Buddism: A Religion of Slavery

Have you ever watched the sitcom series, “My Name is Earl”? In this series an ex con artist named Earl, due to a set of unusual circumstances, decides that karma is against him. The series centers on Earl’s attempt to fix his bad karma by making up for his previous evil deeds by righting individuals he has wronged. Karma, in this series, is presented in a humorous manner and no doubt causes multitudes of people to laugh, yet most of these individuals probably have no clue that the idea of karma is actually based on the biblical principle: what you sew you shall also reap. The difference: while the Bible teaches that you will reap what you have sown, Karma, as taught and practiced in the Buddhist religion, is the foundation for the belief of reincarnation and is no laughing matter. In fact, it has destroyed the lives of many.

When my daughter (Mary) approached me about traveling to Thailand for three months, a foreign country whose entire culture is centered on the Buddhist belief of karma, I cringed. Of course, my first concern was for her safety. With the evil enterprise of slave trafficking on the rise, a tall, slender and beautiful American visiting a country where slave trafficking is the norm was most frightening. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary was safer in God’s will in Thailand than out of his will at home.

From her experiences, I have learned much. First, I was appalled to discover that these precious souls were usually sold into this evil enterprise by their own families yet blame it on karma. As Mary wrote, “If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.”

Second, Buddhism destroys lives. Again Mary wrote, “Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family.”

“Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.”

Mary worked with these precious girls each evening. She said, “. . . they are animated and sweet. Then when they have to get up and dance on the stage naked or mostly naked with bright neon lights and mirrors filling the entire room, with all the men saying and doing various things, their faces turn into masks. . . . vacant eyes stare out from the faces that pray they will please Buddha enough in this life to have a better spot next go around . . . We see Buddha’s everywhere with food, drinks and incense surrounding them. The girls pray to be purified constantly and for forgiveness for the lives they are living.”

Don’t ever believe that all religions are the same, that it doesn’t really matter which one you follow because every religion leads to God. Buddhism is a religion straight from hell. Can you think of any worse type of slavery than to believe you must submit to sexual abuse for your religion’s sake? These ladies, oppressed and scorned by the world, pray and worship the very deity that enslaves them.

Mary commented, “I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. I smiled as I saw the foundations of the temple were cracked and God’s nature was peeking through, eager to overtake and pull down the lies and schemes of man. All this will pass away. Every lie will be exposed. Every idol built up by man, especially those built on the sweat and blood of others, will fall.”

“One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. One day . . . truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer . . . but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.”

In closing, thank God for organizations who carry the gospel to these precious souls who are living in darkness and abuse so they can hear about the God who loves them.

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Buddhism: A Religion of Slavery

Anton Power / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Have you ever watched the sitcom series, “My Name is Earl”? In this series an ex con artist named Earl, due to a set of unusual circumstances, decides that karma is against him. The series centers on Earl’s attempt to fix his bad karma by making up for his previous evil deeds by righting individuals he has wronged. Karma, in this series, is presented in a humorous manner and no doubt causes multitudes of people to laugh, yet most of these individuals probably have no clue that the idea of karma is actually based on the biblical principle: what you sew you shall also reap. The difference: while the Bible teaches you will reap what you have sown, Karma, as taught and practiced in the Buddhist religion, is the foundation for the belief of reincarnation and is no laughing matter. In fact, it has destroyed the lives of many.

When my daughter (Mary) approached me about traveling to Thailand for three months, a foreign country whose entire culture is centered on the Buddhist belief of karma, I cringed. Of course, my first concern was for her safety. With the evil enterprise of slave trafficking on the rise, a tall, slender and beautiful American visiting a country where slave trafficking is the norm was most frightening. I had to keep reminding myself that Mary was safer in God’s will in Thailand than out of his will at home.

I’ve been posting her Thailand blogs for several weeks now without comment, letting her experiences and thoughts speak for themselves, but now I would like to conclude this series with my own thoughts.

