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THEBUDDHISTATTITUDETOOTHERRELIGIONS ByVen.Dr.K.

SriDhammananda

Todaybecauseoftheatrocitiesthathavebeendoneandarestillcontinuing inthenameofreligion,manypeoplehavebecomedisillusionedatthementionofthe veryword,religion.Materialism,hypocrisyandfanaticismcoveredundertheguise ofreligionhavecausedthegreatestdisasterinthehistoryofmankind. Thetruereligiousvaluesarerapidlydisappearingfromthemindsofmenas theyruninsearchoftheoccultandthemystical.Theestablishedgreatreligionsof theworldarebreakingintodiscriminationofformsandsomepeopleareevengoing allouttoridiculereligion.Thetimehascomeforreligionistsoftodaytogettogether tointroducereligiousvaluesintheirproperperspective,insteadofmerelyarguing andquarrellingoverthedifferencesofreligiousideologiesandmythologies. Theaimofthisarticlethereforeistoassistinpromotingabetter understandingofthepurposeofreligionandreligioustolerancefromtheBuddhist pointofview.HopefullythroughthiswecanshowhowBuddhismregardsother religionsandguideBuddhistsonhowtobehavetowardstheirfollowers.Hopefully nonBuddhistswillalsogainabetterunderstandingofwhattheBuddhataughtonthis subject. Thedeepunderlyingpurposeofallreligionsshouldbetoencouragetheir followerstoupholdandrespecttheirownreligionwithoutinanywaybeing disrespectfultowardsotherreligions.Tothisend,allenlightenedandlikeminded fellowreligionistsmustuniteandmustestablishmutualunderstanding,mutualco operationandtoleranceamongstourselvesinordertoachievereligiousharmony. Itisfashionablenowadaystotalkofreligioustoleranceanditsimportancebut few,ifany,everpinpointapracticalwaytoachieveit.Itistobehopedthatin readingthisarticle,thereaderwouldbeablenotonlytoobtainaclearerpictureof religioustolerancebutalsoattempttopromoteitsincerely.Thefirststeptowards developingthisattitudeistoeradicateasenseofsuperiorityaboutonesown religion,toeliminatemutualsuspicion,religiousprejudicesandselfishmotives,for thecommongoodandupliftmentofourrespectivereligions.Butbeforewegoany furtherweshouldpauseandreflectonthiswordtolerancewhichisusedvery looselynowadays.Toleranceimpliesputtingupwithsomethingwemaydislike.An

attitudelikethiscanbeverydangerousbecauseitcanleadtohypocrisyanda degreeofreligiouschauvinism. Wecannotsimplytolerateanotherreligionandmaintainoursuperiorattitude withregardtoourown.Wemustbeabletodeeplyrespectanotherviewalthoughwe maynotagreewithit.ItmaybeusefultorecallthefamouswordsofLordActonwho said,Imaynotagreewithwhatyousay,butIwilldefendtothedeath,yourrightto sayit. Whatthismeansisthatmeretoleranceisnotenough.Whatweneedmost urgentlyforoursocietytodayisforeveryonetoacknowledgetherightofevery individualtobelievewhatheorshewantstobelievewithoutanyhindrancesfromany quarter.Thisgoesfarbeyondmeretolerances.Itinvolvesadeeprespectforthe beliefsofothers. Thisrespectcanonlycomeaboutwhenwearepreparedtostudythebeliefs ofothersandtrytounderstandwhytheybelievewhattheybelieve.Itisonlyby studyingotherwaysofthinkingthatwecanstrengthenourownbeliefs. Thepurposeofareligionistogivehumanbeingsasenseofselfworth,to recognizetherightofeachindividualtoenjoybothspiritualandworldlyhappiness. Religionaimstohelppeoplenotonlyliveameaningfullifeinthisworld,butalsoto prepareoneforalifeafterdeath.Allfellowreligionistsareworkingtoachievethis commoncauseofhumanemancipationandenlightenment.Thesearchfor emancipationandenlightenmentisthesearchforTruth. Unfortunately,inourverymidst,therearemanyreligiouspracticesand beliefs,whicharedepictedorpassedoffastheTruth,wheninfacttheyarefarfrom beingtheTruth.Manypracticeshavetheiroriginsinourremotepastandhavevery littlerelevancetomodernwaysofthinkingandliving.Astruereligiousfollowerswe musthavethecourageandconvictiontoadmitwhatisevidentlyamisconceptionand trytorectifyittoconformtoscienceandreasoningtomeettherequirementsofTruth. Wewouldbefailinginourdutyifwetrytoclingontosomething,whichweknowis nottheTruth.Weareevenwrong,ifinthepracticeofourreligioustolerance,we tolerateitwithoutpointingoutitsfailings,whichdonotconformtoTruth. InseekingTruthweshoulddiscardourcompetitiveattitudesandunitetowork handinhandtoachieveournobleaimofreligiousharmonyforthewellbeingof mankind.IntheveryfirstsermonthathedeliveredafterhisEnlightenmentthe Buddhasaidthatoneshouldabandonthebeliefthatthemereobservanceofrites

