I'll spare you the details of how or why I ended up attending a Mayahana Temple for two years of my life (it really isn't all that interesting), and instead just jump right there to the point: The founding principle of almost any school of Buddhism is that of compassion. Buddhists are to turn the other cheek, help everyone when able, be polite, kind, and respectful toward all, and to live a life which is beneficial to the human condition. But I have failed to uphold this teaching in a few areas. One of said areas is my outlook toward Abrahamic religions. I find myself literally unable to develope any kind of compassion to those who would gladly condemn, eliminate, harass, or otherwise wish or cause harm to those whom do not share their world views. I cannot sit idly by as men in white sheets attempt to impose their beliefs on others, or threaten rejection or punishment (whether in this life or the next) if one does not follow their tenets. This behavior, on behalf of religion, I find to be the most threatening to individual freedom and societal harmony. It goes against the very grain of compassion, and even so much as inhibits it. Sidhartha said that not even death is a threat to a man who has unconditional admiration for his fellow man; that enlightenment is gained when one accepts the varying states of being in this world. From my understanding, I can interpret this as simply accepting that not everyone is the same, and - in reference to this topic - everyone is sure to have varying religious views. I further interpret this to mean that I am to show compassion to all, regardless of faith, regardless of actions, regardless of condition. But this is where I take issue with this. The entire purpose of Buddhist teaching is to eliminate suffering. How can one both allow the fundamentalist religiosity that plagues society with condemnation, rejection, judgement, and threats of torture while also trying to (and teaching others to) overcome suffering, when the very actions of the religious cause suffering to millions, if not billions, around the globe? I have posed this very paradoxical question to my former teacher, years ago. And as extremely wise as he was, he was unable to provide a concise answer. His best amounted to, "To love even those who wish you harm is the greatest love one can achieve. To lower your sword as another approaches to destroy you, that is altruism." So, my question is this: How does one find a middle ground, i.e. how can one honestly be compassionate when they are allowing beliefs that can result is any type of suffering for others? It seems to me that compassion and religious tolerance cannot go hand in hand in this situation. I meditated every day for two years on this one question. And 10 years after, I still have no answer. For the record, I'm not a very good Buddhist. Technically, I'm not a Buddhist at all since I never took my vows. I was urged not to due to having enlisted in the military. But I spent nearly every weekend for two years at a temple, studying Buddhism. Again, this was a decade go.