Nilasarasvati wrote:but people generally do not choose their religion.
So according to you, conversion never happens. According to you, all religious people have the same amount of enthusiasm about their religion.
I said generally, not always. I have chosen my own religion several times in this life. I am, however, an exception to my generalization. As for all religious people having the same amount of enthusiasm, I'm not sure where I implied that, and again I was making a generalization, not an absolute statement.
Nilasarasvati wrote:There are Christians out there far, far more openminded, wise, and compassionate than many of the Buddhists I know.
No, there aren't. Imagine a Christan who lives in a one room apartment in order to donate most of his paycheck to charity. Imagine this Christan also spend all his free time doing community service and regularly donates blood.
This is Christan compassionate? No, of course not. His actions aren't caused by compassion but by a desire to please his god and win paradise. It's a business transaction. An objection might be raised that Buddhists feel a similar way. However Buddhism condemns such as a motivation as being the lowest of possible motivations. Mahayana furthermore insists that such a motivation for virtue be abandoned if spiritual development is to be expected.
Furthermore, imagine a non-Christan does the same things as the Christan. According to Christianity, this second person is a sinner who will be tortured for eternity. How compassionate. And how compassionate is the first person who believes this? How openminded? How wise?
It is clear that in Christanity virtue, compassion, and wise are meaningless. All that matters is pleasing some god.
Konchog, you're kind of flying off the handle as if I said "ALL CHRISTIANS" and "ALL BUDDHISTS." I said Many of the Buddhists I know
. I don't know H.H. Dalai Lama. I've never met the Karmapa. I've never met you. My scope is pretty narrow. My own mother, I would argue, has more of the four boundless attitudes than I do and she is a very simple, uneducated woman who is a practicing Mormon. It's relative compassion, relative lovingkindness, but it's more than I've got. Her inability to fathom absolute Bodhicitta doesn't even enter into it because, for me and many Buddhists I know, we're just as ignorant and hopeless when it comes to the view as the most radical Muslim, Christian, or Nihilist
Furthermore, your example of this hypothetical Christian...how can you know what his motivation is? Can I take this as a confession that you've realized?
The Bodhisattva can appear as a hooker, a maggot-eaten dog with a broken spine, the bridge you're walking over, Padre Pio, or the cheerios you ate this morning. For all you know, your own hypothetical example exists in some parallel universe and is secretly an emanation of Akashagarbha.
There are constant rhetorics in Christianity that tell you to "think of your mansion above" of course...but I think many Christians who do good deeds are just trying to help what they believe to be a truly existing person. Out of the same empathy that is the basis of relative Bodhicitta. There are nondual aspects of the Christian religion. Nondual in that they teach all humanity is, actually, to be treated and seen as Christ. Every person you encounter deserves your absolute compassion, devotion, etc. Few Christians emphasize this in their daily lives, but likewise so do few Buddhists circumambulate dogs because they have the Sugatagarbha.
Also, just because Christians believe there is a Hell (and some don't. My mother doesn't. Mormons do not, actually, as a rule) does not mean they believe people should go to that hell. Many (not ALL!) Christians believe, very similarly to us, that one goes to hell because one is constrained by ones actions. Dante was guided through heaven and hell by a virtuous pagan. Many (not ALL!) moderate, educated Christians revere Gandhi as much as Hindus or Jains or Buddhists do.
Your vitriol and absolutes resemble the extremist rhetoric that characterizes the worst fundamentalists of any religion, but I don't think that's your intention. I was raised in an incredibly f*cked up religion with really, really weird stupid beliefs and I empathize with anybody who has animosity toward Christian fundamentalism, evangelical craziness, and chauvinism...maybe this is what you have in mind when you're launching into this judgement of the whole Christian religion, but I have other aspects of that religion in mind.