Appreciate similarities for harmony.
Acknowledge differences for harmony too.
(Although the below reflects how Buddhists see Buddhism; it does not necessarily reflect how others see it. The related articles that follow should be read too, for the fuller picture.)
Is it so, that although different people have different ways of worship, the ‘inner religion’ of humanity is the same? That would be an idealistic way of looking at the diversity of religions in our world, which means it is not realistic. We know this is so simply by looking at how few leaders of world religions are in harmony with one another NOT merely in terms of some moral values for humanity’s future, but ALSO in terms of doctrine. It is not that difficult to agree on what is generally good for humankind, but challenging for all to agree on what is good for all sentient beings.
This is where the scope of ‘universal’ compassion differs. It is even more challenging for all to agree on what is universal wisdom. When it comes to the Buddha’s teachings on the breadth of goodness, he spoke of great compassion, that is so immeasurable, that it encompasses all sentient beings big and small, seen and unseen. When it comes to his teachings on the depth of truth, he spoke of perfect wisdom, that is so immeasurable, that it encompasses all phenomena great and little.
Buddhists take refuge in the Buddha’s teachings because through ongoing study and practice, they increasingly realise that the historical Buddha (and other transhistorical Buddhas) got it perfectly right, when it comes to the details of all matters that matter, such as how we should conduct ourselves and relate to all. He is after all, supremely enlightened, and is the longest teaching founder of a world religion – for 45 years. This offered ample time for many to access and assess the integrity of his teachings and character.
Further confidence in the Buddha arises from his encouragement of active enquiry, even in terms of his own teachings, to always doubt the doubtful. This is while he could answer all essential questions on life, death and liberation, while others often contradict one another with inadequate answers. In fact, some systems of belief in/famously advocate blind faith, even discouraging asking of intelligent basic questions – probably as their teachings are far from being enlightened.
Due to their different premises, means and aims, it is also wrong to assume that despite differences of various faiths, their similarities are the ‘universal’ teachings, the essence of each and every religion. If only wishing to see the lowest common denominator or common ground, which will be low, the highest ground of reality, which is the peak with the bird’s eye view of all will be missed. Not only do Buddhists see the Buddha’s teachings to be at the peak, they are seen as the complete and thus actual universal teachings.
As an example on different perspectives… Person A on the left sees a stone with a black end. Person B on the right sees a white end. Person C at the centre sees a grey part. Person D does not see the stone but claims it is invisible. Do we say Person C has a ‘balanced’ view, as grey is kind of black and white, and is thus right? Not really. Person E however sees the whole stone, as black, white and grey. His view is comprehensive and thus right. Person E is the Buddha, the completely enlightened one with all-knowing wisdom, who knows and sees all!
Truth is never simply realised
by accepting of what others claim,
but by being personally discerning.
Should We Compare Religions?
Importance Of Inter-Religious Harmony
Should We See Only Inter-Religious Similarities?
Are All Religions Rivers Leading To One River?
Are All Religions The Same?
(Although the above reflects how Buddhists see Buddhism; it does not necessarily reflect how others see it. The related articles above should be read too, for the fuller picture.)