Teachings from Venerables
According to Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda in “Buddhist Attitude Towards Other Religions” (Pages 2-6):
“Different religions may have different beliefs and views regarding the beginning and the end of life, as well as different interpretations regarding the ultimate salvation. But we should not bring forward such discordant issues to create conflict, confrontation, clashes, hatred and misunderstanding. There are more than enough common virtues for religionists to introduce in theory and practice in the name of religion, so that people may lead a righteous, peaceful and cultured way of life.”
“The deep underlying meaning of religion is to be able to uphold and respect one's own religion without in anyway being disrespectful or discourteous towards other religions. To this end, we must establish mutual understanding, mutual co-operation and tolerance amongst all co-religionists in order to achieve religious harmony.”
According to Venerable Sheng Yen in the “Concluding Address for the International Conference on Religious Cooperation 2001”:
“In an open society, one may find several different faiths even within a family. We must respect, even support, each other’s choices with an attitude of appreciation, and should never criticize other faiths based on our own subjective standpoint. We should cooperate to create a harmonious, peaceful, happy and warm community in which to live.”
According to Venerable Thubten Chodron in “Q&A: Working with Anger”:
“That’s their opinion. They’re entitled to have it. Of course, we don’t agree with it. Sometimes we may succeed in correcting another’s misconceptions, but sometimes people are very closed-minded and don’t want to change their views. That’s their business. Just leave it.
We don’t need others’ approval to practise the Dharma. But we do need to be convinced in our hearts that what we do is right. If we are, then others’ opinions aren’t important.
Others’ criticisms don’t hurt the Dharma or the Buddha. The path to enlightenment exists whether others recognise it as such or not. We don’t need to be defensive. In fact, if we become agitated when others criticise Buddhism, it indicates we’re attached to our beliefs – that our ego is involved and so we feel compelled to prove our beliefs are right.
When we’re secure in what we believe, others’ criticisms don’t disturb our peace of mind. Why should it? Criticism doesn’t mean we are stupid or bad. It’s simply another’s opinion, that’s all.”