August 6, 2009

Buddhism is not a religion

It is a dolphin. </justkidding>

Inspired by a post on Racialicious.

I’m 100% fine with people who insist that Buddhism isn’t a religion. But if they’re going to make that stand, then they should be fine with telling self-professed Buddhists that because Buddhism isn’t a religion then…

  • Freedom of religion doesn’t apply to Buddhism.
  • Buddhism doesn’t belong in interreligious dialogue.
  • Monks and nuns should not be eligible for visas as religious workers.
  • Buddhism doesn’t belong in religious studies.
  • Persecuted Buddhists shouldn’t get religious amnesty.
I’m probably preaching to the choir here. But in all honesty, if I find such a person who’s willing to do all that, I want to meet them. I want to bring my video camera too.

6 comments :

  1. You might as well add that Buddhism then doesn't need chaplains, as chaplaincy is a religious vocation!

    And following that, then do Buddhist hospital patients/prison inmates/college students/military personnel et al have a need or right to: Buddhist worship materials, prayer books, chapel usage, fellowship times, or chaplain services?

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  2. Well, I take a different tack. It's a religion, just not one with a monotheistic or polytheistic deity as central figure in the religion.

    It is a "specific system of belief and worship involving a code of ethics and a philosophy," although some folks don't like the "belief" part and some folks don't like the "worship" part, and still other folks might have a problem with the "code of ethics" part.

    And I'm just talking about Buddhists.

    But it is what it is.

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  3. Polytheism isn't central to Buddhism? How do you explain the many Chinese Buddhists who prostrate themselves before statues of Shakyamuni, Guanyin, Manjusri, or whatever deity may be on hand? Theoretically you could explain these figures away as elaborations of emptiness, but my feeling is that many of the Chinese would simply concede that they prey to whichever deity they need given the circumstances. Sounds like polytheism to me.

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  4. The Buddha never claimed to be a god. There are people however that may worship him or certain deities. The worship may come from elements within Chinese and East Asian Folk Tradition, rather than Buddhism. Buddhism can be a religion without a god, as it does believe in the after life. It is a belief that certain acts by a person may lead them to enlightenment.

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