Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:43 am

Compassion in Buddhists terms is making clear what the Buddha said, in a kindly way. It is not substituting speculative thoughts for the Buddhadhamma in order to be agreeable.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Aug 01, 2009 9:55 am

sometimes it is best to say nothing than anything wa want.

Don't have to agree, but we don't have to point it out either.
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:53 am

Manapa wrote:sometimes it is best to say nothing than anything wa want.

Don't have to agree, but we don't have to point it out either.

I was assuming a querie or active discussion, I was not advocating addressing people in the supermarket queue... :smile:

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

Postby Cittasanto » Sat Aug 01, 2009 11:14 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:
Manapa wrote:sometimes it is best to say nothing than anything wa want.

Don't have to agree, but we don't have to point it out either.

I was assuming a querie or active discussion, I was not advocating addressing people in the supermarket queue... :smile:

:anjali:


in any situation it is best to think before we jump!
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Individual » Sun Aug 02, 2009 1:42 am

tiltbillings wrote: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.

He also didn't actively pursue others to criticize. The Buddha was not a dogmatist.

SN 3.94
"Bhikkhus, I do dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists."

And even when others came upon the Buddha to criticize him, he often responded with silence.
Last edited by Individual on Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:28 am

Individual wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: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.

He also didn't actively pursue others to criticize. The Buddha was not a dogmatist.

SN 3.94
"Bhikkhus, I do dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists."

And even when others came upon the Buddha to criticize him, he often responded with silence.



These are important points. Thanks.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Individual » Sun Aug 02, 2009 2:44 am

Some more on that...

DN 21

Then Sakka, having delighted in & expressed his approval of the Blessed One's words, asked him a further question: "Dear sir, do all priests & contemplatives teach the same doctrine, adhere to the same precepts, desire the same thing, aim at the same goal?"

"No, deva-king, not all priests & contemplatives teach the same doctrine, adhere to the same precepts, desire the same thing, aim at the same goal."

"Why, dear sir, don't all priests & contemplatives teach the same doctrine, adhere to the same precepts, desire the same thing, aim at the same goal?"

"The world is made up of many properties, various properties. Because of the many & various properties in the world, then whichever property living beings get fixated on, they become entrenched & latch onto it, saying, 'Only this is true; anything else is worthless.' This is why not all priests & contemplatives teach the same doctrine, adhere to the same precepts, desire the same thing, aim at the same goal."

The above passage puts a wrench in both the extreme views, "All religions are basically just the same," but also, "My religion and my religion alone is the truth!"

Also:

http://www.buddhistethics.org/10/paliha ... -conf.html

There must be the ability to review and leave out, or at least mollify, exclusivist and rigid positions, which in conflict discourse appear in the guise of unnegotiable conditions.

Clinging tenaciously to opinions, holding that this alone is the truth (30) has been repeatedly shown in the Theravada canon as a reason for conflicts among people. Emotional attachment to dogmatic views .. disrupts the harmony of social relations and brings about results which are socially harmful. (Premasiri: 18). The abandonment (pahana(31)) of such attitudes is hailed as a sign of a developed mind or of maturity of character.

There cannot be peace as long as people that is to say the various contending parties - remain irrevocably fixated on divisive and exclusive conceptions of nationality, creed, language, culture and territory.

...And as has been mentioned many, many times before... Asoka the Great's wonderful, wonderful words:

Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one's own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one's own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one's own religion and the religions of others. Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion. Therefore contact (between religions) is good.[24] One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Aug 02, 2009 8:08 am

The op asks should Buddhists be tolerent of other religions. The answer is yes.
If the question then becomes does the Buddhadharma take the same view of the world as any other religion, and does it persue the same ultimate goal, the answer is no. If anyone doubts that then the obvious thing is to follow The Dalai Lama's or Thich Naht Hahn's advice and follow the religion that they were brought up in.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:40 am

I'm increasingly puzzled by this thread.

Christopher began by quoting Bhikkhu Bodhi on tolerance:
While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world."

