We had a rare opportunity today. We flew out this morning to a city in northeastern India near the base of the Himalayas. Tomorrow we will visit one of the churches and Child Survival Programs here that we have worked with through Compassion International. But today, we had a few extra hours, during which we decided to visit a training center for Tibetan Buddhist monks.

The few hours we spent at one of the largest Buddhist centers in the world were enlightening…but not in the sense that Buddhism might use that term. For those who may not be as familiar with Buddhism, it is a belief system that follows the Buddha, or the “Enlightened One.” In short, Buddhism teaches a slow, arduous road to a salvation that consists of freedom from all desire and suffering, a road that climaxes in eventual extinction (called nirvana). Buddhists follow an eightfold path consisting of right views, right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right contemplation. At the end of this path, one breaks out of the cycle of reincarnation, is freed from all desire and suffering, and permanently ceases to exist. Though Buddhism in India is not especially prevalent (it is much larger in the neighboring areas of Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Tibet), its historical and religious roots in India are deep (Buddhism was founded here in northern India).

Needless to say, our hearts were heavy as we walked the grounds of this Buddhist center that is home to 500 Buddhist monks, complete with a monastery, library, training school, and two large temples. Worshipers bowed before statues of gold and stone. People walked in circles, reciting mantras and spinning prayer wheels, seeking the ever-elusive peace for which they long. In one conversation with a Buddhist monk, I asked him why he did what he did. He said, “Because I want to find peace and rest.” I replied, “How will you find peace and rest?” He answered, “I don’t know; I’m still searching.”

Oh, the gospel is indeed the greatest news in the world! Trust in Christ, and you will have peace with God. Trust in Christ. No need to pray prayers, walk circles, recite mantras, or bow before statues of silver and gods of gold. Trust in the One who experienced the suffering of our sin on a cross, who conquered the penalty of our sin in His resurrection, and who now frees us from sin and death through His salvation. This gospel alone enlightens the mind, thrills the soul, and satisfies our deepest desires.

So as you pray today, pray for Buddhist monks in northeastern India. Pray for Buddhists throughout Tibet, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. Pray for Buddhists all over Japan (where Buddhism is the majority religion). Plead to God for the salvation of Buddhists who long for peace in the midst of sin and suffering and who will only find it in Christ before God.

And pray for our time with the pastor, church, and moms/children in the Child Survival Program that we will meet with tomorrow (tonight your time). We look forward to sending back updates as soon as we are able!