Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:50 pm

christopher::: wrote: I dont believe all religions teach the same things, but do believe they provide support for people in similar ways, and have some very similar core features, that are indeed valuable.
This statement I do not disagree with, but your repeated quoting of a variety of teachers certainly strongly suggested that you were holding to a view that these teachers from various traditions were teaching the same sort of non-duality thingie as if non-dualism is something the Buddha taught. Taking these teachers’ teachings out of their contexts does none of them any justice, no matter how warm and fuzzy it might make one feel. Does Buddhism teach the very same thing as Advaita Vedanta? Not that anyone here has shown. Certainly the towering figures of Hinduism did not think so, nor did the author(s) of the Bhagavad Gita, nor did the towering figures of Indian Buddhism. I am far more inclined to listen to these people than some of the modern teachers who, who with far less knowledge and experience for whatever reason, tend mush things up a bit.

As I said, the above I can agree with; your quoting of teachers the way you have, as if they are all teaching the same thing, I cannot.
>> 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

User avatar
chicka-Dee
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm
Location: Western Canada

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by chicka-Dee » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:07 pm

christopher::: wrote: I'm glad someone out there understands what i'm trying to say. Thanks chicka-Dee. I'm not trying to knock the dharma or knock Buddhism in any way. Just feel other people's personal spiritual beliefs should be given respect, and are indeed something beautiful, especially if its supporting their life, providing some assistance to them when times are hard, when problems arise...

Helping them to cultivate metta, live with joy and peacefulness. I dunno. I've been hanging with family and friends a lot lately, none of them Buddhists, but most so openhearted, joyful, trying their best. It's a wonder to see. And without the dharma!

It might sound like heresy... NonBuddhists cultivating metta, mudita... Is that possible?

Well, i think so...

:namaste:
I sure do think so, too. I think we find elements of the Dharma everywhere.. in other religions, philosophies, life-outlooks, everyday wisdom, nature, human interactions and behaviour.. it's all around us. It has universal qualities that penetrate all around us. Last night I watched a video about Zen, and one of the Japanese monks they interviewed said he welcomes people from all sorts of backgrounds to his monastery to practice.. including Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Atheist.. he doesn't discriminate, he welcomes them all. He sees that Buddhist practice and philosophy can benefit people from all walks of life. The word Dharma/Dhamma is often translated to 'Truth', so it makes sense to me that if this is truly so, we would see this Truth all around us, in everything, regardless of labels or categorization or putting things in boxes of all sorts (as we humans tend to like to do).
christopher::: wrote:I'm also at a kind of crossroads now, in terms of my practice. I need to decide to either go deeper or pull back, or both. To be honest I havent felt very comfortable at times, communicating with Buddhists online like this, these past few years. I'm realizing that I cant dedicate myself 100%, as others have. Am I a Unitarian, a Jew, an Advaitan, Zen Buddhist, a bit of each, none of the above?

I dunno. In the car yesterday the term "half Buddhist" popped into my head. Like my sons who are half American, half Japanese, thats how I feel. I may need to go elsewhere... return maybe to communicating more with nonBuddhists, as I've been doing these last weeks back home in NY.

Still, when I stopped by Barnes and Noble yesterday the New Age shelves made me laugh, I found no Advaitan books of interest, didnt even go past the Unitarian area, and instead ended up purchasing 7 books on Buddhism... The dharma is where the wisdom lies, for me. I dont see any answers for myself in any other religion...

And yet when it comes to people, not religion, I am drawn to all who are searching for answers with an open mind and open heart...
I have been struggling with similar questions. So far my approach has been to sample from a variety of teachings according to an inner guide or intuition that leads me along, and so far this has worked pretty well for me. There just doesn't seem to be one 'school' or approach that specifically appeals to me, fully. I'd like to join a sangha and commit myself more fully, but I hesitate to do this, and I'm not really sure why. I just have this part of me that tells me I know what I need, and I do what feels right, internally. But I've also had teachers tell me it's better to focus on one 'way' of practice and go deeply.. I had one teacher tell me it's like drilling for oil.. if you make small holes all over the field, you won't go deep enough to hit oil.. you need to stick with the same hole and keep going deeper... And yet knowing this, I just don't know which hole to 'pick'. Perhaps, utlimately, it doesn't matter as much which hole we pick, as long as we stick with it and keep drilling... I really don't know. In the end, it is a personal decision. Perhaps the hole picks us, more than we pick the hole....
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 5:21 pm

chicka-Dee wrote: Last night I watched a video about Zen, and one of the Japanese monks they interviewed said he welcomes people from all sorts of backgrounds to his monastery to practice.. including Christianity, Islam, Jewish, Atheist.. he doesn't discriminate, he welcomes them all. He sees that Buddhist practice and philosophy can benefit people from all walks of life.
The Theravadin vipassana traditions are open to whomever wishes to practice them. The teachings are given openly and freely and without expectation.