andritualscouldleadonetoliberationfromtheproblemsofhumanexistence.In doingsotheBuddhawaswarninghisfollowersagainsttherelianceofsocalled devotionalreligiousobservances,buthedidnotsaythatsuchpracticeswere altogetherbad.Whathemeantwasthatreligiouspracticesmustbeusedmerelyas ameanstoanend.Suchpracticesprepareapersontocarryoutthemoreimportant spiritualtaskwhichistoridthemindofthedefilementswhicharethecauseofour suffering,namelydelusion,cravingandillwill. HoweveralthoughtheBuddhapointedoutthattherewasnoreligiousvaluein manyofthepracticesinIndiaduringhistime,hewascarefultoadvisehisfollowers tosupporttheBrahminsandothermonksirrespectiveoftheirbeliefsprovidedof coursetheyweresincereandharmlessreligiouspeople. TheBuddhaadvisedhisfollowersnottohurtortocauseinjurytoaSramana (monk)oraBrahmin.HerehehasrecognizedmonksandBrahminsasreligious people.AgaintheBuddhasaidthatwhenapersondeceivesaBrahminoramonkor pauper,bytellingalie,thisisacauseofthedownfalloftheperson.Thusinadvising hisfollowersinthismannertheBuddhahastreatedpeopleofallmethodswithout anydiscrimination.Todaywemustextendourcourtesyandrespecttoeveryholy manwhosincerelytriestofollowhisreligiontothebestofhisunderstanding. TheaimofBuddhismistoguideeveryonetoleadanoblelifewithoutharming anyone,tocultivatehumanequalitiesinordertomaintainhumandignity,toradiate allembracingkindnesswithoutanydiscrimination,andtotrainthemindtoavoidevil andtopurifythemindtogainpeaceandhappiness. Buddhismisareligion,whichteachespeopletoliveandletlive.Inthe historyoftheworld,thereisnoevidencetoshowthatBuddhistshaveinterferedor doneanydamagetoanyotherreligioninanypartoftheworldforthepurposeof propagatingtheirreligion.Buddhistsdonotregardtheexistenceofotherreligionsas ahindrancetoworldlyprogressandpeace. Weneedtopointoutthatthisattitudecontrasttothebehaviorofsome religiousfollowerswhoridiculeandcondemnthepracticeandbeliefsofothers withoutbotheringtostudytheseotherbeliefsandwhattheyreallymeanbeyondthe externalappearances.Condemningothersoutofignoranceishardlythemarkof civilizebehaviorandiscertainlyoutofplaceinthisagewhereinformationonevery

