In this world, with all this diversity going on, we can surely see a miniature glimpse of the power of God, or as I choose to say, of Buddha.
**I will use only this word further, but you can choose to see it through your own practice.**
There are so many religious institutions. And they all have failed to understand the message.
That it doesn't matter what robes you carry, and their color, it doesn't matter the language, nor the location, it doesn't matter the rituals, the way they translate the universal fundamental truth, the names of the spiritual figures and their appearances.
As long as all those are benefiting sentient beings, saving them from suffering and confusion, and that are inspiring to protect all sentient beings with wisdom, compassion, untiring activities, they all are just some specific ways through that the Buddha-fields expresses their qualities in order to mature sentient beings out of ignorance.
Of course there are beings that stray from these steps, and they hurt, discriminate, and trample the teachings. And some of them are even religious figures. But that doesn't mean that the whole teaching is unimportant.
The religious movements all have clung to a particular identity of an institutionalised religion making the teachings so limited in understanding and propagating that limitation onward to their followers.
And that is not the message we ought to see.
Beings are naturally inclined towards a spiritual reality, sooner or later during their lifetime. And all do sense and understand to some extent the infinity and all-embracing of the teachings.
They choose a limited understanding only when their religious authority comes and says: "This is the only truth, the only way, the only true God. All others are pagan wrong paths that lead to suffering." And they plant the seeds of error in the beings mind. The seeds of separation, hate, and pride. The seed of ignorance.
Lets all learn how to see beyond the veils of error and understand the fundamental reality.
It doesn't matter how you call it, what's your religious practice, who do you praise, prostrate and bow to.
All that matters is that your practice has an immense benefiting impact on beings.
All that matters is that you show a clear way out of suffering and error into peace, compassion and wisdom through being a living example.
If it's about killing, hurting, mutilating your body&mind or that of another, then you got it all wrong. That's when you need to stop, really question your ways, and let go of that tree of ignorance that grew inside you.
So when a religious figure comes and tells you a way to limit your understanding and all-embracing into compassion of all living beings. Do not believe him, but do not hate him either, instead start thinking, meditating, praying with compassion so that he also may be freed from the limiting view that others imposed on him.
Just continue your work, silently, and take the teachings you need from all Buddha's work. And if you find that the Bible doesn't feed your mind with wisdom, then try the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Buddhist Sutras, etc. Do not limit yourself to a religious tag. Instead try to see the wisdom in all things.
That doesn't mean that you can't accept a specific way of practice. By all means, accept one that is suitable with wisdom and compassion. If a tibetan way of meditation works, then continue. If a buddhist sanskrit mantra practice works, then continue. If praising and praying works then continue.
Take all these spiritual paths as a great school. Research, develop wisdom and compassion, and adhere to a practice that is beneficial for you and other beings as well.
I encourage you to research and study all religions, the biggest ones, native american beliefs, and even the new age and hippie movements.
Just do not make differences, and continue your practice without discrimination.
Build a sense of wise discernment and include all type of beings in everything you research. (from humans, to animals, insects, plants, nature itself)
What are the main principals of each? (The 10 commandments, the paramitas, - the ancient ones and not the ones written and invented later by men that were constructing a religious institution.)
You will find that in each there is a main wisdom view, from which man tried then to change and individualize in a specific limited religious institution.
The benefiting work can take many forms.
We have yet to realize that this is the intentional work of Buddha. Showing us in how many ways he can manifest and teach the Dharma. Showing his infinite power and that eventually no being would be left suffering in hell, for he can never stop teaching as long as there are beings that need to be saved.
And we have yet to fully understand that his diversity of Buddha-field qualities is infinite, and accept without discouragement nor pride, that we cannot fully understand the Buddha-fields power and extensiveness until we ourselves become Buddhas through liberation.
This excerpt was taken from "The Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra" pages 82-84
"Then the venerable Ánanda asked the Buddha, "Lord, what is this perfume, the likes of which I have never smelled before?"
The Buddha answered, "Ánanda, this perfume emanates from all the pores of all these bodhisattvas."
Shariputra added, "Venerable Ánanda, this same perfume emanates from all our pores as well!"
Ánanda: Where does the perfume come from?
Shariputra: The Licchavi Vimalakirti obtained some food from the universe called Sarvagandhasugandha, the Buddha-field of the Tathágata Sugandhakuta, and this perfume emanates from the bodies of all those who partook of that food.
Then the venerable Ánanda addressed the Licchavi Vimalakirti: "How long will this perfume remain?"
