In the modern world, comparative religion has become a field of study as well as a vehicle for people of other religions to associate themselves with virtues of other religions. Often such comparisons forget or deliberately overlook the differences in the basic foundations in the religions. This leads to showing similarities in religions in places where there are no similarities among them. This fallacy in comparison is often extended to religious fundamentalism as well. In these comparisons of religious fundamentalism, often the outward manifestations of groups are compared and erroneous conclusions are drawn from them.
The dictionary definiton (see footnote)of fundamentalism agrees with such past and present behavior of people of other religions. According to the dictionary, the Fundamentalism is a movement or attitude stressing strict literal adherence to a set of basic principles. Often we could see the fundamentalists of monotheistic religions believing in a world created by a God resorting to violence attempting to follow God.
On the contrary, buddhists who are resorting to violence due to various reasons could not be labeled as fundamentalists due to the principle differences between buddhist teachings and monotheistic teachings. This difference exists because a person who would strictly interpret real buddhist texts as Tripitaka will not find any excuses to resort to violence. Buddha preached compassion and wisdom and every sutra when interpreted strictly should lead one to follow the non-violent noble eight fold path. It is not necessary to investigate the whole Tripitaka, the three verses in the Dhammapada that represent teachings of all the Buddhas show this clearly.
Once a dialogue arose between Venerable Ananada (buddha's attendant bhikkhu and a great dharma teacher) and the Buddha about previous Buddhas' dispensation. Then Buddha showed that they followed the same basic instructions as given by these three verses. Two of the three (see footnotes) verses show the value of patience or forbearance, and non-violence.
'patience is fundamental to asceticism'
'Nirvana is the basic teaching of the Buddhas'
'Not harming others by word, or by violent acts a person restraints oneself'
The above are from two of the three fundamental instructions of all the Buddhas to bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (female and male ordained disciples of the Buddha)
On the other hand, lay disciples who strictly follow the Buddha's word will at least observe the five precepts. Following the five precepts, such a person will refrain from activities that cause harm to the others.
If we take a macro level perspective, the issues such as racism, sectarianism, and struggles for power are also equated to Buddhist fundamentalism if they occur in a wider buddhist context. These are also acts by people who are not actually following the Buddha's words properly. Since regarding the social status or race the Buddha stated, "a person does not become lower by birth but by actions". Hence, a buddhist strictly following the Buddha's word will not look down upon other races or thinks one race is superior to another.
Similarly, a person strictly following the buddha's word would not fall into sectarianism because the Buddha did not appoint any authority figure to look after the matters of his dispensation after his final enlightenment. One of his final words were, "keep teaching (dharma) and discipline (vinaya) as your teacher in the absences of the Buddha". The same advice can be taken by those attempting to become authority or power in Buddhism. Furthermore, in the Kalama Sutra, Buddha asked Kalamas not to follow a teaching because it agrees with a sect, clan etc., but after thinking through and realizing that an act is harmless to oneself and to others (do things that bring no harm to oneself and/or others).