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K025
12 Oct 12, 00:18
Greetings,

How are you doing ?

I'm trying to get an answer to this question from different religious perspectives. I hope that you can find the time to answer it.

While living in a society that has wide range of different believes and even different competing sects inside the one religion, how is it possible to achieve harmony and peace?
Each one of these religions claim to be the only one acceptable by god and this leads to a kind of supremacism. For example the follower of religion (X) thinks that he is superior to the follower of religion (Y) and vice versa and this is not a healthy way to build a society for all people.
From my experience, all this talking about religious tolerance is not going anywhere because the believers will go back to their scriptures and each one of their scriptures say that it's the right one and the ones who won't follow it are going to end up in hell.


What's the Buddhist perspective considering this case ?

Thanks in advance.
;D

Aloka
12 Oct 12, 02:47
Hello and welcome to the group, K025.

I wonder if perhaps you would like to tell us something about yourself .



While living in a society that has wide range of different believes and even different competing sects inside the one religion, how is it possible to achieve harmony and peace?
Each one of these religions claim to be the only one acceptable by god and this leads to a kind of supremacism. For example the follower of religion (X) thinks that he is superior to the follower of religion (Y) and vice versa and this is not a healthy way to build a society for all people.


Our members here are all from different areas of the world.

I can't speak for anyone in other countries, but where I live, people from different religions and cultures, as well as people who don't follow any religion at all, live and work peacefully together in the same society. I don't recall any of my neighbours ever discussing religion, to be honest .

There are just a small group of active posters here, by the way, so it might be better for you to ask your questions at one of the bigger internet groups.

with kind regards,


Aloka :hands:

Element
12 Oct 12, 04:11
What's the Buddhist perspective considering this case ?
dear friend

genuine Buddhism explains the psychological causes of human suffering & the psychological causes of human well-being, and, most importantly, the path for which individuals & societies can develop genuine well-being & freedom from suffering & problems

therefore, in its essence, Buddhism is not really a religion

kind regards

element ;D

Goofaholix
12 Oct 12, 04:19
I think the answer is secularism.

In secular societies as we find in most western countries people are free to follow whatever religion they want and the majority of people don't follow any religion at all or only do so in a very limited way.

In a society like that there is no need for one religion to try and dominate people of other sects or religions, they may seek converts from the rest of the population but that's as far as it goes.

For example my country is often called a Christian country but in reality it's a secular humanist country and probably only about 5% of the population has a strong identification with the Christian religion, other religions are free to flourish.

Often what are considered to be religious conflicts are actually ethnic struggles competing for resources that have been going on for centuries.

Bundokji
12 Oct 12, 11:11
Hello Ko25,

I second what Element said that Buddhism is not a religion.

I currently live in the middle east where religion is still very powerful so i understand what you mean.

Buddhism focuses more on how to free the individual from conflicts. By freeing the indvidual from conflicts, suffering and identification you create a healthy and peaceful society.

Buddhism does not offer direct solutions to the problem you have mentioned, but it simply stops you from being a part of the problem.

To propose a religion-free society does not achieve harmony and peace in my opinion. Its merely another belief that adds to the problem instead of solving it in my opinion. You just cannot help as long as you are in the same boat.

Best Regards,
Bundokji

Aloka
12 Oct 12, 11:39
Dear friends,

Just a gentle reminder to people who plan to post in this thread that our Code of Conduct states:

"1.This is an international community for friendship and relaxed discussions. Please be respectful towards your fellow members, [... ]

-and also towards the main world religions."


Thank you for your cooperation.:hands:

Element
12 Oct 12, 13:18
What's the Buddhist perspective considering this case?
also, Buddhism is at peace with all religions because Buddhism comprehends the diversity of humanity

about himself, i.e., about the mind of enlightenment, Buddha explained:


...the Tathagata understands as it actually is the world with its many and different elements. That too is a Tathagata's power...

...the Tathagata understands as it actually is how beings have different inclinations. That too is a Tathagata's power...

...the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata's power...

