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date: 23 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines Buddhist views about intrareligious and interreligious diversity. For a Buddhist, religious others can be Buddhists of other sects and schools, as well as those aligned to religions external to Buddhism. There is a common view of Buddhism as tolerant, non-dogmatic, and willing to embrace religious diversity. There are Buddhist examples of religious exclusivism and inclusivism. Largely in recent times, there have also been tendencies toward pluralism. Buddhist attitudes toward Christianity have often been affected by the experience of colonialism and Christian missionary zeal. Recently, however, there has been a particularly strong interreligious dialogue between Buddhists and Christians. Both Masao Abe and Thich Nhat Hanh focus on the relationship between Buddhism and Christianity, but the latter is a prominent example of a tendency among some recent Buddhists to assert the rhetoric of religious pluralism, in which religions are regarded as equal, while interpreting non-Buddhist religions in a manner that imposes Buddhist concepts on them.

Keywords: Buddhism, intrareligious diversity, interreligious diversity, religious pluralism, Christianity, Masao Abe, Thich Nhat Hanh, interreligious dialogue

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