A Monk Tells How He Found True Enlightenment by U Saw Neing (Ooh So Nang)

 

monk

My name is U Saw Neing, and I was born in 1965. I am a pure Burmese with a very strong Buddhist family background. There has never been anyone in our family that became a Christian, but all have faithfully and blindly followed the teachings of Gautama.

Darkness and Confusion

At six years old I entered the monastery school and began to learn about the Buddha, the “awakened” or “enlightened one.” I learned about his struggle for enlightenment and how he learned the answers of life through his own journey of suffering. I was taught that, as we are, he was; and as he became, we also can become.

Even though I had many questions that no one could answer, I became the most popular monk in my township and eventually reached my goal of becoming “high priest.” I would speak to great crowds of people about the beliefs and practices of Buddhism and many would give to me gifts and even bow down and worship me. But I knew in my heart that I was not a worthy person for such things. And I wondered what I had to do to become worthy. It seemed that the more I tried to be worthy of such things, the more unworthy I felt.

I was physically fit, energetic, caring, generous, warm, and friendly to everyone I met. Yet I was miserable every day because I felt that I was in darkness and could not find the truth. Many people would come to me for help, counseling, and direction in life, and I would try my best to help them according to the teachings of Buddha. But, even as I was speaking to them, there was emptiness inside my own heart, and I felt that all I had accomplished was done in vain and amounted to nothing (anata).

bagan-myanmar

True Enlightenment

 I was invited to be a speaker in a Buddhist Crusade in the Ayeyarwady Division of Myanmar. While traveling to this place, I met a friend who gave me a Christian Bible which I put in my bag. I was very excited and eager to read this Bible; and, after returning from the crusade, I thumbed through its pages and began reading in the temple when no one was around me. It seemed that my eyes were directed to two verses found in Matthew 16:26-27. “For what is a man profited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” When I read these two Bible verses, they were like fire that burned in my heart very intensely, and I wept because I knew that all I had been doing and all that I possessed were “anata” (vain or nothing) if I were to lose my own soul.

Reading this Bible was like the sun rising in the morning, gradually turning a dark dismal night into a bright cloudless day. With each page I began to see and understand more, and it made sense to me. I learned that this Holy Bible was inspired by God and given through many men of God over thousands of years and preserved to this day by the Holy Spirit of God so we could learn about Him. I learned that the true Creator of man is a living God and not at all like men and never has been. Now He was speaking to my heart by that same Spirit, through the very words of God recorded so long ago.

True Enlightenment became mine through learning and believing these four truths:

1st Light: The True Nature of the Living God

He is Spirit. The Bible says, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him  in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

He is the Most High God. Abraham called Him, “the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth.” Genesis 14:22

He is the most powerful of all earthly or heavenly spirits. “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.”  Psalm 83:18

He does not live in temples, shrines, or statues. The Bible says, “the most High dwelleth not in temples mad with hands.” Acts 7:48

He is eternal. Paul, the Apostle, described God as “…the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God…” I Timothy 1:17  God told Abraham to call Him “YAHWEH” (LORD) or “The Great I Am.” In other words, He is the Self-Existent One. He had no beginning and has no ending.

He is Holy. “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

He is a Father. “…there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things…” I Corinthians 8:6  And I learned that we cannot become God as He is because all human beings are born with a sin nature.

2nd Light: The True Nature of Man

Genesis, the first book of the Bible, says that God created the first man, Adam, as a three-part being, with a living body, soul, and spirit. But when Adam disobeyed God, he sinned against his Creator, and his spirit died. He could no longer communicate with or understand God. Every man and woman from that point forward was and is born a sinner and separated from God by his sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned.”  Romans 5:8

God gave His holy Word to the world through the nation of Israel, and so many Jews believed they were special, different from others in the world. But that same Bible makes it clear that all people from every nation are sinners in the eyes of their Creator God. The Apostle Paul said this: “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one… For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:9-12, 23

No child needs to be taught how to lie or disobey…because we are born with a sin nature that we inherit from our parents. King David said, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5

sunrise

3rd Light: The True Destiny of Man

Mankind was created to live forever and commune with his Creator. But sin separated him from the Creator God and brought upon him the curse of eternal suffering. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” I Corinthians 6:9-10  “…fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Matthew 10:28  “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Second Death? Yes, the Bible talks about another death, worse than the first – not just a physical death but a spiritual death. NOT A CONTINUAL CYCLE OF LIFE, BUT ONE LIFE FOLLOWED BY A FEARFUL JUDGMENT BEFORE ALMIGHTY GOD. “…It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27  In the Bible’s Old Testament, the Jews knew that sin needed to be paid for. Every day they would offer the blood of a lamb or a bullock as a sacrifice for their sin. Also in the New Testament, there is a price for sin, “For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23

