Project Prayer: Hindu & Buddhist World 2020
No monkey business
No monkey business
By Gary Fallesen, founding president, Climbing For Christ
The Swayambhunath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo by Gary Fallesen)
We know it as the Monkey Temple.
It is a religious complex and major tourist attraction sitting on a hilltop in the capital of what was once a Hindu kingdom. It is home to one of the holiest Buddhist stupas in Nepal. But the Buddhist stupa (or place of meditation) is surrounded by Hindu temples. Not to mention hundreds of what are considered “holy” monkeys.
Swayambhunath – the Monkey Temple’s real name – is a place of worship for Buddhist and Hindu, alike. “There are some similar Hindu gods and Buddhist, too,” said brother Megh Gurung, our co-worker in Nepal.
Many Buddhists and Hindus visit Swayambhunath each day. They celebrate this as a symbol of religious harmony in a place where Christians are persecuted.
Nepal is one of only two countries in the world with a majority Hindu population (more than 83 percent of its 29-million people). Neighboring India is the world’s most populous Hindu nation (80.5 percent of the nearly 1.4 billion living there).
At the same time, Nepal has the 14th-largest Buddhist population in the world (more than 2.3 million people).
Buddhists live mostly in the Himalayas along the border with Tibetan China, which is home to the largest Buddhist population (184 million) in the world.
Climbing For Christ has worked in these three Asian countries: Nepal, China, and India. This is a crossroads for two of the world’s largest religions. Only Christianity (2.4 billion followers) and Islam (1.85 billion) are bigger than Hinduism, which has nearly 1.2 billion adherents. Buddhism has about 501 million.
Starting today, we are conducting 15 days of prayer for the Hindu and Buddhist World in conjunction with WorldChristian and other international ministries. The project is built around Diwali, the five-day festival of light, “celebrating the victory over evil, light over darkness,” according to WorldChristian’s 15 Days Hindu World Prayer Guide. Diwali is one of the most popular festivals of Hinduism – and observed by some Buddhists. It begins Nov. 12.
Our prayer is that many in the Hindu and Buddhist world would see the Light of the world – Jesus Christ – during this festival of light. We ask you to join us in this time of prayer.
Heavenly Father, Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. We rejoice that we are walking with You. But nearly 1.7 billion souls are lost in the darkness of Hinduism and Buddhism. Today – and in the days ahead – we ask You to visit those who are on the wrong path, heading toward hell. Show them the Way. Use us to reach those who need to have their darkness turned into light. For Your glory!
The final Word
“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light. And for those who lived in the land where death casts its shadow, a light has shined.” – Matthew 4:16 (NLT)