Thursday, March 4, 2010

International Centre for Inner Peace and Happiness


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Contact :Ven. Bodhicitta
Telephone:(03) 9794 0759

The Centre
The Centre was recently formed to promote meditation and the teachings of Buddha. We liaise
with worldwide Buddhist societies and Interfaith Religious Organisations to promote tolerance to all
schools of Buddhist thought as well as to other religious faiths.
The Centre fosters inter-religious harmony, mutual understanding and maintains an environment of
respect and peace.

This society is led by Ven. Bodhicitta, a Sri Lankan born Buddhist nun. Our society is in its infancy and
the services we provide are free for the general public regardless of their origin, race or religion. This society
is managed by the generosity of people who value our service.

Aims and Objectives
1. To foster the teachings and the practice of the Buddha Dhamma, and the practice of meditation with
an emphasis on the good life and the mindful life.
2. To disseminate through our religious and educational programmes the basic values of tolerance
and interconnectedness in reaching out to other schools of Buddhism and other religious, ethnic and
cultural groups.
3. To develop concrete projects that would enhance the health and psychological well-being of our
community. As in the world in which we live, ‘stress’ continues to exact a toll on everyday life, we are
increasingly turning to ancient meditative methods.
These techniques of mindfulness practice need to be integrated in to any counselling programme.
4. To focus attention on the role of families in helping to build up a youth culture and develop a ‘youth
forum’ for a dialogue with young people.
5. To encourage members and their friends to engage in social and charity projects to assist those in need in
the community.

Services
The services provided by our centre include:
  • Providing regular classes for teaching the Dhamma and meditation practice.
  • Established library and reading services for members and their families.
  • Developing a program for young people modelled on the “The schooling for the Good Heart” in the USA.
  • This program would have a specific focus on the education of the emotions through mindfulness
  • practice.
  • Organising regular talks and seminars on ‘counselling education’.
  • Establishing links with worldwide Buddhist societies






8 comments:

  1. Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus

    Though there are other religions that have prophecies in them, none are 100% accurate as is the Bible; and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds. The Old Testament was written hundreds of years before Jesus was born. Yet, the Old Testament prophesied many things about Jesus. This is undoubtedly evidence of divine influence upon the Bible.

    Please consider some of the many prophecies of Jesus in the following chart.

    Prophecy Old Testament Prophecy New Testament Fulfillment
    Born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14
    Matt. 1:18, 25

    Born at Bethlehem Micah 5:2
    Matt. 2:1

    He would be preceded by a Messenger Isaiah 40:3
    Matt. 3:1-2

    Rejected by His own people Isaiah 53:3
    John 7:5; 7:48

    Betrayed by a close friend Isaiah 41:9
    John 13:26-30

    His side pierced Zech. 12:10
    John 19:34

    Crucifixion Psalm 22:1
    Psalm 22:11-18
    Luke 23:33;
    John 19:23-24

    Resurrection of Christ Psalm 16:10
    Acts 13:34-37

    Fulfillment of prophecy can have different explanations. Some state that the NT was written and altered to make it look like Jesus fulfilled OT prophecy (but there is no evidence of that). Others state that the prophecies are so vague that they don't count (but many of the prophecies are not vague at all). Of course, it is possible that God inspired the writers and Jesus, who is God in flesh, fulfilled these prophecies as a further demonstration of the validity of Christianity.

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  2. The Claims and Deeds of Christ

    Christianity claims to be authored by God. Of course, merely making such a claim does not make it true. Anyone can make claims; but, backing up those claims is entirely different. Jesus used the Divine Name for Himself (John 8:58)--the same Divine Name used by God when Moses asked God what His name was in (Exodus 3:14). Jesus said that He could do whatever He saw God the Father do (John 5:19), and He claimed to be one with the God the Father (John 10:30; 10:38). Likewise, the disciples also called Him God (John 1:1, 14; John 10:27; Col. 2:9). By default, if Jesus is God in flesh, then whatever He said and did would be true. Since Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one can find God without Him (John 14:6), His words become incredibly important.

    Again, making a claim is one thing. Backing it up is another. Did Jesus also back up His fantastic words with miraculous deeds? Yes, He did.

    • Jesus changed water into wine (John 2:6-10).
    • Jesus cast out demons (Matt. 8:28-32; 15:22-28).
    • Jesus healed lepers (Matt. 8:3; Luke 17:14).
    • Jesus healed diseases (Matt. 4:23, 24; Luke 6:17-19)
    • Jesus healed the paralytic (Mark 2:3-12).
    • Jesus raised the dead (Matt. 9:25; John 11:43-44).
    • Jesus restored sight to the blind (Matt. 9:27-30; John 9:1-7).
    • Jesus restored cured deafness (Mark 7:32-35).
    • Jesus fed the multitude (Matt. 14:15-21; Matt. 15:32-38).
    • Jesus walked on water (Matt. 14:25-27).
    • Jesus calmed a storm with a command (Matt. 8:22-27; Mark 4:39).
    • Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:39; John 20:27).
    • Jesus appeared to disciples after resurrection (John 20:19).

