1. Buddha is not God.
2. Buddha never preached "the word of the God" and never considered himself a prophet. He said repeatedly to his students that he was merely a human being.
3. In teachings the Buddha specifically avoided all discussion of creationism or debates about the existence of God/Gods. He neither denied nor supported the existence of a Creator but stated quite clearly that on the path to enlightenment such discussions/arguments are fruitless.
4. Buddha ONLY taught the Four Noble Truths, the Middle Way and when pressed for more information by his students gave them a blueprint of the path to enlightenment called The Eightfold Path. (Notice I wrote 'blueprint'. As Buddhists we must have independent thought and build our own path brick by painstaking brick...sometimes over many, many lifetimes.)
5. Buddha expressed clearly the importance of free thought and free speech. He encouraged students to not follow blindly his words or the words of any teacher but to question everything in our struggles to become more compassionate and loving beings. Recognizing and letting go of our attachments is part of this process.
6. Buddha clearly rejected the concept of a soul or 'atman' and put forth the philosophy of interdependent origination. A concept of unending complexity that at first glance appears simple and so is therefore very often misunderstood.
7. There is more than one Buddha and we can all be Buddhas. Shakyamuni is called 'The Historical Buddha' because he existed on earth within our reference of time.
8. Buddhism is not a branch of Hinduism. They are very, very different teachings. Buddha was born a Hindu and chose to reject the teachings of his Brahman priests.
There are many words and ideas that are the same but have completely different meanings which is where the confusion occurs. One such example is that Hinduism has reincarnation while Buddhism has rebirth. Seemingly the same yet profoundly different when taken in the context of the different philosophies.
9. The Buddha rejected asceticism and hedonism and taught the middle way.
10. Buddhism is not a branch of Hinduism. This one bears repeating. (Not that I have anything against Hinduism! I think it's a wonderfully complex and beautiful religion. It just seems to be the most common misconception among non-Buddhists.)
11. Meditation is the primary tool used on the path towards enlightenment.
12. There are many variations of Buddhism that branch out from the original Noble Truth teachings. Remember, the Buddha encouraged free thought hence why there are so many different Buddhist schools. The main three that are often talked about are Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana but there are others and within these even more schisms of philosophy. There is also a great history of solitary Buddhist study outside of schools, traditions, dogma (yes, Buddhism does have dogma in many lineages) and spontaneous enlightenment.
(There is a great analogy I read somewhere regarding Buddhist philosophy. It said Buddhism was like a shirt laying on the floor. Each of us will choose to pick up that shirt in a different way, some will grab the collar first, some the sleeve, others the bottom but regardless of how we choose to pick up the shirt we all end up wearing it....although you could say we all wear it differently as well!)
13. The core teachings of the Buddha never change across Buddhist schools, however, many other teachers have added to these core teachings and created commentaries on them for students to ponder on their way towards enlightenment.
14. 'Enlightenment' and 'taking refuge' in Buddhist philosophy cannot be compared to the idea of 'enlightenment' or 'taking refuge' in theistic religions. That's like comparing apples and oranges...can't be done.
15. Buddhists can choose to embrace all religious, scientific and atheistic philosophies because:
1. All sentient beings must choose their own path to enlightenment
2. None of these ideas contradict the core Buddhist philosophy of the Four Noble Truths.
16. Buddhists believe in ultimate compassion, unconditional love and the letting go of attachments and desires. We are supposed to live a life that creates the least amount of harm possible and creates the most amount of compassion possible.
**However, there are many people who call themselves Buddhists including Monks/Nuns who do not lead by example and clearly are not engaged in spreading compassion or unconditional love. Human beings are "human" after all and ego is a very strong thing to break free of. All philosophy and teachings, religious or otherwise are open to corruption by human beings, unfortunately.
That is why blind faith IMHO is never a wise choice. We must always questions ourselves and our teachers, whomever they may be.**
So...now my brain is tired and no longer able to concentrate. I see from reading some of the new religion threads that there are quite a few more Buddhists on HubPages now as opposed to before, so maybe some of you might want to elaborate or add things I may have overlooked.
Very true; similarly Jesus and Krishna were no gods.
Is it simply your guess or you have anything originally written by Buddha or anything dictated by him during his own life.
What was the source of Buddha making a prophecy of Maitereya? Without Revelation from the Creator-God Allah YHWH, there is no source of making such a prophecy that later got fulfilled .
One who makes a Prophecy on the basis of Word revealed is a Prophet Messenger of the Creator-God Allah YHWH.
Some very cool stuff in there ... whoever said it, I like it
The best term I have ever heard from a Buddhist is "self-grasping ignorance"; for me that epitomizes the foolishness of materialism. Ever since then I have worked to towards greater simplicity and enjoy the process.
Thanks for the post
The most amazing thing I realized through Buddhism when I practiced it, was that although "this" moment is the only one that exists, both the past *and* future are contained within it.
I'm great. Moved to Montreal, working on a new business, getting life back in order, trying to squeeze in more writing again....haha
Oh the crazy life I lead! I'm crossing my fingers that it will actually be a lot more boring, simple and peaceful from now on. We'll see how it goes.
True, Buddhism is not a branch of Hinduism any more than Christianity is a branch of Judaism. However, the two are historically very much interlinked. The main difference is that Hinduism is, like Judaism, something one is born into. Buddhism, like Christianity and Islam, is something one can adopt later in life.
Very accurate & detailed post. A little elaboration on Nirvana would have been helpful since a lot of people confuse Nirvana with connecting or merging with God/Heaven. Some even believe that it is like becoming God by urself while it is more like a state of non-existence.
Its true that he avoided the issue of creationism & never mentioned a creator God but as far as Im concerned many Hindu Gods have been mentioned in Buddhist scriptures. So there remains a little confusion about ur No.3. Although the scriptures mostly made fun of those Gods & tried to exert Buddha's superiority over Gods like Brahma.
I don't read that The Buddha avoided the issue of creationism - it is patent bull and as far as I am aware it just 'not talked about', why would it be ?
Deities - There "are" the "peaceful and wrathful deities" that exist within us and our own minds. Some deities embody certain Buddhist ideas, like the dakinis and Prajnaparamita.
As far as Buddhist Tantra, I am not sure how they handle the chakras/patron deities
I am only aware of the Shakti tantric path in any depth at all.
Worrying about gods and creation only entrenches you in samsara because of your preoccupation with it.
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