This is an article from the November-December 2014 issue: The Fingerprints of God in Buddhism

A Visual Journey Beyond Prayer Flags and Statues

Responding to the Need Among Buddhist Peoples

A Visual Journey Beyond Prayer Flags and Statues

NOTE: As you read this article, make sure to interact with the missions infographic (Missiographic) at the bottom of this article and downloadable from GMI's website. 

What is Buddhism? 

What do Buddhists really believe? 

How might I explain this religion to a friend at church or someone at work? 

How are Buddhists responding to the gospel around the world? 

These questions are not easy ones to answer. With hundreds of people groups practicing the various types of Buddhism, your answers to the questions above might vary greatly. The top left quadrant of the Missiographic on the next page gives you a small taste of the differences between the three main types of Buddhists. 

But while Buddhism itself remains a mystery to many, the countries where Buddhism is practiced are front and center on the global stage. Think about headlines coming out of China, South Korea, Japan, and Thailand. Consider the persecution in North Korea and the huge transitions occurring in Myanmar. In the bottom left quadrant of the Missiographic, you will see in detail where the top ten Buddhist people groups are from.

The millions of people who practice Buddhism desperately need the gospel and many are responding in incredible ways. Take a look at the top right quadrant of the Missiographic to see the growth of the Christian faith in just a few of these countries. 

If you are moved by what you see, here are some suggestions for action!

Praise God for the harvest in China and Korea! Pray for all those who continue to spread the news in those countries and beyond.

Shift your own thinking. Instead of thinking, “Buddhism is not my area of mission interest. That is for other people,” realize that the Buddhist world as a whole is relatively neglected in mission. Ask the Lord whether you are one of the thousands of people He wants to begin taking a more active interest there somehow.

Take some baby steps. As you seek God’s guidance, look around for Buddhists you could get to know yourself. Do some internet surfing on information or images about Buddhism. Put a copy of the Missiographic somewhere that will remind you to pray. 

Plant a seed. Check whether your church or a mission organization you are involved with has any mission stake at all in the Buddhist world–missionaries, projects or short-term teams. If they do, encourage it and show the Missiographic to reinforce the value of it. If they don’t, then use the Missiographic to plant the seed of Buddhist involvement in their minds and pray that God makes it sprout and grow.

Download your own digital copy of this Missiographic at


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