    The eyewitnesses recorded the miracles of Jesus, and the gospels have been reliably transmitted to us. Therefore, we can believe what Jesus said about Himself for two reasons: One, because what He said and did agrees with the Old Testament; and two, because Jesus performed many convincing miracles in front of people who testified and wrote about what they saw Him do.

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  3. Christ's resurrection

    Within Christianity, the resurrection is vitally important. Without the resurrection our faith is useless (1 Cor. 15:14). It was Jesus' resurrection that changed the lives of the disciples. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples ran and hid. But when they saw the risen Lord, they knew that all that Jesus had said and done proved that He was indeed God in flesh, the Savior.

    No other religious leader has died in full view of trained executioners, had a guarded tomb, and then risen three days later to appear to many many people. This resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do: provide the only means of redemption for mankind.

    Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead, etc. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Why trust anyone else? Why trust anyone who can be held by physical death when we have a Messiah who is greater than death itself?

    Conclusion

    Why should anyone trust in Christianity over Islam, Buddhism, Mormonism, or anything else? It is because there are absolute truths--because only in Christianity is there accurate fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness' documents (gospels), so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions--all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

    Either Jesus is true and all other religions are false, or other religions are true and Jesus is false. There are no other options. I choose to follow the risen Lord Jesus.


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  4. STATISTICAL PROPHECY PROOF OF JESUS COMPARED TO OTHERS

    Many specific prophecies about Jesus have been reviewed. We know that the Old Testament manuscripts were made before the time of Jesus. Likewise the New Testament manuscripts, widely circulated during the time of Jesus, provide evidence that the fulfillment of prophecies was accurate.

    So the essential question is, what does this mean? Are the prophecies statistically reliable enough to draw conclusions about Jesus and his claims? To answer these questions, let’s start with an estimate of only 30 of the prophecies about Jesus.

    Messianic Prophecy A “Guesstimate” of Odds

    1. Shem an ancestor (Genesis 9-10) 1/3
    2. Abraham an ancestor (Genesis 22:18) 1/1000
    3. Isaac an ancestor (Genesis 26:4) 1/10,000
    4. Jacob an ancestor (Genesis 28:14) 1/100,000
    5. Judah an ancestor (Genesis 49:10) 1/1,000,000
    6. Jesse an ancestor (Isaiah 11:1-5) 1/10,000,000
    7. King David an ancestor (2 Samuel 7:11-16) 1/100,000,000
    8. Bethlehem Ephrathah as birthplace (Micah 5:2) 1/100,000
    9. Star connected with birth (Numbers 24:17) 1/100,000
    10. Called “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14) 1/100,000
    11. Calming the sea (Psalm 107:29) 1/10,000,000
    12. “Special” miracles (Isaiah 35:4-6) 1/100,000,000
    13. Names given (Isaiah 9:6) 1/10,000
    14. Use of parable (Psalm 78:2) 1/10
    15. Ultimate king over all (Isaiah 45:23; Psalm 22) 1/10
    16. Sin offering and Passover Lamb (Isaiah 53) 1/100
    17. Will die with “wicked men” (Isaiah 53:3-9) 1/10
    18. Will be buried with a rich man (Isaiah 53:3-9) 1/10
    19. Timing of entry into Jerusalem (Daniel 9:20-27) 1/10,000,000
    20. Entering Jerusalem as a king on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9) 1/100
    21. Betrayed by a friend for 30 pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12-13) 1/1000
    22. Rejection by Israel; will say nothing at his trial (Isaiah 8:10; 53) 1/10,000
    23. Hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22) 1/10,000
    24. Identifying the place of crucifixion (Genesis 22) 1/1,000,000
    25. Will thirst while being put to death (Psalm 69:20-22) 1/10
    26. No bones broken (Psalm 22) 1/10
    27. Identification of words at the beginning and end of
    execution (Psalm 22) 1/1000
    28. Lots cast for clothing (Psalm 22) 1/1000
    29. Will be given gall and wine (Psalm 69:20-22) 1/10
    30. Will be “pierced” (Isaiah 3:5; Zechariah 12:10) 1/100

    The cumulative probability of all these prophecies randomly coming true in one person would be 1 chance in 10110. This would be like winning about 16 lotteries in a row. Even if a skeptic were to substantially reduce some of the above estimates, the result would still be deemed impossible. For example, let’s very conservatively assume the above estimates are off by a factor of a trillion trillion! This would still result in the “impossible odds” of all prophecies coming true in one man, Jesus, of one chance in 1086 ! How remote are these odds? They would still be like taking all of the matter in the entire universe (that is, one billion
    billion stars and solar systems) and breaking it all down into subatomic particles, and randomly selecting
    one marked electron! Truly the prophecies made about Jesus in the Old Testament alone verify his divinity
    because they verify the Bible’s claims about him, and his claims about himself.