First, I was appalled to discover that these precious souls were usually sold into this evil enterprise by their own families, yet blame it on karma. As Mary wrote, “If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.”

One paragraph in particular that speaks volumes concerning how Buddhism destroys lives reads, “Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family.”

“Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.”

Mary worked with these precious girls each evening. She said, “. . . they are animated and sweet. Then when they have to get up and dance on the stage naked or mostly naked with bright neon lights and mirrors filling the entire room, with all the men saying and doing various things, their faces turn into masks. . . . vacant eyes stare out from the faces that pray they will please Buddha enough in this life to have a better spot next go around . . . We see Buddha’s everywhere with food, drinks and incense surrounding them. The girls pray to be purified constantly and for forgiveness for the lives they are living.”

Second, don’t ever believe that all religions are the same, that it doesn’t really matter which one you follow because every religion leads to God. Buddhism is a religion straight from hell. Can you think of any worse type of slavery than to believe you must submit to sexual abuse for your religion’s sake? These ladies, oppressed and scorned by the world, pray and worship the very deity that enslaves them.

Mary commented, “I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. . . . One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. One day . . . truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer . . . but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.”

In closing, I want to thank God for organizations like Beginnings where precious souls living in darkness and abuse can hear about the God who loves them.

Breaking Barriers

[Share the Word] / Foter.com / CC BY

Months of praying, planning, working and building relationships have come to fruition and ended in the greatest blessing I could have ever imagined. It is difficult to carry quietly in your heart the greatest message the world has ever known, a message of freedom and hope, and to remain shackled by the barriers that keep you from relaying this important message.

To cross seas and continents into the unknown, to face such uncertainty and possible risk, to daily love the enslaved you would set free, but to know that you are incapable of presenting your message or revealing to these beloved the hope that is so close to where they live is a great hardship. To know these beautiful women live in a hopeless shadow of darkness, a circle that repeats and continues again and again in their lives and the lives of their children, when Hope’s light shines less than a mile away and to remain without the ability to convey this truth or the knowledge of whether or not the opportunity will ever arise, is draining to say the least.

Yet, the simplest solution was found. We invited the girls whom we have developed relationships with in the main three pool bars to a ‘goodbye’ luncheon since Rachel and I will be returning home shortly. We had no idea how many would come or if any of the girls from the GoGo bars would come. Often in Thailand, when people do not want to offend, they say they will be there although they never actually intend to come. Many of the girls would not be able to come because they are working and the bar fee they have to pay to miss work is 500 Thai Bot ($17).

So the day of the party we spent the early morning helping Ann and the girls prepare food for the possible guests and then we ventured out to the pool bars to meet our friends. We paid 11 girls bar fines and 17 came to the party. Each of our close friends from the bars came. Each girl was told by the house mother or by the Thai girls living in the home what Beginnings was about. They learned that at Beginnings they would be offered a different lifestyle, education, a free home, and even a stipend to send to their families or to do whatever they want with while living under the Beginnings roof to make up for the money they would no longer be making in the bars. Now each of these girls has been introduced to Beginnings.

The party was such a success. Visitors from distant lands (US, Russia, Israel…) just happened to be at Beginnings on this crazy day. One made a ton of balloon hats, dogs, bikes and flowers for the girls. They paraded around and posed for tons of photos. They ate the free and delicious food and enjoyed Thai tea and other drinks. Then we spent hours painting each other’s nails. We even painted some of their toenails, which in Thai cultures would be demeaning for the person doing it. The feet are considered the most unclean part of the body and to lift one’s heel to another is the ultimate insult. So to get down on the floor and paint another’s toenails would show not only humility but strong friendship, love and honor.

It was nothing to me to paint my friends toenails, but it meant everything to her. I wonder what it was like for Christ the day he washed his disciple’s feet. I wonder if it was so easy for him to do because of his love for them. To them, it was unthinkable and Peter even tried to stop him from lowering himself in such a way. I bet to Christ it was nothing to love another so much—especially considering he lived and died for his disciples, even the one who betrayed him, and for the entire world.

