Item Details

Finding the Rights Questions about Religious Diversity: What Buddhists could Contribute to Discussions of Religious Diversity

Issue: Vol 4 No. 1 (2020) Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity (Special Issue)

Journal: Interreligious Studies and Intercultural Theology

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/isit.40153


This article argues that all current theologies of religion share the presupposition that differences among religions are a problem, even a mistake, and that unity or agreement would be preferable to difference and religious diversity. But theologians of religion need to start at the other end of the puzzle, conceding from the get-go that religious diversity is here to stay, is inevitable, normal, natural, and, therefore, not the major problem or issue. The important questions are not about them, the others who are different from us, but about us. Why do we dislike diversity so much? Why does it make us so uncomfortable? Why does difference so frequently elicit the response of ranking the different options hierarchically? And, most important of all, how can we cure our own discomfort with diversity? The article also suggests that we need to practice the spiritual disciplines that help us overcome our egocentric preferences for a world in which everyone else would be just like us and can, instead, live comfortable in a world that accommodates vast differences.

Author: Rita M. Gross

View Original Web Page

References :

Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi, trans. 1995. The Middle Length Discourse of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom.

Chogyam Trungpa. 1998. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior. Boston: Shambhala.

Gross, Rita M. 2004. “Excuse Me but What’s the Question? Isn’t Religious Diversity Normal?” In The Myth of Religious Superiority, edited by Paul Knitter, 7587. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.

Gross, Rita M. 2014. Religious Diversity, What’s the Problem? Buddhist Advice for Flourishing with Religious Diversity. Eugene, OR: Cascade.

Khyentse, Dzongsar Jamyang. 2007. What Makes You Not a Buddhist? Boston: Shambhala.

Thrangu Rinpoche. 2002. Pointing Out the Dharmakaya. Crestone, CO: Namo Buddha Publications.