Apologetics Index


Apologetics Index first published a list of research resources on Buddhism in November, 1996.

As with everything in Apologetics Index, while we have a particular focus on Christian apologetics this updated entry continues our tradition of linking to study resources from a variety of perspectives.

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Basic Buddhism

  • The current universe has evolved through natural law.
  • Truth has been given through countless ages by various Buddhas or enlightened beings.
  • Gautama Buddha, who lived 2,500 years ago, is the teacher for our era.
  • While salvation depends on individual effort, the Buddhist is to take refuge in the Buddha, his teaching (dharma) and the Buddhist community (sangha).
  • The Buddha taught Four Noble Truths: (1) suffering is real; (2) suffering is caused by selfish desire; (3) suffering will cease when selfish desire is eliminated; and (4) selfish desire will cease through following the Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Noble Eightfold Path that leads to nirvana involves (1) Right View, (2) Right Resolve, (3) Right Speech, (4) Right Action, (5) Right Livelihood, (6) Right Effort, (7) Right Mindfulness, and (8) Right Concentration.
  • All living things are subject to the law of karma, the principle of cause and effect, which controls the cycle of reincarnation.
  • The Buddhist is to abstain from killing, stealing, forbidden sex, lying, and the use of illicit drugs and liquor.
  • There is no God or Supreme Creator.
  • Buddhism is not irrational, pessimistic, or nihilistic.

– Source: James A. Beveryley, Basic Buddhism, Christianity Today, June 11, 2001. [1]


  • The Buddha And What He Taught Part one in a four-part series on Buddhism in North America. By J. Isamu Yamamoto

    In recent years Asian immigration to North America has risen dramatically, and with these people has come their Buddhist faith. At the same time many non-Asian North Americans have adopted Buddhism as their religion. In order to present the gospel effectively to both of these groups it is clear that Christians need to have a fundamental understanding of Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama lived over twenty-five centuries ago, but as the Buddha his life and teachings still inspire the faith of millions of people throughout Asia. The Buddha rejected the religions of his day in India and taught a new approach to religion — a life not of luxury and pleasure nor of extreme asceticism, but the Middle Way. Even in the West many find Buddhism appealing because its principles seem sensible and compassionate.

    • The Arrival Of Theravada Part 2

      Theravada Buddhism in North America is primarily associated with Southeast Asian Americans. It is a religious tradition with roots that go far back to the early days of Buddhism 25 centuries ago. Today the religious beliefs of Southeast Asian Americans are quite varied because this group includes peoples with diverse histories and cultures. While Vietnamese Americans are more inclined to Mahayana Buddhism, the other Southeast Asian peoples practice and believe in a religion that is a strange mixture of Theravada Buddhism and animism. Christians need to understand the cultural diversity of these peoples and comprehend the Buddhist strains that distinguish them.

    • Zest For Zen Part 3

      One of the most popular forms of Buddhism among non-Asian North Americans is Zen Buddhism. As one of the many schools of Mahayana Buddhism, the primary goal of Zen is to achieve personal enlightenment by meditating upon specific illogical phrases. Zen’s emphasis on self-effort, contemplative experience, and detachment from one’s desires appeals to many Westerners, who have abandoned rational philosophies and religious dogmas for a religion that stresses “nonthinking.”

    • Tibetan Buddhists Part 4

      After the Chinese communists annexed Tibet and severely oppressed the Tibetan people, thousands of Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, fled their homeland. Many came to the West, bringing with them their religion, which is the focus of their cultural identity and which they have imparted to a growing number of Westerners.

      Like the other branches of Buddhism, Tibetan or Tantric Buddhism traces its roots to the teachings and life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. Meanwhile, having adopted elements of Bon, the indigenous religion of Tibet, and Tantrism, an Indian metaphysical system, Tibetan Buddhism has developed into an exceptionally distinctive form of Buddhism.

  • Correcting Buddhist Misconceptions About Christ by J. Isamu Yamamoto
  • I am a Buddhist, why should I consider becoming a Christian? by GotQuestions.org
  • Sharing Your Faith with Asian Americans by J. Isamu Yamamoto
  • What is Buddhism and what do Buddhists believe? by GotQuestions.org
  • Why I stopped following Buddha and started following Jesus by Mary Joni Harris


  • The Buddha and the Christ – Reciprocal Views by Ernest Valea, author of the ComparativeReligion.com website. This book can also be downloaded as a PDF file.

