[LECTURE] 2015 December lecture: Christmas and the Birth of Buddha: Buddhist-Christian Encounter in Korea작성일   2015-11-25

Christmas and the Birth of Buddha: Buddhist-Christian Encounter in Korea

Lecturer: Prof. Bernard Senecal

Professor, Director of the Institute for the Study of Religion, Sogang University

What is the ultimate meaning of Christmas? Is there an equivalent of it in Buddhism? In many regards, yes. Indeed, beyond their undeniable differences, Buddhism and Christianity have far more in common than what is generally believed.

Christianity has for its ultimate goal not only the salvation of all human beings but also of the whole of creation. Mahāyāna Buddhism aims at helping all sentient beings to achieve full liberation from the unending cycle of rebirths and deaths in which they are trapped. Both Buddhism and Christianity say that one’s individual salvation is meaningless unless we all are saved together. For Christians, Jesus came to earth to teach us the way leading to a Kingdom of eternal peace and happiness. For Buddhists, the Buddha was born to help us tread the path leading to an unending and blissful life in Nirvān̩a. In other words, both Christianity and Buddhism teach us that Ultimate Reality, whether we call it God or Buddha Nature, is merciful and compassionate, that it sends to earth extraordinarily awakened men capable of helping us to give meaning to our lives beyond our mortality.

In spite of these striking similarities between the Buddha and Christ, it is important not to lose sight of the differences between their respective teachings, and to retain one’s religious identity without falling into religious confusion. This lecture will explain how to remain faithful to one’s religious beliefs without rejecting other religious traditions or being excessively challenged by them.

Lecturer’s Profile

1953: born in Montréal, Québec, Canada

1973-1979: medical studies (Bordeaux 2 University, France)

1979: enters the Society of Jesus (Lyon, France)

1985-1990: Korean language and religions studies (Yonsei& Sogang, Seoul)

1992: ordination to priesthood (Paris)

2004: Ph.D. in Korean Buddhism (Paris 7 University, Paris)

2005- : Professor at Sogang University (Meditation, Interreligious Dialogue)

2007: Dharma Master (Sŏn Way Association 禪道會: Linji 臨濟 lineage)

2013- : Director of the Institute for the Study of Religion (Sogang Univ.)

2015: acquires Korean citizenship as an outstanding academic



Education room (1st floor), Seoul Museum of History

55 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul


Date and Time

December 7th, 2015 (Mon)

11:30 A.M. to 13:00 P.M





Lunch Fee (optional)

10,000 won(Sandwich & drink)

* Reservation for lunch is required.

* Donation receipt can be issued.

* Wire transfer to KEB a/c#631-000503-181 (YÉOL) or at the venue in cash


Contact (Registration required)


T: 02-745-5878

F: 02-736-5878