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  5. Prophecies Made by Jesus Himself

    Old Testament prophecies provide powerful evidence about Jesus. However, there is also evidence that Jesus himself is a divine prophet. Although he prophesied many things, by far the most significant were his multiple prophecies that he would be betrayed, crucified, and on the third rise from the dead:

    Now as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside and said to them,
    “we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and
    the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will turn him over to the
    gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”
    (Matthew 20:17-19).

    Jesus prophesied his death and resurrection numerous times, in all four Gospels:
    • Matthew 12:40;16:21; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:61; 27:40; 27:63
    • Mark 8:31; 9:30-32; 10:32-34; 14:58; 14:58; 15:29-30
    • Luke 9:21-22,44-45; 18:31-34
    • John 2:13-22; 3:14-16; 12:32-34

    If there was ever an unusual and amazing prophecy, it would be one with the specific details of the prophesier’s death, and far more, that he would rise from the dead in three day! Out of all kinds of prophecy, this one is phenomenal and would be beyond any odds imaginable!

    So central was this prophecy to Jesus’ life that he stated it many times; it was recorded in the Gospel accounts in 18 places! It is a prediction that only an all-knowing God could make and fulfill.

    In addition to this, Jesus also prophesied specifically about other things as well:
    • One of his disciples would betray him (Matthew 26:21; Mark 14:17-21; Luke 22:21-22)
    • His disciples would desert him (Matthew 26:30-31; Mark 14:26-27).
    • Peter would disown him three times (Matthew 26:33-34; Mark 14:29-30; Luke 22:31-34).
    • He would meet the disciples in Galilee after he had risen (Mark 14:28).

    Other People Believed That Jesus Was God

    An obvious question is, with all the prophetic evidence, did the Jews of the day, who certainly would be aware of the prophecies in the Tanakh, think that Jesus was God? In fact, the Jews in Jerusalem were very rapidly accepting reported that the number who immediately believed in the resurrection (presumably the eyewitnesses) was at least 120 (Acts 1:15) before the Feast of Pentecost, which was 50 days after the resurrection. (It could have been more since this verse refers only to believers present at that setting.) When Peter spoke on the Day of Pentecost, immediately 3000 men were added to the group of believers (Acts 2:41). Why was Peter’s message so compelling? Because it was based on the prophecies the Jews knew and the events they had witnessed or had heard about. The Bible further reports that the number increased daily (2:47).

    One of the most striking indications of the early belief that Jesus was God in the Gospel of John. John himself was an eyewitness to all the events of Jesus’ life, and his account was both written and circulated during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses:

    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with
    God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has
    been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness,
    but the darkness has not understood it.

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  6. There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. [This is speaking of John the Bap-
    tist.] He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might
    believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. The true light that
    gives light to every man was coming into the world.

    He was in the world, and through the world was made through him, the world did not recognize
    him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received
    him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, children born
    not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the
    One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1-14).

    John’s words clearly show that he believed that Jesus was God. And others who were close to him also believed that he was God.

    • Peter worshiped him (Luke 5:8). A Jew would worship no one other than God.
    • Likewise, Thomas worshiped him (John 20:28).
    • Peter, James and John witnessed and reported the “transfiguration” (Matthew 17), a visible demonstration that Jesus Possessed the same glory as God the Father.
    • Elizabeth, Jesus’ relative, believed that he was God (Luke 1:41-55).
    • Simeon, a devout Jewish prophet, believed that Jesus was God (Luke 2:25-35).
    • Anna, a prophetess, believed he was God (Luke 2:36-38).
    • Even Jesus’ half brothers James and Jude eventually believed that Jesus was God (see the books of James and Jude).
    • A Roman centurion and others who were at the crucifixion believed Jesus to be God:

    At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth
    shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people
    who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrec-
    tion they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

    When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and
    all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
    (Matthew 27:51-54).

    The high priest and others at Jesus’ trial believed that Jesus was claiming to be God incarnate:

    The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God. Tell us if you are
    the Christ, the Son of God.”
    “Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son
    of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then
    the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more
    witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy” (Matthew 26:63-65).


