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Enlightened by Love and Sacrifice: An excerpt from Leaving Buddha

“Wait. I am staying here tonight. I would like to talk more tomorrow. After tomorrow, I will return to America.”

“I don’t know. I do not think the lamas would appreciate what you are saying.”

“What am I saying?” Peema challenged.

“Look, I do not want to debate you, I just—”

“You do not want to debate me? Are you not Tibetan? I thought debate was how we learned what is true and what is not true.”

I did not respond. I did not want anything bad to happen to Peema, and I knew that his life would be short-lived if the others knew what he was doing.

“Goodbye, Peema.”

“Will I see you tomorrow?” he asked.

I didn’t answer him. I just wished him blessings and walked back up to the monastery. I didn’t tell anyone there about my conversation with Peema. I hoped that I would quickly forget about it and that he could go back and live the rest of his life in America.


“More Deadly Than Mara”

After my meeting with Peema, it was hard for me to sleep that night. I went walking through the empty rooms of the meditation chambers. The echo of my feet shuffling across the floor bounced off of the dark walls. I didn’t know anything about Peema’s new religion, but something in me rejected it.

Yet I also felt tormented by my automatic rejection of his new belief. It irritated me to the core and I could not rationalize it in my mind. His words kept coming back to me over and over again: “You do not want to debate me? Are you not Tibetan? I thought debate was how we learned what is true and what is not true.”

“Troubled minds can’t find rest,” came a voice from one of the corners. It was the voice of our visiting monk.

“Sorry, I didn’t know anyone was awake.”

“I am still on American time,” he said.

“You live in America?”

“Uhhmmm,” he said with a nod. “I am getting too old for this travel back and forth.”

“Debate was how we learned what is true and what is not true.”

“Have you lived in America long?” I asked.

“More than forty years.”

“Have you ever met any Christians during your time in America?”


“Have you ever met any Christians?” he finally responded after a time of pondering my question.

“I have, Teacher. I have met one.”

“What did this Christian say to you?”

“He did not say much. He just told me that the name of their God is Jesus and He can visit us in dreams.”

Again there was silence.

“Did he say anything more about Jesus to you?”


“Does that person live here among us?”

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Category: Fall 2019, Living the Faith

About the Author: Tenzin Lahpka (a pseudonym) was a Buddhist monk in Tibet before he had a life-changing encounter with Jesus and became his follower. With Eugene Bach, he wrote Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God.

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