Here are a podcast and notes on Hinduism & Buddhism (22 minutes).

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Introduction to series

  • Format: Date / Founder / Scriptures / Where adherents live / Teachings / Worldview in relation to Christianity / Outreach tips
    • The first four facts are provided on the podcast note page.
    • The fifth and sixth, basic teachings and analysis in relation to Christianity, are provided in the audio lesson (only)
    • The seventh section, Outreach tips, is in the notes.
  • Seven lessons
    • Hinduism & Buddhism (this podcast)
    • Judaism
    • Confucianism & Taoism
    • Islam A: Basics
    • Islam B: Jihad
    • Sikhism, Jainism, Shinto...
    • Baha'i and Tolerance
  • This series should help us appreciate what is distinctive about our faith, while enabling us to resist the liberal and relativizing attacks of the world (see 2 Chronicles 32:19).

LESSON 1: Hinduism & Buddhism


  1. c.1500 BC
  2. [No founder]
  3. Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita
  4. India (about 80% Hindu), Bangladesh, Nepal... Indian communities worldwide.
  5. Basic teachings -- refer to podcast.
  6. Relation to Christianity -- refer to podcast.
  7. Evangelistic ideas -- see below.


  1. c.500 BC
  2. Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha)
  3. Tripitaka and tens of thousands of pages of other writings in Sanskrit and Pali
  4. East Asia
  5. Note: In the audio recording I state that there may be up to 1b Buddhists globally. A more sober estimate is 500m.


  • Some Popular Hindu gods and goddesses (there are 1000s, if not millions, as some Hindus claim)
    • Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva (the "trinity" of Hinduism, creator, sustainer, destroyer)
    • Ganesha (elephant god)
    • Krishna, Rama (very popular)
    • Lakhshmi, Deva, Kali (goddesses)
  • The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism
    • All is suffering.
    • Suffering comes from desire.
    • Desire comes from a (false) belief in self.
    • To escape this illusion, we must follow the eight-fold path.

Hindu passages

  • “Accordingly, those who are of pleasant conduct here—the prospect is, indeed, that they will enter a pleasant womb, either the womb of a Brahman, or the womb of a Kshatriya, or the womb of a Vaisya. But those who are of a stinking conduct here — the prospect is, indeed, that they will enter a stinking womb of a dog, or the womb of a swine, or the womb of an outcast.” Chandogya Upanishad, 5.10.8
  • The four castes were emitted by me according to the distribution  of the constituents [of Nature] and actions.—Bhagavadgītā IV.13
  • He who is trained in intellect abandons both good and evil deeds. Yoga is skill in actions. — Bhagavadgītā II.50
  • I am of even mind towards all beings; none is hateful to me or dear; but they who worship me with devotion are in me and I in them. — Bhagavadgītā IX.29
  • When [the yogi] has put external contacts outside, has placed his gaze between his eyebrows, and has made his outbreathing and his inbreathing equal, as they move between the nostrils…When he knows me… as the great Lord of all the worlds and the friend of all beings, he attains to peace. — Bhagavadgītā V.27-29
  • For those who resort to me… though of base birth—women, vaiśyas and śūdras, they too go the highest way. — Bhagavadgītā IX.32
  • The self is a friend of the self of him by whom the self is conquered by the self. But the self should behave as an enemy in enmity with the non-self. —Bhagavadgītā VI.6