    Not only did the high priest officially declare that Jesus had blasphemed, but his tearing of clothes was a
    sign of mourning and revulsion over blasphemy.


    Other Holy Books Fail the Prophecy Test

    Given that prophecy is a true test of something from God it is not surprising that very few holy books attempt any prophecy. After all, since only God can prophesy, and we would expect that most supposed
    “holy books” are not really from God, it would be difficult to concoct testable prophecy that would be
    verifiable (like the Bible).

    Considering other well-known religions, we find the following:

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  7. Eastern religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucius, Shinto). These religions are essentially “mystical,
    philosophical” religions and therefore tend not to use or depend on prophecy.

    Islam (and the Qur’an). Although Islam is history-based and agrees with many of the same historical figures mentioned in the Bible (Abraham, Ishmael, Jesus, Mary, and so on), it cannot prove its inspiration from God using prophecy. The Qur’an was written based on dictation by Muhammad (570-632 A.D.).

    Sura 9:14; Sura 28:85; Sura 48:16-21,27,28; Sura 54:44-48; and Sura 56:1-56 all deal with end time prophecy that was excluded). Sura 5:70; 15:9; 41:42; and 15:96 are not prophecies, but generalities and warnings. Sura 24:55 is a promise of blessing of land and wealth to believers is Islam. However it does not specify what land, as in the case of Israel. Sura 54:44-48 prophesies military action against enemies of the religion, but this doesn’t say much, as it is what people tend to do anyway. And Sura 110:1-2 promises help from Allah (Islam’s God) in time of war. Again, this isn’t specific, for instance, a claim to victory in a specific battle or war.

    Sura 30:2-4 is the only potential historical prophecy, although it has problems. It essentially says that, “The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by; but they, (even) after (this) defeat of theirs, will soon be victorious with a few years. With Allah is the Decision, in the past and in the Future: on that Day shall the Believers rejoice.” In history, the Persians were victorious over the Eastern Roman Empire in A.D. 615,
    and then the Romans returned to defeat the Persians 13 years later in 628. According to Muhammad, “a few” years in this prophecy was meant to mean 3 to 9 years, with 13 falling outside of this range. Even so,
    the prophecy would not be particularly surprising since there was an ongoing war in this region, and it was
    not uncommon for territory to be recaptured.

    Mormons (the Book of Mormon, Doctrines and Covenants). The Book of Mormon was actually written in the early 1800s, supposedly translated from golden plates written before the time of Jesus (unfortunately,
    these valuable plates have never been available for verification). Even so, giving the plates the benefit of
    the doubt, the Book of Mormon contains two prophecies about Jesus, both of which are false:

    And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she
    being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the
    power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yes even the Son of God (Alma 7:10, Book of
    Mormon).

    Of course Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. Some may claim that Bethlehem is a suburb of
    Jerusalem; however, when transportation was by foot, a town an hour and a half away would not be considered a suburb. Even the Book Mormon indicates it is a separate city (1 Nephi 1:4). Here’s
    another example:

    But behold, thus saith the Lord God: “When the day cometh that they (the Jews) shall believe
    in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in
    the flesh, upon the earth unto the lands of their inheritance” (2 Nephi 10:7, Book of Mormon).

    Of course the Jews did return to the land in 1948 despite not yet “believing” in Jesus.
    The Mormon book of Doctrine and Covenants contains several prophetic errors (with none right, in fact)
    regarding a Temple that was to be built in western Missouri within a generation of Joseph Smith’s prediction in the early 1800s: 1) A temple was to be built at a consecrated site in Jackson County, Missouri (“Zion”), within a generation of 1832 (Doctrines and Covenants 84:5,31). 2) The city (“Zion”) was
    “never to be moved” out of that place (98:19; 101:17-21). Over 150 years have passed with no temple built there.

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  8. The Jehovah’s Witnesses (The Watchtower, Studies in Scripture). This non-Christian group has repeatedly failed in attempts to prophesy the end of time.

    • (2:101) – 1914 to be the year of the “battle” of the great day of God Almighty (Revelation 16:14)
    • (1914 edition) – “end of the world” date changed to 1915
    • (7:62) – date changed to 1918
    • (7:542) – date changed to 1920
    • (Miscellaneous other publications) – date of the end of the world repeatedly changed to 1925, 1942,
    1975, 1980…

    With continuing research, one would find that there is no religion, person, or holy book that contains prophecy of any substance whatsoever, and certainly nothing close to the prophecy in the Bible. This would lead one to carefully heed the words of the Bible as truth.

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