When someone "disagrees with the belief structures" of Christianity, for example, they are not being intolerant. Whey someone states that according to the Buddhist teachings the other Paths are incomplete, that is not being intolerant.

It may well be that all paths do lead to the same goal. It may be that they are different. It may be that the the Dhamma is the only complete path. Maybe there are others. Maybe the Dhamma is incomplete. No-one here actually knows.

Since we can't hope to personally experientially test all of these Paths (or perhaps even one...) in this lifetime we are left with a study of the literature. From that it seems to me fairly clear there are fundamental differences between the different Paths. The claim it is intolerant to point out that there are rather large disagreements between the different Paths strikes me as a rather intolerant claim.

And even if all Paths do lead to the same goal it would seem to be much more efficient to follow a single one closely.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Sun Aug 02, 2009 11:00 am

Quite so. I wonder if this kind of question is sometimes perhaps a preoccupation for those who have not yet settled down to a particular path. :juggling:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Cittasanto » Sun Aug 02, 2009 6:32 pm

some take a critique of a position from a particular religion they subscribe as a critique of them and their beliefs, these matters are intertwined like it or not.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby kc2dpt » Sun Aug 02, 2009 9:53 pm

It IS a critique of them and their beliefs. Right there is the definition of tolerance: that I can believe you are wrong and you believe I am wrong and we're both OK with that. My non-Buddhist sister believes my Path is based in delusion and I am deluded for following it... and I believe her Path is based in delusion and she is deluded for following it. We have learned to tolerate each other. :toast:
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Individual » Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:01 am

Disagreeing with a view is not the same thing as wanting that view to disappear from reality, to not be held by anyone.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:18 am

Individual wrote:He also didn't actively pursue others to criticize. The Buddha was not a dogmatist.

SN 3.94
"Bhikkhus, I do dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists."

And even when others came upon the Buddha to criticize him, he often responded with silence.


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

Postby Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:28 am

Great post, Mike!
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Aug 03, 2009 7:29 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:
Individual wrote:He also didn't actively pursue others to criticize. The Buddha was not a dogmatist.

SN 3.94
"Bhikkhus, I do dispute with the world; rather, it is the world that disputes with me. A proponent of the Dhamma does not dispute with anyone in the world. Of that which the wise in the world agree upon as not existing, I too say that it does not exist. And of that which the wise in the world agree upon as existing, I too say that it exists."

And even when others came upon the Buddha to criticize him, he often responded with silence.


:goodpost:

The Buddha in the section of The Pali Canon quoted speaks of " proponents of the Dhamma ." It is unclear what his view of later accretions might have been.

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

Postby christopher::: » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:10 am

I think each of us may simply see things a bit differently. Not sure we can say any one approach toward this issue is better, it really depends on your views, on the situation, on the relationship you have with another person.. on what specifically is the issue at any moment. As I said earlier, I don't interact with many "strongly" commited dharma practitioners in 3D. So, our religious beliefs are just not an issue.

Went to my 30th year high school reunion party last weekend, as well as the wedding of my cousin's daughter. Lots of laughter, talking, hugging, dancing, sharing life stories. Talking about raising children, aging, working, parents getting ill, death... Religion only came up during the wedding, otherwise the focus of all our interactions was the sacred, beautiful and very fragile nature of LiFE. For me, that's what dharma practice is all about.

For me though. I see my friends and family as part of my sangha, not outside it. Their views matter less to me then their life situations, how we might be able to connect, help one another, find common ground...

For me that's key.

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~post by Ben, Jul 02, 2009
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Aug 05, 2009 3:21 am

'The universe," they say, "is without truth,"
Without basis, without a God;
Brought about by a mutual union,
How else? It is caused by lust alone.'

Holding this view,
These men of lost souls, of small intelligence,
And of cruel actions, come forth as enemies
Of the world for it destruction.

