October 12, 2010 § Leave a comment
Buddhism originated in India during sixth century BC. It is based on the teachings of Buddha.
It is a discussed concept whether Buddhism is a religion or philosophy. The answer of this question is discussed because religion can be defined from different aspects. This means that if religion is defined, as worshipping a supernatural being Buddhism is not a religion because it is defined as a non-theistic religion. Non-theistic is the kind of religion that does not have the notion of having a certain supernatural being or beings (God or Gods) as the creator of the whole universe.
On the other hand Buddhism can be considered as a religion if religion is defined as a system including rules about moral values, rituals and traditions, which aim to show its followers the supreme truth.
Another reason that causes the confusion whether it is a religion or not is that it is a religion created by humans. It is not sent by supernatural powers to guide the human kind to the ultimate truth.
Buddhism is based on “samsara” that means the continuous flow. This flow is the cycle of life and death. According to this belief, living creatures are in this cycle of suffer. This cycle can be explained simply. Everyone suffers in some way and humans cause the suffering of other humans. The only way to end it is to prevent from doing things that make others suffer. This way people can be enlightened.
Buddha also explains that the main reasons of suffering as lack of knowledge and greediness. Because of these bad habits people do things that can harm their bodies and minds and this prevents them from having a joyful life. Once people learn how to avoid these two bad habits they can achieve Nirvana. Nirvana is the state where the suffering ends and people live a joyful life in peace.
It has a simple belief system. First of all it believes that nothing is lost in the universe. This means that everything turns to something else but they all continue their existence in the universe. It also supports the idea in most of the other religions. Every being is part of a whole and there is a balance in the universe because of a certain cycle. On the other hand this can also be considered as a scientific approach. Things can’t be formed from nothing and nothing gets lost.
Secondly, it believes that everything changes. This is also related to the first belief. Nothing stays unchanged, stable for eternity.
Thirdly, Buddhism suggests the idea of “karma”. This means that there is a reason and consequence for every action. This idea is also related to first two concepts. Since everything is a whole in the universe and everything changes; there is a consequence for every decision and act. This means that if you do something good to others, it returns back to you. It is also valid for the bad things you do. As it can be seen from every aspect Buddhism is based on balance.
In Buddhism killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxicants are all forbidden.
I think that it is not important to define Buddhism as a philosophy or religion. What is important is that all the notions it is based on and all the notions it guides people are rational. The all aim to create a better world for all beings, therefore whether you call it Christianity, Islam, Judaism or Buddhism the basics are all the same. I believe that you don’t even have to call it something if you follow certain moral values and try to be a better person for yourself and others.