Help Needed to Talk to a Buddhist or Non-Catholic

i need help to talk about Jesus and Catholicism with a Buddhist or Non-Catholic

pls tell me how should i get prepared to talk, argue and defend my religion and to talk about Jesus and what he has done to us and how powerful he is etc…?

One comparison is that Jesus teaches to bear suffering and promises life eternal, Buddha teaches how one should escape suffering and fade into a kind of nothingness. Another is that Jesus claimed to be God and all His teachings revolve around Himself; Buddha taught a path and did not claim to be God. Who are you going to believe, man or God? Only God can raise people from the dead.

None of His Jewish followers would claim that people should worship a man as God and die for it unless they witnessed the ressurected Jesus for themselves and were 100% sure. Claiming that God became man is blasphemy to Jews, so where did this crazy idea spring up? This is a totally crazy idea whose conception can be traced in history (specific time and place and people), so it was not just ages and ages of legends and myths.

Before discussing things with a Buddhist, you need to learn about Buddhism. Buddhism believes in reincarnation, so everybody rises from the dead, again and again and again. The point of Buddhism is not to rise from the dead. The Buddha was not reborn because he attained nirvana. Promising a Buddhist endless life is promising him or her endless suffering:

[The Buddha said:] “This is the noble truth of suffering (dukkha): birth is suffering, ageing is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair are suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering”

The Buddha was not a god, instead the Buddha preached to the gods. It is the gods who need the Buddha, not the other way round. Buddhism is not Christianity, and you cannot assume that a Buddhist will share the automatic presumptions of a Christian.


pls i need more view points for discussion

No need to argue. Be proud of your religion and understand that most everyone believes their religion is ultimate truth. This is true from Catholics, Protestants, Jews , Muslim etc.

Look for areas of agreement and better understanding of their viewpoints, by knowing all view points of another religion, you further your beliefs as a Catholic.

Why don’t you review the thread “Ask a Buddhist II”. That might give you some ideas on what and how they think and believe and educate yourself on Buddhism.

Sometimes the best way to discuss religion with someone how does not share our beliefs is ask questions of how and why they believe what they believe. Why did they end up with Buddhism? Any talks with any type of other faith depends on where that person is at. There is not a one size fits all approach. If the person is antagonist toward Catholic faith should be handled differently than someone who is just stating what they believe and why and not anti-Catholic.

Do not argue anything.

The main thing lacking in Buddhism or atheism is that personal relationship with the Lord. Speak of your exprience of God’s love and comfort. If they tell you it is a delusion don’t be shaken. There is no (what atheists would call) acceptable proof either way.

If you speak of your source of strength & peace in someone other than yourself.

Wow… with some exclusions, this thread looks like its going to run over every single stereotype for Christianity and Buddhism in one fell swoop.

Kid - take Robwar and Dubya’s advice.

Rossum has some good points as well, but bear in my mind he’s coming from a specific slice of the Buddhist spectrum.

Unless the Buddhist friend in question is explicitly critizing Christianity, I see no need why you would have to verbally “defend” your faith in Jesus and even then, we are always to respond in love. Entering a discussion with a member of another religion with the in-built anticipation that you will have to “defend the faith” from the word go; seems to be the wrong approach to dialogue altogether, in my opinion. Its like a siege-mentality which will achieve very little.

My advice: Learn, learn, learn. Read the Tipitaka (ie start with the Dhammapada), if the person is Mahayana you might want to familiarize yourself with some suttas such as the “Lotus Sutra”. Penetrate the Buddhist faith and genuinely seach for and expect to find the secret presence of the Holy Spirit.

Buddhism is an ancient and venerable religious tradition which must be paid due reverence as a result, for its time-tested and profound wisdom and practices. It is complex, deep and multifaceted.

Then, have a heartfelt dialogue of the spirit in which the two of you mutually search for truths shared by both of your faith traditions and when differences surface, discuss them in a mature and respectful manner, so as to enable you both to have a more developed understanding of your respective religions and hopefully grow as spiritual seekers. This is called Dialogue and Proclamation. Allow the Buddhist to explain and put forth his understanding of his faith and why he is a Buddhist and you do the same with your Catholicism. As Blessed Ramon Llull explain with regards to Muslim-Christian dialogue in the Central Middle Ages:

“…Let Christians who are well schooled and proficient in the Arabic language go to Tunis to demonstrate the truth of their faith and let Muslims who are well schooled come to the kingdom of Sicily to discuss their faith with Christian scholars. By acting in this way, maybe, there can be peace between Christians and Muslims, when in the whole world the situation will take effect that neither Christians want to destroy Muslims nor Muslims want to destroy Christians…”

***- Blessed Ramon Llull (1232 – ca. 1315), Catholic mystic, philosopher,
logician and Franciscan missionary ***

Its not a one-way street but a two-way street. Both of you should have the opportunity to demonstrate why you regard your religion to be the “truth” - ie why it elucidates your own understanding of reality. And both of you should respect the similarities and the differences which you will uncover in this discussion. It is, after all, the 21st century - and I’m embarressed to say that Blessed Ramon Llull, living in the so-called “Dark Ages”, seems to have a better developed conception of interreligious discussion than some modern Christians (ie Evangelical Protestants, some Trads etc.).