Two of the women, very close friends of ours, stayed with us until dinner that night. They picked out the Eclipse DVD to watch and after seeing this sequel they desired also to watch the first movie, Twilight. I was amazed by the way they inhaled the love from the screen. I saw the craving in their eyes for such a love to exist in their own lives. It is expected for men here to cheat on their wives. It is common for a man to have a minor wife, which means a mistress. It is not even looked down upon. I cannot imagine living with the knowledge and expectation that my future spouse, the man I would love more than my own life and desire to give everything I have and am to, would be unfaithful and untrue to me—that he would have many women and I would simply raise his children and be nothing more to him than the woman who bore and raised his children.

Many times during this trip I was approached with different repulsive offers from men. But sex here is more like a commodity; it is just something that is done, not something that is personal or private. The truth: this is common all across the world. This great gift we have been given to be so intimate with another that our souls become one has been disgraced and turned from a great gift into an indifferent mediocre activity.

Despite this, I saw that in the depths of these women’s heart, they had a longing for a deep and unquenchable love that no fire or time could ever destroy or even begin to touch. I saw a pining in their lives they have tried to fill, a void that leaves an empty hole of agony in their hearts. Are they any different from the rest of us? We all have moments when we wonder: what is life about? What is the struggle and hardship for? Why do we endure day after day? Isn’t there more than this?

The answer: YES, there is more and it is found when Christ fills the void in our lives. He is the only one who can. No love of man can satisfy the fire that longs for the undeserving, unearned and unconditional love of THEE God who created us for a relationship with Him. No earthly man or thing will ever fill the void or erase the pain; only through a relationship with Christ can we find peace and be made whole again.

For these girls I do not know what the future holds. All I know is they have been loved by us and they are even more loved by God. Who knows what will happen in the future or what would bring them to change their course and live at Beginnings? But now they know hope exists and in their darkest hour they know they have a place to turn. Now they can tell others, any who would leave the lifestyle yet feel trapped and without alternatives.

Our purpose in coming to Thailand has been fulfilled. I praise God that He brought all this to fruition. I know that all I can do now is thank Him for the opportunity He blessed me with to come to this place, to learn much from and in this different culture, and to share His love and hope with these girls. I leave them in His capable hands. He is the savior. I am just the messenger and how the message is received does not matter so long as the message is delivered. Only God can change and heal the heart of man and it begins with this simple message of the love and grace of Christ.

Ruins: Slave Trafficking in Thailand

[phil h] / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Everywhere I turn ruins surround me: broken homes, broken families, broken people and broken lives. Even the buildings and towering architecture, once the pride and glory of man, reflect the ruined state of this country.

Ashes sift in the wind from the burnt buildings, and just as quickly as the flames consumed this security of man so too the flames destroy the hope of man. Even so, brightly, for one brief moment burns the flame, then it fades into oblivion and the ravished are left to grope in darkness.

Reality sets in as I gaze around me into chaos and disorder. People are just people, in every nation, country or tongue — we are the same. Each has his struggle, weakness, misery, secret, joy, happiness, dream and hope.

Atlas has shrugged and left the weight of the world to rest on our weary shoulders. Each of us has paused under the weight, the heavy pressure that would crush and consume us.

Each day as I walk down the road, I witness the struggle of those who bear this heavy burden that I no longer carry. I see the men God created to be strong and tall reduced by the greed and cruel desires of others, often family, and by so many being forced into what people call Lady-Boys.

Maybe their family had no daughters, but still wanted to have the motorcycle or the flat screen television the neighbors can afford now that they have sent one or two of their daughters to the big city to sell the one possession they have. So the family chose the most feminine looking of their sons or the least valued and placed him on female hormones for a few years before getting him the surgery and sending him to the city as a Lady-Boy to sell himself. Or maybe after years of abuse and rape by men in his life, often temple monks, the wounded young man followed a horrific path never meant for him to more pain and wounds.

