By Ranil Wijeyesekera –
Good Friday and Easter Sunday are important occasions for Christians. In our Country many have heard of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indoctrination and favored status for Christians made a fair proportion of our people Christians. Since Independence this has being reversed. However as Buddhist are generally open minded they have kept themselves aware of Christianity. They join in when a family member who is a Christian has a Religious occasion. They have visited and committed themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ when Christian cell meetings are held. They go to Christian Healing Services and have received miracles in there life. However family to them is important. They keep to their community as family life is important in our culture. Christian influence pervades our Constitution and Legal Framework. Therefore the influence of Christianity extends far beyond their numbers. However among Christians there are conflicting views. The general public should be aware of what the reality is.
In Buddhism there is the concept of Karma. You gain in merit for your good deeds. For your misdeeds you lose merit. You have to suffer for your misdeeds and for your good deeds you enjoy the pleasures of life. This karma extends from one life to another. They however believe that when Dana is kept for a relative merit is transferred to the dead person. With a belief in Astrology when prescribed Pujas that are offered when ones horoscope indicate an inauspicious time it would again obtain merit to change the course in their lives.
For God so loved the World, that he gave his ONLY BELOVED SON, that whosoever believerth in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life. We believe in a Holy All Powerful AllMighty God that Created Heaven and Earth and is our Sustainer. He let his Son be the Pooja for saving of all.
The Lord Buddha believed that thinking of Gods and Creation were a waste of Time. He believed in the four noble Truths. Suffering was because of Craving The eightfold path would release a person from Suffering and Karma and he would attain Nirvana. He personally led people individually by changing their attitudes and beliefs so that they attained Nirvana. He believed that he attained Buddha hood. There would be only one Buddha and the next Buddha would be Maithri Buddha from Heaven. It is seen here he believed a Buddha was a special achievement and that he achieved it.
From Lord Buddha ‘s achievement we can easily believe in a Holy All Mighty God who was creator and saw that ALL life moved on a Way of his design. He gave man free Will and made male and female of his own Image. But Man sinned. He misused his Free Will. To a Holy God this meant he had to die. Substitution was used to transfer sin from the Man who sinned to9 the animal who died in place of the Sinner. A Bull or Lamb was usually used for the Sacrifice. The merit of a pure lamb was transferred to the Sinner. But this was not enough. God knowing that man would sin being Holy need a sacrifice that he could accept as a complete Pooja for the Saving of all mankind. For all sinned and he who9 believed he did not sin was a Liar. Jesus Christ was ridiculed, whipped, forced to carry the Cross and Crucified. He who was not with Sin died a criminal’s death. We are as Sinners all responsible for his Death. We must accept him and his word. His Word is specified in the Gospels and the rest of the Bible. However it extends far beyond that. The resurrected Lord on the Road the Emmaus says that His Word fills the World. The Word has being imprinted in our Hearts as made in his Image. When we accept him it surfaces and the Holy Spirit lets it surface. We then are told of our choices and decisions and convict us of Sin. We are prompted to do the right thing. We all accept akusal as a thing we do. For our Sins the Lord Jesus Christ has paid the Price.
Lord Buddha preached the dharma any many obtained Nirvana. In a previous Birth he sacrificed himself for the sake of an animal who was dying of Hunger. This shows a Pooja. He is shown as a peace Maker. Christ showed the need to strive and fight injustice. The real Peace was shalom Peace between God and Man. For this Jesus Christ died to bring Peace between God the Father and man. The Cross symbolizes vertically God and man Jesus. The Horizontal denotes Man and Man linked by the Holy Spirit. The cross also shows cross roads. Jesus changed our direction and Peace was obtained between God and Man.
How do we obtain salvation? We enter the Kingdom of God and be sure of eternal life. We obtain it because we are justified. The Blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ is a acceptable sacrifice to God the Father. The price was paid by God. His only beloved Son was humiliated my man who was Created by him. He was whipped and bled and was weakned. Some people die of the whipping. We believe that by his stripes we are healed. He dragged the Cross and suffered immensely in pain. He saw his Mother Mary6 accepting the punishment for no sin. He would have fallen many times. The Romans fi8nally got a Person to help. Nails were driven through his hands and legs. The weight of the Body had to be taken through the Large Nails.
Through intense suffering he who felt no Ill will against the many who turned against him. He had helped many. All his choices and decisions were the right ones. He suffered and died despite being able to call legions of Angels to help to free him. He could have built an empire easily but did not deviate from his course. His life was to save us from our sins.
The Old Testament Prophecy showed the wise in detail hi8s life and death. He fulfilled the sacred word. He prayed with the Father constantly and did not deviate from his Will. In Gethsemane a Garden with Olive Trees blood came out as sweat He who was without sin became sin because of our Sin. At this moment the Holy God the Father forsake Jesus. Yet he finished his task saying It is Finished. We see that the Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross known to some as a Tree.
The Lord Buddha gained enlightenment under the Bo Tree. There are many olive crosses that are venerated around the World. Likewise The Bo tree is venerated. Some people may call it animistic. However a tree and man are li8nked in many ways. It is a symbiotic relationship. Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide and Food and also Essential Oils are emitted under stimuli. Lamps and incense under trees, Flowers stimulate the trees. The shade is special. Heat is virtually absorbed by us.
