Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Pannapetar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:08 am

Christopher,

For me this question is a bit of a 'no-brainer', because it can only be answered with 'yes' for precisely the reasons that Bikkhu Bodhi mentioned in the very first sentence you quoted. I would go even further than Bikkhu Bodhi and acknowledge that other religions, particularly the dharmic religions, can propel their adherents towards nibbana and thus have the very same end as Buddhism. To say that only Buddhism can achieve this strikes me as snobbish.

"Truth is a pathless land," said Krishnamurti.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:31 am

Well personally I tend to take a point of view which quotes Krishnamurti with a very large pinch of salt.. :smile:
And " snobbish" is a term which refers to social position, the dismissal of a person or views because of a perceived social inferiority. It is not applicable in this context. It was the Buddha who described his Dhamma as the one ("ek" ) Way to Nibbana. It is axiomatic to the Buddhadhamma that no other path has the same end result as does it. Religions can and do contribute in various ways to society, but they do not lead to Nibbana as described by the Buddha.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Ben » Fri Jul 31, 2009 9:33 am

Sanghamitta wrote:The Dhamma is a complete path, which calls for a complete commitment.
:anjali:

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby cooran » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:07 am

Hello all,

Yes - Buddhists should be tolerant of other Religions.

Respect for other teachers
From Buddhist point of view, one should never ridicule a great teacher, merely because he was not a Buddhist. There were great teachers like Zoraster, Confutze, Lao-tze, noble Jesus and many others. A Buddhist should never insult them. To do so is against Buddha's teachings. This freedom of investigation and accepting is encouraged in Buddhist teachings.

This broad-minded approach is seen in the account of Upali's meeting with the Buddha. Upali was a follower of Jainism. He came to the Buddha with a view to argue on some points of Buddha's teachings. But at the close of discussion he was convinced and expressed he wanted to become a Buddha's follower and that he would stop his support to Jain monks who until now he had highly regarded. But the Buddha said: "Consider further! Don't be in a hurry to follow me. Never stop supporting those Jain monks whom you have respectfully treated for so long."

There is another account of certain wandering recluse who had a discussion with Buddha concerning the difference between the doctrines of the both, at which the Buddha said, "Well, my friend, though we discuss our views and practices, don't think that I am trying to convert you to my side. I don't want to do so. You may go on your way, but let us see whether you or we that practice as you and we teach."

Thus there is full freedom of thinking and full freedom of speaking in the teachings of the Buddha. You can even be critical of the Buddha or his teachings and this freedom is extended to all people. So you should not get angry when others say things that you do not agree with. Listen to them and judge impartially, whether they are right or not right. That is the Buddha's way
http://www.purifymind.com/BuddhaHisWay.htm

One of my good friends is a woman who is a practising Muslim - wears the hijab (since the invasion of Iraq by the U.S.). We have wonderful conversations about religion - I'll say "The Buddha taught ....." and she will say "Did he?! Well, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said a similar thing .....". Neither of us tries to convert the other - just enjoy our different and similar understandings.

metta
Chris

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Pannapetar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:29 am

Sanghamitta wrote:It was the Buddha who described his Dhamma as the one ("ek" ) Way to Nibbana. It is axiomatic to the Buddhadhamma that no other path has the same end result as does it. Religions can and do contribute in various ways to society, but they do not lead to Nibbana as described by the Buddha.


"Snobbish" is just a nice way of saying "exclusionist". :smile:

It is also necessary to distinguish Buddhism from the Buddhadharma. While Buddhism is not the only way to the nibbana, the spiritual realisation of the truths described by the Buddhadharma may very well be. But it is only exclusive in the sense that we are dealing with isomorphisms that relate to the same truths, which are (1) expressed differently and (2) may even entail different methodologies.

It is almost illogical to say that the Buddhadharma "as expressed by the Buddha" (as if we could know...) is the only way to nibbana, because this raises the immediate question: which Buddhadharma? The one in the Pali canon? The one in the Mahayana canon? The one in the commentaries? You cannot avoid the conclusion that there are multiple ways of expressing the same truth, even within Buddhism, and that therefore there exists no ultimate Buddhadharma, at least not in language.