MN 12 (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012.ntbb.html)

in the original Buddhist scriptures, we can read about Buddha meeting the leaders & followers of the different religions

for example, in MN 56, Buddha converted a person (Upali) from the Jain religion that came to Buddha with the intention to humiliate Buddha in debate. after Upali was converted, Buddha exhorted him to continue to provide material support of food, clothing, shelter & medicine to the Jains

in DN 13, Buddha taught those of the Brahmin religion that radiating infinite love in all directions, to each living being without exception, is the way to union with Brahma (God)

in MN 93, to those of the Brahmin religion who declared they were supreme because they were Brahmins, Buddha taught a person is supreme as a result of their moral actions rather than as a result of their social religion

in DN 31, Buddha taught a practising Buddhist should always act free from prejudice (agati), which comes in four forms: prejudice due to selfish love; prejudice due to hate; prejudice due to fear; & prejudice due to ignorance

Buddha did teach the Eightfold Path he taught was 'the best'. however, he taught it was the best in respect to purifying the mind of a human being

the purified human mind does not act selfishly or with self-cherishing. Buddha explained empty of 'self' (sunnata) is supreme

kind regards

element

;D


273. Of all the paths the Eightfold Path is the best; of all the truths the Four Noble Truths are the best; of all things passionlessness is the best: of men the Seeing One (the Buddha) is the best.

274. This is the only path; there is none other for the purification of insight. Tread this path and you will bewilder Mara.

275. Walking upon this path you will make an end of suffering. Having discovered how to pull out the thorn of lust, I make known the path.

279. "All things are not-self" — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering. This is the path to purification.

Maggavagga (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.20.budd.html)

Johnny Panic
12 Oct 12, 17:57
Good post, Element.

K025, welcome to the forums.

Buddhism, in my experience, encourages it's followers not to judge or have any animosity or prejudice towards people who do not follow Buddhism. In that way, Buddhists try and free themselves from the suffering holding prejudice would have on themselves and others.

Or, to put it another way, there doesn't seem to be an attitude of "you need to be a Buddhist or else."

Being judgmental or feeling superior would actually be a serious hindrance to a person's practice.

Mardale
12 Oct 12, 20:32
It's awfully difficult to change 'society', whatever 'society' is.

Society is a collection of individuals who are connected in some ways and not in others.

How can you do anything with that?

Better perhaps to work on yourself. Maybe that's all you've got to work with.

Element
12 Oct 12, 20:53
It's awfully difficult to change 'society', whatever 'society' is.

Better perhaps to work on yourself. Maybe that's all you've got to work with.
Mardale's post here is both important & insightful

Buddhism emphasises to work on yourself

Many religions emphasise changing society

If we ourselves hope to change society, we may become the same as those very religions we are criticising

There were murderous dictators, such as Stalin & Pol Pot, who saw religion created problems in society. But in their efforts to eradicate religion, they become the same as, often worse than, those very religions they sought to eradicate

Regards

;D


Let none find fault with others; let none see the omissions and commissions of others. But let one see one's own acts, done and undone.

Like a beautiful flower full of color and also fragrant, even so, fruitful are the fair words of one who practices them.

Pupphavagga: Flowers (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.04.budd.html)

K025
12 Oct 12, 23:14
Thank you very much for these interesting replies. I'm from the middle east, my country consists of Christians and Muslims and they don't treat those who follow a different religion as if they would treat someone who follows their own religion. For example : A Muslim company owner would favor to hire a Muslim over a Christian, even if that Muslim was less skilled than the Christian. They definitely have no respect at all for each other. I think that is a main trouble with the Abrahamic religions because Christians for example do not believe that Muhammad was a prophet and Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of god and that he was killed to save the rest of people and these problems can't be solved because they are all based on scriptures. In order to fix them, they would have to remove certain passages from their scriptures and they would never do that.

I don't believe in god or religion, but I find Buddhist teachings to have some wisdom and a really good sense of morality. That is why I asked you about your opinion. :)

I agree with the friend who said that Secularism can fix that, but I think it can only fix the way the government acts and can't really remove that prejudice that people have towards each others believes.

In your opinion, is there something that can help people who act like that to understand that we are all humans and that we are all the same ? Or should I just give up that hope that one day we might be able to treat one another on the same level ?

Thank you once again :)

Aloka
12 Oct 12, 23:44
In your opinion, is there something that can help people who act like that to understand that we are all humans and that we are all the same ? Or should I just give up that hope that one day we might be able to treat one another on the same level ?


Hello again K025,

Thank you for sharing something about yourself and your country.