As Jesus was dying the sky darkened. Storms moved through the Earth. Unbelievers knew that Jesus was God. Lightning lit the dark sky. The Jews had a curtain made of thick steel in the temple. Here sacrifices or Poojas were made. At Christ death this veil was broken. Jesus dying made future killing of innocent animals a thing of the past. Here we see the Buddhist not understanding the killing of animals before Christ. But this was needed before Jesus made sins of the past, the present and future a thing of the past. Mary Jesus Mother watched and suffered as God the Father also did. The Father watched and knew he could prevent it at any time. But he suffered because it was how he planned it at the beginning of Creation.
Influential people brought his body and laid it on a tomb. A Rock cave had a large Heavy stone to close it. As the period was the Sabbath they quickly completed entombing him. Guards were at the Door as Jesus had spoken of his resurrection. That was on Good Friday. But Jesus Christ God the Son had another Job to complete. He had to complete training of his disciples. He descended into Hell and many people from Hell rose from the dead. It shows people of other faith may be saved after death. Jesus can cross any abyss and he will do anything to save mankind. Then on Easter Sunday God rose Christ from the death. The Holy A Spirit is God’s and Christ’s Spirit. He rose again .He lives and is in our Hearts encouraging others to make the right choices and decisions. People can say that many do the right thing based on compassionate love.
The law is obeyed by others better than Christians. But Christians are members of the Body of Christ. The all mighty God knows the past, present and future. He directs us to do the right thing that mortal man cannot disciper. We are linked to each other by the blood of Christ. This pulsing blood of Jesus seems to join with our blood and change us as we partake in drinking wine and the platen bread in remembrance of him. We know that this remembrance is of a living person being the first of many we all will be. We will have glorified bodies as Jesus shoed us by displaying extraordinary powers of moving through walls and divine powers that he had not shown as a man. He was a man be4cause he bore the Scars and wounds on his side.
Jesus said that we his disciples were to preach the gospel and baptize in his name. Baptism is a sacrament that has deep and specific meaning. Like Christ as we are immersed we suffer and die to come alive as we come out of the Water. This links us with the Body of Christ as the Kingdom of God. Good Friday’s and Easter Sunday’s significance is important. In Baptizing we accept Christ and our community accepts the person.
God extends the Gift of Salvation to us all. However to have this Gift we have to accept it. As we accept it we are transformed. Our Spirit becomes holy. Yet our External Body or flesh is weak. We learn more about the Word. We become close to the Holy Spirit as we become mature and move towards Holiness. We are convicted by the Holy Spirit when we sin. His blood cleanses us . On conviction we confess our sin. Conviction brings Repentance.
We must know never to9 be Judgmental of others Faith. Often Christians look down on people and think as we are joint heirs with Jesus as adopted sons of God. We must know that it is not through any strength of ours. Jesus said the many who performed miracles in his name would find that Jesus would say that he doesn’t know him. This will shut him off from eternal Life. Jesus will select people to the Lambs Book of Life. If you do not sacrifice what you love most you may not enter the Kingdom. A rich young man was told to sell all he had and follow Jesus. How many of us would be shut off. We are told to take the Cross and follow him daily. But we are also told that his Yoke is light. If we let go his Grace is sufficient for us.
Christians sometimes invite persecution. People say that we are a people set apart. We will go to Heaven and the others will not. We speak of Idol Worship. God did not want us to make alters of hewn Stone. Our Cathedrals and church alters are manmade. We are even trying to create life. We are experimenting in stem cell research and challenging Gods Creation. We have created the possibility of nuclear war. The environment is groaning under mans misuse. Cannot we remember God made us to care for the Earth? Idols in Buddhism shows a serene Buddha specifically in Meditation. As many Meditate on Lord Buddha’s Teaching the common denomination of Blissful Peace pervades their Mind. The Blood is common in Christians mind. Peace of mind and end of Craving is in the Buddhist.
The Bo tree is treated with disdain. Yet we revere the Cross. What Jesus hated most was Hypocrisy. The Jews believed they were special. They thought they were IT. Let us not make the same mistake. God does the Healing of the Many. It is not for us to force people to come to Christ. People are asked to make Testimonies on Healing. Many lapse in ill Health. Then they are told it is because they were not spiritually healed. Coincidences and statistics are taken as great signs. God Heals. Sometimes faith does. Jesus said that if you had faith and said to the mountain to flow to the Sea it would happen. As people set apart we do not mingle with people of other Faith. But Jesus moved with the Sinners. Doctors are needed by the Sick. Paul said that he would be a Jew or any other person to bring people to Christ. We must not help people and accept them to be bribed to our faith.
The many Martyrs of the early Church were not overtly Critical of those who persecuted them. They did not deny Christ. Leaders are selected with God’s Blessing. He pulls down strongholds as necessary. Let us on Holy Weak look at ourselves and turn the torch light in. The Light exposes Sin. Live by the Cross and blame no one.
Persecution can exist. To be persecuted for his sake will be rewarded. Let us however not bring persecution on our selves. Bearing the Cross is doing our best as prompted by the Holy Spirit. That by his blood he saved and healed us. By his Broken Body he fed us with Spiritual Food.