Why a Former Buddhist Monk Became a Christian

October 24, 2016 12:53 pm Published by Comments Off on Why a Former Buddhist Monk Became a Christian

Many people have had Near Death Experiences (NDE) and they died and later came back to life. Interestingly, they can remember what happened to them when they died and left their bodies. The following is the testimony of a former Buddhist monk from Myanmar (Burma) called Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu who died (he was dead for three days) and later came back to life. His life was never the same again after that harrowing experience.

His Early Life
Athet was born in 1958 in the town of Bogale in southern Myanmar. His parents were devout Buddhists and they named him Thitpin. When Athet was 13 years old, he left school and started working on a fishing boat as a fisherman. When he was 16 years old, he was promoted and he became the head fisherman of the boat. By then, he was living in Upper Mainmahlagyon Island north of Bogale, about 100 miles southwest of Yangon (Rangoon) the capital city of Myanmar.

When Athet was 18 years old, his parents sent him to a Buddhist monastery called Mandalay Kyaikasan Kyaing to become a monk. In 1977, he graduated and became a regular monk.

The senior monk in charge of his monastery, U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw, gave him a new Buddhist name according to Buddhist customs in his country. His new name was U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya. As a monk, he could no longer use the name his parents had given him at birth.

Thereafter, Athet tried very hard to be a good monk by obeying and following all the precepts of Buddhism. On one occasion, he moved to a cemetery where he lived and meditated continually day and night. This was a common practice among the monks. Other monks move into forests where they live lives of self-denial and poverty.

Athet did all this in a bid to overcome his selfish thoughts and desires, escape from sickness and suffering, and attain nirvana and thereby break free from the endless cycle of reincarnation. He tried to attain inner peace and self-realization to such an extent that even when a mosquito landed on his arm, he would let it bite him instead of brushing it off.

For many years, Athet strove to be a good monk according to the teachings of Buddhism. He could not harm any living being. He studied the Buddhist teachings and obeyed them. Life seemed to be going well for him until he fell very sick. He was admitted to a hospital for treatment. The doctors did some tests and found out that he was suffering from both yellow fever and malaria. He stayed in the hospital for about a month but instead of getting better, his condition was getting worse. Finally, the doctors gave up on him and sent him back to the monastery to die.

After Athet was discharged from the hospital, he went back to the monastery where other monks took care of him. But he grew weaker and weaker and he finally died. He was dead for three days and his body stunk of death. His body was put through the traditional Buddhist death rites in preparation for cremation.

When Athet left his body, he found himself in a very powerful storm. The powerful winds flattened everything, trees and buildings, and nothing was left standing. The whole landscape was a vast flat plain. Athet walked very quickly through the plain for some time. He was all alone as he could not see anyone else. Then he came to a river and crossed it. After he had crossed it, he saw a terrible lake of fire. In Buddhism, they did not have a concept of a place like that.

Athet was confused and he did not know it was hell until he saw Yama, the king of hell. Yama’s body and face looked like that of a lion and he had several horns on his head. His face was very fierce and Athet was extremely afraid. Athet asked him what his name was and he replied that he was the destroyer and king of hell.

The king of hell told Athet to look into the lake of fire. When he looked, he saw the saffron colored robes that Buddhist monks wear in Myanmar. When he looked closer, he saw the shaven head of a monk and when he looked at the man’s face, he saw it was U Zadila Kyar Ni Kan Sayadaw, the head of his monastery who had died in a car accident in 1983.

Athet asked the king of hell why the former leader of his monastery was in the lake of torment since he was a very good teacher. He even had a teaching tape called “Are You a Man or a Dog?” which had helped many people in his country to understand that their worth as human beings was far greater than the animals. The king of hell replied that although he was a good teacher, he did not believe in Jesus Christ and that was why he was in hell.

Athet also saw another man who was being tormented in hell. He had very long hair wrapped on the left-hand side of his head. He was also wearing a robe. Athet asked the king of hell who the man was. He replied that he was the man they worshiped called Gautama Buddha.

Athet was very shocked to see Gautama Buddha in hell. He protested that it was not fair for Gautama to be in hell as he was an ethical man with a good moral character. The king of hell answered that it did not matter how good he was; he was in hell because he did not believe in the Eternal God.

Athet saw another man who was wearing a soldier’s uniform. He had a large wound on his chest. When Athet asked who the man was, the king of hell said that he was Aung San, the great revolutionary leader of Myanmar. He was told that Aung San was in hell, not because he persecuted and killed Christians, but because he did not believe in Jesus Christ.

Next, Athet saw another very tall man dressed in military armor in the lake of fire. He was also holding a sword and a shield. The man had a wound on his forehead. The man was taller than any other person Athet had ever seen. The king of hell told him that the man’s name was Goliath and he was in hell because he blasphemed the Eternal God and his servant David.

Athet was confused because he did not know who Goliath and David were. The king of hell told him that Goliath’s account was recorded in the Christian Bible and he would know who he was when he became a Christian.

Thereafter, Athet saw another creature whose job was to stoke the fire beneath the lake of fire in order to keep it burning and hot. The appearance of the creature was very terrifying. It had ten horns on its head and a spear in its hand that had seven sharp blades at its tip. The creature asked him whether he was also going into the lake of fire. He replied that he was not as he was there to observe what was happening. The creature agreed that he was there to observe what was happening as it could not find his name on its list. It pointed toward the desolate plain and told him to go back the way he had come.

