In this article, I expand upon the argument Schubert Ogden made in his chapter in A Buddhist Kaleidoscope: Essays on the Lotus Sūtra, edited by Gene Reeves. There, Ogden raises the distinction between an inclusivist understanding of salvation and what has come to be called "pluralism"—the view that different religions are genuinely different [not merely two versions of the same thing] and equal bearers of religious truth and that no one religion can be used as the standard against which other religions are judged. To my read, what Ogden is suggesting is something that actually falls somewhere between inclusivism and pluralism, as traditionally understood, as he seeks to navigate a path by which believers in one religious tradition can assert what he calls the "formal" validity of their own tradition while not excluding the possibility that those in another religious tradition also assert the formal validity of their own tradition and that both claims can be equally authentic. In the following, then, I summarize Ogden's paper, including my own interpretation and understanding of his argument. Then, in order to tease out the ramifications of his chapter, I develop a possible interpretation he suggested for The Lotus Sūtra (but did not actualize), basically taking up where he left off. I end with some conclusions of my own, returning to my own Christian experience and asking what can be learned from a deep encounter with The Lotus Sūtra.


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pp. 25-37
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