The Vatican produced a document on interfaith dialogue in 1991, explaining how a Catholic is to dialogue with people from other faiths withoiut trying to actively convert them, yet also spreading the Good News. I quoted excerpts from it in this thread:

A good excerpt:

“…the Council has openly acknowledged the presence of positive values not only in the religious life of individual believers of other religious traditions, but also in the religious traditions to which they belong. It attributed these values to the active presence of God through his Word, pointing also to the universal action of the Spirit: “Without doubt,” Ad Gentes affirms, “the Holy Spirit was at work in the world before Christ was glorified” (No. 4)…”


I would suggest that you read the Vatican document in full.

Just my two cents :shrug:

O.o - Didn’t even know that one existed.

I’m starting to realize why so many mainstream Catholics complain about their youth being uncathechized correctly…

There should really be a “digest” version for many of these encyclicals, not only for the education of your youth but for people outside of your faith (ie: me!)

My advice is find points in common and, where there are differences, explain the Catholic perspective rather than criticizing the Protestant / Buddhist perspective. Besides that, pray for their conversion and obtain merits for this intention through penitential acts.

What you described is suffering is exactly what eternal life with God is not. If Jesus rose from the dead, rebirth is pointless. Jesus rose bodily from the dead, not some spiritual Resurrection that cannot be witnessed but only described and theorized about. It just seems logical to be Christian from my perspective. If the Resurrection is indeed historical, (and without it there would never have been a Christianity) then Jesus was God. If Jesus was God, either God is a liar or everyone else is. The evidence does point to the apostles witnessing something. Everything else hinges on the historicity of the Resurrection. I don’t see how it is both possible to believe in both the Resurrection and reincarnation.

You are again approaching things from the Christian perspective, not the Buddhist perspective. “Separation from what is pleasing is suffering.” Those in heaven are separated from those in hell. Those in heaven love those in hell: “Love others as you love yourself” - BMKV 91. Separation from those you love is suffering. Could a mother be happy in heaven, knowing that her child was suffering the agonies of Hell for eternity?

If Jesus rose from the dead, rebirth is pointless.

Again, you are looking at things from the wrong perspective. If rebirth is the case, then resurrection is pointless. The story of the resurrection does however confirm the Buddhist perspective on gods; gods are mortal and can die and be reborn, just like other living beings.


Putting aside some obvious objections to the statement…

Even if Jesus of Nazareth resurrected from the dead, it simply places him into a category of thaumaturgical wonder-workers from the perspective of the “Dharmic” faiths (a phrase coined by a friend of mine that encompasses the geographic regions otherwise known as the East, but a better descriptive in my opinion).

His resurrection does not solve the prime dilemma for those religious traditions - namely how to escape the cycle of reincarnation.


We can feel no sorrow in the same way that guardian angels feel no sorrow when we sin, as per Aquinas. There is no guarantee that the people in hell will give us pleasure when we are in heaven. All the things you described as suffering in eternal life do not apply.

Eternal life means no dying so there is no rebirth. We probably base our misunderstanding that eternal life is impossible because we base our knowledge on natural knoweledge, which is why supernatural revelation is needed. Jesus was the Jewish messiah and scripture says that men only die once. If He died once does not mean God is a mortal. He is now in an imperishable body.

Are you telling me that a Christian mother will no longer love her children once she reaches the Christian heaven?

There is no guarantee that the people in hell will give us pleasure when we are in heaven.

Indeed not: “hell is other people”. Are we all going to be alone in heaven? Isn’t loneliness a form of hell for a social being like a human. Solitary confinement is usually seen as a form of punishment, not as a reward.

Eternal life means no dying so there is no rebirth.

Eternal life means eternal suffering.

[The Buddha said:] “What do you think, monks: Which is greater, the tears you have shed while transmigrating and wandering this long, long time — crying and weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — or the water in the four great oceans?”

“As we understand the Dhamma taught to us by the Blessed One, this is the greater: the tears we have shed while transmigrating and wandering this long, long time — crying and weeping from being joined with what is displeasing, being separated from what is pleasing — not the water in the four great oceans.”

“Excellent, monks. Excellent. It is excellent that you thus understand the Dhamma taught by me.”

  • Assu sutta, Samyutta Nikaya 15.3

Buddhism is not Christianity. If you want to discuss religion with a Buddhist then you will need to know something of Buddhism. A good introduction for non-Buddhists is “Buddha” by Karen Armstrong. It conveys the flavour of the religion very well.


There is no sorrow in heaven. Has anybody been to Nirvana and talked to Buddha? The kooky beliefs of Christianity is based on people having met the ressurected Christ.

There may be love but there is no sorrow after beholding the beautific vision. Angels can love but feel no sorrow. Says so in Summa

And you know someone who has been there?

Has anybody been to Nirvana and talked to Buddha?

How much do you know about the life of the Buddha? He attained nirvana at age 35. He died at age 80. For 45 years he was in nirvana and talking to people as he lived out his last life.

Nirvana is not a heaven that you can only get to after you die. Nirvana is something you can attain here and now. Thousands of people talked to the Buddha after he entered nirvana. There are a few people in the world today who have entered nirvana. If you search hard enough you might be able to find one and talk to him or her.


Or mabye find some who claim to have attained Nirvana or enlightenment but there really is no criteria.

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