By Reza Shah Kazemi
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Extra resources for Common Ground Between Islam and Buddhism: Spiritual and Ethical Affinities
Each system seeks in its own way to improve life for us all. Yet if we put too much emphasis on our own philosophy, religion or theory, becoming too attached to it, and try to impose it on other people, the result will be trouble. Basically, all the great teachers, including Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Muhammad and Moses, were motivated by a desire to help their fellow beings. 32 The Dalai Lama’s message on dialogue—on the spiritual dynamics underlying true dialogue—is at once ethically simple and spiritually profound, eminently practicable and philosophically irrefut30.
If our argument there is valid, then there would appear to be sufficient grounds for asserting that Buddhist beliefs are certainly close enough to Islamic ones to be regarded as authentic guidance: if they believe in the like of that which ye believe, then are they rightly guided. It would be appropriate at this point to proceed with an evaluation of the nature of the Buddha’s enlightenment—bearing in mind that the word ‘buddha’ means ‘awakened one’ 22—in the light of the Islamic concept of divine revelation.
Saddharmapundarīka Sūtra 2:36 and 73; cited in Coomaraswamy, Buddha and the Gospel of Buddhism, op. , p. 159. 27. Literally: the body of the Dharma. We shall be addressing this important concept below. 28. T. Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, p. , p. 159. 23 common ground between islam and buddhism The Dalai Lama and the Dynamics of Dialogue Finally, let us return to the Qur’ānic verse cited above, the importance of which for the principle and the practice of interfaith dialogue cannot be over-estimated: For each of you [communities] We have established a Law and a Way.