— The 14th Dalai Lama is set to begin a tour of the United States this spring. Born Tenzin Gyatso, he came from a farming
family in Amdo, an eastern Tibetan province.
At 15, Gyatso, already having been proclaimed as the next
Dalai Lama, became as Tibet's
Head of State. China moved in
for occupation and when the Tibetan resistance movement collapsed in 1959, the
Dalai Lama became a refugee.
Since then, he has been traveling, seeking to preserve
Tibetan culture and promote Tibetan Buddhism among the thousands of refugees
who accompanied him. It's an evangelism
of sorts, and an effective one.
executive director, Doug VanBronkhorst says the visit is kicking up a lot of
publicity and questions. "He's the head, in many ways, of the Tibetan
Buddhist community in the world, and that's a growing community in the U-S.
He's doing a tour of the U-S starting in April this year, and we want to
respond to that."
Their goal is to help Christians interact with Tibetan
Buddhism in ways that further the Gospel. Van Bronkhorst says that's why
they're hosting a series of conferences timed with the Dalai Lama's
visits. "We'll give people an
understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, and the points of difference and the points
of contact between that religion and the Christian faith, and handles on what
are effective ways of sharing the Gospel with Tibetan Buddhists. They have a
different worldview, so there's a lot to talk about there, with respect to
It's a narrowly focused crash course in apologetics. Although there are a handful of conferences,
Interserve has another resource available.
It's a re-vamp of their book entitled, "Jesus in a New Age, Dalai Lama
World – Defending and Sharing Christ with Buddhists". The book offers a clear understanding of
Tibetan Buddhist beliefs, thereby lessening the tension that might be directed
at evangelical efforts.
It's authored by M. Tsering (a pseudonym), a professional
man who has worked among Tibetan Buddhists for two decades and still travels
and ministers to them. He wrote it as a
practical guide for anyone planning full-time or short-term mission service, or
someone witnessing to an Asian immigrant or casually talking with a neighbor or
The paperback has 356 pages and is priced at $14.95. The
book can be ordered from Interserve USA by calling toll free 1-800-809-4440 or
by emailing request to firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also available at