[Buddha-l] Watery dharma

curt curt at cola.iges.org
Tue Dec 18 10:35:49 MST 2007

Richard Hayes wrote:
> Recent discussions have got me thinking about hyphenated dharma, that is, a 
> combination of Buddhist practice with some other tradition. In particular, I 
> am intrigued with such things as Christian Zen, the Unitarian-Universalist 
> Fellowship, and Quaker Buddhism. One of the phenomena I have observed in 
> following discussions of such movements is that sooner or later someone makes 
> the claim that trying to combine Buddhist practice with something else 
> inevitably results in watered-down Buddhism. 

Historically there has not been much of a problem with Buddhists being 
whatever else they may want to be. Buddhists have historically also been 
everything from Hindu to Shinto to Taoist to Confucianist to Bon 
adherents to Shamans, etc. So, from the Buddhist perspective there 
should be no problem with someone espousing both Christianity and 
Buddhism. To say otherwise would be "un-Buddhist" if there were any such 
thing (which there probably ain't). This is, I believe, generally true 
for most religions.

Christianity has a very different history, though. Historically 
Christianity has discouraged (to put it mildly) any form of 

As a matter of fact, when Christianity first came along it took quite a 
while for people to understand the new rules. People were accustomed to 
worshipping lots of different Goddesses and Gods and showing respect, at 
the very least, for any and all religions under the sun. The Christian 
idea of an exclusive claim to religious authority for just one God and 
one "Church" - combined with the claim that everything else amounts to 
"devil-worship" or, at the very least, is "not true", is a pathological 
case, in my opinion.


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