Is Buddhism A Path To God?

At an inter-religious forum, after representatives of several religions introduced the gise of their ideology, someone in the audience hinted that it seems that Hinduism is the only one that accepts all religions as various paths to God, and that it seems superior in that aspect. This is a very short-sighted of looking at how different religions really relate to one another. For example, it was clear, in the forum, that despite some similarities, they also have perspectives doctrinally in conflict with one another. If so, the idea that Hinduism sees these differences to be inconsequential doesn’t help to reconcile them at all; if it ignores them instead. Buddhism and Jainism, for example, clearly do not believe in the existence of God. To believe in God, as an omnipotent, omnibenevolent and omniscient creator, one would not be a true Buddhist or Jain. Buddhism is however, open to seeing belief in God as but a stage for some in spiritual evolution, which has to be relinquished as one progresses towards enlightenment. In this sense, Buddhism is ‘a religion of all religions’, in the sense that every belief system is seen in perspective, without lumping all together as one.

If as above, how can Hinduism see all religions to be paths to God? Any force-fitting  would be unnatural, contrived – since the founders of these religions are firm in their stances. An example of force-fitting is some Hindus’ insistence that the Buddha is an avatar of Vishnu, when the Buddha explicitly said he is beyond all gods and a messenger of none of them. Such force-fitting corrupts the actual Buddhist teachings. Seeing different religions to be broadly compatible does not make them totally so in the details. Also, just because two or more religions are perfectly congruent with each other, not they there are really two of such, does not automatically make them right in doctrine. Truth is not determined by popularity in subscription. For example, many religionists once believed that the universe revolved around the Earth. Counterintuitively, that two or more religions do not fit with one another does not mean there will be disharmony as long as there is mutual respect, while to insist on harmony via fitting religions together can be disrespectful and cause disharmony instead. 

Another person asked if the late Sai Baba’s teachings should be made into a religion. The speaker representing Hinduism replied that Sai Baba’s works seem good and aligned to Hindu ideology, but didn’t give a clear answer to the question. The Jain speaker replied that Sai Baba never meant to create another religion, that he welcomes all from various religions. Sai Baba used the God word a lot though, which is a disagreeable concept in the context of some religions. If you think carefully, the less discerning one is in terms of inter-religious differences, the more dangerous it is. Dangers might lurk where one does not look. Even before talking about the teachings in detail, a good look at the teachers involved can reveal a lot. To know what I mean, do take a mind-opening look, at what is but the tip of a huge problematic iceberg: With all due respect to the good done, can you imagine a religion based on a person’s theatrics? (Do read the articles below too, in case you mistaken this piece to be against inter-religious harmony.)

Related Articles:

Should We See Only Inter-Religious Similarities?
Should We Compare Religions?
Are All Religions the Same?
Are All Religions Rivers Leading to One Ocean?
There are Enough Religions Already
The Importance of Inter-Religious Harmony
Buddhism is Not Hinduism