Two Roads
Athet walked for a very long time until his feet became sore and began to bleed. He was hot and in great pain. Finally, after walking for about three hours, he came to a wide road. He walked along the road for some time until he came to a fork on the road. The road that went off to the left was wide while the road that went off to the right was narrow. There was a signpost at the fork of the road written that the road to the left was for people who did not believe in Jesus Christ while the narrow road to the right was for believers in Jesus Christ.

Athet was curious as to where the broad road led; so he started walking on it. There were two men walking along the road about 300 yards ahead of him. He tried to catch up with them but no matter how hard he tried, he could not catch them up. He finally gave up and he turned around and went back to the fork in the road.

He stood there and continued to watch the two men as they walked down the wide road away from him. When they reached at the end of the road, they were suddenly stabbed and they cried out in great pain as they died. Athet also cried out when he saw what happened to them. It was only then that he realized the broad road was dangerous and fatal to all who traveled on it.

Athet started walking on the narrow road and after traveling for about an hour, the surface of the road turned into pure gold. It was so pure that when he looked down, he could clearly see his own reflection. As he walked, he suddenly saw a man standing in front of him wearing a white robe. He also heard beautiful singing which was far much better than earthly singing.

The man in the white robe asked Athet to follow him. When he asked him his name, he said it was Peter. Peter told him that heaven was a very beautiful place but he could not enter it because he did not believe in Jesus Christ. But if he became a follower of Jesus Christ, he would go to heaven after he died.

Peter told him to go back to where he had come from and tell people who worship Buddha and idols that they will go to hell if do not change and believe in Jesus and worship him. He was told that those who refuse to change and continue to build temples for idol worship will go to hell. Others who will go to hell are those who give offerings to the monks in order to earn merit for themselves, those who pray to the monks, those who chant and worship idols, and all those who do not believe in Jesus Christ.

Peter told him to go back to earth and testify about the things he had seen. He also gave him a new name, Athet Pyan Shinthaw Paulu. Athet did not want to go back to earth; he wanted to go to heaven.

An angel opened a book and looked for his childhood name (Thitpin) but he could not find it. He then searched for the name he was given when he became a monk (U Nata Pannita Ashinthuriya) but it was not in the book either. Peter told him his name was not written in the book and he had to return to earth and testify about Jesus Christ to the Buddhist people.

Athet had no choice but to walk back along the golden road. As he walked, he heard beautiful singing which he had never heard before in his life. Peter walked along with him. Peter also showed him a ladder from heaven to earth but the ladder did not reach all the way down to the earth. It stopped in mid-air. Athet saw many angels on the ladder, some were going up to heaven while other were going down the ladder. They were very busy.

When he asked Peter who they were, he was told they were messengers of God who were reporting to heaven the names of the believers in Jesus Christ and the names of those who did not believe in him. Peter then told him it was time for him to go back to earth.

Back on Earth
The next thing Athet was aware of was the sound of people weeping. He also heard his mother weeping and asking why he had left them. He realized that he was lying in a coffin. When he moved, his parents who were near the coffin shouted that he was alive. Some people who were farther away did not believe it until he sat up. Many people were struck with terror and they cried out that it was a ghost. Some ran away in fear.

Those who remained were trembling and speechless. Athet later learned that he was just moments away from being cremated in the fire. When he came back to life, his mother and father were being allowed to look at his dead body for the very last time before the lid was nailed shut and the coffin, with his body inside, was burned to ashes.

Athet immediately explained to the people the things he had seen and heard. He told them about the men he had seen in the lake of fire, and the people were astonished. He told them that only the Christians knew the truth and that the Buddhists were living in deception. He told them that everything they believed about Buddhism was a lie. The people were surprised because he had been a zealous monk about the teachings of Buddha.

Thereafter, Athet became a Christian and began testifying about what he had seen when he was dead for three days. He also preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. His message offended many people who could not accept that their religion was a false one. Despite great opposition, he did not waver in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He also distributed his testimony in audio and video cassette tapes all over the country.

The police and Buddhist authorities in Myanmar did their best to gather and destroy the tapes. It even became quite dangerous for people in Myanmar to be found in possession of the tapes. His fearless testimony also landed him in prison. But no matter how much he was persecuted, Athet continued to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This story is a warning to non-Christians and others who do not believe in Jesus Christ. The issue is where you will go after you die. Hell is a very horrible place of agony and torment for those who die without believing in Jesus Christ. God, in his great mercy, has revealed these things to warn you as he does not want you to end up in hell. God gave Athet a second chance simply because he had mercy on him. It is unwise to think that you too will be given a second chance if you die without Jesus Christ.

No one knows the day of his death and that is why it is wise to believe in Jesus right away. No one knows what is going to happen in the next moment. Hell is full of people who waited until it was too late. You cannot wait to find out if hell is a real place when you die. Once in hell, there will be no way out and you will spend your eternity regretting why you did not listen while you were alive on earth. If you end up in hell, you will only have yourself to blame for all eternity.

The good news is that you need not go to hell. God provided a way out to make sure that you would not go to hell. He instead wants you to go to heaven and spend eternity with him there. The only way to avoid going to hell is to believe in Jesus Christ who will give you everlasting life in heaven. Just do it today because no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow. The choice is yours of whether you want to spend your eternity in heaven or hell. Choose life in heaven and not death in hell. You must avoid going to hell at all cost.

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