- Is Buddhism a religion?
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
The Life of the Buddha (video)
Amber Larson, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly; Richard Gere, Dalai Lama, Mark Epstein...
Buddhism is the only religion that goes with science. Those who watch will eventually be able to distinguish and understand what is real and true. Is it a God or gods controlling us and everything around us?
That is what religion seems to teach us. So how is Buddhism any different? What is Buddhism? The Buddha-Dharma is the path to enlightenment.
Buddhism is a coherent set of mental, physical, and spiritual instructions to bring about the end of all suffering. However, after 26-30 centuries, it is treated like a "religion" by its many nominal adherents -- at least 1,000,300,000 (1.3 billion) around the world, when a billion Chinese Buddhists not counted by the current communist regime are counted.
Another word for "Buddhism" might be "Awakenism" or "Awakenment." The Sanskrit word budhi means "to awaken," and the title simply means "the one who awakened." It originated approximately 2,600 years ago when Prince Siddhartha Gautama set off on a journey to find the end of suffering for living beings.
He succeeded in his quest and became known as the Buddha along with many other titles, but that's the one that stuck in our time. His energetic striving went on for six or seven years, then he adopted the path of tranquillity and serenity which served as the foundation for developing liberating insight.
The real answer depends on how we define "religion." Certainly when he was alive it was not, but not long after he entered final nirvana disciples formalized and standardized the teachings. To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion. It is treated as more of an Eastern philosophy or way of life. It is a philosophy because philosophy means "love of wisdom," and the Buddhist path is sometimes summed up as the marriage of compassion and wisdom.
The path is threefold culminating as nonharming virtue, purifying concentration, and liberating wisdom. To lead a virtuous life with ahimsa (non-injury) as the ideal, to be mindful and aware of present thoughts, feelings, speech, and actions, and to systematically develop insight and understanding.