using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Fall 2014
66 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY FALL 2014 they are not practicing a religion—never mind that scholars are just as sure that Buddhists do belong to a religion. Such debates notwithstanding, his- torically most Buddhists have seen them- selves as part of a religious community and have, whether by choice or necessity, found themselves both in conversation and competition with other such com- munities. From the Buddha’s engage- ment with the Brahmins and ascetics of his own day, to Milarepa’s song and miracle contests with Tibetan Bonpos, to Ven. Gunananda’s debates with Chris- tian missionaries in nineteenth-century Sri Lanka, and to contemporary practi- tioners’ attempts to see Jesus as a great bodhisattva—or God as dharmakaya— Buddhists have squarely faced the prob- lem of religious diversity. Religious diversity is a “problem” sim- ply because there are in the world at any given time multiple groups that claim to understand, and provide access to, “the ultimate”—and their descriptions of the ultimate and its attainment often appear contradictory. Thus, a faithful Christian soul being saved through the grace of a loving-creator God seems rather differ- ent from a Buddhist awakening through meditation on the absence of any eternal deity or self. Who, if anyone, is right? Many Buddhists undoubtedly find such a question unanswerable, uninterest- ing, or both, and they are content to live with a sort of postmodern agnostic plu- ralism: “We do our thing, they do theirs, and who knows where the truth lies?” For those, however, who still are intent on capital-T Truth and therefore feel compelled to think and converse across traditions, no better guide has appeared than J. Abraham Vélez de Cea’s The Bud- dha and Religious Diversity. This lucid and sophisticated book—which cries out for an affordable paperback edition—is at once a learned reflection on the cat- egories we use to think about religions that are not our own and a scrupulous inquiry into the Buddha’s view of other religions. It presents a provocative set of suggestions for how Buddhists—or any- one—might engage the religious other, now and in the future. For almost a half-century, Christian theologians and those they influence, including Buddhists, have employed a trio of terms to describe how someone in one religious tradition may regard an alien tradition: exclusivism, inclusivism, and pluralism. Broadly speaking, exclusivism involves the belief that the highest truth and goodness is only to be found in one’s own tradition—what we might call the “I’m okay, you’re not okay” approach. Inclusivism acknowledges that there is much truth and goodness in other tradi- tions, but it ultimately subordinates them to one’s own tradition: “We’re all okay up to a point, but in the end, I’m the most okay.” Pluralism recognizes multiple tra- ditions that describe the highest truth and goodness, and it asserts that none can supersede the others. In other words, “We’re all okay.” Vélez de Cea aims to refine and com- plicate these categories. What I have called “the ultimate” or “highest truth and goodness,” he designates by the slightly awkward but tradition-neutral acronym OTMIX: Our Tradition Most Important X—with X remaining unspeci- fied to allow for various notions of what is Most Important, whether it’s a principle REVIEWS The Buddha had a firm sense of the elements of the dharma that were nonnegotiable but remained open to the possibility that they might be found in traditions other than his own.