The Buddhist monks of Gwaneum Temple in Taegu, South Korea lit their Christmas trees in a December 11th ceremony which accompanied an event to help poor children. The celebration included the trees and a placard wishing “Congratulations on Jesus’ Birthday” on the temple’s wall. The monks hold the ceremony as an expression of interreligious harmony. They have been celebrating the birth of Jesus with decorated trees since 1998.
While some might consider Buddhists honoring Jesus to be a strange idea, it is not so for the Buddhists. Jesus is a figure of respect to many Buddhists. The primary message of love and compassion for others, taught by Jesus of Nazareth, mirrors the core elements of the Buddhist Eightfold Path. Some Buddhists consider Jesus to be a fully enlightened being.