Learning about Buddhism makes me appreciate a universal people that are hungry for more! More loving kindness towards one another; more compassion for the poor; more sympathy for the marginalized and socially degraded; and more intentionality to overcome economic exploitation in a global community! It is refreshing to know that amongst the differences in Christianity and Buddhism, commonalities exist. I recall the words of life spoken by a chief monk we visited today, “There are good points among religions.” One thing seems to ring true . . . whether in Shawnee, Kansas, or Yangon, Myanmar, to quote Dr. Maya Angelou, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”
Throughout this pilgrimage, I’ve interacted with different and unique people, sharing knowledge and having interfaith dialogues. The more we seem to interact, the more commonalities we seem to share. Buddhists practice 3 basic principles: charity, morality (5 precepts: abstain from killing living beings, stealing, committing adultery, and drinking intoxicating drinks/consuming drugs), and meditation. Christians have a passion to give to the needy/poor, follow the Ten Commandments, and believe in the power of prayer! In our practices we seek a deeper relationship with our God!
In each religion we see people that are living out their call, following the principles of their religion, and willing to make great sacrifices to carry out the mission of their god! We see people that seek more and those that have more. Matthew 25:29 – To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Consider for a moment the “more” you need in your life to carry out the mission of Christ! If you are seeking “more” or have “more,” what will you or are you doing with it? Is it possible that finding commonality in people amongst different religions could be the very thing that grants us access to closer relationship with a universal God? As we find similarities amongst the different people in our own households, our churches, our community, and the world; are we intentional about finding commonalities? Next time you encounter someone of difference, ask them “What ‘more’ are you looking for?”
I belong to the Kachin ethnic group in Myanmar. I am now serving as an associate minister at a Baptist church in Kachin State, which is in the northern part of Myanmar. We have over 7000 church members at my church.
I have been in ministry for over 17 years. I know that in order to lead my congregation effectively, I need more education. I believe that this D.Min. program will enhance my ministry today and into the future.
Learning together with other students from Myanmar has been very valuable for me. I have enjoyed living together. I have also learned from the Shawnee D.Min. students as well. It is good to be able to appreciate each other’s cultures and ministry experiences.