Whose Buddhism? Whose Texts?: Observations about Religious Conversations

Religious standards

Every religion has a complicated intellectual relationship with other perspectives—philosophies, ideologies, knowledge systems, worldviews, other religions, etc.—and must continuously test those other perspectives by the religion's own standards.

Feminism again illustrates the point. All forms of feminism overlap in certain ways but what is distinctive about Buddhist feminism? How do Buddhist resources inform, nuance, or challenge the basic feminist perspective? How might certain forms of feminism, such as an arrogant first-world feminism, be incompatible with Buddhist standards?

Since George Tyrrell's book Christianity at the Cross-Roads more than a century ago, Christians have criticized each other for looking down the deep well of history for the real Jesus and finding their own reflections that do not measure up to Christian standards. Buddhist conversations about greater inclusivity and gender equality in leadership will no doubt include testing every perspective against Buddhist standards.

As promised, I have drawn upon the academic study of religion in my observations about the process of applying religious resources to contemporary issues. Buddhist readers will recognize that the academic study of religion is but another perspective and take these observations for what they are worth.

8/13/2014 4:00:00 AM
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