Reaching Out to Buddhists: Five Books to Help You Get Started

Buddhists make up around seven percent of the world’s population. This religion is growing—and has spread across the globe. Los Angeles, California is actually the most diverse Buddhist city in the world, with representation of all Buddhist traditions.

Where can you learn more about the story of Buddhism and its implications in peoples’ lives? Some resources to help you get started:

  1. A Christian’s Pocket Guide to Buddhism, by Alex Smith. Christian Focus, 2010.  A concise guide to communicating the gospel in a way that Buddhists can understand.
  2. The Lotus and the Cross: Jesus Talks with Buddha, by Ravi Zacharias. Multnomah Books, 2010.  Part of Zacharias’ Great Conversations series, this book presents an imaginary dialogue between Christ and Buddha, highlighting the deep differences between Buddhism and Christianity.
  3. Buddhism: A Christian Exploration and Appraisal, by Keith Yandell & Harold Netland. IVP Academic, 2009. A clear, engaging introduction to Buddhism’s history and teachings.
  4. The Spirit of Buddhism: A Christian Perspective on Buddhist Thought, by David Burnett. Monarch Books, 2007.  This thoughtfully written resource for Christians seeking to understand Buddhist perspectives includes lots of helpful links and references.
  5. Buddhism in the Light of Christ: A Former Buddhist Nun’s Reflections, with Some Helpful Suggestions on How to Reach Out to Your Buddhist Friend, by Esther Baker. Resource Publications, 2014.  Baker shares her story of life within Theravada and Western Buddhism—and draws on her experience as a missionary in Hong Kong and Thailand—to help believers think about how to communicate the gospel to Buddhists and how to disciple new believers from Buddhist backgrounds.