Dalai Lama





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by TA McMahon, The Berean Call

Who is the Dalai Lama and what is he all about? And why should The Berean Call even consider this Tibetan Buddhist “holy man”, whom Time magazine selected to top its list of the 100 most influential people in the world today? Well, he is a religious figure who has captured the interest – and in many cases the hearts – of millions of people, including multitudes who profess to be evangelicals.

An attraction to religious “celebrities” with false beliefs is not something new among evangelicals, especially as we see apostasy growing exponentially and ecumenical developments taking place that will eventually usher in the one-world religion of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:8)

What, then, of today’s most honoured religious figure, Tenzin Gyatso, the proclaimed reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama (meaning “oceans of wisdom), who preceded him? Pope John Paul II gave him center stage in 1986 when he gathered world religious leaders to Assisi, Italy, to pray for world peace. Astonishing many Catholics, the pope allowed the Dalai lama and his monks to perform their prayer ritual before a statue of Buddha placed upon the altar at the church of St. Peter at Assisi. It certainly confused those who understood that Tibetan Buddhists do not believe in God. So to whom was the Dalai Lama praying? We’ll get to that momentarily.

We’re told that Tibetan Buddhism may be beyond the ability of the Western mind to understand. That’s an understatement: its utter complexity, contradictions and confusion have no geographical boundaries. Nevertheless, Tibetan Buddhism contains a number of beliefs that correlate with false religions in the West. Its ancient history involves shades of Darwinism. Frescoes in the oldest monastery and throughout the country illustrate the belief still held by many today that the origin of the Tibetan people resulted from the mating of a godlike ape with an ogress, a female monster. The simian offspring of that union eventually evolved into the ancient Tibetans.

Tibetan Buddhism itself is a complicated mixture of Bon, which consists of animist and shamanic beliefs and practices, and Buddhism. Fusing the two defies any sense of congruity, and rationalizations vary widely depending upon one’s bias toward spirit driven Bon beliefs or the more philosophical concepts of Buddhism. For example, “[The Bereans] … searched the scriptures daily, [to see] whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11.

Dalai Lama once remarked to a Catholic priest that the chief difference between their beliefs was that he as a Buddhist did not believe in a personal God. On the other hand, as a Tibetan Buddhist, he believes in personal deities and spirits – and lots of them. This is more evident as he travels the world inducting hundreds of thousands (including thousands in US cities) into the Kalachakra Tantra Initiation. Kalachakra is both a Tantric deity and a meditation practice; the former is a manifestation of Buddha, who is called upon to lead the initiate into becoming a bodhisattva, or enlightened god, a status claimed for the Dalai Lama. Note what takes place in this 12-day Kalachakra Initiation ceremony. Monks create a sand mandala seven feet in diameter, which becomes home to 722 gods and goddesses during the ritual. From his throne, the Dalai Lama, as the master of the initiation, asks permission to begin the ritual from Tenma, the supreme earth spirit who rules over the local spirits. Not all the spirits want to cooperate and must be placated by the monks through chanting, dancing, and the sound of bells, gongs and horns. The Dalai Lama then makes an offering to the spirits to thank them for their assistance. On the tenth day, he invokes the god Kalachakra to open the eyes of the initiates, who have taken vows never to reveal the secret teachings. The experience is described as being “reborn” as the participants enter into Kalachakra’s universe of enlightenment. At the closing, the Dalai conveys his gratitude to the gods and goddesses for their participation and bids them return to their sacred homes.

This man with the winning smile is a shaman. He refers to himself as a simple monk, although we’re told he is a god-king and he, like the pope, is to be addressed as “His Holiness”. He mediates between humans and spirit beings, of which there are a multitude of varieties, from those who are considered helpful, to those who are unspeakably evil and malicious. The life of the average Tibetan is one of continually seeking rituals of appeasement directed at these nonphysical beings who play havoc with them by bringing about sickness, poverty, crop failure, livestock deaths, ignorance, possession, insanity and so forth. No matter what philosophical or psychological spin the Dalai Lama puts on his theology and practices for his American audiences, the Bible clearly teaches that he is trafficking with demons and “the god of this world”, Satan himself (II Corinthians 4:4).