subjectisreadilyavailable.TheBuddhistattitudeistoallowotherstofollowtheir beliefsinpeace,torecognizetherightsofotherstofreedomofthought. InBuddhismtherearenoreligiouslaws,commandmentsandreligious punishmentsbutonlyadvicesgivenbytheBuddhawithoutusinganydivinepower. TheBuddharepeatedlydeclaredthathewasnotinterestedintellingpeopletoreach heaven. Hisaimwastoexplainsufferingitscause,theextinctionofsufferingandthe Pathwhichleadstothatextinction. ThisapproachdoesnotrequireFaith,butUnderstandingandEffort. Therefore,inBuddhismtherearenodivinelyordainedlawsandthereisalsono conceptofsinandpunishment.Theimmediategoalinfollowingthepathisto developanoblehumanbeingwhounderstandsthebenefitsofpersonaldiscipline andmentalculture. Buddhistsdonotfollowanyreligiousprinciplesnotbecauseoffearofthe Buddha,punishmentorrewardbutbyknowingandexperiencingthenegativeeffects ofbadactionsandpositiveresultofgoodones.Whentheyfollowthismethodasa naturalwayoflifetheyallowotherstolivepeacefullyandhappily. Buddhismdoesnotcreatefearandtemptationforpeopletopracticeareligion becauseitdoesnotbelieveinpunishmentinhellorrewardinheaven.TheBuddha's messagewasaninvitationtoalltojointhefoldofuniversalbrotherhoodtoworkin harmonyforthewelfareandhappinessofmankind.Hehadnochosenpeople,and hedidnotregardhimselfasachosenone. TheBuddha'sfirstmissionarieswereArahantsthePerfectandHolyOnes. Theywerenoblehumanbeingswhobythesheereffortoftheirrenunciationand mentaltraininghadgainedPerfection.ByPerfectionwemeanthatstatewhenall delusion,greedandhatredhasbeeneradicatedfromthemindandthereisnoteven theslightesttendencytoexperiencenegativestateslikeanger,jealousy,fear,worry, doubt,restlessnessandsoon. InshortArahantsexperiencedivinestatesnotin heavenaftertheirdeathsbutinthislifeitself.BeforesendingoutthefirstPerfected disciples,headvisedtheminthefollowingmanner: Goye,OBhikkhus,andwanderforthforthegainofthemany,forthewelfare ofthemany,incompassionfortheworldforthegood,forthegain,forthewelfareof godsandmen.Proclaim,OBhikkhus,thesublimedoctrine,preachyealifeof holiness,perfectandpure.

TheBuddhawasonlyconcernedaboutshowingthepathtoultimate happiness.Hewasnotconcernedwithfoundingareligioninhisname.TheBuddha wantedtoshowthepeoplethedifferencebetweengoodandevilhewantedtoteach humanshowtoleadahappy,peacefulandrighteouswayoflife.Heneveradvised hisdisciplestoconvertpeoplefromonereligiontoanother.Hisideaofconversion wastointroducearighteous,nobleandreligiouswayoflife.Infacthesaidthatthe greatestmiracleonecouldperformwastoconvertawickedpersonintoavirtuous one. TheBuddhadidnotcriticizeorcondemnanyreligion.Heonlywantedto enlightenthepeoplebyshowingthemthefutilityofgoingintotheextremesofself mortification(orselftorture)andselfindulgence(orsensuality)andtoavoid superstitiousandmeaninglesspracticesinthenameofreligion.Hewantedhuman beingstobehavedecentlyafterseeingthingsastheyreallyare.Theremaybe certainageoldtraditionsandcustomsmaintainedbypeopleincorporatingwiththeir religionsbutsomeofthemareoutofdateandnotappreciatedbyintellectuals. OneofthecornerstonesofBuddhismistheBuddhasTeachingsonthe RealityofChange.Nothinginthisuniverseispermanentandsufferingoccurswhen weresistthisinevitablelawofchangewemustgrowold,fallsick,loselovedones, die.Noonecanstopthis.Scienceisanagentofthischange,soscienceisnot intrinsicallyevil.Whatiseviliswhenweusethedevelopmentofsciencetocreate moresufferingsforourfellowhumanbeingslikeforexampleintheindiscriminateuse ofweaponsofmassdestructiontosafeguardourpoweroverothers. Inthesamewayideasaresubjectedtoconstantchangeandwhatwas consideredacceptableonlyadecadeagomaybecomeridiculouslyoutofdate tomorrow.Ifwewanttoavoidcausingsufferingtoourselvesandotherswemust adapttochangingideasandchangingcircumstances.

THETRUERELIGION Onthequestionofwhatconstitutesatruereligion,theBuddhahasgivena liberalanswer,statingthatwherevertheteachingsoftheFOURNOBLETRUTHS andtheNOBLEEIGHTFOLDPATHScouldbefound,andwhereonecanfind genuinefollowerswhohavegainedspiritualdevelopment,thereinliesthetrue religion.

