Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no one comes to the Father but by me." John 14:6
Hall of Famer, Yogi Berra, has become one of the most quotable athletes of our time. One of his famous quotes was, "When you come to the fork in the road, take it!"
While you chuckle at that notion, it reflects the attitude many take toward religion. "It doesn't matter which faith road you take since all religions lead to God/Heaven."
Doesn't that sound like a nice, comforting, non-offensive, non-judgmental and politically correct statement to make? Some would even regard that statement as enlightened and sophisticated!
A vast majority of popular opinion holds that all religions are pretty much the same and it really doesn't matter what you believe as long as you are sincere. And if you are sincere about your faith and I am sincere about mine, don't try to push your beliefs on me!
There are also those of a more religious bent who claim that since Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, then everyone has been saved from their sins by virtue of His sacrifice!
This idea of one religion being better than another and of any religion being the exclusive way to God and to Heaven is widely condemned and rejected by much of modern culture.
So, who would dare to contradict that notion and risk being accused of intolerance?
So, do each of the major religions in the world!
Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity all claim they are the exclusive way to Heaven!
If all of them are right then none of them are right, right?
If one of them is right then all the others are wrong, right?
If one of them is right and the rest are wrong, you had better know which one is right and which are wrong.
The best way to figure that our is to do a quick study of the claims of each of these major religions.
Buddhism has some 376 million adherents or about 6% of the world's population. It's founder, Siddhartha Gautama, was born some five and a half centuries before Christ in a Hindu family in Nepal. Disillusioned with his Hindu upbringing, he meditated under s fig tree for 40 days and nights. During his prolonged meditation he claims he received "enlightenment" about the nature of life and the means to eternity. For the final 50 years of his life He was regarded as "The Enlightened One."
During his meditation under the fig tree, the Buddhist discovered The Four Noble Truths. These four truths explain the reality of life:
1) Suffering is Universal. The very act of living results in pain and suffering. If you are human you will suffer.
2) Craving is the Root Cause of Suffering. If we didn't desire things we would never feel like we were deprived or lacking anything.
3) The Cure for Suffering is to Eliminate Suffering.
4) You Eliminate Suffering by Following the Eightfold Path which consists of right views, right thought, right speech, right behavior, right occupation, right effort, right contemplation, and right meditation. (Who determines what's right?)
The goal of Buddhism is to be free from pain and suffering. Like Hinduism from which it sprang, Buddhism believes in Nirvana (the state of ceasing to exist), but only as a temporary place.
According to Buddhism, ".....there are six realms of existence into which one can be reborn: as a Hell being; a "hungry" ghost, an animal, a human being, a jealous god, and a heavenly being. The most preferred of these is seen to be human birth as it gives one the best chances of attaining enlightenment.
Note that there is no mention of God in their belief system. They believe in whatever ultimate Reality might be, it is beyond understanding of the finite human intellect.
So, in Buddhism you are on your own and the more alone you are the better since relationships with others can be a possible source of pain and suffering.
Obviously, this is a brief summary of Buddhism but hearkening back to the original notion that all religions lead to God/Heaven, how can Buddhism lead to God or Heaven when it doesn't really address either in its tenets?