My inlaws are buddhists

So, my inlaws are buddhists and idk wtf to do. They are good people tbh, but this shit rubs off on my “spouse” and I’m not into it at all.

I’m honestly unaware of the relations between Christianity and Buddhism as well, I guess I can start by reading the wiki, and I do have a few books on the topic that are from my grandmother.
Not sure if anyone else has dealt with something like this? I’ve always been surrounded by Christians (mostly Catholic and Lutherans).

Also I don’t think saying “hey stop buddha worship” will help the situation.

My parents are Hare Krishnas (henceforth shortened to HK since they have a weird belief that saying the words traps you into their thing).

Its not exactly the same, but it does intersect. I’ve also went through a buddhist bootcamp at some point, read a bit about it.

Buddhists aren’t bad people, and they don’t exactly worship Buddha (except that they actually totally do, but it gets weird real fast and they have three major branches, and then a whole bunch of offshoots so it varies on which beliefs they actaully have). St Nicholas of Japan, a Russian Orthodox Saint described buddhism as “the best of the pagan religions—a herculean pillar of human effort compiled for itself a religion, guided by those obscure remains of God-revealed truths that had been preserved by the races after the Babylonian dispersion.”
He also praises some sects of (japanese buddhism) saying "The teaching of the loving Buddha, of his readiness to save a person at the first call, of the inadequacy of a person’s own powers to be saved involuntarily amazes one. When you hear such preaching in a temple you can forget where you are and think you are hearing a Christian sermon. "

St Nicholas of Japan however, also studied buddhism in depth for his missionary work, and you can see a lot of arguments and refutations here:

In what sense is it rubbing off on your spouse, and why is spouse in quotes?

As for personal experience dealing with it…

Personally I went through buddhist bootcamp and had success with their style of meditation. Thing is, when you have proper heartfelt prayer, its hundreds of times more effective in a shorter amount of time.

So my parents are Russians, and actually my father in his youth voluntarily decided to take up baptism since he was not baptized in infancy. So there’s a fair amount of syncretism, for example, we say Our Father when we sit down to eat, they like beeswax candles from Church. It’s been more successful with my mother, looking for periods when she is at odds with the group, and inviting her to come to Church. Women work through emotions. One time, my mother tried getting a crucifix blessed that was too showy, so the priest told her off and she started holding a grudge because of that. I think that’s the main reason she fell away, and when my father got into HK stuff, she tagged along cause women always prefer to be led by the man with strong spiritual convictions. However, despite the incident, Buddhism and Hinduism are very cold religions when compared to Christianity. In Christianity, when bad things happen its ok, because God suffered with us, he suffered the most and most unjustly, and its fine. In Buddhism, when you suffer, when bad things happen, its ok because its karma and you deserve it. Christ turned human to save us. Buddha coldly watches on as you reincarnate into pigs and frogs and worms and back to human again for countless eons. It reflects in their community as well. Buddhism is very atomized, it tries to divorce the person from a feeling of nationality or belonging in a family in some sense. But in Christianity, we are called to be one Body of Christ.

With my father, I use intellectual arguments. His main issue with Christianity was a tldr problem of evil. In the Hindu system of Karma and Reincarnation he found an answer to the questions that bothered him. That is, good people suffer because they did bad things in a past life. And bad people prosper because they did good in the past. My argument was that basically, the gurus teach them all about reincarnation, astrology, health habits and sanitation and rituals, and the pantheons of gods and karma… and then they teach them that none of it matters. The goal is to stop generating karma and to break the cycle of birth and death. And it’s like… maybe Christianity isn’t correct about the fact that we only have one life, but think about this way. Suppose we’ve been stuck in this cycle of rebirth for countless eons. Isn’t it better to act as though you have only one shot to “break it”? Because if you dont do it this life, when will you do it? We act as though the reincarnation and karma dont exist, because we are with God. If they are correct, we are going to be freed anyways. If we are correct, hell is gonna be hella hot.

Its worth noting that there is buddhism as practiced by asians and buddhism as practiced by liberal whites. My parents are full blown hindaboos, with very trad viewpoints. But if you’re dealing with happy feely lefties, then you’re dealing with happy feely new age hippies. Ask them about what they believe, show a genuine interest, do a book exchange maybe. Try to figure out the reasons why they believe what they believe, and work with that.

3 Likes

Thanks for the well done response, you clearly know a lot on the subject… far more than me.

First off i say spouse in quotations because we aren’t married yet.

And it “rubs off” on her in the sense that i legitimately feel she doesn’t believe these things but just practices it because her step dad (which her mother follows) practices it. She has all these crazy magic rocks and shit like that, meditates every once in a while and then she proceeds to burn incense during it.

But her heart can be some what cold towards the Church. Upon greater reflection I think the issue could be with myself, maybe I need to practice my faith better and become more knowledgeable in order to change their hearts.

I think I would just ask why she is faithful to a bunch of rocks but not to Christ. If someone is willing to believe the pagan nonsense by the influence of some relative, why isn’t she willing to believe the message of Christ, narrated by several contemporary witnesses, and followed by her ancestors?

You also say you need to become more knowledgeable and that certainly is great for you, but did those relatives have to be knowledgeable of anything? No, so the problem is not about theology, or anything actually related to reason. This is about the influence of what seem to be the typical hippie wannabe that looks for bootlegs religions with no substance. These people probably hate to be forced to talk about religion in a serious manner, so if you have to talk about it, do so in the least emotional, more serious manner imaginable. Many times it is not about knowledge but about tone and rhetoric that make manifest how senseless something is.

Sounds like it’s not actual buddhism, but new age crap. For the record, they do have magick rock stuff in hinduism, but it’s kind of a more obscure, more expensive, more personalized stuff. My mom did the magick rock treatment, and she had specific instructions of which rock to wear on which finger, for how long, and it was done through a fairly personalized consultation

Anyways, women rarely do things because of reason. Actually, most people don’t. So in some sense you can say that you’re deficient in your knowledge of the faith, but it’s not like you need to start lecturing her on stuff. People have negative stereotypes against Christianity, while at the same time having a spiritual hunger and a void in their lives. You can break the stereotype by practicing your religion, being kind, smart, patient etc. The more steadfast you are in your religion, the more likely your woman is to follow you.

If your woman isn’t a vegetarian, you can pre-empt that a bit and redirect it, by going “hey, it’s a friday, you want to keep it with me?” (ie no meat) or whatever. Likewise, you can burn frankincense at your house during prayer, and explain it to her when she notices.

I would recommend focusing on your girl first because you have the most influence over her, and once she’s on your side you can try to influence her parents together.

1 Like