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 » 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.
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 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?

Post by Sanghamitta » Fri Jul 31, 2009 5:50 pm

Can I ask you what your Sangha and practice is Christopher ::: ?
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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clw_uk
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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





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clw_uk
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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?
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Ngawang Drolma.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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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kc2dpt
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Jul 31, 2009 8:53 pm

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

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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
"To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas" - Dhammapada 183

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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


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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by 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" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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."
>> 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 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.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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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.
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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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