How then can we pay for our sin? Should we sacrifice and animal to God, or give our own blood, money, or property? Can we earn God’s forgiveness by doing good deeds? The Bible says we cannot pay for our own sins by doing good works or by giving anything.  The forgiveness of sin and arelationship with the Creator God is a GIFT OF GOD through faith in the living Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9  “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according tohis mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Titus 3:5 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

I served among the temples and shrines of Buddhism all my life, trying to gain peace of mind and confidence of a better afterlife, never having either. But the Bible made it clear: the problem was not in my head but in my heart. Despite a lifetime of meditating upon the principles of Gautama, I knew I was a sinner and needed a living Saviour. “How much more shall the blood of Christ,  who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Hebrews 9:14

4th Light: The True Saviour of Man

As I turned the pages of my Bible and read in the New Testament, I learned that Yaweh, the Creator God, took the form of a man named Jesus Christ, fulfilling every prophecy in the Old Testament about Himself. He was born of a virgin girl named Mary, but had no earthly father; therefore He was called the Son of God. The Bible records that He lived a perfect life, never sinning, so that He Himself could become the payment for our sin. He suffered as no other man. He was mocked and spat upon. He was beaten and whipped until his flesh hung off His body in a bloody mess. His body was broken and His side was pierced with a spear. He was nailed to a wooden cross as a common criminal, sacrificing His own life, and shedding His own blood to pay for my sins, your sins – the sins of the whole world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”  John 3:16-17 “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 “Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:42 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” I John 2:2  I learned that I did not have to die a second death because of my sin. Jesus taught that just as we were all born physically, we must be born spiritually. He said: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:6-7) “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (I Peter 1:23) In other words: If you are born once (physical birth only), you will die twice (physical & spiritual death). But if you are born twice (physical & spiritual birth), you will only die once. How wonderful this is!

Blue-Lighted-Cross-Wallpaper

~ He is a Living Saviour ~

Jesus Christ told His disciples how He would be put to death but would also rise from the dead three days later – and HE DID. History records that the same tomb where he was buried was found empty and that He was seen by many witnesses and proven to be alive again by “many infallible proofs.” (Acts 1:3) He then ascended to heaven but promised to come again. Jesus is not a dream, a myth, or a philosophy. He is not just a historical figure or the face on a statue – but a living Saviour.

~ He is a Coming Saviour ~

He will come again! He will surely come soon! And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-12) “Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.” (James 5:8)

~He is the Only Saviour ~

Some think there are many different ways to peace with God and gain eternal life; but, again, the Bible is very clear: “neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” (I Timothy 2:5) “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” (I John 5:11)

~ He Can Be Your Savior ~

As I continued reading my Bible I saw that Jesus Christ could be my personal Savior if I believed on Him with all my heart. The Bible Says: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them which believe on his name.” (John 1:12) “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Romans 10:9-11) I saw that anyone could be saved – even me! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Finally, Peace & Purpose

I knelt by my bed and bowed my head. Believing what the Bible says about me, my sin, and my future, I prayed from my heart and asked Jesus Christ to be my Saviour, to forgive my sin, to save my soul, to give me everlasting life in heaven. I received this living Saviour into my heart. That day I turned from idols to a living God. In my true and living Saviour, I found peace and a new purpose for my life. My way, the Buddhist way, led me to confusion, fear, and doubt. A friend led to the Word of God. God’s Word led me to Jesus Christ. I spent my life seeking to become enlightened. But when I believed and received Jesus Christ as my Saviour, I learned that He is not only the way to true enlightenment; but He IS enlightenment. If you have Christ, you have light, peace, eternal life, and purpose for living. The Apostle John said this: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life…” (I John 5:12-13a)

Would you like to know my Saviour? Would you like to have a personal relationship with your Creator? Would you like to know that your sins are forgiven? Would you like to have peace in your heart? If you will believe and receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Saviour, right now, from your heart, pray as I did:

“Lord Jesus, I now believe that You love me. I know that I am a sinner and deserve God’s judgment on my sin. But I believe that You, Lord Jesus, died to pay for my sins with your shed blood. I am trusting only You to save me, and I ask You to forgive me of my sin and be my Saviour. Please give me the gift of eternal life and help me to learn how to live the Christian life. Thank you for saving me today. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

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