HedidnotsaythatBuddhismistheonlytruereligioninthisworld,but encouragepeopletoacceptandrespecttruthwherevertruthwastobefound.This meansthatweneednotignorethereasonableteachingsoftheotherreligions.Such anattitudeclearlyshowsthattheBuddhaneverhadanyprejudicetowardsother religions,nordidhetrytomonopolizereligioustruth. HewantedtopointoutonlyonethingtheTRUTHandallhisteachingsare basedontheFOURNOBLETRUTHSthatofSUFFERINGorunsatisfactoriness, itsCAUSE,itsCESSATIONandtheWAYleadingtoitscessation.TheTruthsarea reality,whichexistswherevertherearehumanbeings. WhenevertheBuddhaadvisedhisdisciplestodoorkeepawayfrom something,healwaysaskedthemtodoso,notonlyfortheirownwelfareand happiness,butalsoforthewelfareandhappinessofothers.Hesaid,ifitisgoodfor youandothers,thendoitontheotherhand,ifitisbadforyouandforothers,donot doit.Alsoifitonlybenefitsonepartythensuchanactionmustbeavoided. Asasocialreformer,theBuddhadiscoveredthedeepestcausesofhuman sufferingGREED,HATREDandDELUSION,whicharedeeplyrootedinthemind. Thereforeitisonlythroughmindthattruereformcanbeaffected.Reformsimposed upontheexternalworldbycompulsionorfearcanonlylastforashortwhile,but thosethatspringfromthetransformationofperson'sinnerconsciousnessand understandingaremoredurable. TheeviltendenciestowardsGREED,HATREDandDELUSIONmust eventuallybeovercomeandreplacedbytheforcesofgenerosity,lovingkindness andwisdom.Itisonlythroughsuchmentalpurificationthatpeaceandhappiness canbeeffectivelybroughtaboutthroughreligion.Andtodothisonemustexert oneselfmindfully:mereprayerandritualbasedonblindfaitharenotenough. Buddhismbecamethefirstmissionaryreligiontheworldhasseen.Nearly twothousandthreehundredyearsago,BuddhismexpandedbeyondIndiathrough thenobleeffortsofIndianEmperorAsoka.Thehistorian,H.G.Wells,inspiredbythe greatnessofAsoka,says:amidstthetensofthousandsofnamesofmonarchthat crowdthecolumnsofhistory,theirmajestiesandgraciousnessandserenitiesand royalhighnessesandthelike,thenameofAsokashines,andalmostalone,astar. ThisgreatBuddhistEmperorwhoruledIndia(268B.C.305B.C.)renounced theswordofviolenceattheheightofhisthirstforworldlypoweranddevotedmuchof

histimefortheupliftmentofacultureofbenevolenceandcompassionextending evenintotheanimalworld.Hebannedanyformofanimalslaughter.Hesentout Buddhistmissionaries,includinghisownsonanddaughterthroughoutthelengthand breadthofthethenknownworld,toconveythepeacemessageoftheBuddha.True tothenobletraditionoftheBuddha,heclearlyadvisedthesemissionariesnotto condemnortorundownanyotherreligionwhiletheypreachedBuddhism.This advicewasengravedonanAsokapillarinBrahmincharacterstheruinsofwhich canstillbeseentodayatSarnath,BenaresinIndia. Partofanedictreadlikethis: Oneshouldnothonoronlyone'sownreligionandcondemnthereligionsof others,butoneshouldhonorothers'religionforthisorthatreason.Insodoing,one helpsone'sownreligiontogrowandrendersservicetothereligionsofotherstoo.In actingotherwiseonedigsthegraveofone'sownreligionandalsodoesharmto otherreligions. Whosoeverhonorshisownreligionsandcondemnsotherreligionsdoesso indeedthroughdevotiontohisownreligions,thinkingIwillglorifymyownreligion, butonthecontrary,insodoingheinjureshisownreligionmoregravely.Soconcord isgood:Letalllistenandbewillingtolistentothedoctrinesprofessedbyothers. RELIGIOUSHARMONY Religiousprinciplesareintendedforthewholeofmankind.Ifanyparticular sectionofhumanitydoesnotfollowthegreatvirtuestaughtbyreligionsuchas kindness,patience,toleranceandunderstanding,itwouldbedifficultforotherstolive peacefully.Forsomereason,religionhasconstantlybeenblamedforagreatdealof humanitysproblems. Religionshavebeenblamedforwar,racialism,discriminationofwomen, persecutionandsoon. Butthisisnotreallyfairbecausewemustclearly distinguishedbetweenthereligiousprinciplestaughtbythefoundersandthe interpretationoftheseprinciplesbycertainreligiousleaderstofurthertheirownends. Sometimestheseunscrupulouspeopleeventurnagainstthefollowersoftheirown religionbecausetheyentertaindifferentopinionsfromtheirs. Whatisimportantisforthepeopleintheirownreligionstospeakupagainst wrongdoingandmisinterpretationespeciallyiftheseinterpretationscondone terrorismandtheslaughterofinnocents.Oftenthesereligiousleadersally

