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Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity

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This volume discusses contemporary Buddhist responses to religious diversity from Theravādin and Tibetan Buddhist perspectives. Buddhist attitudes toward other religious traditions (and its own) are unquestionably diverse, and have undergone changes throughout historical eras and geographic spaces, as Buddhists, and traditions Buddhists have encountered, continue to change (after all, all conditioned things are impermanent). The present time is a particularly dynamic moment to take stock of Buddhist attitudes toward religious others, as Buddhist identities are being renegotiated in unprecedented ways in our increasingly globalized age.

Is it true that Buddhists are tolerant of other religions? To what extent are Buddhists tolerant? Is nirvana held to be attainable through Buddhism alone? If so, through which Buddhist tradition? This volume approaches these questions and others from perspectives representing Theravādin and Tibetan traditions of Buddhism. The chapters herein bring together a spectrum of views that are not often found side-by-side in a single volume or in a meaningful dialogue with each other, needless to mention with other religions. This volume seeks to remedy this situation, and break new ground to enable further dialogue, understanding, and constructive encounters across Buddhist traditions and between other religious traditions and Buddhists.

Published: Jul 1, 2020

Section Chapter Authors
Introduction Douglas Duckworth, Abraham Vélez de Cea , Elizabeth Harris
Part I: Buddhist Paths: One or Many?
1. The Buddha and the Diversity of Spiritual Paths Bhikkhu Bodhi
2. Was the Buddha an Exclusivist? Abraham Vélez de Cea
3. Paths of Liberation? Theravāda Buddhist Approaches to Religious Diversity Perry Schmidt-Leuikel
4. Openness towards the Religious Other in Buddhism Carola Roloff
Part II: Buddhist Identity Politics
5. Buddhism and the Religious Other: Twenty-First Century Dambulla and the presence of Buddhist Exclusivism in Sri Lanka Elizabeth Harris
6. The Contemporary Tibetan Buddhism Rimé Response to Religious Diversity Rachel Pang
8. Buddhism and Beyond: The Question of Pluralism Douglas Duckworth
7. How Nonsectarian is ‘Nonsectarian’?: Jorge Ferrer’s Pluralist Alternative to Tibetan Buddhist Inclusivism Douglas Duckworth
Part III: Constructive Dialogue with Other Religions
9. The Dalai Lama and Religious Diversity Abraham Vélez de Cea
10. Thoughts on Why, How and What Buddhists Can Learn from Christian Theologians John Makransky
11. Suffering and Its Relief: A Buddhist Approach to Religious Pluralism Christopher Ives
12. Religious Diversity and Dialogue: A Buddhist Perspective Asanga Tilakaratne
13. Finding the Right Questions about Religious Diversity: What Buddhist Could Contribute to Discussions of Religious Diversity Rita Gross