I enjoyed the very interesting hypothetical conversation between Jesus, Buddha, and a couple others in a situation that is unfortunately an evil reality in the world. It was very intriguing how each persons perspective was compared.
The Lotus and the Cross was easy to read. I enjoyed the conversational nature of the book, and it covered several Buddhist philosophical precepts that I had not previously considered. I would recommend the book to Christian friends, but I'm not sure how it would be received among Buddhist followers.
Can you imagine the conversation if Jesus and Buddha took a boat trip up the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok together?
Not counting the reader, there are four people on this boat ride: the boatman, an AIDS stricken prostitute named Priya, Jesus and Buddha. Over the course of the voyage and conversation, both Jesus and Buddha have the opportunity to share with Priya and the boatman (and us) the truth and hope of their teachings.
As the journey detours into a local temple, the discussion takes on a frank assessment of how far modern Buddhism and Christianity have strayed from the original teachings and why this has happened.
What an effective conceit - putting Jesus and Buddha in a boat together! This is no dry theological apologetic: the reader is deeply immersed in the conversation as the boat meanders.
I can only evaluate this book from the Christian perspective, being unschooled in Buddhist philosophy. I have great respect for the scholarly research done by Dr. Zacharias. That, coupled with his Indian heritage gives him a unique insight into Eastern religious traditions.
While there are many similarities in the teachings of Jesus and Buddha, this book focuses on the stark and irreconcilable differences:
the eternal self vs. the absence of self;
a personal God vs. an impersonal universe;
the gift of forgiveness vs. the satisfaction of karmic debt;
the hope of resurrection vs. the promise of annihilation.
This book is a short read - I put it down in one day. It was for me a crucial revelation of the Buddhist worldview on the eve of a mission trip to Thailand to share the good news of Jesus and the hope that He offers to all of mankind.