There are plenty of enlightened masters in other religions whose mere existence is evidence for the fact that Buddhism has no exclusive access to enlightenment.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:45 am

Well, to keep it simple, the "one in the Pali Canon ".
You are producing a circular arguement. I dont accept the existence of " masters in other religions " whose " enlightenment" equates to that described by, and attained by, The Buddha. So it looks as though you and I might have reached an impasse Thomas.

with metta,

:anjali:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Pannapetar » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:03 am

Sanghamitta wrote:I dont accept the existence of " masters in other religions " whose " enlightenment" equates to that described by, and attained by, The Buddha.


That's alright. We all do what serves us best. I once held this point of view as well.

Once you realise that there are different ways to truth and enlightenment this puts you in the predicament that you need to make up your mind anew about which one to practice, since haphazard eclecticism is likely to fail. I think the choice of religion is a bit like the choice of an instrument. They all make music. But they are very different in their characteristics and they entail quite different learning paths. For example, the technique of a trumpeter is quite different from the technique of a saxophonist. Why do people chose different instruments? Because of different personal histories, inclinations, and talents. - Same thing with religion.

Cheers, Thomas
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:16 am

As it happens Thomas, I once held your view...It became increasingly clear that the nature of the Buddhadhamma was unique, and that its end result was similarly unique.

But it might not be now, or in this lifetime, accessable to all, for kammic reasons.
This is not exclusivist. Or if it is , it is exclusive only in the sense that our kamma and its result are exclusive to our mind stream.

The op was to do with tolerence. Tolerence is of the essence of the Buddhadhamma. As is a clear insight into what distinguishes the Buddhadhamma from speculative views.

:anjali:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 31, 2009 2:02 pm

christopher::: wrote:when others say critical things I tend to defend other faiths. I've noticed that this gets me into debates at times, and makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, sometimes, in discussions with fellow Buddhists, where other faiths are mentioned and criticized.

Why?

Why do you feel the need to defend?
Why does it make you feel uncomfortable?

Thinking about this might help you understand what would be best for you to do.
- Peter

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:18 pm

Hi Peter.

I don't feel a desire to defend in all cases. If someone starts to criticize Islamic fundamentalism, Catholic pedophile priests, Israeli militarism or something like that (which violates the common values of most religions) i tend to think such criticism is valid.

I find myself defending other paths when the path itself, or the core beliefs, are put down as being meaningless or inferior... such as some recent posts here at dhamma wheel where belief in God was described this way... In my view people who believe in God are going to refuge in that faith, so its something sacred for them, like the 3 jewels are for Buddhists, worthy of respectful speech- even though most Buddhists do not believe in God themselves...

Another thing that surprised me, to be honest, when I first started communicating on Buddhist forums (about 5 years ago) was that when I raised the perspective of HHDL that "his true religion is kindness" and the most essential thing is not one's religion but to develop a good heart, the response of many Buddhist to that was "oh he just says that, because his holiness plays a political role."

I think Buddhists are missing something if they don't reflect on such simple ideas, deeply.

Just my view.

:heart:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 4:37 pm

You are addressing you points to Peter , Christopher:::, but if I could address a couple of them. You compare a Theists belief in god with going for Refuge in the Buddhist sense. But there is no comparison. The Buddha, not Sanghamitta or anyone on this forum said that to take refuge in god or gods represents a major obstacle to understanding his teachings, that would in fact be impossible., literally impossible for anyone who takes such refuge in god or gods to understand the Buddhadharma. That it is mental barrier to his teachings. So the compassionate thing to do from a Buddhist perspective is to point this out . Also you quote the Dalai Lama. As a student of the Theravada I have respect for the Dalai Lama, he seems like a nice man. I dont howeversee him as an authority or spokesman for Buddhism. And out of context, " his religion is kindness " seems like a platitude. In context of course it might be very different.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby christopher::: » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:41 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:You are addressing you points to Peter , Christopher:::, but if I could address a couple of them. You compare a Theists belief in god with going for Refuge in the Buddhist sense. But there is no comparison. The Buddha, not Sanghamitta or anyone on this forum said that to take refuge in god or gods represents a major obstacle to understanding his teachings, that would in fact be impossible., literally impossible for anyone who takes such refuge in god or gods to understand the Buddhadharma. That it is mental barrier to his teachings. So the compassionate thing to do from a Buddhist perspective is to point this out .


