The Buddha and Religious Diversity

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Routledge, Jan 3, 2013 - Philosophy - 264 pages
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Providing a rigorous analysis of Buddhist ways of understanding religious diversity, this book develops a new foundation for cross-cultural understanding of religious diversity in our time.

Examining the complexity and uniqueness of Buddha’s approach to religious pluralism using four main categories – namely exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralistic-inclusivism and pluralism – the book proposes a cross-cultural and interreligious interpretation of each category, thus avoiding the accusation of intellectual colonialism. The key argument is that, unlike the Buddha, most Buddhist traditions today, including Theravāda Buddhism and even the Dalai Lama, consider liberation and the highest stages of spiritual development exclusive to Buddhism. The book suggests that the Buddha rejects many doctrines and practices found in other traditions, and that, for him, there are nonnegotiable ethical and doctrinal standards that correspond to the Dharma. This argument is controversial and likely to ignite a debate among Buddhists from different traditions, especially between conservative and progressive Buddhists.

The book fruitfully contributes to the literature on inter-religious dialogue, and is of use to students and scholars of Asian Studies, World Religion and Eastern Philosophy.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Part I A crosscultural and interreligious interpretation of the typology exclusivisminclusivismpluralism
11
Part II Exclusivism
43
Part III Inclusivism
79
Part IV Pluralisticinclusivism
123
Part V Pluralism
165
Part VI Starting a dialogue between the Buddha and other models of religious diversity
201
Appendix
222
Notes
226
Bibliography
242
Index
246
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About the author (2013)

J. Abraham Vélez de Cea is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Eastern Kentucky University, USA.

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