Differing Beliefs

Is it right to tolerate and accommodate different beliefs?

Buddhism is often seen as soft and cuddly, even blissed out but at its core are some pretty radical “truths” especially when seen from a normal socio-political context. The above statement is simplicity itself, but its implications are vast. Many say this kind of thing, fewer embody it.

If you think about it the whole framework of society is of conditioned-things, there are also conditions attached. It has a basis in interpersonal negotiation and bartering. Inherent in negotiating are conditions. This notion of impermanence although logically accurate is somehow put on the back-burner as we grasp after things and seek to hold on to them. And when things dissolve, fade or are lost, this is upsetting. This natural state of impermanence is resented somehow. There is a disconnect between a truth and our wish it was not so. People are attached to many things and each other.

I have an inkling that if you truly pertain to this statement from the Dhammapada you will be at odds with the “worlds” of so many. This is because acquisition of conditioned things is an ambition underpinning society. And ambition of one kind or another is a driver, a motive force. If you don’t have ambition you do not succeed in the world of conditioned things. To many a lack of ambition is non-sensical but is follows from this quotation. Why would you have ambition for attachment to conditioned things?

Attainment of this tenet of Buddhism, sets you apart. It means that others do not have leverage and thereby “control”, which many find unnerving. Which raises the question as to how one might cooperate and otherwise work with people holding this tenet and embodying it. I suspect that it may be inconceivable to others that such a tenet can indeed be held. Concepts are fine so long as they remain concepts, when they are actual, things are different, there are implications. In the teachings of Christ there are some pretty hard to embody ideas and these are not widely embodied. Few turn the other cheek, many seek to get even.

The nature of society is to try to bend others to the consensual “normality” and because of this it is difficult for society to accommodate differing beliefs. Whilst we might make provision for the practicalities of prayer for a Muslim, unless we ourselves are Muslim, their belief system is alien to us and therefore suspect. Provided that we have no need to cooperate closely, we need not learn more. But to work closely we will need to understand where another being is coming from. A renunciation of conditioned things strikes at the heart of normal societal acquisitional values and is just as “odd” as a hijab, though somewhat less obvious to the eye.

Buddhism is actually quite radical, though this is not at first obvious.

Having cued this up:

Is it right to tolerate and accommodate different beliefs?

Or should everybody fit in to the prevailing societal norms?