Discriminating wisdom [that sees the uniqueness of each phenomenon]
is just as important as the realisation of
non-dualistic wisdom [that sees the emptiness of all phenomena].
Out of respect for religions with different beliefs, it is natural for some to feel that they should never be compared – lest there be disrespectful discrimination of any kind. However, if different religions are not compared or contrasted, there would be no way to more deeply understand them. Without genuine understanding, there can be no genuine interfaith harmony. In fact, there might be disharmony instead, due to misunderstanding and lack of understanding. Without comparison, there is also no way to as objectively as possible choose or appreciate any single religion in comparison to another.
It might still seem possible to learn about different religions in themselves, without comparing. Yet, it is through systematic comparison that we learn about both the differences and similarities between them. Such comparison tends to naturally arise in the mind too. It is also natural to understand other religions through one’s religious perspective, whether we are aware of this or not. What matters is to never compare inaccurately or out of ill will. There is also the obvious need to agree to disagree when it comes to different belief systems, instead of forcing those with alternative beliefs to agree.
It is idealistic but dangerous to assume that all religious systems are teachings of the enlightened – because this easily leads to blind acceptance. It is true that there are ‘religious’ zealots who have gone astray, who practise warped teachings. Thus, to compare religions with as much wisdom as we can muster, while being open to reflection on others’ opinions (which is what the Buddha suggested) is the safer path to follow, before embracing any religion for life. The Buddha himself openly compared 62 religious systems in his time to contrast the alternative teachings he had to offer.
Before realisation of the ultimate truth,
there is the need to first
realise various relative truths [from non-truths].
Are All Religions the Same?
Are All Religions Rivers Leading to One Ocean?
There are Enough Religions Already
The Importance of Inter-Religious Harmony