Truly, many of these Lady-Boys who flash smiles at me before resuming the dance of shame under a vacant mask are more delicate and beautiful than I could ever dream of being. Yet, never would I envy the ruins in which they live.

Nite is my favorite Lady-Boy of all. She smiles so brightly as we embrace and chat each day. She sometimes holds my hand and she loves posing for pictures. She is obsessed with beauty and dreams of being light skinned and having light eyes. She tells me I am so beautiful and pulls one of my curls. She smiles, laughs and beats me at pool every time I play her. The other girls fuss just as much over this Lady-Boy as any other member of their bar family. She is one of them and for the first time in her life, she is accepted and belongs — to a certain extent.

In the most horrible circumstances my friends live. With smiles, soft voices, laughter, humor and a ton of makeup they so diligently wear their masks and try to hide their bruises, wounds and pain. To show emotion, especially pain, is a shameful weakness, unacceptable culturally.

In their minds, the ruins in which they live were built by their own hand alone and no one else’s. When they are choked, it is because they talk too much and when they are beat it is only bad karma they earned from a previous life.

The ruins surround and overwhelm me. Where is civilization? Yet just as the Phoenix rises from the ashes, so too do I glimpse a glittering glimmer of hope through the ashes for once my life was a ruin and I too carried the burdens of the world which were crushing my spirit. But another took my burden and from the ruins of my fallen life He made me into His own beautiful image with love and tender hands.

How I wish my beautiful friends would meet my Savior and be forever freed from the crushing weight of the world they carry on their shoulders and from the masks they are forced to wear. How I wish they would meet my Lord.

Sunday, June 27, 2013

Eye of the Storm

Stuck in Customs / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Lighting rolls across the sky as thunder roars on this dark starless night. In the very heart and eye of the storm there is peace to be found. In this age, and in every age before and hence, tragedy, injustice, strife and turmoil ripple across the land.

Today, I witnessed tragedy in the eyes of a young prostitute as she wept before Buddha, begging health for her family who sent her to work the streets and forgiveness for her wretched state and cursed life. Society looks down upon her and even her family despises her. But this life is payment to Buddha for the bad karma earned in her previous life. She believes—because Buddhism teaches—that everything that happens to her has been earned by her own hand and is deserved. There is no such thing as mercy, only debt. In her mind, the only chance for peace and redemption lay in selling the one possession she has, her body, to take care of her family. Buddhism places little value on women and teaches the ultimate good a woman can do is to care for her family at any cost.

If she were born a boy, serving in the temple as a Monk for a few weeks would earn enough good karma to outweigh a lifetime of bad and would bring unfathomable honor to the family. But, as a woman, in a family that is either poor or simply wants more wealth and prestige, duty, honor and Buddha require the ultimate sacrifice, a life of abuse and slavery to provide for those very ones who are so demanding and yet so ashamed of her existence.

Or, maybe she is a wife whose husband wants more money, so each day she slaves to take care of her family and each night she is dropped off by her husband to work the street. It is not the status of the girl in a family that determines her fate, it is the desires of others and the status of a gender Buddha did not consider worthy of value or honor.

Today I witnessed tragedy, as a woman, oppressed and scorned by the world, prayed and worshipped the very deity which enslaved her.

Yesterday I witnessed injustice as a hundred voices raised prayers to ears that do not hear and petitions to eyes that cannot see.

Barefoot, before the most elaborate statue of Buddha, I stood in the greatest and wealthiest temple in all Thailand. The voices required me to pay homage to their great god, the idol made by the hands of man–standing for an unjust law created in the deceptive heart of man–to bow before him on bended knee and lift up my pleas. No sacrifice or respect will I grant to that false god enslaving billions and leading them astray.

Quickly I fled the temple, my only sacrifice is the tears I weep for this people who reject the Alpha and Omega for a tottering statue decorated by the creative mind of man. I smiled as I saw the foundations of the temple were cracked and God’s nature was peeking through, eager to overtake and pull down the lies and schemes of man. All this will pass away. Every lie will be exposed. Every idol built up by man, especially those built on the sweat and blood of others, will fall.