    This book is intended as an exercise in comparative religion for both Buddhists and Christians. The author assesses how the teachings of the Buddha and the Christ relate to each other, what they have in common and what is different, and how the teachings of each would work in the context of the teachings of the other. Could we see the Buddha and the Christ as complementary religious teachers of our world, or as fulfilling a similar spiritual need in different parts of the world? Could one have a kind of “double spiritual citizenship” by acknowledging both as his or her spiritual teacher? Or would such a claim mean having a religious citizenship that is in fact neither Buddhist nor Christian?

  • Buddhism, Taoism, & Other Far Eastern Religions by J. Isamu Yamamoto
  • The Compact Guide to World Religions by Dean Halverson. A handbook on the origins, basic beliefs, and evangelistic challenges and opportunities of the world’s major relgions. Clear, easy-to-use chapters and charts.
  • Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias
  • The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha by Ravi Zacharias

    Eavesdrop on an imaginary conversation between Jesus and another great thinker whose quest for life’s meaning has influenced millions—Gautama Buddha! In the tradition of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, master apologist Zacharias creates a captivating scenario that sheds light on God’s true nature and Jesus’ impassioned concern for all people.


  • 10 Questions and Answers on Buddhism by J. Isama Yamamoto. ROSE Publishing. This helpful pamphlet compares the claims of Buddhism with those of the Bible, It also provides a brief glossary, suggested resources for further study, and tips on how Christians can reach out to Buddhists.

    According to the 2010 edition of Operation World, Buddhism is the world’s 4th largest religion.

    • Did you know that Buddhism draws “large numbers of people who switch … from Protestantism and Catholicism”? (Pew Forum survey, 2007)
    • Did you know that George Lucas, Jennifer Lopez, Tiger Woods, Tina Turner and others have said they believe in Buddhist principles?
    • Have you heard people describe themselves as a “Buddhist Christian”? (You might be surprised how much this is happening today.)

    Buddhism is on the rise, especially among young people. The kind face of the Dalai Lama appears to promise peace and reconciliation without “religion.” That’s the problem: Some people are now starting to call themselves Buddhist Christians and claim to “belong” to both. This pamphlet investigates the beliefs of Buddhism that every Christian should know.


  • H-Buddhism

    The Buddhist Scholars Information Network (H-Buddhism) serves as a medium for the exchange of information regarding academic resources, new research projects, scholarly publications, university job listings, and so forth, for specialists in Buddhist Studies who are currently affiliated with academic institutions. It is not a list intended for general discussions of issues regarding Buddhism as a religion, philosophy, practice, or lifestyle (there is a wide variety of lists on the Internet that already serve this purpose), nor a list where non-specialists may pose queries. People who are not specialists in Buddhist Studies can access messages from H-Buddhism through this web site, but they can neither subscribe nor post their own messages.

Encyclopedia & Profiles


  • Buddhism Glossary By Paul V. M. Flesher. Not drawn from any published work. It is for use with the course RELI 1000, Introduction to Religion, taught at the University of Wyoming
  • Glossary of Buddhism Wikipedia entry


  • Buddhist-Christian Studies Edited by Terry Muck, professor of religion at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Texas.

    A scholarly journal devoted to Buddhism and Christianity and their historical and contemporary interrelationships, Buddhist-Christian Studies presents thoughtful articles, conference reports, and book reviews. It also includes sections on comparative methodology and historical comparisons, as well as ongoing discussions from two dialogue conferences: the Theological Encounter with Buddhism, and the Japan Society for Buddhist Christian Studies.


  • Apologist Interview: Winfried Corduan [mp3] An audio interview posted by the Apologetics 315 website.

    Today’s interview is with Christian philosopher Win Corduan. Dr. Corduan has served as a professor or adjunct professor of philosophy and religion at numerous colleges, universities, and seminaries. He has also served as president of both the International Society of Christian Apologetics and the Evangelical Philosophical Society. He talks about his background and work, influences in apologetics, philosophy and apologetics, philosophical theology, philosophy of religions, comparative religions, his study in Buddhism, the neglect of Buddhism, the need for scholars in all areas, advice for apologists, and more. His books include Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions, No Doubt About It: The Case for Christianity, Pocket Guide to World Religions, Handmaid to Theology: An Essay in Philosophical Prolegomena, Reasonable Faith: Basic Christian Apologetics, and a number of others.

  • A Brief History of Buddhism and Hinduism [mp3] a lecture by Douglas Groothuis
  • Introduction to Buddhism A series of lectures by Dr. Timothy Tennent, President at Asbury Theological Seminary. Posted at BiblicalTraining.org, where Tennent is a member of the Board. The site includes many additional lectures by Timothy Tennent on Buddhism.
  • The Real Problem with Buddhism [mp3] Audio message hosted by Apologetics 315.

