A Buddhist Perspective

David Burton

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

A Buddhist Perspective

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This article examines Buddhist views about intrareligious and interreligious diversity. For a Buddhist, religious others can be Buddhists of other sects and schools, as well as those aligned to religions external to Buddhism. There is a common view of Buddhism as tolerant, non-dogmatic, and willing to embrace religious diversity. There are Buddhist examples of religious exclusivism and inclusivism. Largely in recent times, there have also been tendencies toward pluralism. Buddhist attitudes toward Christianity have often been affected by the experience of colonialism and Christian missionary zeal. Recently, however, there has been a particularly strong interreligious dialogue between Buddhists and Christians. Both Masao Abe and Thich Nhat Hanh focus on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, but the latter is a prominent example of a tendency among some recent Buddhists to assert the rhetoric of religious pluralism, in which religions are regarded as equal, while interpreting non-Buddhist religions in a manner that imposes Buddhist concepts on them.

Keywords: Buddhism; intrareligious diversity; interreligious diversity; religious pluralism; Christianity; Masao Abe; Thich Nhat Hanh; interreligious dialogue

Article.  7425 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion ; Buddhism

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