Buddha nature = Quakers' inner light
Holy spirit = mana = qi = prana = orgone
Sin = karma
'Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do' = 'they are ignorant of their self nature'
Loving kindness = agape
Devil = Mara
Wu Wei = mindfulness
I could go on for days.
To me there's no contortion. Religions weren't just made up, there really is nibbana and people through time have written about it in different ways. To not see this you have to be trying, on some level, to avoid doing so, IMHO, because to me, it's the opposite of what you say about contorting definitions. It seems to me that one has to really work hard at nit-picking and contorting to come away with the conclusion that religions are different.
Often I've heard Buddhists explain why Buddhism isn't any other religion by using contrasts that are much finer and more peripheral than the differences between one Buddhist sect and another, but these gaps will be wedged and split using mind-led rhetoric, because the Buddhist in question wants to believe he or she has a garden of the greenest possible grass. I would suggest that we stop contrasting our gardens with those of others - just sit
on the lawn, under that Bodhi tree, and distinctions will evaporate.
That said, the one thing Buddhism has that the others ('cept Taoism, of course. And Hinduism. And Jain. And the Sikhs. And some of those Greek fellows. Suffis? Just those ones though. Probably) don't is meditation, which for me is following the breath. Edit: apologies, of course Christians have the 'Prayer of Silence'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_in_Bud ... on_of_mind
The Zen Teachings of Huang Po gives a detailed description of the one mind, which can be argued is the essence of a God.
The Master said to me: All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists
This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible.
It is not green nor yellow, and has neither form nor appearance.
It does not belong to the categories of things which exist or do not exist, nor can it be tought of in terms of new or old.
It is neither long nor short, big nor small, for it transcends all limits, measures, names, traces, and comparisons.
It is that which you see before you — begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error.
It is like the boundless void which cannot be fathomed or measured.
The One Mind alone is the Buddha, and there is no distinction between the Buddha and the sentient things, but that sentient beings are attached to forms and so seek externally for Buddhahood.
By their very seeking they lose it, for that is using the Buddha to seek for the Buddha and using mind to grasp Mind.
Even though they do their utmost for a full eon, they will not be able to attain to it.
They do not know that, if they put a stop to conceptual thought and forget their anxiety, the Buddha will appear before them, for this Mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings.
It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifested in the Buddhas.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kabbalisti ... ion_of_God
This view has been developed further in Hasidic and anti-nomian circles, however. Kabbalah teaches that in order to create the physical universe, God "withdrew" His light, and created the universe within the space from which "He" contracted ("Tzimtzum"). It is taught in the Zohar that God, at the beginning of creation, shattered the כלים ("kaylim" or "vessels") of the ספירות ("sephiroth") scattering their fragments throughout the universe. (Controversial physicist-theologian Gerald Schroeder makes a correlation between this view and Big Bang theory in Genesis & The Big Bang.) The sephiroth — represented by the so-called עץ חיים ("Etz Hayim" or "Tree of Life") — are different vessels embodying various emanations of God's being. God shattered the vessels to hide His unity, allowing creation to seem separate.
With this in mind, the Kabbalist Isaac Luria, explained that all creation contained ניצוץ ("nitzutz" or "holy sparks") — the remnants and shards of the sephiroth/kaylim which God had shattered — and offered a theological purpose known as תיקון עולם ("Tikkun Olam" or "rectifying the world") which states that humanity's duty is to recognize the holy sparks inherent in all creation and to elevate them by performing מצוות ("mitzvot"), otherwise regarded as the fulfilment of Biblical obligations. Ultimately, this will reveal God's unity once again, but this time through our efforts. This work to perfect the world is the ultimate good that God bestows on mankind. This view gave rise to the concept of panentheism in Judaism: The notion that God is inherent in all things, and is corroborated by the Jewish principle בצלם אלוהים ("b'tzelem Elohim" or "in the image of God"), inferring that all humanity is created with God inherent. The concept derives from Genesis 9:6 (serving as a Biblical proof-text for the position), "For in the image of God He made man." Thus, suggested Luria, by doing mitzvoth directed towards our fellow human being, we recognize the nitzutz within them, and thus sanctify and elevate their inherent Godliness.
This notion is exemplified rather well by a Jewish nursery school song
Hashem is here, Hashem is there, Hashem is truly everywhere. Up, up, down, down, right, left, and all around. Here, there, and everywhere, is where He can be found.
One of master Gasan's monks visited the university in Tokyo. When he returned, he asked the master if he had ever read the Christian Bible. “No,” Gasan replied, “please read some of it to me.”
The monk opened the Bible to the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew, and began reading. After reading Christ's words about the lilies in the field, he paused. Master Gasan was silent for a long time. “Yes,” he finally said, “whoever uttered these words is an enlightened being. What you have read to me is the essence of everything I have been trying to teach you here!”
Consider the lilies of the field,
how they grow;
They toil not, neither do they spin;
And yet I say unto you,
that even Solomon in all his glory
was not arrayed like one of these.