    Ex-Zen Buddhist Ellis Potter gives this talk evaluating Buddhism. … This talk explores the concepts of monism, dualism, trinitarianism, and the concept of unity and diversity.



  • Buddhanet (Pro) “Buddhist Education and Information Network.” The site includes education material on all aspects of Buddhism
  • A Comparative Analysis Of The Major World Religions From A Christian Perspective by Ernest Valea, author of ComparativeReligon.com Excellent, indepth approach.

    The goal of this site is to investigate whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prove that world religions are complementary, according to the model inspired by an old Indian tale – that of the blind men who tried to describe an elephant. It is said that once upon a time a king gathered a few men who were born blind. They were asked to describe an elephant, but each one was presented with only a certain part of it. To one was presented the head of the elephant, to another the trunk, to another its ears, to another the leg, the body, the tail, tuft of the tail, etc. The one who was presented with the head said: “The elephant is like a pot!” The one who was presented the trunk answered, “The elephant is like a hose.” The one who touched only the ears thought that the elephant was a fan, the others said that it was a pillar, a wall, a rope, a brush, etc. Then they quarreled among themselves, each thinking that he was the only one right and the others were wrong. The obvious truth is that the elephant is a unity of many parts, a unity that they could not grasp in their ignorance.

    According to the pattern suggested by this tale, it is often said that world religions form a unity, and only this unity provides the right perspective on ultimate truth. A similar pluralistic trend is encouraged by the suggestion to consider the various world religions as alternative paths to the same transcendental finality or, using a known illustration, many paths to the same mountain peak. Although this vision is arousing a lot of enthusiasm in many people today, it is important to know that it is not the only one, as Christianity and Islam each claim to be the only right path to God. Therefore the other option is that world religions are not pieces of the same puzzle (parts of the same spiritual “elephant”) or alternative paths to the same goal.

  • DharmaNet (Pro) Online since 1991 this was one of the first Buddhist websites, and is also among the largest. DharmaNet provides

    an independent, non-sectarian informational and educational resource on Buddhism to the ever-widening world-wide audience of people impacted by Buddhism.  While there are hundreds of Buddhist web sites, there is still no seminal, non-sectarian informational and educational web site that presents the full range of the Dharma to those seeking to engage the teachings. [2]

    Particularly useful is its Learning Center

  • World Religions Index “Equipping Christians to Understand Other World Faiths and Religious Philosophies” This Leadership University site includes articles, charts and testimonies.


Apologetics Index first posted an entry on Buddhism on Nov. 11, 1996. This updated version was first posted on Dec. 11, 2011.

  1. This is a sidebar to the article, Hollywood’s Idol: “The Dalai Lama, a spiritual hero to millions, works to liberate Tibet, calls on spirits, and believes Jesus lived previous lives,” by James A. Beverley, Christianity Today, June 11, 2001
  2. The term Dharma means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. Wikipedia says:

    For practicing Buddhists, references to “dharma” (dhamma in Pali) particularly as “the Dharma”, generally means the teachings of the Buddha, commonly known throughout the East as Buddha-Dharma.

    The status of Dharma is regarded variably by different Buddhist traditions. Some regard it as an ultimate truth, or as the fount of all things which lies beyond the “three realms” (Sanskrit: tridhatu) and the “wheel of becoming” (Sanskrit: bhavacakra), somewhat like the pagan Greek and Christian logos: this is known as Dharmakaya (Sanskrit). Others, who regard the Buddha as simply an enlightened human being, see the Dharma as the essence of the “84,000 different aspects of the teaching” (Tibetan: chos-sgo brgyad-khri bzhi strong) that the Buddha gave to various types of people, based upon their individual propensities and capabilities.

    Dharma refers not only to the sayings of the Buddha, but also to the later traditions of interpretation and addition that the various schools of Buddhism have developed to help explain and to expand upon the Buddha’s teachings. For others still, they see the Dharma as referring to the “truth,” or the ultimate reality of “the way that things really are” (Tib. Cho).

    The Dharma is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism in which practitioners of Buddhism seek refuge, or that upon which one relies for his or her lasting happiness. The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, meaning the mind’s perfection of enlightenment, the Dharma, meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha, and the Sangha, meaning those awakened beings who provide guidance and support to followers of the Buddha.

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First published (or major update) on Monday, December 12, 2011.
Last updated on July 07, 2024.

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