- Bhagavad Gita XVI 8-9



For me though. I see my friends and family as part of my sangha, not outside it. Their views matter less to me then their life situations, how we might be able to connect, help one another, find common ground...


Which is, of course, commendable, but what is not commendable is forcing Buddhism (or any religion), one way or another, to fit into some preconceived idea of what common ground might be.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Postby christopher::: » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:07 am

tiltbillings wrote:..what is not commendable is forcing Buddhism (or any religion), one way or another, to fit into some preconceived idea of what common ground might be.


Impossible, as well.

: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 tiltbillings » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:48 am

christopher::: wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:..what is not commendable is forcing Buddhism (or any religion), one way or another, to fit into some preconceived idea of what common ground might be.


Impossible, as well.


Is not the bunch quotes you have posted here and on ZFI trying to do just that?

From the Advaita thread:

christopher::: wrote:If you look past differences in terminology and focus instead on methods, the nondual teachings of highly realized beings sound quite similar, imo, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Native American, Kabbalah, Taoist, Gnostic, Sufi, etc..

Most encourage meditation and the cultivation of inner silence, the practice of kindness, generosity, equanimity and compassion. They encourage us to observe the mind and the world carefully, so as to see how we are connected to all that surrounds us, an expression of a deeper shared truth that is everywhere... Separation is the ultimate delusion they say.

How they describe the Universe or "Ultimate Reality" (the words and conceptions) will differ, but most caution that the perceptions we hold in our heads are nothing like that mysterious reality itself, and better to cultivate a still non-egocentric mind and grateful heart then to think too much or become overly analytical.

Let go of all ideas of "you" and return to a "truer" realization of this deeper identity (or non-identity) which is the same for all beings.. Its hard to step into a nondual awareness if one focuses only on differences without keeping in mind connections and shared commonalities.

Each of us is drawn to the spiritual path and to teachers that resonate with our sensibilities. Buddhism, Taoism and Vendanta are not the same, just as Mint Chip differs from Vanilla which is not the same as Strawberry, and yet at a deeper level (beneath differences of flavor) they are all the same in that they are all manifestations of Ice Cream..

:namaste:

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"The natural state is a non-state of not-knowing, non-concluding. When there is knowing, there is a state. But your real nature is not-knowing. It is a total absence of all that you think you are, which is all that you are not. In this total absence of what you are not, there is presence. But this presence is not yours. It is the presence of all living beings."

~Jean Klein (Advaita teacher)

"We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all."

~Kalu Rinpoche (Tibetan Buddhist)

“When I see I am nothing, that is wisdom. When I see I am everything, that is love. Between these two my life moves.”

Sri Nisargadatta (Advaita Vedanta)

"A flower cannot be by herself alone. A flower has to "inter-be" with everything else that is called non-flower. That is what we call inter-being. You cannot be, you can only inter-be... So the true nature of the flower is the nature of inter-being, the nature of no self. The flower is there, beautiful, fragrant, yes, but the flower is empty of a separate self. To be empty is not a negative note. Nagarjuna, of the second century, said that because of emptiness, everything becomes possible. So a flower is described as empty. But I like to say it differently. A flower is empty only of a separate self, but a flower is full of everything else. The whole cosmos can be seen, can be identified, can be touched, in one flower. So to say that the flower is empty of a separate self also means that the flower is full of the cosmos. It’s the same thing. So you are of the same nature as a flower: you are empty of a separate self, but you are full of the cosmos."

~Thich Nhat Hanh (Vietnamese Zen Buddhist)

"All things are linked with one another, and this oneness is sacred; there is nothing that is not interconnected with everything else. For things are interdependent, and they combine to form this universal order."

~Marcus Aurelius

"If we have awareness and understanding, if we study with wisdom and mindfulness, we will see Dhamma as reality. Thus, we sill see people as constantly being born, changing and finally passing away. Everyone is subject to the cycle of birth and death, and because of this, everyone in the universe is as One being. Thus, seeing one person clearly and distinctly is the same as seeing every person in the world.

