Christians generally recognize a special presence of Christ in this rite, though they differ about exactly how, where, and when Christ is present. While all agree that there is no perceptible change in the elements, some believe that they actually become the body and blood of Christ, others believe in a “real” but merely spiritual presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and still others take the act to be only a symbolic reenactment of the Last Supper. In this lecture give at St. Philip’s in the Hills Episcopal Church in 2010, Geshe Michael talks about faith and the transformation of the eucharist based on the perspective of the Buddhist ideas of karma and emptiness.
The Questions of King Milinda is a 2,000-year-old Buddhist text that chronicles the debate between the Greek King Milinda and an Indian Buddhist monk named Nagasena. The text has always been of particular interest to Western readers, since the king, being a Greek thinker, asked the monk the same questions we ourselves might. The exchange of questions and answers–which took place in a courteous, respectful manner high up in the mountains at the Sankheyya hermitage–touch on many of the thorniest issues found in any religion, and allows scholars to trace the ways in which Christianity and Buddhism influenced each other. This teaching historically traces how Western ideas expanded into the East and the fascinating exchanges that took place.