“Many Faiths, One Truth”

That’s the title that caught my attention from atop an opinion piece in last week’s New York Times.

You don’t have to be a scholar of religions to understand that the major faiths share some basic teachings.  In this essay the Dalai Lama recounts discussions with scholars and experiences from his travels to demonstrate that compassion is a common tenet among the great religions, even when acts by a few of the “faithful” make it hard for the rest of the world to see that.

He believes recognizing common ground makes us better able to accept differences: “While preserving faith toward one’s own tradition, one can respect, admire and appreciate other traditions.”  He’s arguing for greater tolerance from all people toward the faiths and practices of all other people, and not just for feel-good reasons:

Finding common ground among faiths can help us bridge needless divides at a time when unified action is more crucial than ever. As a species, we must embrace the oneness of humanity as we face global issues like pandemics, economic crises and ecological disaster. At that scale, our response must be as one.

To paraphrase: stop letting differences in religious tradition and practice get in the way of the unity we Earthlings need to embrace.  Don’t throw away the gift while arguing about the pattern on the wrapping paper.

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