicate how far removed from “true” Buddhism NSA is. Thus, the NSA emphasis on materialism, promotion of and seeking ones desires by worship of the Gohonzon, etc., would have been strongly repudiated by the Buddha.


  1. “Last Teachings” Bukkyo Dendo Kyoka (Buddhist Promoting Foundation), The Teaching of the Buddha (Tokyo, Japan, Rev., 1988 p.18.
  2. Ibid, pp. 86, 100, 104, 108.

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