Our cohort had the opportunity to sit at the feet of a Buddhist monk this afternoon. He taught about how the greatest obstacle is our ‘monkey mind’—that is, how our mind is always swinging from place to place. The discipline of meditation, he explained, allows us to begin to control our monkey mind.
Earlier in the day we visited the Myanmar Baptist Convention (MBC) headquarters and got to talk through their vision for ministry in Burma. It was an incredible experience—they appear to have such a healthy view of the Gospel and church. Two of their six mission points had to do with MBC’s interaction with other faiths:
My experience at the Buddhist Monastery and at MBC headquarters left me wondering about interfaith relations. Many of my fellow students have spoken about how surely God won’t reject the Buddhists who are so adamantly trying. Yet Buddhism appears to me to leave no space for the need of God—my limited conversations have given me the impression the religion is a solo pursuit of enlightenment that involves helping others and self-discipline but ultimately is a path people take by and for themselves.
Does the work of the Gospel of Christ need more workers or more surrender to our need for God? I’m honestly not sure. It seems to me there is a place for interfaith relations—I am open to dialoging and learning from others as well as teaching them. Perhaps there is even a time to work alongside them. I can see how peace has a greater hope if we are able to work together. Yet at the same time I truly believe the answers to the world’s problems can be found in none other than Christ. Only He can free us from sin. Only He can lead us to life to the full.
My mind swings back and forth…God help me as I meditate on this.
My name is Thawng Hnin Zam. I come from Chin State in the most western part of Myanmar, near the border with India. Presently, I am serving as the Principal of the Union Theological College, a member of the Association for Theological Education in South East Asia. I received a B.Th. degree in Madras, India, as well as a B.D. (Bachelors of Divinity) from Serampore University, also in India.