Like medicines ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

These days we often encounter people who mix and blend religions to suit their comfort level. Trying to be nonsectarian, they attempt to explain Christian concepts from Buddha’s point of view, or to find similarities between Buddhism and Sufism, or between Zen and business.

Of course, one can always find at least small similarities between any two things in existence — but I don’t think such comparisons are necessary. Even though all religions begin with some kind of philanthropic aim, usually to relieve suffering, they have fundamental differences. They are all like medicines; and like medicines, they are designed to reduce suffering, but they vary depending on the patient and the ailment.

If you have poison ivy, the proper treatment is calamine lotion. If you have leukemia, you don’t try to find the similarities between calamine lotion and chemotherapy so that you can justify applying calamine lotion because it’s more convenient. Similarly, there is no need to confuse religions.

In these pages I have attempted to provide a glimpse into the fundamentals of the Buddhist view. In all religions the view is the foundation of the practice, because the view determines our motivation and actions. It’s so true that “appearances can be deceiving.” We truly can’t judge our next-door neighbors solely by the way they look. So obviously we can’t judge something as personal as religion by superficial appearance. We can’t even judge religions by the actions, ethics, morality, or codes of conduct they promote.

Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

from the book What Makes You Not a Buddhist

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