8. Thoughts on Why, How and What Buddhists Can Learn from Christian Theologians
John Makransky [+]
This essay attempts to establish foundations for doing comparative theology, deep learning across religious boundaries, from a Buddhist perspective (from the author's location in Tibetan Buddhism). The essay argues for the necessity of developing a Buddhist theology of religions, a way of understanding the possibility of liberating truth in other religions, which is consistent with Buddhist principles and would appropriately motivate and guide a Buddhist approach to comparative theology. It develops such a theology of religions, a Buddhist form of open inclusivism, by drawing on relevant principles from Buddhist texts together with recent academic scholarship in the various theologies of religions. With that basis, the essay gives examples of five areas of comparative theological learning for Buddhists from Christianity, focusing on the following themes: atonement theory, faith in God, the two great commandments, ecclesiology, and justice. It concludes with the author’s reflections on how this process of inter-religious learning further informs his Buddhist approach to the theology of religions.