I think that we may not necessarily be able to change the rest of the world, but we can certainly change the way we are ourselves and always try to do our best to act with kindness, friendship and understanding towards others.

Other than that, I don't have any answers, except to be at peace within oneself.

With kind wishes to you,


Aloka :hands:

Bundokji
13 Oct 12, 09:30
Sorry to ask a personal question K025, but do you live in Lebanon?

auriga
19 Oct 12, 14:58
I lack the qualifications to answer K025's question from the perspective of Buddhism, but I can answer it from my perspective which is informed through Buddhism. I think first, as observed above, Buddhism is not typically a religion in that we have no dogma, we have no creator diety (i.e. the universe simply is), and it would be difficult to define any single practice which defines Buddhism except for meditation but even that has multiple forms, is not practiced by everyone who self identifies as Buddhist, and as far as I know is not required by Buddha's teachings. There are various sects and divisions, all of which adhere to certain precepts, but these are not "commandments" or divine rules in the Abrahamic sense either, but modes of conduct through which we approach our lives to end suffering for ourselves and others. There are philosophical Buddhists, liturgical Buddhists, Buddhists in name only, and everything in between.

So I think Buddhism exists peaceably with other traditions because there is no one thing that defines our practice. We are encouraged to look within, to test the teachings, to explore them and to find Buddhism along the way. I think this approach is very compatible with other religious teachings. For example, we can easily appreciate the Abrahamic view against killing, and even pagan or animistic practices have some parallel in terms of living in natural harmony with the order of the universe. It seems to be generally frowned on to go tearing down another person's beliefs in Buddhism, one because this can be destructive to their emotional and spiritual well being, and as well we ourselves never really, truly understand everything (well maybe in an ideal sense it is possible, but I have yet to meet such a person).

But I think Buddhism has a unique challenge which is that we always run the risk of straying from the teachings for the very same reasons. This can leave some practicants perplexed or confused, when really what we are about is kindness and trying to end suffering, for ourselves and others. If another person finds compassion through another faith, and this strengthens their resolve to live ethically and to do no harm to themselves and others, I can only revere that wisdom as another facet of perfection. I think the important thing is kindness and gentleness. When we keep that in mind, the rest of our spirituality seems to take care of itself.

padma
16 Nov 12, 08:03
I understand your question, but you arrive at this conclusion because you only learn/hear religions from "mainstream people". However, you must know that there are people from any religions, which think differently. For example: check this http://hanciong.deviantart.com/gallery/30810994#/d4i0x07 and http://hanciong.deviantart.com/gallery/30810994#/d4n3v6a . Also, take a look at what Anthony de Mello, Kahlil Gibran, Swami Vivekanandha said about other religions (different than theirs).

I hope that helps

padma
16 Nov 12, 08:28
Thank you very much for these interesting replies. I'm from the middle east, my country consists of Christians and Muslims and they don't treat those who follow a different religion as if they would treat someone who follows their own religion. For example : A Muslim company owner would favor to hire a Muslim over a Christian, even if that Muslim was less skilled than the Christian. They definitely have no respect at all for each other. I think that is a main trouble with the Abrahamic religions because Christians for example do not believe that Muhammad was a prophet and Muslims do not believe that Jesus was the son of god and that he was killed to save the rest of people and these problems can't be solved because they are all based on scriptures. In order to fix them, they would have to remove certain passages from their scriptures and they would never do that.

I don't believe in god or religion, but I find Buddhist teachings to have some wisdom and a really good sense of morality. That is why I asked you about your opinion. :)

I agree with the friend who said that Secularism can fix that, but I think it can only fix the way the government acts and can't really remove that prejudice that people have towards each others believes.

In your opinion, is there something that can help people who act like that to understand that we are all humans and that we are all the same ? Or should I just give up that hope that one day we might be able to treat one another on the same level ?

Thank you once again :)

sorry, I just read this now. so you come from Middle East, but interested in Buddhism? Interesting :lol: anyway, in my previous replies, I quote from Jalaluddin Rumi and Hazrat Inayat Khan. They are sufis (you know sufism right?). The quote from kahlil Gibran (a Christian) is this:

I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.

Your thought advocates Judaism, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. In my thought there is only one universal religion, whose varied paths are but the fingers of the loving hand of the Supreme Being.

The quotes from Swami Vivekanandha (a Hindu):

As the different streams having their sources in different places all mingle their water in the sea, so, O Lord, the different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee...

