Have you ever heard of the word Karma? It is an expression we often use whenever someone experiences hurt after delivering hurt to us. What most of us don’t realize is that Karma is actually a law within Buddhism. It is the law that every cause has an effect. This law explains a number of things in Buddhism, but most Christians only use this term in a joking manner. Most Christians believe that sometimes, things just happen by coincidence and that sometimes, people experience hurt that they did nothing to deserve. This difference is one of many between these two religions.

The biggest difference would be that sometimes Buddhism is not even actually considered a religion, but instead a psychology. Buddhism emphasizes meditation and mindfulness in place of Christianity’s emphasis on praying and digging into the word. Buddhist also do not worship any supreme God but instead a man named Buddha who founded an order of monks and nun known as the Sangha. The Sangha are responsible for preserving his teachings to this day. Christians on the other hand, worship a God who created the world along with everything and everyone on it. There is one final substantial difference between Buddhism and Christianity. Buddhist believe that after death, they will be reincarnated while Christians believe that after death they will join Jesus in heaven.

Ten days in a country whose main religion is Buddhism is an experience that most will not come by; however, this past November I did experience it when I went on a mission trip to Thailand. This is an experience I will never forget and one that I learned a lot from. Most of the time, as a mission trip comes to a close, it is good to begin to think of what you are going to tell everyone once you get back.

As I began to think about this for myself, I could not help to remember all of the times I ended up explaining why Christians do “good things” if they will go to heaven anyway. You see, according to Buddhism, in order to be reincarnated into something good, like another person, you must do good things during your time on earth. Those who do not do good things during their time would be reincarnated into something not so good, like a dog or cat. Therefore, just as karma says, you will earn what you deserve, even in death.

I cannot imagine living a life where I must do good, and mistakes are not welcome. I will never get over how crazy it is that, as Christians, we do not have to do good. Jesus has already done it all for us and because of that, we get to do good for him. So, this was my answer to the constantly asked question. Jesus has done it all for us so we want to do good for him in return. I will never stop being amazed by this truth and how, although we don’t really deserve it, we receive grace.