Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

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

Post by chicka-Dee » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:03 pm

*sigh*

But who is to say whose view is 'right' and whose is 'wrong'? Maybe they're just different, that's all. Variety is the spice of life. We need all sorts of people to make the world go 'round. I see pink and you see fusha. It's still a colour. What difference does the exact shade really make?
"The image is a dream. The beauty is real. Can you see the difference?" ~Richard Bach from "Illusions"

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by cooran » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:52 pm

*sigh*

The Buddha - who taught yathabhutananadassana ~ things as they really are - not things as we'd like them to be, not a blend of all the nice sounding bits of various religions, not what makes me sound like such a loving chappie when compared with those who follow the dhamma.
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Aug 07, 2009 11:03 pm

chicka-Dee,

And I peeve the heck out you because I am picking on poor totally defenseless, unable to stand up for himself, on the side of the angels, Christopher? If you don't like it, say so directly. This talking around the edges is actually rather nasty.

I don't disagree, in general, with his points about being nice to others, offering respect to others' beliefs, but I have asked him are all religious beliefs are worthy of respect, and I get no answer. It is an important question, unless one wants to stay at a fluffy bunny level of things. We should be nice to others, and support whatever is good in whatever religion\, and I see no point in attacking another's faith or belief, though on a forum such as this, if it is appropriate to the context, offering a Buddhist critique is not inappropriate. This has been the case from the Buddha onwards.

I find the it-is-all-one approach tends to do violence to one or more religions for the simple reason in order to get a fit into the oneness mold, it does not take the one or other religion's own point of view seriously.

You ask: "But who is to say whose view is 'right' and whose is 'wrong'?" There is always the possibility I may be wrong about something (or everything), and I am opened to be shown to be wrong, Shown, not just told, but shown The tradition, from the suttas themselves onwards, has a fair amount to say about a lot of this stuff, and it would be that to which I would point.

Now, mind you, the tradition could be in some sort of objective sense wrong, but what I am talking about is what the tradition - Buddhism - says about itself. One can get a good sense of what Buddhism says about itself, and in response to some of the things Christopher has said, I have tried to point out that the tradition is not in agreement with him, getting really no answer on that. The tradition might be wrong, but it IS wrong to say the tradition says something it does not say, and that is what I have picking on him about. Now, Christopher is articulate, intelligent, and I trust if he feels that he needs to, he’ll respond to what I have said here.

I do not disagree with his assertion that we should support, encourage, and celebrate those things in other religions that promote all the good that we hold to be of value. Buddhism has no monopoly on that. In this context Peter’s msg is worth repeating:
Peter wrote: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.
If one finds value in Advaita, good, but one needs to be careful, for a number of reasons, about unnecessarily conflating Buddhism and Advaita, and most simply something gets lost in such conflations, something of value.

Now, you may not like what I write or how I write it, which is certainly okay with me, and if you do not like my msgs, you find no value in them, they cause you to get cranky, I would suggest don’t read them. I am not sure what else to say to you. Sorry if you have gotten cranky (if you have), but there are always two sides to a story and mine probably is not a matter of my flexing my ego to beat up on poor Christopher.

tilt
>> 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 mikenz66 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:10 am

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.
I don't claim to be a teacher of Dhamma, just an interested student. So when I express some sort of point of view here I attempt to back it up with either a quote from a Sutta, or a quote from repected teachers/scholars such as Bhikkhu Bodhi (such as the quotation at the start of this thread). That way readers can make up their own minds...

As far as I can tell, what I've said on this thread is mostly repetition of what is contained in one of the pararaphs that Christopher quoted:
Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss -- the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. 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."
Metta
Mike

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by Prasadachitta » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:41 am

Hi Peeps,

What do we mean if we declare that "Buddhists should be tolerant"? My understanding of the correct approach to Buddhist practice is that it is primarily a matter of cultivation. If we discern a level of aversion or hatred in our relation to particular religious teachings we should strive to cultivate equanimity and kindness. The equanimity might help us see clearly why we feel this way and the kindness might help us to act in an appropriate manner when we see some reason to respond to or interact with a community or individual who espouse these teachings. If the reason for our aversion to these teachings is that we perceive that they are directly supporting the suffering of beings then compassion should spontaneously arise out of our kindness. Then we will do our best to communicate in a way which will make clear our perceptions. This would ideally be done with a keen sensitivity of the value of avoiding setting off animosity in those with which we communicate. The first thing which comes to mind for me is what I think of as the false designation of millions of people as untouchable in India. The religious perspective of many Indians is that there is an intrinsic value (or lack of) to be found in what cast you are born into. How does religious tolerance play into a situation like this? If tolerance is making an effort not to allow aversion to cloud our judgment then I am all for it. If tolerance is being complacent and not making any attempt to help others when we perceive that a false belief is supporting suffering and or holding people back from greater well being then I think it is rather misguided. I leave the quotation of texts and respected teachers to others as it is not my strong suite. I expect and invite all to correct and expand on my perspective and truly look forward to it.

Kindly

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by cooran » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:50 am

Peter wrote:I very rarely see intolerance of other religions on these forums, though perhaps that's because I define tolerance differently than you. To me it is not intolerance to declare one teaching different than another teaching, for example to say Buddhism and Christianity teach different things. Likewise, it is not tolerance to say "all religions teach the same". Tolerance is saying "You follow a different path than I follow and that's OK."
Hello gabriel,

I think Peter hit the nail on the head in this post above.

metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by chicka-Dee » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:56 am

Well, it seems I've pressed some hot buttons and stepped on some toes. I'm really good at making friends, aren't I? It appears you fellas all go back quite far, and I've waded (ok, leaped) myself into a minefield, so I'll just slowly back out and hope no one gets hurt... :oops:

Maybe I totally mis-read the situation. I just have this protective streak in me that comes out at times, and I've been known to yield hockey sticks in defense of little brothers and cousins who were threatened to be beat up at the hockey rink. It just appeared to me a relentless disregard for another's opinion/personal experience, and those instincts flared up in me. Sorry if I was overly passive-aggressive (direct aggression doesn't bear well with my nature). Perhaps I'm just as guilty in doing what I was getting all worked up about. Isn't that often the case?

