Questions and Answers with Ajahn ChahQ: Then is Buddhism much different from other religions?A:
To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. ...Tolerance and Diversity by Bhikkhu Bodhihttp://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
It is the business of genuine religions, including Buddhism, to bring people to the happiness that comes from clearly and honestly seeing how things are. Whenever any religion or system or practice accomplishes this, you can call that Buddhism, if you like.
In the Christian religion, for example, one of the most important holidays is Christmas. A group of the Western monks decided last year to make a special day of Christmas, with a ceremony of gift-giving and merit-making. Various other disciples of mine questioned this, saying, "If they're ordained as Buddhists, how can they celebrate Christmas? Isn't this a Christian holiday?"
In my Dharma talk, I explained how all people in the world are fundamentally the same. Calling them Europeans, Americans, or Thais just indicates where they were born or the color of their hair, but they all have basically the same kind of minds and bodies; all belong to the same family of people being born, growing old, and dying. When you understand this, differences become unimportant. Similarly, if Christmas is an occasion where people make a particular effort to do what is good and kind and helpful to others in some way, that's important and wonderful, no matter what system you use to describe it.
So I told the villagers, 'Today we'll call this Chrisbuddhamas. As long as people are practicing properly, they're practicing Christ-Buddhism, and things are
I teach this way to enable people to let go of their attachments to various concepts and to see what is happening in a straightforward and natural way. Anything that inspires us to see what is true and do what is good is proper practice. You may call it anything you like.http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books2/Ajahn ... t_Pool.htm