themselvestopowerfulpoliticalfigureswhohavenohesitationtokillandincite hatredjusttogetwhattheywant. Itisquitenaturalforcunningandcruelpeopletotakeadvantageofanykind ofvirtue,butletusreligionistsoftoday,bearinmindthatthosewhofightandshed bloodinthenameofreligion,donotfollowreligiousprinciplesanddonotservethe causeofhumanity.Theyfightfortheirownpersonalgainorpowerbyusingthe nameofareligion.Thosewhotrulypracticeareligionhavenogroundstofight. Theyshouldsettletheirproblemsinapeacefulmanner. Followersmustknowthatatruereligionneverencouragesanyformof violenceunderanycircumstances.Atthesametime,racialdiscriminationshouldnot arisewhenwepracticeourrespectivereligions.Buddhistscanliveandworkwith otherreligionistswithoutanydiscrimination.AlthoughBuddhistsweredividedinto differentsectsnearly2000yearsago,sofartheyneverhadanysectarianviolenceor discriminationamongstthemselvesinanypartoftheworld.Buddhismistheonly religionthatdidntdeclarewartointroducereligion. Eachpersonhasthreenatures:theAnimal,theHumanandtheDivine.The purposeofreligionistohelphumanbeingsrealizetheirdivinenature.Eversincethe beginningoftimemanhasmovedthroughvariousstagesofevolution. Atfirsthewasmerelyconcernedwithhisbasicsurvivalneedstofindfood, shelterandtoensurethattherewerechildrenwhowouldcontinuethelineof descendants.Butthenatureofthehumanbeingwassuchthatthesatisfactionsof meresurvivalneedwerenotenough.Goingthroughvariousstagesfromcreatinga senseofbelonging,seekingknowledge,developingtheartshefinallyarrivedatthe ultimatequestionsaboutexistence. ManslongingforanswerstothethreequestionswhoamI,amIneededand whatamIdoingheregaverisetovariousanswerswhicheventuallyledtothe developmentofreligion.Thatisthepurposeofeveryreligiontoexplainthe workingsoftheuniverseandmansplaceinthatuniverse. Unfortunatelythesenobleaimswereforgottenandreligionsimplybecamea jumbleofritualsandsuperstitiouspracticesinthehandsofunscrupulousleaders whogainedpoweroverthepeoplebyexploitingtheirsuperstitionandignorance. Thetimehascomeforreligiontoserveitsoriginalpurposeofprovidinganswersto theproblemsregardingourexistence.

Governmentshouldnotusereligiontogainpoliticalpower.Atthesametime religionshouldnotusepoliticalpowertointroducereligion.Differentreligionsmay havedifferentbeliefsandviewsregardingthebeginningandtheendoflife,aswell asdifferentinterpretationsregardingthenatureofultimatesalvation.Butweshould notbringforwardsuchattitudetocreateconflict,confrontation,clashestocreate misunderstanding. Therearemanycommonvirtuesforreligioniststointroduceintheoryand practiceinthenameofreligion,sothatpeoplemayleadarighteous,peacefuland culturedwayoflife.Thereisnoneedforustobelittleoneanother.Ifwedoso,we wouldonlypavethewayfortheantireligiousgroupswhoarewaitingtoridiculeand condemnallreligions.Weshouldnotbehaveinsuchawayastoshowourhostile attitudetoourcoreligionists.Ifwedoso,peoplewillsaythatreligionsencourage mankindtobedivided. Buddhistsarenotforbiddentogiveduerespecttootherreligiousteachers, noraretheyrestrictedfromvisitingplacesofworshipandattendingreligious services,otherthanBuddhism.Theycanshowtheirfullrespectforotherbelief systemswhilemaintainingtheirbasicBuddhistprinciples. Buddhismencouragescooperationandunderstandingamongstthevarious religiousdenominations.FromtheBuddhistpointofview,religiouslabelsarenotthe mostimportantaspectsforpeopletobeconsideredreligious,butanypersonleading arespectableandharmlesswayoflifecanberegardedasreligious. ThosewhofindfaultsandcriticizeBuddhismcanonlydosoatavery superficiallevel.Theymaycriticizethetraditionalpractices,themannersand customsbutnottheteachingsasestablishedbytheBuddha,astheseprinciplesare goodforalltime.Theycanbetriedoutbyanyonewhowishestotestthem. ThemethodsusedtointroducetheteachingsoftheBuddhaarerationaland reasonable.TheBuddhamadehisappealthroughreasonandexperience.The teachingswerepresentedwithclearandimpressivesimplicityandyetkeptfreefrom religiousandnationalnarrownessandfanaticism.Theyhaveproducedclearand sobermindedpeople.Thismethodofpresentationcleareddoubtsandremoved superstitiousbeliefs.ThusdidtheteachingsoftheBuddhaenlightenedthehearts andmindsoftheearnestseekersofTruth.

