In your religion is faith in God and following the rules enough or is it also necessary to perform good works and love others?

The teachings of the Buddha don't use the concept of God so perhaps I can phrase the question differently. "Are good works and love for others a necessary part of the spiritual life and if so why?" From a Buddhist perspective this would be similar to asking if skating is necessary for ice hockey.

According to Buddhism once we have the basic needs of life such as food, clothing, housing, medicine and the safety and opportunities of a civil society we can develop the spiritual side of our life. If, however, we don't have these then our energies are necessarily taken up with survival. It is our civil duty to try to ensure that all beings have these basic requisites so that they too can practice a spiritual life. Each of us has limited resources and we can only help a little bit but concern for the welfare of others and taking some action from that sense of compassion are fundamental principles of an authentic Buddhist lifestyle.

In Buddhism, there is a goal to the spiritual life, namely, to liberate our hearts and minds from the suffering caused by greed, hatred and egotism.. The realization of this goal is the meaning of the spiritual life. "Do good; refrain from doing harm; purify the heart." These are the simplest instructions describing the effort that one puts forth on the path to inner peace and freedom. To do good is to think, speak and act with compassion, generosity and wisdom. To refrain from doing harm is to refrain from thoughts, words, and actions that are motivated by greed, hatred and egotism. This is an ongoing endeavor that requires honesty, dedication, forgiveness and tremendous patience. The more we operate from love and generosity the stronger those same energies become in our hearts and minds. The less we act from greed, hatred and delusion the weaker those forces become in our being. The culmination of this kind of effort is the purity of heart that in Buddhism is known as, "our real home."

Ajahn Viradhammo

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