Buddhism isn't a Religion — It’s Something Much Much Better Than That

 on Wednesday, 22 June 2016  

“The dharma that I preach can be understood only by those who know how to think.” ~ The Buddha
I get plenty of comments when I say that I’m not a religious person, but I am a practicing Buddhist.
buddhism is not a religion

Although Buddhism is known worldwide as a religion, for me it is not. Frankly, I used to perceive it as one, before knowing anything about it and delving into its culture.
To start off, the word religion means “a system of faith and worship” and “the belief in a superhuman, or god with power.” After visiting India and Nepal, and observing the Buddhist complex, I came to notice that Buddhism is neither a system of faith, nor a god-based institution.
Buddhists do not consider the Buddha as a supreme god. For them, he is a man like any other man who’s walked on the earth. Nevertheless, Buddha untangled the reasons of suffering and offered us a concrete way of getting out of them.
And although he did offer the world teachings about how to get unstuck from samsara, he insisted that he wanted no worship or praying. All he asked for is that we must examine his teachings first, and if they do resonate with us, then we practice them. If not, however, we have the utter freedom to leave them.
Although I have watched rituals and ceremonies being held at monasteries, I’ve been told that they’re not in any way worship-based. The so-called “worship” that we might see is one that is offered as a way of showing respect and thankfulness to the man who exhibited the truth. Even the prayers that we hear are ones that read compassion, kindness and love to all sentient beings, without any exception.
If we look more closely at Buddhism, we can even ascertain that there is no leader in the culture. Dzongsar Khyentse constantly talks about how the Dalai Lama is a secular leader for the Tibetan community in exile and a spiritual master to many people all over the world—and not merely for Buddhists. He insists that there is no authority in Buddhism with the power to decide who is a true Buddhist and who is not, or who is punishable and who is not.
If Buddhism isn’t a religion, what is it then?
The way I see it, Buddhism is a way of life—it’s a philosophy and a truth that simply represents how things are in life.
I must admit (and I’m not ashamed to claim it) that Buddhism has helped me understand the religion I was brought up with, as well as all the other religions in the world. Before being introduced to Buddhism, “holy books” were on par with the Chinese language to me. I couldn’t understand why I was supposed to pray, to attend religious ceremonies or to follow a spiritual leader, without true conviction or belief for what they’re saying. Before Buddhism, I was co-dependent on “God.” I constantly searched outside of myself, and I believe this is why I never found myself.
Buddhism helped me look inward. It taught me independence and self-awareness. Through it, I began to understand how the world ticks. It helped me look at myself and take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions, rather than taking refuge in a supreme god.
With Buddhism, I came to finally understand that God isn’t a judgmental man who lives in the clouds. I stopped this duality between God and myself, and I figured out that God is in everyone (and everything and everywhere). It is not something that is outside of us or something we cannot reach—it is in us.
So you might ponder the question—why is it worth looking into Buddhism or practicing it?
I utterly believe to each their own—however, I also believe that it is never wrong to live with an open heart and an open mind which expands our knowledge and raises questions in our heads.
Unlike other religions, Buddhism doesn’t tell its followers to stick only to its teachings. Buddhists don’t care where you’re from, what you believe in or who you worship. All they care about is that you know the truth—and the truth is: “All compounded things are impermanent.”
It’s worth understanding Buddhism, because the final outcome of its purpose is not something that is beneficial to itself—the benefits are for our own sake.The benefit is that we will actually understand the truth of life, our existence and ourselves.
Again, like Dzognsar Khyentse said, “Buddhism is not a survival kit for living that dictates how many husbands a wife should have or where to pay taxes or how to punish thieves. Buddhism doesn’t even have a ritual for wedding ceremonies.”
The Buddha didn’t tell people what they wanted to hear—he simply opened their eyes to the truth of life.
Are you ready to hear it?
(This article was republished from elephantjournal.com. You can find the original post here.)
Buddhism isn't a Religion — It’s Something Much Much Better Than That 4.5 5 SEEKER Wednesday, 22 June 2016 “The dharma that I preach can be understood only by those who know how to think.” ~ The Buddha I ...

10 comments:

  1. I found Buddhism as a philosophy satisfying. The belief in an after life and the levels of heaven and hell not so much, I know that most of that is from local beliefs and traditions. Perhaps there is a more modern version without the local after life beliefs?

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    1. Buddhism brings to you mindfulness, compassion, a way of appreciating whatever religion, philosophy you may already have. By reading the Dhammapada, studying the Four Noble Truths and other writings such as The Way of the Bhodissatve, you strengthen your inroads core of understanding and may see your personal religion or philosophy in a different light. You may or may not believe in a god figure or your current beliefs may change. Nothing is 'modern' everything is 'now'. There is no other than 'now'.The time of Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, are not 'historic' the time for all is'now'. You and the compassion within you are 'now'!

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  2. But those of us who believe that life and all in this reality is a purposeful manifestation of God, the Buddhist way telling us that any attachment to "mundane life" is a path away from God and enlightenment, Buddhism is as fundamentalist "only my truth is the real one" as any other religion. I have found most Buddhists to be very disrespectful of my views, disrespecting my religion and egotistically telling me that when I see "the truth" I will realize how wrong I am and only through their truth will I be happy. It is as much a religion as any other.

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  3. But those of us who believe that life and all in this reality is a purposeful manifestation of God, the Buddhist way telling us that any attachment to "mundane life" is a path away from God and enlightenment, Buddhism is as fundamentalist "only my truth is the real one" as any other religion. I have found most Buddhists to be very disrespectful of my views, disrespecting my religion and egotistically telling me that when I see "the truth" I will realize how wrong I am and only through their truth will I be happy. It is as much a religion as any other.

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  4. Ed: I have not hear any Buddhism practitioner telling people of other religion that they are wrong. Basically Buddhism people are focused in their own business. Many Buddhist participated in the religious services of their friends and spouses. I don't know where your experiences come from.

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  5. Buddhism is a system of psychology. If you want read my books on amazon you will see why I and others say that. The Buddha's Radical Psychology: Explorations and the Buddha's Teachings: Seeing without Illusion.

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  6. According to PEW study the Buddhism is decreasing by 2050.

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  7. Buddhism is not a religion its a lifestyle. Buddhism is different from all religion. As per PEW Study the Buddhist population is going to decreasing in all the Buddhist country. Like Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, North Korea, Mongolia. In South Korea Protestant Christianity is increasing and ouu Buddhist Population decreasing.

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  8. Our Buddhist Bhante & Buddhist Priest tells that by the year 2050, Buddhism remains the only religion in the world. I think it is not true. If Buddhism is increasing then why we are on 4th position. 1. Christians, 2.Muslims, 3.Hindus & 4.Buddhist.
    Please tell me is it true that Buddhism is decreasing???????????

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