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The Tenzin Lahkpa Story

Even with these limitations and difficulties, I still believed sharing the story of Tenzin’s life and his search for enlightenment was worth the tremendous hurdles needed to communicate it. His experiences give us a greater understanding of those who live in a closed and persecuted part of the world, of the branches and beliefs of Buddhism, of the universal search for truth, and of the God who is always ready to reach out to those who seek Him.

And so, in addition to the process described above, I used the follow­ing methodology to bring Tenzin’s story to Western readers. I drew on my personal experiences and resources from working and traveling in Tibet for almost twenty years, which helped me to express some parts of the story in a deeper way than I could if I had only included the specific words Tenzin spoke during our interviews. I also added descriptions as a way to familiarize my audience with the unfamiliar. Even though Tenzin has journeyed to Nepal and India, he has never traveled to a non-Buddhist area of the world. He is only familiar with Tibetan Buddhist culture, aside for brief periods of contact with Western visitors like myself. Consequently, he is unable to identify with a reader who might not know what a typical Tibetan setting, practice, or ceremony might look like and therefore would be unable to offer a comparison or explanation to help them understand it. Additionally, I have described people, places, smells, practices, and cere­monies using auxiliary information.

For security reasons, many names, places, and events have been changed to protect Tenzin’s identity. In order to bring clarity to certain aspects of the story, several conversations, people, places, and experiences were added that did not actually happen or did not exist. Some details, names, places, and people have also been added to the story to replace real events that might be a security risk to people if they were to be shared. Also, certain foreign missionaries and charity organizations have been involved in Tenzin’s life and have played a significant part in his testimony, but they have been purposefully omitted from his story in order to protect the secrecy of their ongoing work and their presence in China and Tibet.

I acknowledge that the methodology used to convey Tenzin’s story is both a strength and a weakness of this book—it takes its readers into the sights, sounds, color, and outlook of Tenzin’s world to help them under­stand it, but ultimately these features can only be representative of many of his experiences. They allow for a story that is strongly based on Tenzin’s life but, for the above reasons, necessarily includes aspects he did not per­sonally express or experience.

Therefore, with full disclosure, by adding these descriptions and explanations, I have attempted to explain Tenzin’s story in the clearest and fullest way possible. Even as I have done all this, I have humbly tried to write Tenzin’s story as close to his direct words as possible and to present his story as a first-person account.

—Eugene Bach

Excerpted from Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk’s Encounter with the Living God by Tenzin Lahpka with Eugene Bach, © 2019 by Back to Jerusalem, Inc. Published by Whitaker House. Used by permission.


Further Reading from Leaving Buddha:

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

Pastor John Lathrop reviews Leaving Buddha.

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: Eugene Bach is a pseudonym for a member of the Chinese underground church who does not wish to be identified. He was trained in U.S. military special operations and served two tours in the Persian Gulf and Asia–Pacific region, serving primarily as a member of a rapid response team focusing on targeted threat elimination, counterterrorism, and security. He has been working with the underground church in China for about twenty years, helping them to establish forward mission bases in closed countries around the world, including Iraq and Syria. Eugene leads the Chinese mission movement called Back to Jerusalem, which provides essential support for Chinese missionaries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. He is the author or co-author of I Stand with Christ: The Courageous Life of a Chinese Christian (2015), The Underground Church (2014), Leaving Buddha: A Tibetan Monk's Encounter With the Living God (2019), Jesus In Iran (2015), and other books about the underground church in places like China, North Korea, and Iran.

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