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Tenzin Lahkpa and Eugene Bach: Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God

Tenzin Lahkpa and Eugene Bach, Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2019), 206 pages, ISBN 9781641231022.

Eugene Bach is a leader with the Back to Jerusalem ministry ( He has written a number of books about Christianity in nations that are hostile to the gospel; he has written about Christianity in China, Iran, and North Korea. This current volume deals with the experiences of a Tibetan Buddhist monk who left Buddhism to follow Jesus Christ.

Most of the text of this book deals with the experiences Tenzin had while he was in the Buddhist faith. As you read you will become acquainted with Buddhist teachings and practices, many of which are explained in the book. Tenzin was raised in a Buddhist family; when he was a teenager he was sent off to live in a Buddhist monastery. This was considered an honor and was to set him off on the path toward “enlightenment.” During his time in the monastery, he learned the disciplined life of a monk; their schedules were very regimented. In addition he also learned the tenets and practices of his faith and how to debate (which was a major facet of their training). While he was there he also became aware of some of the dark things that could take place in the Buddhist faith. In the first monastery he lived at he heard loud cries at night. He learned that these cries came from a younger monk who was being sexually abused by an older monk.

During the course of his studies, Tenzin moved to a number of different monasteries. In one place he found that the Buddhists hated the Chinese, in another he found that they hated the Muslims. He came to the conclusion that Buddhism was a very hateful religion. He also became aware that some of the top religious leaders, including the Dalai Lama, all of whom are supposed to be celibate, had secret families. He saw some of the inconsistencies and hypocrisy in the Buddhist faith. He also came to realize that some of his fellow seekers on the path to enlightenment seemed to be no more enlightened than he was.

In India, Tenzin tried to connect with one of his relatives who was also a monk (or so he thought). He learned that his cousin had actually moved to the United States a year earlier through the help of a Christian man and his church. His cousin had also become a Christian and was happier than he had even been. In the course of his journey, Tenzin found out from another monk that Jesus was dangerous for Buddhists; Jesus could undo all that Buddhists sought to attain. This monk told Tenzin to put away everything he had learned about Jesus. At one particular point in his studies Tenzin heard the Dalai Lama speak. In his teaching this man seemed to express respect for the other religions of the world. However, Tenzin noticed that he did not make any reference to Jesus or His followers.

The Back to Jerusalem website says: Leaving Buddha opens a window on the mysterious world of Buddhism. But ultimately, it is a moving story of redemption, reconciliation, and the power of the gospel—for all people of all nations.

A number of things were used by the Lord to bring about the conversion of this Buddhist monk. The means that God used to drawn him to Himself include: the ministry of a Christian doctor from Sweden (who treated him when he was sick), a Bible, a divine healing, and a dream of Jesus. After he came to Jesus he quickly found himself persecuted for his new found faith, he also became active in Christian service.

Leaving Buddha is an interesting story of how God is at work in the world today, specifically in the lives of people from other world religions (yes, they can be reached). The book demonstrates how Tenzin’s emptiness, questions, and doubts brought him to Jesus. If you are interested in missions this book will be a welcome addition to your library. As Paul wrote to the church in Colossae “the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world” (Col 1:6 NIV); this is true even in the Buddhist world.

Reviewed by John Lathrop


Read Excerpts from Leaving Buddha:

The Tenzin Lahkpa Story

In this excerpt from Leaving Buddha, Eugene Bach introduces us to the amazing story of Tenzin Lahkpa, a Buddhist monk who had a powerful encounter with Jesus the Messiah.

Enlightened by Love and Sacrifice: An excerpt from Leaving Buddha

In this excerpt from Leaving Buddha, Tenzin Lahkpa, formerly a Buddhist monk, recalls his first introduction to Jesus the Messiah.

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Category: Fall 2019, Living the Faith

About the Author: John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies. He has written for a number of publications and is the author of four books Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers Then and Now (Xulon Press, 2008), The Power and Practice of the Church: God, Discipleship, and Ministry (J. Timothy King, 2010), Answer the Prayer of Jesus: A Call for Biblical Unity (Wipf & Stock, 2011) and Dreams & Visions: Divine Interventions in Human Experience (J. Timothy King, 2012). He also served as co-editor of the book Creative Ways to Build Christian Community (Wipf & Stock, 2013). Amazon Author page. Facebook

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