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Buddhist Venerable wrote about this in response to the following question.
Question : Dear Bhante,
Recently a past president of the Buddhist society at one of the institutes of higher education converted to Christianity and she has now announced her conversion on the internet. Bhante, what do you say about this? Regards/PK
Dear P K,
People convert from one religion to another for many reasons – some of them sensible, others less so. Some people convert to please their boyfriend or girlfriend, their husband or wife. Others convert because they have a crisis and hope that a new religion might improve things. Some people allow themselves to be literally pushed and pressured into converting. Others convert because they have been impressed by what they think is a miraculous happening. I think that intelligent and mature people make all important decisions in their life this way – in a clear-headed manner, after carefully considering the options, asking questions, examining all the issues involved, being cautious of extravagant claims and of course by not rushing into things. We do this before deciding what career to pursue, what university to attend, before taking on a large financial commitment, when choosing a life-partner or deciding who to vote for, so why shouldn’t we do it before choosing a religion? I have seen the wed site of the person you are referring to and she does not mention why she decided to change her religion.
However, she does say that she was suicidal at one point so we can assume that it was a decision made out, and perhaps as an escape from, confusion, depression and dejection. Perhaps it is important to point out that some students join the Buddhist societies at the institutes of higher education, and even hold office, for social reasons and without necessarily being well-grounded in the Dhamma. I suspect that happened in this case. Maybe the Buddhist societies should try to have more Dhamma education, give their members more psychological and emotional support and focus a little less on ‘fun activities.’
What should our attitude be to those who renounce the Dhamma for another religion? Of course as Buddhists our main concern is that people should be virtuous and happy, not that we ‘win’ converts or ‘outdo’ other religions. Therefore, let us hope that this person has found what she was looking for and that this new step in her spiritual quest leads her to fulfillment, joy and wisdom.
The above question and answer was referring to the following testimony.
From Buddhism to Christianity
(Article source: http://www.everystudent.com.sg/ntu/testimonies/tohaikit)
The former President of the NTU Buddhist Society, Toh Ai Kit received Christ last year. She recounts the story of the amazing change in her life.
Finding life's purpose
Since JC, I was constantly in search of the purpose of life. I felt that life was more than just pure studying. Hence, when I entered university, I joined the Buddhist camps in both NTU and NUS. In a new environment, I felt rather intimidated. But based on the close relationships fostered during the Buddhist camps, I decided to join the society. The mentality I had was that since I was a Buddhist and already made friends there, why not join it? Soon, I became very active in their activities and took up leadership positions in the society.
In Buddhist Society
The major turning point was during my second year. I was cajoled to take up a key leadership position and maybe because of pride or whatever reason, I stood for the elections. But after being elected, I wasn’t happy or excited. Soon, I faced problems such as the loss of identity. I found no meaning and direction in what I was doing. This was worsened by my weak health then. During times when I was really desperate for help, seeking for God’s help came to my mind. However, I had to brush it aside due to the sensitivity of my position in the society. It was difficult to share my problems with others. At times, the accumulation of stress and burdensome problems led to suicidal thoughts. However, whenever that idea crept in, an unknown voice would stop me from thinking about it. (And which is why I’m still able to write this testimony now.)
After my term in office, I felt liberated. At the same time, the idea of going to a church struck me. It was on one unplanned day while waiting for something that I decided to visit a church -- St Andrews Cathedral. I was determined to get into the cathedral despite the drizzle. I decided to read the Bible after doing nothing for 10 minutes. In the end, I stayed in the cathedral for almost an hour. After that, I knew that I had done the right thing and was feeling happy.
Since then, it made me think about what real happiness is. I decided to message my Christian good friend, Shin, who was in UK, to send me those hymns that we sang in secondary school. That significant night when I heard the song “God will make a way”, I cried in front of my computer. I did not know why I cried but I just felt very comforted by it. After sharing with Shin, I asked her to teach me the proper way to pray. And as I was surfing the Christianity websites, I came across one with the sinners’ prayer and I said it on 2 November 2005. That day, I received Christ into my life. =)
As a new Christian, I am really thankful and touched by the LORD when He spoke and assured me that I was forgiven during one of my church encounters, despite being so negative towards Christians in my earlier university days. Also, the relationship between my brother and I has improved tremendously. I no longer hated him. In fact, he has begun to confide in me about what is happening in his life. It is because of the LORD’s love for me that I can learn to be more appreciative of my family. Thank You God for being so good and not letting me go! =)
Ai Kit went for her first mission trip to Bethany Nursing Home (a local Gen12ii trip) this year.
This is a nice contribution, I want to share my reflections and experiences too!
Technorati: Buddhism Buddha Buddhist Dharma Compassion Wisdom Religion Meditation Zen Philosophy Spirituality Inspiration Peace convert ex-buddhist testimony
“Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, ‘I desire to be born in Amitabha’s country,’ these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to anuttarasamyaksambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and good women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, ‘I will be born in that country.’”
~ Amitabha Sutra
When I obtain the Buddhahood, any being of the boundless and inconceivable Buddha-worlds of the ten quarters whose body if be touched by the rays of my splendour should not make his body and mind gentle and peaceful, in such a state that he is far more sublime than the gods and men, then may I not attain the enlightenment.
~ Amitabha Buddha's Thirty-Third Vow
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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Posted by Colin at 11/28/2006 04:13:00 PM