I want to write about this, as I often find others sometimes very intolerant of my Buddhist practice.
But first I thought I should address whether or not Buddhism is in fact a religion. I have seen many discussions on this in the past with people arguing both sides. What I find, is that it depends on where you find the definition of religion.
Wiktionary list the 1st definition as a collection of practices, based on beliefs and teachings that are highly valued or sacred. Based on that definition, then I would say that Buddhism is definitely a religion.
On the other hand, WordNet defines religion as a strong belief in a supernatural power or powers that control human destiny. In which case, Buddhism is absolutely not a religion.
Here’s the beauty in Buddhism… it doesn’t matter!
What Buddha taught in the Dhamma can be applied to anyone’s life regardless of their religious beliefs.
This is why, in the past 3000 years since Buddha shared his teachings there has never been a Buddhist war. I guess it’s pretty hard to fight with someone who is well, happy and peaceful. :)
But let’s get back to the issue of other religions being intolerant of my practice.
I know I need to understand that I cannot control anyone. So if someone chooses to attack me or my practice, I need to be accepting of this. I need to understand that they believe they are showing love and caring for me. Their true intention is not to harm me.
Perhaps the words by my friend Marguerite Manteau-Rao are very appropriate here. She recently said, “He who hurts me with his words is my teacher – pushing me to find the limits of unconditioned happiness and gratitude.”
I think there is such wisdom in those words. Patience, respect and genuine loving kindness are found most deeply when we accept others who may harm us. To me, this is genuine compassion.
I am grateful to these teachers, as I am grateful to my Noble friends.
We all have so much we can learn from each other, and we have many opportunities for merit.
May my body, mind, and words always be a source of happiness and comfort to others.
May you each be well, happy and peaceful.