As with his fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mother Theresa, closer scrutiny of his life shatters what most people naively presume about his beliefs and practices. Candid interviews with Tibetans now living under a repressive Communist regime acknowledge that they nevertheless have more freedom and opportunities now than when they were under the theocratic feudal system controlled by the god-kings and their monks and priests. Critics of the Dalai Lama have raised substantial questions, implying that what he is communicating to the West is at odds with his traditional religion. This religion includes urging holy wars between Buddhists and non-Buddhists; regarding Christianity, Judaism and Islam as enemies of Tibetan Buddhism; the establishment of a global Buddhist theocracy under a world rules; and the sexual abuse of young women in trantric rituals.

The Dalai Lama appears to be oblivious to all of the above. He is also highly selective regarding what we will share with different audiences about his spiritual teachings, e.g., his religious instruction to achieve enlightenment through tantric meditation and his shamanic rituals for invoking help from deities and keeping demons at bay.

Recently in Seattle, at the 5-day Seeds of Compassion Conference, he taught audiences how to become more compassionate. Billed as an educational event for instructing children and supported by insights from child psychologists, his message was simple: people must change their thinking and actions and cultivate inner strength. Could it be that the self-help approach works better in the West than this shaman’s usual rituals invoking help from the spiritual realms? The event drew nearly 150,000 people (including 15,000 school children), many of whom no doubt were so enamoured with the global religious figure that they will likely pursue the Dalai’s deeper religious teachings for achieving the virtue of compassion.

He is the number one evangelist for Buddhism in the world today, and he is gaining support from professing Christian leaders worldwide, including conference participants Archbishop (and arch-heretic) Desmond Tutu and Emerging Church leaders Doug Pagitt and Rob Bell. This ecumenism is consistent with liberal theology and with the pervasive emergent doctrine that we can learn much from other religions about Christ and the gospel.

As stated at the beginning of this article, the apostate church and religion that will be led by the Antichrist is in full development. It will accommodate every religious belief system in the world other than biblical Christianity. Though some religions appear to be quite different from other, upon closer inspection they often reveal similarities that will help draw them together. We previously noted the shared characteristics between Catholicism and Islam. Tibetan Buddhism and Roman Catholicism also have much in common. They each have clerical hierarchies, they have celibate priests and nuns, they both pray to dead entities (spirits, deities, or saints) for assistance, they use prayer beads and offer repetitious prayers, and both employ relics of the dead and sacred rituals as a key for achieving spiritual goals. Most striking. however, is the extremely popular goddess of Tibetan Buddhism, Tara. She is described in various Buddhist teachings in terms much akin to the Catholic Mary: she is the Mother of the Buddhas, she is a saviouress, she hears the cries of those in misery and is a more approachable deity to whom the laity have direct access, she guards her devotees as she leads them to enlightenment, and she also appears to them in apparitions. Tara is a bodhisattva, a supreme goddess, whose principal attribute is compassion and who is the primary resource in imparting that virtue to humans. One might wonder why “His Holiness” failed to recommend his chief “deity of Compassion” to assist his audiences at the Seeds of Compassion Conference.

Yet considering their many differences, all religions of the world (excepting Biblical Christianity, which is not a religion) share a very foundational principle: salvation is attained through human achievement. This is apparent in all the varied attempts to satisfy, placate, appease,, mollify, become one with, or reach God, Brahman, Allah, the gods, the goddesses, the Queen of Heaven, the Force, the Universal Mind, etc.

The various endeavours for attaining salvation include sacrifices, following karmic laws, yoga meditation, church attendance, obeying rules, observing sacraments, secret rituals, liturgies, being a good person by doing more good than evil, and so forth. None of these pursuits can add one iota to obtaining a person’s salvation, according to the Bible. Furthermore, they all reject the absolute truth that Jesus Christ alone provided salvation to all mankind by doing what only the perfect, sinless God-Man could accomplish. He satisfied God’s perfect justice by paying the complete penalty for every sin of mankind.

There is nothing anyone can do for salvation except receive our Saviour’s unfathomable gift of eternal life with Him by grace, through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8,9). As Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, declared: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Pray that those attracted to the smiling monk will heed Peter’s sober warning.