Is there only one reality?

Since most religions claim that their way is the correct way, how can a person know which path to follow? Does Buddhism believe there is only one correct way? Is there an overarching reality for everyone?

We must not succumb to arrogance, to think that what we have is the most righteous. Nor should we succumb to ignorance, assuming that everything is true.

I remember, a few months ago I attended a meditation retreat. There are two people who believe in the teachings of the enlightened one. However, the flow of the two people was different. Person A, thinks his flow is the most correct so thinks person B is wrong. While Person B thinks he already knows everything and thinks Person A is wrong. The two of them then clashed.

A contemplation arose in me, didn’t he who was enlightened say that what he taught was a handful of leaves in the forest (I forget the name of the sutta) while there are still many leaves scattered in the forest. It is possible that what other ‘flow’ teaching has some truth. And the second is, sometimes we want to advise other people from different flow of thought, but actually we advise them out of love or because of our arrogance that we think we are the most righteous.

I remember the story of Venerable Sariputta who was unable to advise his mother who had wrong views, until her mother was about to die, she was just enlightened (here I also want to confirm whether this story is true?) I hope can get bhante and Kalyanamitta explanation.

Then if the question is how we get the right view or right knowledge? right religion?
It’ already answered in the other discussion, the main point is we need to find the one who already see all things from all sight of viewing (top, bottom, right, left, inner, outer). The one who is not just know all things by knowledge but also direct experience. The one who I called the enlightened one. When you find the one, you need to learn the teaching, practice the teaching, and get result of what you practice. Then contemplate about that everyday. your right view will grow.

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My answer would be: yes, there is one reality.

Another, way different conversation would be about what doctrine, worldview, theories would give a better account of how reality or real objects (I’m using this word in the most general sense possible, i.e. whatever there is, or whatever you may think and say something about).

Maybe reality contains multiple plains of existence; multiple “universes”; one universe, but an infinite one, etc. Maybe there are spirits, maybe just material objects; maybe the ground of everything are quantum fields, or maybe 1s and 0s. Whatever is the truth about reality, reality would have some kind of objects and some qualities, and not others.

In sum: I’d differentiate between what there is (reality), what we say about about what there is, what (and how) can we know about what there is (and how can we know that we effectively know something), and what is the relation between what we experience and what could lie beyond our experience.

And finally, I’d add that for buddhists dedicated to followed the instructions given by the Buddha, it’s also useful to think about what things are useful to know in order to attain the final goal, or, on the other hand, to live a better worldy life without so much suffering and conflict.

No, perception of reality depends on views. Critically the basic principle of Buddhism is you can change your views from wrong to right view, which is a gradual process achieved by right effort. It is stated in Majjhima Nikaya 117 where:

"Thus these three qualities — right view, right effort, & right mindfulness — run & circle around right view.

This means there is an elementary form of right view which is gradually developed through the work of right effort and mindfulness.

The disciple is aware of two realities, conventional and ultimate and is able to skilfully negotiate. Remember in practice this is a gradual process and should start with the conceptual division of the two, any degree of Buddhist practice labelled as entry into ultimate reality, as it directs the mind towards nibbana (Majjhima Nikaya 121):

" “An arahant monk,
one who is done,
effluent-free, bearing his last body:

Would he say, ‘I speak’?
Would he say, ‘They speak to me’?”

“An arahant monk,
one who is done,
effluent-free, bearing his last body:

He would say, ‘I speak’;
would say, ‘They speak to me.’

knowing harmonious gnosis
with regard to the world,
he uses expressions
just as expressions.”

—Samyutta Nikaya 1.25

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Correct way to what one might ask?

One doesn’t. …… effects follows the cause.

The reality is the same for those who can experience it directly. …… the unconditioned.

The same as others, the Buddha and arahants continue to exercise wise attention regarding conditioned reality:

"“An arahant should attend in an appropriate way to these five clinging-aggregates as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a dissolution, an emptiness, not-self. Although, for an arahant, there is nothing further to do, and nothing to add to what has been done, still these things — when developed & pursued — lead both to a pleasant abiding in the here-&-now and to mindfulness & alertness.”

—Samyutta Nikaya 22.122

Reality in all realms of existence is conditioned. This means that whatever reality the mind experiences depends on the conditions that support it. The main support or conditioning of the reality that is experienced is perception, or it may also be called consciousness. This means that the reality experienced is very dependent on the consciousness that experiences it.

So there is no reality that is fixed and independent of conditions.

Really!? …… On Conditioned and unconditioned: AN3.47

"Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the conditioned.
What three? An arising is seen, a vanishing is seen, and its alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the conditioned.
“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the unconditioned.
What three? No arising is seen, no vanishing is seen, and no alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the unconditioned.”

@Emptiness reality is conditioned, it is created by perception (through contact/phasa). Unconditioned is nibbana. If you saya nibbanan is reality it is proliferation. If you say nibbana is not reality it is also proliferation.

“Mendicants, I will teach you the unconditioned and the path that leads to the unconditioned. “Asaṅkhatañca vo, bhikkhave, desessāmi asaṅkhatagāmiñca maggaṁ.

Listen… Taṁ suṇātha.

And what is the unconditioned? Katamañca, bhikkhave, asaṅkhataṁ?

The ending of greed, hate, and delusion. Yo, bhikkhave, rāgakkhayo dosakkhayo mohakkhayo—

This is called the unconditioned. idaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, asaṅkhataṁ.

And what is the path that leads to the unconditioned? Katamo ca, bhikkhave, asaṅkhatagāmimaggo?

Mindfulness of the body. Kāyagatāsati.

This is called the path that leads to the unconditioned. Ayaṁ vuccati, bhikkhave, asaṅkhatagāmimaggo.

Kāyagatāsatisutta (SN 43.1)

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