That, however, is a very different thing from stating in forums such as this that in someway it is all the same.
>> 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

User avatar
kc2dpt
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:44 pm

All teachers from all schools see that Buddhist practice and philosophy can benefit people from all walks of life.
But what does that have to do with the topic of this thread?
Let's do this again...

Saying "Buddhism is only of benefit for Buddhists and no one else" is one extreme.
Saying "All religions bring the same benefits to people" is another extreme.
Neither one represents reality.
I'm realizing that I cant dedicate myself 100%, as others have. Am I a Unitarian, a Jew, an Advaitan, Zen Buddhist, a bit of each, none of the above?
So don't be a Buddhist. Be someone inspired by Buddhism, someone with an interest in Buddhism, someone studying Buddhism. Who cares? Certainly not I. Certainly not any teacher I've ever met.

Saying "If one wants to study Buddhism they must only study that and nothing else" is one extreme.
Saying "It doesn't matter which religion one studies since they are the same" is another extreme.
Neither one represents reality.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

User avatar
kc2dpt
Posts: 957
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:48 pm

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by kc2dpt » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:45 pm

christopher::: wrote:I'm starting to realize that communicating with people you don't really know, in public forums, may not always be a good idea.
It's very rarely a good idea, in my opinion. Private conversation with someone you trust is thousands of times better.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 6:54 pm

Peter wrote:
I'm realizing that I cant dedicate myself 100%, as others have. Am I a Unitarian, a Jew, an Advaitan, Zen Buddhist, a bit of each, none of the above?
So don't be a Buddhist. Be someone inspired by Buddhism, someone with an interest in Buddhism, someone studying Buddhism. Who cares? Certainly not I. Certainly not any teacher I've ever met.
The best advice I have seen in awhile.
>> 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

User avatar
chicka-Dee
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm
Location: Western Canada

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by chicka-Dee » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:27 pm

Or stated in a nicer sort of way, labels don't really matter. What matters is what you are getting out of your practice and how it affects your life and those around you, imo.

The problem with forums such as this, from what I've seen, is that there are too many who seem to only want to pick apart everything one says, and start an argument. I would doubt that such people do this in face to face interactions to the degree that I see some engaging in this sort of behaviour online. If they did, no one would likely want to talk with them very much (which may be the reason they are here, come to think of it). To me, a sangha (even an online one) should be a supportive environment where one can learn, grow, and feel free to express and explore their ideas, get help with their practice, and such. Not a place where one feels the need to constantly defend what they say. And I do realize we have a choice in how we interact with others and respond, but also a responsibility of sorts.. I think we need to ask ourselves if what we are contributing is constructive to both our own, and others, needs.

Myself, I would refuse to engage very long with anyone who seems to be picking apart every word I say and only seems interested in winning an argument...

Yes, conversation with people (whether private or public) who have a genuine interest in helping, rather than winning, are the best kinds of people to have around on one's journey.

Now I have to go practice some Metta...

Peace.
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 7:58 pm

Greeting chicka-Dee,
chicka-Dee wrote:Or stated in a nicer sort of way, labels don't really matter. What matters is what you are getting out of your practice and how it affects your life and those around you, imo.
Of course. However, what some of us have been trying to point out is that we see large contradictions between various traditions, so, though we respect other traditions we feel that it is most useful to take one's main approach from a particular tradition. Preferably a tradition for which one has access to real-life teachers for guidance.
chicka-Dee wrote: The problem with forums such as this, from what I've seen, is that there are too many who seem to only want to pick apart everything one says, and start an argument...
This is a discussion forum that seeks to clarify the teachings of the Buddha, in particular the teachings preserved by the Theravada. If statements are made that, in the opinion of members, appear to contradict those teachings then it seems to me that it is most compassionate to point that out.

