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Saturday, 7 May 2016

the buddhist monks and leicester city football club's astonishing season

Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

The astonishing success of LCFC is widely thought to be the result of the "good karma" of the club's billionaire Thai owner, Mr Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha due to his community work and his support for the team. Mr Vichai built his fortune on a string of duty free shops and bought the then struggling second tier outfit in 2010. LCFC have the "benefit" of spiritual support of the monks from the Wat Traimit Withayaram Woraviharn (Golden Buddha) Temple, in Bangkok, Thailand. It is normal for Thais in all walks of life to seek the blessing of monks for new endeavours and acquisitions – from cars to homes to businesses.

LCFC players are "blessed" by a number monks before kick off. The monks then retire to a specially designated room at Leicester City’s King Power stadium where they spend the entirety of the match in deep in meditation at a special shrine surrounded by Buddhist statues and hangings installed by Mr Vichai. As well as praying during games, the monks have reportedly overseen the burial of religious images under the turf. Players and fans have also taken to wearing Buddhist amulets and talismanic cloths which have been blessed by the monks. Support continues during the team’s away games when the monks chant and pray for the team at their temple in Bangkok’s Chinatown district, where the Mr Vichai has been a devotee for several years.

Assistant Abbot Phra Prommangkalachan, who appears to be Mr Vichai's spokesperson: 

“Khun Vichai is a very strong and devoted Buddhist who has done many good works,”
“His good deeds help generate support which becomes power for Leicester City Football Club. The club is benefiting from that good karma.
 “His good deeds are rewarded with the good performances of Leicester City. He is also a very wise man and knows how to manage the club, bring together the team and coaches and make sure their approach is united. The result is their success.”
“This is not about magic..... We can only offer spiritual support. We believe that helps the players with their good health, with avoiding injuries, with their focus. But they must still perform well..... We know how Leicester are doing because the cheers and chanting rocks the room..... We feel the vibrations.”

Alex Hylton, Mr Vichai’s former personal matchday assistant at Leicester City, said that the owner also prays in the shrine room for up to 45 minutes before each match. “He’s clearly very devout,” he said. “It’s obviously unusual for a football club owner to bring along Buddhist monks to games, but now everyone at LCFC is used to it. It seems normal." {1}

I do not object to LCFC doing well and I hope they continue to do so. However, I do have concerns about beliefs and practices that are at odds with the Bible gaining an influence over the lives of many people who otherwise would not have been open to them. There is something much more pressing than football that those connected with LCFC should consider, namely: the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures..... (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)

Buddhism has various definitions, but since it is essentially non-theistic i.e. Buddhists do not worship gods or deities, it cannot really be defined as a religion.

When the apostle Paul was in Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols (Acts 17:16). Paul reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him (Acts 17:17-18). His message provoked varying reactions, but the Athenians were curious enough about Paul's message to bring him to the Areopagus in order to hear him (Acts 17:22-33). He rebuked them for their idolatry saying:  ".....we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:29-31)

Buddhism is based on reincarnation and karma and involves moral codes, practices, values, traditions and rituals, things which define it as a works based "philosophy". The Bible differentiates between two kinds of sowing and reaping: the flesh (human nature) and the Spirit (the Holy Spirit).

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galatians 6:7-8)

An interesting definition: "sarks (the flesh) is generally negative, referring to making decisions (actions) according to self – i.e. done apart from faith (independent from God's inworking). Thus what is 'of the flesh (carnal)' is by definition displeasing to the Lord – even things that seem 'respectable!' In short, flesh generally relates to unaided human effort, i.e. decisions (actions) that originate from self or are empowered by self. This is carnal ('of the flesh') and proceeds out of the untouched (unchanged) part of us – i.e. what is not transformed by God."{2}  

Nirvana is a term which implies extinction, freedom, emancipation, liberation, release, deliverance, etc. the ending of and liberation from samsara, the repeating cycle of birth, life and death. If we talk in terms of "salvation", then nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Buddha claimed to reach that state during his enlightenment and it is his teachings which are employed by Buddhists as a means to that end. There is a heavy emphasis on self-reliance, self discipline and individual striving to attain the liberation of self which is ones own responsibility and is achieved in ones own strength. The Bible teaches something entirely different to any other religion or philosophy, namely: salvation without works (deeds to earn it) so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:9). The gospel of Jesus Christ takes the emphasis off ourselves and onto His sacrifice on the Cross. Unlike Buddha, Jesus Christ came not only to show us the way, but He actually claimed be the way. The claim of Jesus Christ is that salvation is found exclusively in Him:

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6) 

.....there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

The above statements put true Christianity outside the scope of any other religion or philosophy. We can do nothing to merit God's mercy, and if we miss the starting point, namely salvation in Jesus Christ without works, then we miss everything - ultimately our "good deeds" will be despised by God and we shall be eternally lost. (Proverbs 14:12). 

We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (Isaiah 64:6) 

Surely a man goes about as a shadow! Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather! (Psalm 39:6 cf. 1 Peter 1:24; Psalm 103:15-19)

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

From a Christian perspective, it is simply not possible to increase one's spirituality without possessing the Holy Spirit and submitting to his transforming instruction and power.{3} 

{1} http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/30/leicester-citys-good-karma-the-buddhist-monks-behind-the-foxes-d/
{2} http://biblehub.com/greek/4561.htm
{3} http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/mwest/130416 

Further reading: 


Anonymous said...

According to the BBC news today the A & E's in Leicester are overwhelmed. They put this down to the celebratory fallout after LCFC's "astonishing season"!

Anonymous said...

What you are saying then is that there is very bad spirit behind LCFC's 'victory'-I think this must be the case, as any discerning Christian would know this?
It may be that a great many of LCFC's fans and the wider public will turn to Buddhism as a result as they can see its power?

Treena Gisborn said...

Any "discerning Christian" should know that Buddhism contradicts the Bible, and since Jesus Christ said that He is the ONLY way then you must draw your own conclusions. Was Jesus Christ telling the truth or is He a liar?
Yes I am concerned that the "power" being influenced over LCFC will cause people turn towards this philosophy. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Buddhism is works based and meditation is very dangerous, opening people up to demons. I believe it has the same influence as Catholicism.... it's of Satan. I pray that Christians will stand up and speak truth in Leicester but having heard that Heidi Baker is welcomed with open arms.... I'm not sure there are many fit for Christian service. God bless you Treena, keep going. Jules

Anonymous said...

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10

Anonymous said...

You are right to warn about this Treena. Buddhism doesn't operate in a vacuum..It has a spirit behind it, and since it doesn't acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Son of God and saviour of mankind we know that the spirit behind it is not the Holy Spirit, but in fact the only other thing it can be - demonic. It may well bring Leicester success on the pitch, but we know that there will be consequences for all who dabble in and are influenced by this, and they will be disastrous and far reaching. God have mercy on them all.

Treena Gisborn said...

May God have mercy on them and open their eyes to the truth Anonymous. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Amen..you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free..may He indeed do so. God bless you too.

Gill said...

They are ignorant of the truth Buddhism is demonic and very dangerous , thank you for exposing this , gill

colin said...

I agree with the above comments-Buddhism is truly satanic-so is anything is that teaches another way.
Back in 1997 we went to Bangkok/Phuket for our honeymoon! I nearly fell into it all. We visited all the main temples, taking our shoes off to kneel before the emerald Buddha and, my! there were more Buddha's than you could shake a stick at, in every shape and size-lurking around every corner! But praise be to God in Christ that "My sheep hear my voice"?

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

It does seem very spiritual Colin - until you have a revelation of Jesus Christ! God bless