TheBuddhistattitudeoftoleranceandunderstandingconvincedmanygreat thinkers,philosophers,rationalists,freethinkersandevenagnosticstoappreciate Buddhismasapeacefulwayoflifedevoidoffearandsuperstition.Ifwe,the religionistsoftodaycannotgettogethertoworkinharmonywithoutdiscriminationor hostilitytowardsoneanother,thepeacethatwetalkofwouldonlyremainasa dream. Assincereandtruecoreligionists,letusjoinhandstoconsolidateourefforts toeradicateallthat,whicharecontroversialanddiscriminatoryinourteachingsand doourutmosttointroducespiritualvalues,whicharecommoninourrespective religionsforthegoodandwellbeingofallmankind,irrespectiveofraceorcreed.We shouldallrememberthatreligionexistsforthegoodofmankindandthatitshouldnot bemisusedfanaticallyinanywayforpersonalgainorselfglorification. UNITETOGETHER Letallreligionistsunitetocondemnreligiousaggression. Letthemunitetostopallbrutalityandmanslaughterinthenameofpromotingpeace. Letusunitetogivefreedomtoeveryindividualtofollowhisorherbeliefsaccording tohisorherownconviction. Letusunitetogiveupreligiousmonopoly. Letusagreenottousereligioninthemarketplacetoconvertothersbyadopting questionablemethods. Letusunitetorespecttheotherperson'sreligiousbeliefsandpracticesaslongas thesebeliefsandpracticesareharmlessanddonotleadtoviolence. Letusunitetowipeoutthechallengingattitudeofunhealthyreligiouscompetition. Letallreligionistsunitetoeliminatethevariousvicesandimmoralpracticesthatare commoninourmodemsociety. Letusalsounitetointroducethemoderatewayoflifeamongstourfollowersand advisethemnottogotoextremes. Dr.L.M.JoshiofPunjabUniversitysays:theunityamongthereligionsof mankind,ifandwhenachieved,willbeoneofthegreatestblessingsonthisearth. Certainlywecannotbringaboutthisunitybymisinterpretingtheirdifferencesin originsanddoctrines.Wecanperhapscontributetowardsachievingharmony amongthefollowersofdifferentfaithsbyimpartiallyandrespectfullystudyingtheir doctrines,beliefsandpractices.

Likethebeegatheringhoneyfromdifferentflowers,withoutharmingthem, thewiseoneseesonlythegoodinallreligionsandacceptstheessenceofthetruth ofthedifferentteachings. Forexample: Buddhismsays,Hurtnotothersinwaysthatyouyourselfwouldfindhurtful. Taoismsays,Regardyourneighborsgainasyourowngain,andyourneighbors lossasyourownloss. Christianitysays,Allthingswhatsoeveryewouldthatmenshoulddotoyou,doye evensotothem. Confuciussays,Dountootherswhatyouwantdoneforyourself. Islamsays,Dountoallmenasyouwouldtheyshoulddountoyouandrejectfor otherswhatyouwouldrejectforyourself. Hinduismsays,Letnoonedotootherswhathewouldnothavedonetohimself. Thefoundersofeachreligionhadastheirbasicaimtheunityofmankindto fosterharmony,goodwillandunderstandingamongallthepeopleintheworld. Followingintheirfootstepsvariousreligiousleadershavealsosoughttodevelopthis deeprespectforthebeliefsofotherpeople.Unfortunately,however,certain followersofeveryreligion,fortheirownselfishreasonsandduetotheirintolerance andnarrowmindedness,havegoneagainsttherealessenceofReligionandhave createdchaos,discrimination,hostilityandmisunderstanding. Weearnestlyhopethatbyrealizingthesefacts,mankindwillonedayuniteas religiousbrotherstoworkforthewellbeingofall.Inthefinalanalysis,letus rememberthatrespectforthereligionofanotherpersonspringsfromtheconfidence onehasintheintrinsicstrengthofhisorherownreligion.Insteadofconverting othersintoBuddhism,Buddhistscanencourageotherstopracticetheirreligionif theirpracticesareharmless.