In the same way, everything is Dhamma. Not only the things we see with our physical eye, but also the things we see in our minds. A thought arises, then changes and passes away. It is ''nāma dhamma'', simply a mental impression that arises and passes away. This is the real nature of the mind. Altogether, this is the noble truth of Dhamma. If one doesn't look and observe in this way, one doesn't really see! If one does see, one will have the wisdom to listen to the Dhamma as proclaimed by the Buddha.

Where is the Buddha? The Buddha is in the Dhamma. Where is the Dhamma? The Dhamma is in the Buddha. Right here, now! Where is the Sangha? The Sangha is in the Dhamma. The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in our minds, but we have to see it clearly. Some people just pick this up casually saying, ''Oh! The Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha exist in my mind''. Yet their own practice is not suitable or appropriate. It is thus not befitting that the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha should be found in their minds, namely, because the ''mind'' must first be that mind which knows the Dhamma. Bringing everything back to this point of Dhamma, we will come to know that, in the world, truth does exist, and thus it is possible for us to practice to realize it.

Whether a tree, a mountain or an animal, it's all Dhamma, everything is Dhamma. Where is this Dhamma? Speaking simply, that which is not Dhamma doesn't exist. Dhamma is nature. This is called the ''Sacca Dhamma'', the True Dhamma. If one sees nature, one sees Dhamma; if one sees Dhamma, one sees nature. Seeing nature, one knows the Dhamma.

And so, what is the use of a lot of study when the ultimate reality of life, in its every moment, in its every act, is just an endless cycle of births and deaths? If we are mindful and clearly aware when in all postures (sitting, standing, walking, lying), then self-knowledge is ready to be born; that is, knowing the truth of Dhamma already in existence right here and now."


~Ajahn Chah, Dhamma Nature

"To say ‘I am not this’ or ‘I am that’ there must be the ‘I’. This ‘I’ is only the ego or the ‘I’-thought. After the rising up of this ‘I’-thought, all other thoughts arise. The ‘I’-thought is therefore the root-thought. If the root is pulled out, all others are at the same time uprooted. Therefore seek the root-’I’, question yourself ‘Who am I ?‘, find out its source. Then all these will vanish and the pure Self will remain over... There is no investigation into the Atman. The investigation can only be into the non-Self. Elimination of the non-Self is alone possible. The Self being always self-evident will shine forth of itself. Self-surrender leads to realisation just as inquiry does.."

~Ramana Maharshi (Advaita Vedanta)

"When we practice zazen, all that exists is the movement of the breathing, but we are aware of this movement. You should not be absent-minded. But to be aware of the movement does not mean to be aware of your small self, but rather your universal nature, or Buddha nature. This kind of awareness is very important, because we are usually so one-sided. Our usual understanding of life is dualistic: you and I, this and that, good and bad. But actually these discriminations are themselves the awareness of the universal existance. "You" means to be aware of the universe in the form of you, and "I" means to be aware of it in the form of I. You and I are just swinging doors. This kind of understanding is necessary. This should not even be called understanding; it is actually the true experience of life through Zen practice."

- Shunryu Suzuki (Zen Buddhist)

"If you are seeking liberation, my son, avoid the objects of the senses like poison and cultivate tolerance, sincerity, compassion, contentment, and truthfulness as the antidote. You do not consist of any of the elements -- earth, water, fire, air, or even ether. To be liberated, know yourself as consisting of consciousness, the witness of these. If only you will remain resting in consciousness, seeing yourself as distinct from the body, then even now you will become happy, peaceful and free from bonds. You do not belong to the brahmin or any other caste, you are not at any stage, nor are you anything that the eye can see. You are unattached and formless, the witness of everything -- so be happy."

~The Ashtavakra Gita (Advaita Vedanta)

"Empty yourself of everything. Let the mind become still. The ten thousand things rise and fall
while the Self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source. Returning to the source is stillness, which is the way of nature."


~Lao Tsu, Tao te Ching

:heart:
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.
"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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