Buddhist passages

  • “Buddha’s body… fills every corner of the universe; it reaches everywhere, it exists forever, regardless of whether people believe in Him or doubt His existence.” —The Teaching of the Buddha, Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (same source for most of the following passages)
  • “This world of change and suffering belongs to me; all these ignorant, heedless people are my children; I am the only one who can save them from their delusion and misery." 
    “Make of yourself a light. Rely upon yourself: do not depend upon anyone else. Make my teachings your light. Rely upon them: do not depend upon any other teaching.” 
  • “Consider your ‘self’; think about its transiency: how can you fall into delusion about it and cherish pride and selfishness… Consider all substances; can you find among them any enduring ‘self’? Are they not all aggregates that sooner or later will break apart and be scattered?" 
  • “The ‘six holes’ which cause the loss of wealth are desire for intoxicating drinks and behaving foolishly, staying up late at night and losing the mind in frivolity, indulging in musical and theatre entertainments, gambling, associating with evil companions, and neglecting one’s duties.”
  • “One should remember that nothing in the world can strictly be called ‘mind.’ What comes to a person comes to him because of a combination of causes and conditions; it can be kept by him only temporarily and, therefore, he must not use it selfishly or for unworthy purposes… Every article entrusted to us must be used in some useful way, because it is not ‘ours’ but is only entrusted to us temporarily.” 
  • “Inherently, there is no discrimination of right and wrong in human behavior; but people, because of ignorance, imagine such distinctions and judge them as right or wrong."
  • “Since everything in this world is brought about by causes and conditions, there can be no fundamental distinctions among things. The apparent distinctions exist because of people’s absurd and discriminating thoughts. In the sky there is no distinction of east and west; people create the distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true. Mathematical numbers... To Buddha every definitive thing is an illusion… People make arbitrary distinctions between existence and non-existence, good and bad, right and wrong…” 
  • “Human desires are endless. It is like the thirst of a man who drinks salt water: he gets no satisfaction and his thirst is only increased.” 
  • “Therefore, those who do good deeds and maintain a peaceful mind only when their surroundings are satisfactory are not really good people. Only those who have received Buddha’s teachings and are training their minds and bodies by those teachings can be called truly good, modest and peaceful people.” 
  • “When a wise man is advised of his errors, he will reflect on them and improve his conduct. When his misconduct is pointed out, a foolish man will not only disregard the advice but rather repeat the same error.”
  • “It is easy to point out the mistakes of others, while it is hard to admit one’s own mistakes. A man broadcasts the sins of others without thinking, but he hides his own sins as a gambler hides his extra dice.”
  • “‘Honored teacher, how is it that the disciples of Buddha can keep their bodies and minds pure and untempted by lust, although they are mostly young men?’” ‘…Buddha has taught us to respect all women. He has taught us to look upon all old women as our mothers, upon those of our own age as our sisters, and upon younger ones as our daughters…’"
  • “As they fall asleep at night, they should wish that their own body, speech and mind be purified and refreshed; when they awake in the morning, their first wish during the day should be that their minds might be clear to understand all things.”
  • “A man who wishes to become my disciple must be willing to give up all direct relations with his family, the social life of the world and all dependence upon wealth.”
  • “The mission of a homeless brother is to carry forward the light of the Buddha’s teachings. He must preach to everyone; he must wake up sleeping people; he must correct false ideas; he must help people have a right viewpoint; he must go everywhere to spread the teaching even at the risk of his own life.” —The Teaching of the Buddha, Duties of the Brotherhood 5
  • “Though a fool through all his life associates with a wise man, he no more understands the Dhamma than a spoon the flavour of soup." The Dhammapada, BĀLAVAGGA (Fools) 64

Outreach tips for Hindus & Buddhists:

  • Show interest in other person’s background by learning something about his faith. If he or she is from another country, find out what the dominant religion or religions are in that country.
  • Hindus and Buddhists have little trouble believing in the supernatural world. They have many gods and goddesses, and copious miracle stories. The Danger is not that they will reject Christ outright or deny his resurrection, but that they incorporate him into their faith as just one more god or guru.
  • We need to strive for understanding their faith, with graciousness and respect.
  • Don’t soft-peddle the exclusive claims of Christ. In Christianity there is one life, and this determines our judgment—not multiple cycles of birth-death-rebirth. This means that all of us need to live a moral life now.
  • If you are unfamiliar with the doctrine of reincarnation, be sure to listen to the premium podcast on that topic.
  • One is not reborn as human (or other living being); rebirth takes place in this life. And that's good news!

Next lesson: Judaism