Anyways, sorry to ruffle feathers. This little bird is flying back to her nest for the night to think things over.

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

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by cooran » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:02 am

Hello chicka-Dee,

Nothing you have written is unsuitable for this forum. This is the Dhammic free-for-all sub-forum. If what anyone presents isn't Dhamma as the Buddha taught it, or has any pretensions, then they can cop a lambasting. That's O.K. - as long as we're all fairly polite and don't breach the TOS. But you are likely to get debate on debatable comments. All ideas can be presented and disputed.

metta
Chris
Last edited by cooran on Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:15 am, 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 ---

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by mikenz66 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:04 am

Hi chicka-Dee,
chicka-Dee wrote: Anyways, sorry to ruffle feathers. This little bird is flying back to her nest for the night to think things over.
I don't see these feathers you think you are ruffling. You asked some questions and you got some answers...

Metta
Mike

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by kc2dpt » Sat Aug 08, 2009 1:53 am

If you don't like being told you're wrong, don't come around Buddhist forums. :shrug:

If you say Buddhism teaches something and I think you're wrong, I'm gonna say so in the most unambiguous way possible. And I will back it up with scriptural quotes or at least quotes form respected teachers. If you've got quotes of equal pedigree which make you think I'm wrong, then I'd love to hear 'em.

That's how we learn what Buddhism is. (The only way we learn if Buddhism itself is correct is through practice but that is beyond the scope of any discussion forum.)

Whenever someone says any opinion is equally valid I can't help wonder if they have even tried to study the teachings.

I was gonna report chickadee's post but we've had too many replies at this point. Her post is nothing but personal attacks and should not have been left up. To argue that anyone who says "that is wrong" is just engaging in a pissing contest? C'mon moderators. That's gotta be beyond the bounds of even free-for-all.
I just have this protective streak in me that comes out at times, and I've been known to yield hockey sticks in defense of little brothers and cousins who were threatened to be beat up at the hockey rink.
If you think a post is inappropriate then report it to the mods. Passive-aggresive posturing is inappropriate.
I don't see these feathers you think you are ruffling.
It ruffles my feathers. I can't stand it when someone says "Oh my gawd! You are telling that guy he is wrong! Stop being so mean!" Seriously, if you don't like being told you're wrong then stay off internet forums, not just Buddhist ones but all forums.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by Ben » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:01 am

Hi Peter

My apologies...
some of us mods have been a little distracted by events in our non-internet lives.
I'm happy to discuss any issues by pm if you wish.
Metta

Ben
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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by kc2dpt » Sat Aug 08, 2009 2:05 am

chicka-Dee wrote: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'?
That's why we back up things with scriptural sources. So we aren't simply replying with opinions.
- Peter

Be heedful and you will accomplish your goal.

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Re: Should Buddhists be Tolerant of Other Religions?

Post by christopher::: » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:25 am

Hi everyone,

As Chris noted, the view i've voiced here is nothing that i had not said before on other forums, in various ways. For many of you my view is "wrong." It might well be! Or its not what Buddha taught, or not the dharma. This too may be true. Half Buddhist, inspired by Buddhism, as Peter said i think, these may be labels that fit. I consider myself a student and practitioner of the dharma, but beyond that i really dont know, and others may feel my practice is misguided or wrong. It definitely has potential to deepen and gain greater clarity.

Thanks chicka-Dee for stepping in, but i think there is a gap of perception here, a gap of view, that just may never be bridged. Or if it is bridged, it will happen naturally, not thru argument. That's okay... This is a discussion forum, we take positions, defend them, present them. I would not be surprised if some of us are actually very different in 3D. No way to know. More and more i am coming to feel that these kinds of discussions limit us, cause of the electronic context here, where we dont face each other, see and hear one another...

I wish you all success with your lives and practice. May all beings be freed from suffering. May we all come to a better understanding of the dharma. There's been no other teaching like it on this planet that i've ever come across, even if my understanding is incomplete, muddled, utopian or overly simplified.

Bottom line, for me, is to be able to helps others and understand how the dharma works, in my life, and in the lives of those i am connected to.

:group:
Peter wrote:
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.
Yep. This is very very very important, to keep in mind.

: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 tiltbillings » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:12 am

christopher::: wrote:. I would not be surprised if some of us are actually very different in 3D.
You mean more pleasant, less confrontational, less likely to pick you a part? That sort of thing? Part of the problem, Christopher, is that - in my opinion, which you do not have to share - you have missed and misunderstood a lot of what has been clearly said to you by me and others, but then I am sure I am just being an online butthead for saying that, but I would actually say that to you face-to-face, which makes me an off-line butthead, as well. There is a problem with online communication, but there is also with some, online or face-to-face, an absolute abhorrence, for whatever reason, at looking at religion in any way that might be critical, and that does make for a great deal of misunderstanding all around.

>> 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 Jechbi » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:24 am

I'm an online Beavis.
Rain soddens what is kept wrapped up,
But never soddens what is open;
Uncover, then, what is concealed,
Lest it be soddened by the rain.

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