I disagree, in part. I see it more as a very different vehicle, what the Buddha offered, a vehicle that takes one much further. But other religions can take people a great distance, thus to point out the limitations of their vehicle may not always be helpful. Better to recognize how their path serves a very meaningful purpose, in their lives, imo. That's the perspective Bikkhu Bodhi shared, i think, which i agree with.

:namaste:
"As Buddhists, we should aim to develop relationships that are not predominated by grasping and clinging. Our relationships should be characterised by the brahmaviharas of metta (loving kindness), mudita (sympathetic joy), karuna (compassion), and upekkha (equanimity)."
~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:50 pm

Can I ask you what your Sangha and practice is Christopher ::: ?
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:12 pm

Hello all,

Yes - Buddhists should be tolerant of other Religions.




So if the ancient Aztec religion was still around and were sacrificing humans to their gods would you be tolerant of this?



Im going to guess no, in which case tolerance isnt there just because something is religion or because its someones religious belief


If something is wholesome but obviously flawed it should be tolerated (if the other person wouldnt benefit from critcism)

If something is unwholesome and negative then criticism needs to be brought in, intolerance needs to be brought in


I think in our modern world there is a strange tendency to tolerate other peoples beliefs just because they are religious, we wouldnt dream of doing this in politics if someone said their belief was Nazism


For myself i would never dream of someone not questioning my Buddhism further just because "its my belief". Just like i dont excpect people to stop questioning me on my political belief of Communism just because its "my belief" (and so should be tolerated, by which we mean dont say anything about it)



However i do agree that some people wouldnt be able to bear to hear such things and it would do more damage than good to hear it, somone on their deathbed for example. However i say this is compassion for the person not tolerance of the religion/religious belief





metta
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jul 31, 2009 6:34 pm

Interesting question id like to ask



If someone said there belief was materialism, would you practice the same tolerance as you would if they said they were muslim?
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:21 pm

clw_uk wrote:Interesting question id like to ask
If someone said there belief was materialism, would you practice the same tolerance as you would if they said they were muslim?


Yes :smile:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby kc2dpt » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:53 pm

Someone believing in materialism is one thing.
Someone claiming the Buddha taught materialism is another.
- Peter

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby adosa » Fri Jul 31, 2009 10:23 pm

Chris wrote:Hello all,

Yes - Buddhists should be tolerant of other Religions.

Respect for other teachers
From Buddhist point of view, one should never ridicule a great teacher, merely because he was not a Buddhist. There were great teachers like Zoraster, Confutze, Lao-tze, noble Jesus and many others. A Buddhist should never insult them. To do so is against Buddha's teachings. This freedom of investigation and accepting is encouraged in Buddhist teachings.

This broad-minded approach is seen in the account of Upali's meeting with the Buddha. Upali was a follower of Jainism. He came to the Buddha with a view to argue on some points of Buddha's teachings. But at the close of discussion he was convinced and expressed he wanted to become a Buddha's follower and that he would stop his support to Jain monks who until now he had highly regarded. But the Buddha said: "Consider further! Don't be in a hurry to follow me. Never stop supporting those Jain monks whom you have respectfully treated for so long."

There is another account of certain wandering recluse who had a discussion with Buddha concerning the difference between the doctrines of the both, at which the Buddha said, "Well, my friend, though we discuss our views and practices, don't think that I am trying to convert you to my side. I don't want to do so. You may go on your way, but let us see whether you or we that practice as you and we teach."

