Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

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  1. dohn121 profile image81
    dohn121posted 14 years ago

    Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

  2. rmshdc profile image59
    rmshdcposted 14 years ago

    It started with philosophy and elavated to religion.  Currently I have some friends in Sri Lanka who follow Buddhism.

  3. dohn121 profile image81
    dohn121posted 14 years ago

    Thank you for the response.  Most likely like your friends in Sri Lanka, I am a Theravadan Buddhist.  I posted this question to see just how much other hubbers knew about Buddhism.  Interestingly enough, some people believe that Buddhism in a Pagan religion because they think we "worship" which is not the case.  We pay tribute to Him because of his teachings.  I sometimes get into fights with others about this.  Thanks.

  4. Susana S profile image93
    Susana Sposted 14 years ago

    Buddhism is a religion but I think the teachings could also be thought of as a philosophy.

    The things I most like about Buddhism is that it offers practical methods for developing spiritual qualities such as the loving kindness meditation. I also like that it expounds free thinking, using the mind to look at issues from as many perspectives as possible and to benefit from that openness and lack of judgement.

  5. Ballaholic profile image60
    Ballaholicposted 14 years ago

    I feel its teachings and depth show without a doubt it’s a religion. I find it odd so many look to it as a philosophy but understand why in a conventional and American sense. There isn’t a “believe this or rot hell “aspect, but you have to look to in a Hindu light. Samsara is negative (cycle of rebirth) to Hindus and Buddhist, and could be considered as dreadful as the conventional Christian hell. Another reason it may not be considered a religion is that other than the four noble truths, which includes the 8 fold path, there aren’t these set in stone rules that the lay people (those who are not monks and follow lifestyle regulations listed in the Pali Cannon) must follow. I feel this is due to Siddhartha constantly pushing followers to find the truths, and live them, for themselves. He discovered a path in the dark, but it’s your responsibility to create the light for you to see and follow, or not, his footsteps. Sidhartha’s last speech to his followers involved him instructing them to ‘hold fast to the dharma (teachings) as your lamp’ and to ‘be a refuge unto yourselves.’ Much of Buddhism involves self reliance on yourself, your own actions, and the dharma you have been not only taught, but discovered by LIVING it!

    Is this any different than Catholics deeming that ‘faith is more than a belief; it is a way of life?’

    It also relies on you giving up what you think is yourself. Your identity and ego … yeah, at times it’s a little complicated. Rely on yourself, and understand what you think you are is an illusion, but rely on it.
    Sorry, I read a ton of Buddhism text, so to me this rant is hilarious, but probably boring to you, I’ll continue (there are answers to what I’m saying though it’s just really long)

    Hinduism is never questioned as a religion, but one of its oldest holy books is the rig veda, which contains the Upanishads. Sidhartha studied with the Upanishad monks when he considered himself a Bodhisattva (where the concept in Mahayana Buddhism got its name). The Upanishads is almost parallel with Buddhism. The main differences between the two is keeping desire to find enlightenment, which Sidhartha (Buddhism) said you must distinguish, and that Nirvana was Brahman, a monotheistic God.

    ……Anyway – religion. Just quaintly unique.

  6. Fudo617 profile image61
    Fudo617posted 14 years ago

    I study Zen buddhism, and for me it's more of a suggestive way to live your life.  There are aspects, like funeral rights and rituals, which technically classify it as a religion, but for me, my practice is more of a way for me to experience life here and now as opposed to what will be in the future and when I die.

  7. bee girl profile image59
    bee girlposted 14 years ago

    I beleive it is both in a way.  I too study zen buddhism and for the most part i use it as a guide to live my life.  I try to use buddhism to center my being and be connected with the universe.  I also use it in other practices such as meditation.  I feel as if it is a spiritual journey and part of my life.

  8. andrewagmacker profile image61
    andrewagmackerposted 14 years ago

    Buddhism is a religion. Buddhism does not have a definition of "absolute" about God or divine devotion. It is based on philosophical and psychological principles. It is believed that the path to enlightenment in this self-knowledge and control of the mind rather than an external search for a force

  9. ganbat profile image61
    ganbatposted 14 years ago

    I believe it'll depend on our level of understanding, Buddhism simply  can start from way of life and more into most sophisticated religion. More you know about Buddhism more you'll see there is to explore and learn.In order to fully understand it's value we certainly need to become lama,which is hard for us layman.

  10. profile image0
    Retsuzenposted 14 years ago

    Neither, Buddhism was never started by Siddhartha as a religion and as a philosophy, it misses the concept of Buddhism.  I am an ordained Buddhist Priest and teach this everyday in hopes the world will one day wake up.  I am aware there are five different types of Buddhism today, that is because Buddhism has been twisted and abused.  But the one and only description for Buddhism is as Buddha made it and that is an education system.  Buddha himself stated he was not a God, for it to be a true religion there must be an entity to worship, in fact Buddhism turns away the very teachings of Atman or a soul.  Any other way except an education is a corruption of Buddhism.  It is a way of life and that is all.

  11. bodhitree profile image58
    bodhitreeposted 14 years ago

    How would you define the term, 'religion', I think that is a more interesting question...

    As a teacher the buddha taught, only suffering and the end of suffering.
    As a teaching it only points the way...the journey is the individuals.

    As a philosophy, could not buddhism be expressed in terms of existentialism, and be seen as an answer to some of the dilemmas brought about by  the nihilistic tendencies of many of the 20th century european philosophers who, with limited success try to find answers both in and from a meaningless chaotic universe.

    What ever happens may it happen.
    Where ever it goes may may it go.
    After all there is no purpose.

  12. Goodpal profile image76
    Goodpalposted 13 years ago

    What Buddha taught was an eight fold path of purification that is practical and based on natural truths. He is embodiment of what a human being can achieve only through his own efforts and set an example for the whole mankind by becoming enlightened (Buddha) absolutely on his own efforts.

    His teaching is practical and applied. Vipassana meditation (along with eight fold practice path) was his tool for self purification. What he taught was a way of living -- an art  of living. His teaching is universal.

    Labeling it as a religion or philosophy in the popular sense of these words is, in my opinion, narrow and does not reflect his true greatness.

  13. SpiritPhilosopher profile image56
    SpiritPhilosopherposted 13 years ago

    Buddhism is a religion,

    there is NO Philosophy in any religion in the world,

    because all religions are based on many traditional superstitions.

  14. LensMan999 profile image57
    LensMan999posted 12 years ago

    Based on a famous quoting "kill the buddha"does not actually mean to kill the buddha but to stop worshipping idols and to practise the principle of buddha buddhism can be thought of as philosophy.

    But buddhism does have temples and is passed on generations.

  15. Marcos Maiken profile image56
    Marcos Maikenposted 9 years ago

    Religion assumes to know things it does not; through mystical teachings, rituals, supernatural beings, miracles and downright illogical concepts; while Buddhism seems to focus entirely on NOT ascribing to supernatural beings, miracles, and illogical things.  Buddha himself wasn't perfect; certainly not by today's standards - but no one ever claimed he was either.
    To me - Buddhism to me - is merely meditation.  I doubt in his time; much like these times; Buddha would have been able to express his true feelings on many matters.  Buddha is merely a teacher of meditation as a means of enlightenment.  Anyone can attain it - without need of any book- any clergy- or anything but a passion to understand.  And that's why Buddhism has nothing whatsoever to do with religion.
    People can always ascribe religion to Buddhism; but that doesn't make it so.


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