Why is Buddhism considered a religion?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by jaksun, Feb 23, 2014.

  1. Wooden Hare

    Wooden Hare Banned Banned

    If we define religion as something that provides someone spiritual relief, then Buddhism (consisting of VERY different practices/sects) is one, which is what Buddha seems to have intended. I think it's still important he specifically asked not to be deified. He was just being an honest human.

    Buddhism (the religion) today contains several distinct philosophies that grew in the various regions where Buddhism became practice. Each culture took Buddhism and made something out of it...there's Shaolin Chan, there's Zen, and of course the beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. Almost everywhere in the Buddhist world there is the scholarly discipline of the sutras, but in some other practices are considered to be the critical path towards enlightenment.

    The intersection of Buddhism and the Chinese Daoist sects was a particularly interesting mix of religion and philosophy (that produced, counter-intuitively, martial arts systems some of us practice).

    So who cares, philosophy "or" religion, the Buddha would probably laugh and walk away from this thread.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  2. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    I think you can consider Buddhism a religion. Regardless of the original intent, religion grows into an institution. It has ordained representatives (e.g., monks and abbots), established places of worship, rehearsed rituals, etc. Whether the original guy who sat under the Bodhi tree actually envisioned any of that is kind of immaterial. I dare say Jesus Christ didn't really imagine Tammy Fae Baker either.
  3. aikiMac

    aikiMac "BJJ Over 40" club member Moderator Supporter

  4. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    It's more of a philosophy than a religion, but some regard the Buddha as a god, so it tends to be considered a religion in the West and some parts of the East.
  5. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    That depends very much on the denomination or type of Christian.
  6. 47MartialMan

    47MartialMan Valued Member

    I know one thing, gorgeous girls are enough to make me "loose my religion"
  7. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Buddha is not god. Everybody can become Buddha. The moment that you drop your butcher knife (quite you bad behavior), the moment that you will become Buddha.
  8. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I'm sure all of MAPs ladies feel much safer now. Because that wasn't creepy at all.
  9. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Corrected for you!
  10. Bozza Bostik

    Bozza Bostik Antichrist on Button Moon

    That depends very much on the denomination or type of Christian....I mean Buddhist. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2014
  11. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    Buddha was the enlightened one. Gods are lower than Buddha, any of the Buddhas, as they are still bound by karma and suffering.

    BTW, there is also a school of secular Buddhism which focuses on the original teachings in the Pali Cannon, without the mysticism and supernatural. I rather like it.
  12. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    Thank you, sir! I appreciate the correction. :D
  13. matveimediaarts

    matveimediaarts Underappreciated genius

    I've never heard this approach. Can you suggest some further reading?
  14. aikiMac

    aikiMac "BJJ Over 40" club member Moderator Supporter

    It's in the Long Discourses. I couldn't tell you where, off hand, but I remember it.
  15. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    I believe the Dhammapada may have something about this in it. It is possibly the oldest sutra known. Tibetian Buddhism discusses this as well but I am not that familar with the Tibetian schools.
  16. Happy Feet Cotton Tail

    Happy Feet Cotton Tail Valued Member

    Would this be the Vietnamese iteration... or is it more recent/older than that?

    It's been a long while since I have been in a lecture hall on Buddhist history but last I recall Buddhism because of its routes in Hinduism went pretty much hand in hand with the worship of various native Hindu Gods. It was when Buddhism got shipped to the Vietnamese and they wanted a secular version then a lot of the paintings became more secular with reference to Gods in the stories and legends of Buddha being omitted.


    Generally speaking Gods in Hinduism are worshiped to because they have power and are the designated "protectors" of a certain profession/social class/time of year/region but because they live in paradise they cannot comprehend or reflect on suffering, so they cannot achieve enlightenment. In Buddhism a common view is that Gods are destined to burn up their karma and end up in hell before being reborn. Not entirely what the differing perspectives are with regards to Theravada and Mahayana but maybe someone more knowledgeable can chime in...

    ... Again, it's been a long time since I have really studied this stuff so take it for what it's worth. Can't really recommend any reading on the subject. :/
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2014
  17. m1k3jobs

    m1k3jobs Dudeist Priest

    The secular Buddhism is very recent. Check out Stephen Batchelor, he has written several books on this and has a lot online. It is a effort to go back to the Pali Cannon which is the oldest written suttas known at this time, and extract what the historical Buddha actually said. It is closer to Theravada and the Pali Cannon is the main scripture(s) of Theravada.

    Zen was also a reboot of Buddhism attempting to return back to meditation as the main vehicle for insight rather than the sutras. It too has added a lot of baggage over the years.
  18. Vieux Normand

    Vieux Normand Valued Member

    On my first stay in Japan, a bo-san at the Chusonji temple once offered to me his opinion of what he saw as a distinction between "Western" and "Eastern" religions. The former, he said, tended to address matters of mataphysical/supernatural/theistic beliefs, while the latter addressed the question "How best to live my life?".

    In other words, the distinction between ethics and religion is--in his view at least--greater in the West than in the East.

    Not saying I buy his argument, but I thought his stated difference, in how religion is defined in the East versus in the West, was interesting.

    An aside re: terminology--being Odinist by birth, I've always found it fascinating how middle-eastern religions such as Christianity are commonly classified as "Western".
  19. Dave76

    Dave76 Valued Member

    He didn't have more than a superficial view of "western" religion.
    I wish religious authorities would refrain from making statements about other religions they haven't studied. It only serves to make them look foolish and shallow.
  20. Vieux Normand

    Vieux Normand Valued Member

    He may merely have been acting on observation of adherents of middle-eastern creeds. You may have noticed that many among these latter have a tendency to ask others the theological/metaphysical questions first and foremost ("Do you believe in ____?"), while specific questions regarding ethics come next, last...or not at all.

    This is also reflected in the history of abrahamic faiths (as witnessed in the major schisms found in them, such as the Great Divider of Christianity, the "filioque clause", where the disagreement involved the exact percentage of human nature, versus divine nature, was to be found in their presumed messiah). As Catholics went one way and Orthodox went another, as Arians became the targets of Niceneans, as Celtic Christianity was submerged into the Roman fold, "How-should-we-live-our-lives?"-types of questions don't appear to have figured prominently.

    Ditto the major division within Islam (Sonny and Cher), and the whole "Who-is-one-of-us?" debate found between Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Judaism. Again, questions such as "How-should-one-best-live?" don't seem to be much on the radar in the context of such disagreements.

    Perhaps the abbot I mentioned simply observed religions as they are reflected in the attitudes and actions of their adherents, rather than in trying to go by some "perfect form" of the faiths in question--a form that may not have much resemblance to how they are practised in the real world.

    I would tend to agree with this view--that a faith's true nature is best seen in the real-world attitudes and actions of adherents, rather than in some fantasy-world "perfect" form of that faith. After all, it's in the real world--not in some abstract/theological garden of perfection--that we deal with the actual manifestations (historical and present) of religions and those who follow them...and history has taught us many hard and bloody lessons on the matter.

Share This Page