Jesus and the Buddha, can a person follow both?

A few months ago, I heard about a person who got into a heated argument with the persons who came to his house for recording the census data. When asked about his religious affiliation, he maintained that he practiced more than one faith, and he wanted it to be recorded in the proforma. The census officials said that there was no provision for such an assertion in their scheme of things.


I did not give much thought to this maverick eccentric until I met a few people who all practice Vipassana (which is a Buddhist style of meditation) and continue to be a part of their original sect. The question acquired a serious dimension. And I asked myself,

“If we can allow dual citizenship to our peoples, why don’t we permit them to assert their affiliation with more than one format of relationship with God?”   

Yesterday, a friend sent me a link to a clip entitled, “Jesus and the Buddha, can a person follow both?” I am dutifully forwarding the captioned link below. I seek your views and comments on this fundamental question.

“Is it not appropriate to permit our citizens to assert that they follow more than one religion?  In fact, if they choose to say that they are atheists or agnostics, we must accept and respect their right to say so”

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  2. Sudhindra Shamanna says:

    Govt needs the numbers (religion, I mean) to make policies.
    In many countries it is optional. I think that is the best way. For religion and caste.

  3. Amit Sood says:

    Religion should not be part of Census at all. If at all it is, then it should have a multiple entry option.

  4. Akshay Kumar Sharma says:

    This is incorrect, Sir

    I was ‘Special Charge Officer’ at one of the Mil Stn, where Census 2011 was conducted.

    The ‘religious faith’ of each individual was recorded as given by each person being enumerated. If an indl says that he doesnt practice religion, it was recorded as such. An indl who said that he had multiple faith – it was recorded as such. Even, to the extent that if different members of the same family practised different religions, it was recorded as such. The religious denomination of the head of the family doesnt automatically become the religious faith of all other members.

    The bottom line for the conduct of census was that the information given by each indl was to be taken as truth, and not to be contested.

    In fact, I would also like to add that in the Census enumeration task, all information given by each individual was ‘not challenged’ by the enumerator. Only, when the indl failed to give a satisfactory reply, the enumerator had been trained, using some special assistance tools, to help the indl in arriving at correct answer to each question. For example, if an indl was unable to recall his/her date of birth (more common in the older generation/citizens from rural India/illiterate citizens) then, assistance was provided to him/her to co-relate his/her date of birth with any important event on a calendar. Even if the person was able to identify the month only, the dob was recorded without the day (only month and year was recorded)

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