Sectarianism, bigotry, and it's horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful Earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization, and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now.

I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration but we accept all religions as true.

From Anthony de Mello (Christian), there is not a single quote which says explicitly he accepts all religions, but if you learn his teachings, you will realize this. For example:

You know there are times like that when the Blessed Sacrament becomes more important than Jesus Christ. When worship becomes more important than love, when the Church becomes more important than life. When God becomes more important than the neighbor. And so it goes on. That’s the danger. To my mind this is what Jesus was evidently calling us to—first things first! The human being is much more important than the Sabbath. Doing what I tell you, namely, becoming what I am indicating to you, is much more important than Lord, Lord. But your mullah is not going to be happy to hear that, I assure you. Your priests are not going to be happy to hear that.

There’s too little dropping of illusions, dropping of errors, dropping of attachments and cruelty, too little awareness. That’s what the world is suffering from, not from a lack of religion. Religion is supposed to be about a lack of awareness, of waking up. Look what we’ve degenerated into. Come to my country and see them killing one another over religion. You’ll find it everywhere. ....... All revelations, however divine, are never any more than a finger pointing to the moon. As we say in the East, “When the sage points to the moon, all the idiot sees is the finger. Jean Guiton, a very pious and orthodox French writer, adds a terrifying comment: “We often use the finger to gouge eyes out.” Isn’t that terrible?”

I hope this helps. anyway, in my opinion, the dogma that "only my religion is correct, and the other is wrong", is just a brainwashing. and brainwashing can be eliminated.

padma
16 Nov 12, 08:36
Another quote from Anthony de Mello:


Where’s the fire? Where’s the love? Where’s the drug uprooted from your system? Where’s the freedom? This is what spirituality is all about. ........And if worship isn’t leading to the fire, if adoration isn’t leading to love, if the liturgy isn’t leading to a clearer perception of reality, if God isn’t leading to life, of what use is religion except to create more division, more fanaticism, more antagonism? It is not from lack of religion in the ordinary sense of the word that the world is suffering, it is from lack of love, lack of awareness.



In your opinion, is there something that can help people who act like that to understand that we are all humans and that we are all the same ?
Yes. spread the messages of Jalaluddin Rumi, Kahlil Gibran, Hazrat Inayat Khan, Anthony de Mello, Swami Vivekanandha, and other "spritual" people (truly spiritual, not just following some dogmas) :mrgreen:

Aloka
16 Nov 12, 10:11
I don't believe in god or religion, but I find Buddhist teachings to have some wisdom and a really good sense of morality.


Hello again K025, I'm not sure if you'll see this because you haven't logged in for over a month now - but here is another quote from the Dhammapada which might be helpful:




1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

3. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

4. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dhp.01.budd.html




With metta,

Aloka :hands:

junestar
17 Nov 12, 21:57
hi there, people. Just jumping right in with my two cents, though I'm new here; Great Buddhist teachers, including the dalai lama, et al, have said that enlightenment can be attained for a true practitioner of any of the religions.

Element
18 Nov 12, 01:19
what exactly is enlightenment so that it can be attained by a true practitioner of any of the religions? thanks

ngodngam
18 Nov 12, 14:28
In your opinion, is there something that can help people who act like that to understand that we are all humans and that we are all the same ? Or should I just give up that hope that one day we might be able to treat one another on the same level ?

If you see the Buddha as the example, you will find that the Buddha practiced himself firstly. Then, he helped other people. If he did not practice himself firstly, he could not help other people. So, I would recommend you to focus on your practicing firstly. :hands:

junestar
18 Nov 12, 18:06
"what exactly is enlightenment so that it can be attained by a true practitioner of any of the religions? thanks"


you want me to define enlightenment? Please feel free to read any of the dissertations highly available from sources much more reliable than what I might describe. I think if one is thoughtful they would know exactly what I meant with my post.

Element
18 Nov 12, 18:11
thank you

in my recollection, Dalai Lama generally states becoming a good person can be attained for a true practitioner of any of the religions.

but i personally doubt Dalai Lama would say enlightenment can be attained for a true practitioner of any of the religions because only the Buddhist path can guide to enlightenment in the Buddhist definition of enlightenment.

i would suggest you provide an exact quote from Dalai Lama

regards

;D