That's certainly what I want out of these sort of forums. If I have misunderstood something I want to know about it.

The simplest way to avoid feeling one has to defend everything is to frame posts as questions rather than statements. Then one has no fixed position to defend:
"A seems to be saying that X means Y. What do others think?"

Metta
Mike

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:02 pm

Geez, Mike, I was going to make a comment or two chicka-Dee's msg. but you skillfully said what I would ha e tried to say. 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

User avatar
mikenz66
Posts: 16307
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:12 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Geez, Mike, I was going to make a comment or two chicka-Dee's msg. but you skillfully said what I would ha e tried to say. Thanks.
Just learning from the Masters... :bow:

Mike :group:

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:40 pm

That's me, a master debater.
>> 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

User avatar
chicka-Dee
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm
Location: Western Canada

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by chicka-Dee » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:57 pm

I think I understand what you're saying, Mike.

However, it is difficult to know online what someone's background is, their level of knowledge, expertise in a certain area. "Should I trust what this person says? That just doesn't sound quite right to me.." may be some thoughts one might have. If one is not a teacher, but goes around trying to 'teach' others what they, in their opinion, hold to be 'true' or 'right', who is to say that their understanding is any more 'advanced' than those they are attempting to 'teach'? Just a few thoughts.

And often the 'picking apart' is not about an aspect of the dharma, it's someone's personal opinion. Someone has shared their thoughts, and then someone else comes along who appears to have little respect for that person's opinion, or their feelings for that matter. Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive. Honestly, I can often take it when someone dishes it out to me, but when I see it happening to someone else, it bothers me even more.

It's just that it sometimes appears to be more than simply 'clarifying' the Buddha's teachings... Too many pissing contests for my taste, I guess. :toilet:
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

User avatar
tiltbillings
Posts: 23044
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 9:25 am

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:04 pm

Geez louise, chicka-Dee, tell us how you really feel, and since I have been the one "picking" at poor Christopher:::, tell us how you really feel about me. I can take it, or maybe I'll have to go eat worms or something, but rather than dancing around it, let me know directly.
>> 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

User avatar
chicka-Dee
Posts: 78
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:31 pm
Location: Western Canada

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by chicka-Dee » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:49 pm

LOL.. I was trying to abide by the TOS.. :jumping:

Sorry, I guess maybe that full moon is affecting me. But honestly, you peeve the heck outta me!

*Whew* That feels better.

No hard feelings?

:heart:
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

User avatar
cooran
Posts: 8504
Joined: Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:32 pm
Location: Queensland, Australia

Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by cooran » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:53 pm

chicka-Dee wrote:I think I understand what you're saying, Mike.

However, it is difficult to know online what someone's background is, their level of knowledge, expertise in a certain area. "Should I trust what this person says? That just doesn't sound quite right to me.." may be some thoughts one might have. If one is not a teacher, but goes around trying to 'teach' others what they, in their opinion, hold to be 'true' or 'right', who is to say that their understanding is any more 'advanced' than those they are attempting to 'teach'? Just a few thoughts.

And often the 'picking apart' is not about an aspect of the dharma, it's someone's personal opinion. Someone has shared their thoughts, and then someone else comes along who appears to have little respect for that person's opinion, or their feelings for that matter. Perhaps I'm just overly sensitive. Honestly, I can often take it when someone dishes it out to me, but when I see it happening to someone else, it bothers me even more.

It's just that it sometimes appears to be more than simply 'clarifying' the Buddha's teachings... Too many pissing contests for my taste, I guess. :toilet:



Hello chicka-Dee, all,
I agree. On the other hand, what irritates me is that we know the same people on a number of lists and year after year they are putting forward the same views.
After a while, they and their style is so well known that it doesn't matter what they call themselves.
Year after year, it is pointed out to them that this isn't what the Buddha actually taught.
Year after year they try to squash the multivarious religious traditions into a One Size Fits All.
Year after year, they imply that only they are the loving tolerant ones, all those who disagree are intolerant, or can't get the Real Point..
Year after year they are requested to go back to the source. That time is limited, the human birth is incredibly rare, especially when the Dhamma is extant.
Year after year they side-step this request, putting forward their own history .... as if all of us haven't come via other teachings, life-experiences etc.
Many of us feel a little guilty to leave Tilt to gallop into battle, but we're glad he is here.
Image

metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: nayasadak and 57 guests