justin0384 wrote:Part of the package in accepting these religions is that there is no tolerance of different beliefs, they all being labeled "heretical", "pagan", "heathen", etc. Even the Hindus have the term "mleccha" which basically means "barbarian".
Buddhism, on the other hand, is tolerant of different religious traditions, actually encouraging different view points and paths for different people.
This isn't true. In Buddhism non-Buddhists are called externalists and are refuted. The Buddha himself told others that their practices and philosophies were flawed and would never lead to liberation from samsara. The Buddha is not on record as having accepted all other teachings as valid and correct -- on the contrary, he criticized them and refuted them, which carried on in later generations. Buddhism encourages people to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and from there study and realize the teachings the Buddha taught such as the Four Noble Truths.
As for encouraging different view points, this is also not the case. Even amongst themselves Buddhists discuss what precisely right view entails and will readily discuss and argue about it. There is really just one right view that ultimately leads to liberation, and non-Buddhists cannot be said to have it for various reasons. For example, monotheists assert a supreme deity is responsible for the creation of time and space, but that violates observed laws of causality as this supposed creator deity would not be subject to causes for their existence, yet are somehow responsible for creation. This is a wrong view that leads to erroneous practices such as dependency on such deities for one's liberation. It is a wrong view and refuted by Buddhists.
While there is acknowledgement that with such religions one can achieve rebirth in a celestial realm, it is seen as an inferior and ultimately futile path to take for the simple reason that it isn't liberation.
It has been my experience that Buddhism is the only religion that does not outright demonize other religious faiths, beliefs, or lack thereof, different sexual orientations, etc.
There is Buddhism as it is understood in the west and how it is practiced here in Asia. In Buddhist communities here in Asia you might be surprised at the intolerance towards homosexuality in some cases. There is scriptural prohibitions in commentary literature (accepted as canonical) that forbid any kind of sexual activity outside of heterosexual intercourse, thus labeling any kind of homosexual sexuality as sexual misconduct. That being said, there is prescriptive and then there is the descriptive. Most Buddhists pay lip service to prescriptions. Nevertheless, orthodox thinkers have plenty of scriptural support to criticize other religions and homosexuality if they want to.
I suppose this could be a part of any religion, but, from what I've seen, no other religion is as peaceful as it claims. Also, there are no extremes in Buddhism as there are in other religions (such as Jainism).
Buddhism as an organized religion has its own skeletons in the closet, so to speak. If you read Buddhist history you will see this has been the case throughout history. Keep in mind some key Buddhist leaders worked in association with Kublai Khan, who was a murderous tyrant who ordered whole city populations to be executed. Japanese Tendai used to have a standing army of warrior monks. There are many examples of objectionable behaviour in Buddhist history and cases of sanctioned violence, both modern and pre-modern.
I am Buddhist myself and quite dedicated to the buddhadharma, but I feel we should recognize the dark side of things and not attempt to conceal or dismiss it. The dharma the Buddha himself taught is pure, real, liberating and truth. However, how that dharma has been understood and implemented in the world by flawed beings is something else. There is the dharma as taught by the Buddha and the organized religion of Buddhism.