Thus there is full freedom of thinking and full freedom of speaking in the teachings of the Buddha. You can even be critical of the Buddha or his teachings and this freedom is extended to all people. So you should not get angry when others say things that you do not agree with. Listen to them and judge impartially, whether they are right or not right. That is the Buddha's way
http://www.purifymind.com/BuddhaHisWay.htm

One of my good friends is a woman who is a practising Muslim - wears the hijab (since the invasion of Iraq by the U.S.). We have wonderful conversations about religion - I'll say "The Buddha taught ....." and she will say "Did he?! Well, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said a similar thing .....". Neither of us tries to convert the other - just enjoy our different and similar understandings.

metta
Chris

m



Thank you Chris. A very important and compassionate post. :bow: :bow: :bow:

The Buddha also taught about clinging to view and the resulting conflicts of such a mind-state. I would only add that it is a slippery slope for us with "much dust still in the eyes" to run-off into the world harping about "this view is right and all other views are wrong." As much as all of us respect and love the teachings of the Blessed One, I for one, am hesitant to stick my nose into others' religious views.... at least until that day that I feel I'm a qualified teacher (i.e. awakened). Without having completely realized the Dhamma I fear I might misrepresent some of the more subtle teachings at great peril to myself and others.

Now violence acts carried out in the name of religion, this must be admonished.


adosa
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby clw_uk » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:40 am

Peter wrote:Someone believing in materialism is one thing.
Someone claiming the Buddha taught materialism is another.




This debate is about tolerance to other views not about what the buddha did or didnt teach


:focus:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Aug 01, 2009 2:49 am

christopher::: wrote: I find myself defending other paths when the path itself, or the core beliefs, are put down as being meaningless or inferior... such as some recent posts here at dhamma wheel where belief in God was described this way... In my view people who believe in God are going to refuge in that faith, so its something sacred for them, like the 3 jewels are for Buddhists, worthy of respectful speech- even though most Buddhists do not believe in God themselves…


Let me make something clear here on a personal level. I do not go door-to-door, I do not picket outside of churches with signs depicting the victims of Christian persecutions, I do not go onto Christian or other theist websites to push my point of view.

With friends who are interested in this sort of dialogue, I have this sort of discussion. Those who are seemingly not interested, I never bring it up. With patient facing fears and pain in the dark, if they use god-talk, I can respond with the same to comfort and support them.

I have no trouble acknowledging and respecting the importance and centrality of a god notion to theists, but, Christopher, this is a Buddhist forum, where Buddhist ideas are discussed, examined and debated.

Dharmakiirti's refutation of theism By Roger Jackson
Philosophy East and West 36:4 Oct. 1986 wrote:
...it is equally clear that theism in the sense in which I am using it -- as the assertion of an omniscient, permanent, independent, unique cause of the cosmos -- is rejected throughout the length and breadth of the Indian Buddhist tradition. Dharmakiirti's antitheistic arguments may have taken the Buddhist critique to a new level of sophistication, but he had behind him a millennium of refutations, with many of which he undoubtedly was familiar and which ought to be borne in mind when we consider his discussion.

The Paali Nikaayas contain a number of explicit rejections of theism, and some important implicit ones, as well.

...

For the later Buddhist philosophical tradition, however, the most important early arguments are perhaps the implicit ones: those many passages in the Nikaayas where the concept of a permanent attaa or aatman is rejected, principally on the grounds that no permanent entity is or can be encountered in experience or justified by reason. It really is Buddhism's emphasis on universal impermanence that is at the root of its aversion to the concept of God, as became evident in the sorts of refutations offered in the post-nikaaya period (when the attributes of the creator, identified by the Buddhists as ii`svara, perhaps had become more clearly defined).

http://www.buddhismtoday.com/english/ph ... kiirti.htm


The reality is, Christopher, as my first post in this thread points out, that the Buddha had been quite critical of theistic points of view, and in ways, it would seem, that you would find quite intolerant.

Again, this is a Buddhist forum, and from a Buddhist point of view theism is a meaningless way to account for the universe and how it works, but I am not going over to theist forums and sticking that in their eye. I am discussing thing on a Buddhist forum within a Buddhist context. At least I did not say, nor ever have said, as Dharmakirti said: "The belief in a world-creator... [is] ... the mark of the crass stupidity of witless men."
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