Is there a distinction between the strife of the poor, the blind, the deaf, the cripple and the turmoil that rages in the hearts of nations? Their cries echo in my ears as their seemingly hopeless plight reflects strange and horrible lights from their still vacant eyes.

One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess who is Lord and it will not be Buddha. Only One name will endure and it will not be his. One day tragedy, injustice, strife and turmoil will be no more, nor shall we weep ever again. Truth will reveal every lie and each falsehood will be destroyed. The innocent, weak, and poor will be oppressed no longer. No deformity will exist among men and there will be no more beggars for all will find healing and answered prayers at the One True Temple.

Until that time, love is the greatest gift we have to reach the lost, wearied and hopeless souls in this world. One day Justice will reign, but until that day both the oppressed and the oppressor need the love and grace of Christ for both are enslaved.

Peace is found in the eye of the storm, for Christ is the center of all things. In Him all is and all is held together. As the rain pours down on this dark night, I pray it is the tears of Christ washing and renewing this desolate land.

June 22, 2010

The Mask

ST E PH/ EN _G / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

There are moments in life when time stands still; when the colorful horizon fails to spread its fingers across the dark sky and the dreary blackness creeps ever closer threatening our weary souls. It is in these times of darkness, chaos and pain we are either forever broken or through the tremendous fire we are reformed and built up stronger and wiser than before. These are the fires that test the heart of man, proving his character or devouring his soul.

Trials fill life. Every day is a blessing and a challenge, a new beginning and a new ending. Every day our true colors are revealed through our thoughts, words and deeds. No mask can forever hide the character of man, it only momentarily shields the colors slowly leaking through to eager eyes.

No one can hide from God. This is why the world tries so hard to forget and deny Him, for He sees us as we are and there is nothing we can do to stop His searching and knowing eyes. It is impossible for the world to forget God because He is our Father and we are made in His image. His mark is over all creation, especially man, His crowning glory.

I wish for Him not to see me as I am, but as I would be. It is no wonder the world lives as it does and then desires to hide such shame from its Father.

What an honor that He sees beyond my mask, beyond all darkness and pain and loves me as I am. What glory that He overlooks my iniquities because of the crimson blood covering my shame.

Tonight does Time stand still? No, she is only an illusion and I am in the embrace of my Lord. His light surrounds me in this darkness as His strong arms guide me. The reasons for trials, pain, and these weary struggles I may never know. The fruit of this labor I may never see. The results I may never comprehend or imagine, but one thing I do know: His promises are true and to His Word I cling this day and every day. If I stand, I stand before my Lord and if I fall, I fall to my knees before His throne. Before Him I do not have to hide and could not even if I so desired.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unknown—Slave Trafficking Blog from Thailand

[ changó ] / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

I do not know where you are from, nor do I understand the language you speak. I do not know who has loved you or failed to love you in this brief life. What has brought you here to this place, this lifestyle, I will never know just as I will never know the depth of the unspoken wounds hidden deep within your broken and pining heart.

From across the world I came to tell you of the greatest love man has ever known, but my language is foreign to you just as I am foreign to you. What tomorrow holds for us I cannot say. What today brings who can tell?

All I do know is that God has blessed me with this one brief moment to share His unconditional love with you despite the past and regardless of the future. God is love and love transcends all boundaries and barriers.

So day by day we sit, hand-in-hand, watching the seconds turn to minutes, the minutes to days and the days to weeks. Maybe someday, someone will be able to tell you Who sent me and about the great love that called me to cross oceans to sit beside you, to accept you as you are and love you without cause or judgment. Maybe one day you will know the freedom in which I live and the graceful love that gave it to me. Until that day, I leave you in the Hands of my Lord and I love you because He first loved me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Posted by Mary Fordham at 8:03 AM