Vimalakirti: Until is it digested.
Ánanda: When will it be digested?
Vimalakirti: It will be digested in forty-nine days, and its perfume will emanate for seven days more after that, but there will be no trouble of indigestion during that time. Furthermore, reverend Ánanda, if monks who have not entered ultimate determination eat this food, it will be digested when they enter that determination. When those who have entered ultimate determination eat this food, it will not be digested until their minds are totally liberated. If living beings that have not conceived the spirit of unexcelled, perfect enlightenment eat this
food, it will be digested when they conceive the spirit of unexcelled, perfect enlightenment. If those who have conceived the spirit of perfect enlightenment eat this food, it will not be digested until they have attained tolerance. And if those who have attained tolerance eat this food, it will be digested when they have become bodhisattvas one lifetime away from Buddhahood. Reverend Ánanda, it is like the medicine called "delicious," which reaches the stomach but is not digested until all poisons have been eliminated only then is it digested.
Thus, reverend Ánanda, this food is not digested until all the poisons of the passions have been eliminated only then is it digested.
Then, the venerable Ánanda said to the Buddha, "Lord, it is wonderful that this food accomplishes the work of the Buddha!"
"So it is, Ánanda! It is as you say, Ánanda!
There are Buddha-fields that accomplish the Buddha-work by means of bodhisattvas;
those that do so by means of lights;
those that do so by means of the tree of enlightenment;
those that do so by means of the physical beauty and the marks of the Tathágata;
those that do so by means of religious robes;
those that do so by means of good;
those that do so by means of water;
those that do so by means of gardens;
those that do so by means of palaces;
those that do so by means of mansions;
those that do so by means of magical incarnations;
those that do so by means of empty space;
and those that do so by means of lights in the sky.
Why is it so, Ánanda? Because by these various means, living beings become disciplined.
Similarly, Ánanda, there are Buddha-fields that accomplish the Buddha-work by means of teaching living beings words, definitions, and examples, such as 'dreams,' 'images,' 'the reflection of the moon in water,' 'echoes,' 'illusions,' and 'mirages'; and those that accomplish the Buddha-work by making words understandable.
Also, Ánanda, there are utterly pure Buddha-fields that accomplish the Buddha-work for living beings without speech, by silence, inexpressibility, and un-teach-ability.
Ánanda, among all the activities, enjoyments, and practices of the Buddhas, there are none that do not accomplish the Buddha-work, because all discipline living beings.
Finally, Ánanda, the Buddhas accomplish the Buddha-work by means of the four Mara’s and all the eighty-four thousand types of passion that afflict living beings."
Ánanda, this is a Dharma-door called 'Introduction to all the Buddha-qualities.' The bodhisattva who enters this Dharma-door experiences neither joy nor pride when confronted by a Buddha-field adorned with the splendor of all noble qualities, and experiences neither sadness nor aversion when confronted by a Buddha-field apparently without that splendor, but in all cases produces a profound reverence for all the Tathágatas. Indeed, it is wonderful how all the Lord Buddhas, who understand the equality of all things, manifest all sorts of Buddha-fields in order to develop living beings!
"Ánanda, just as the Buddha-fields are diverse as to their specific qualities but have no difference as to the sky that covers them, so, Ánanda, the Tathágatas are diverse as to their physical bodies but do not differ as to their unimpeded gnosis.
"Ánanda, all the Buddhas are the same as to the perfection of the Buddhaqualities, that is: their forms, their colors, their radiance, their bodies, their marks, their nobility, their morality, their concentration, their wisdom, their liberation, the gnosis and vision of liberation, their strengths, their fearlessnesses, their special Buddha-qualities, their great love, their great compassion, their helpful intentions, their attitudes, their practices, their paths, the lengths of their lives, their teachings of the Dharma, their development and liberation of living
beings, and their purification of Buddha-fields. Therefore, they are all called 'Samyaksambuddhas,' 'Tathágatas,' and 'Buddhas.'
"Ánanda, were your life to last an entire aeon, it would not be easy for you to understand thoroughly the extensive meaning and precise verbal significance of these three names. Also, Ánanda, if all the living beings of this billion-world galactic universe were like you the foremost of the learned and the foremost of those endowed with memory and incantations - and were they to devote an entire aeon, they would still be unable to understand completely the exact and extensive meaning of the three words 'Samyaksambuddha,' 'Tathágata,' and
Thus, Ánanda, the enlightenment of the Buddhas is immeasurable, and the wisdom and the eloquence of the Tathágatas are inconceivable."