Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Sanghamitta
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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!
Blog, Suttas, Aj Chah, Facebook.

He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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?

Post by 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.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

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

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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.

Metta
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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:
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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.
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He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.
John Stuart Mill

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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:
- Peter

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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.
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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?

Post by Ben » Mon Aug 03, 2009 6:28 am

Great post, Mike!
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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