Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy? Why?
You haven’t defined what a religion is, or what philosophy consists of.
But to answer your question using commonly accepted definitions, Buddhism is both: it is a “religion” because it contains beliefs and practices that relate to the supernatural powers of the universe; and it is a “philosophy” in that it involves a intellectual examination of the very nature of reality.
[size=2]Thank you for your opinion. I have always thought of a true religion as having been begun by God. Since in Buddhism they don’t treat Buddha as a God only a very good man such as we treat saints in the Catholic Faith I only thought of it as a philosophy of life.
I would like to hear from any Catholics who were formerly Buddhist.
I’ve never been officially Buddhist, but I do study Buddhism and considered myself an “unofficial” Buddhist for several years. Now I’m contemplating joing the Catholic Church – but I have a few issues (like reincarnation/rebirth) to resolve before I would actually join the Church. My current belief system, then, has been heavily influenced by Buddhism.
One small point: depending on the Buddhist you talk to, you may hear Buddhists speak of the Buddha as merely a good person. This is one extreme. The other extreme is that the Buddha was not merely a good person, but a manifestation of the Original, Primordial Being (sort of like the Christian idea of God). And then you have Buddhists who believe that the Buddha was something between the two extremes.
I understand what you are saying about Buddha being thought of as anywhere from a good man to a god figure depending upon who you talk to.
Quite a few years ago I spoke with a Bishop Clarence Duhart, CSsR in Thailand who told me that the Buddhist Monks that he visited with told him that they did not think of Buddha as a god but more like a saint.
I believe that for someone who grows up believing that Buddha is more like a saint there is a better chance for conversion to Catholicism.
[quote=Len][size=2]Thank you for your opinion. I have always thought of a true religion as having been begun by God. [/size]
Well, of course there is only one true religion, because only one was started by God–Catholicism. Someone might argue Judaism as well, but technically, it is the Catholic Faith that goes back to Adam, modern (aka post-OT) Jews strayed from the Truth and the religion begun by God when they decided not to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah.
I know that the Catholic Church is the one true church because Jesus only began one church not many churches. Many of the other Christian churches have some truth contained in them but only the Catholic Church contains all the truth. AMEN
I have a good friend I met in Malaysia that is a devout Buddhist and he would tell you Buddhism is a Religion and also a Philosophy.
- the service and worship of God or the supernatural
- commitment or devotion to faith or observance
- a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices
Buddhism fits all three definitions easily and is therefore clearly a Religion.
I really appreciated your post. I think of Buddhism as
a philosophy, but your set of criteria clairifies why it
could be considered a religion, as well.
[quote=SedesDomi]I’ve never been officially Buddhist, but I do study Buddhism and considered myself an “unofficial” Buddhist for several years. Now I’m contemplating joing the Catholic Church – but I have a few issues (like reincarnation/rebirth) to resolve before I would actually join the Church.
I was involved for many years with Tibetans in exile.
(marketing their arts and crafts). Noticed a similarity between Catholicism and Tibetan Buddhism. Not in content, of course, but in approach. Buddhism is a rigorous discipline and contains both sophisticated logic and mystery. Ritual is used to approach the sacred. Like most everyone in America, I grew up with Catholics. Watched the rituals but never really got what they were doing until getting to know Buddhists. Aha!..my Catholic brethren do those things for a reason, not because somebody tells them to (yeah I was brought up Protestant) or because of social pressure or tradition. One must prepare for communion. Imagine some Catholics are wondering how I never got what it was all about…I am too. But then the Prot tradition (at least mine) is you either get saved or don’t.
It seems to me that whether Buddhism is a philosophy or a religion is in the eyes of the beholder.
Here is a good source to sort out the meaning of Buddhism and of Religion.
Regards to all Buddhists and Catholics alike.
Let the truth prevail.
When Buddhists say that the Buddha was not a ‘god’, you have to be careful to find out exactly what they mean.
If the Buddhist is a European-American convert, then she might mean that ‘god’/‘God’ does not exist in the first place, so the Buddha is definitely not a G/god.
If the Buddhist is of Asian descent, then he might mean that there are supernatural beings of immense power and knowledge, who live in various heavens and other spiritual worlds, but that the Buddha had transcended even these supernatural beings, had gone even beyond the g/God(s). Thus, by saying that the Buddha was not a g/God, the Asian Buddhist might actually be saying that the Buddha was superior to any particular g/God.
If you look at the bottom of the page you will see:
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III
Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company
The west’s understanding of Buddhism has increased greatly since 1908. More recent sources are likely to be more accurate. For instance, there have only been satisfactory translations of Mahayana sutras available since about the 1950s - anything done before then did not have an adequate knowledge of Buddhist technical vocabulary. Earlier translations had to resort to literal translations: knowing that “a red herring” translates to “a pink fish” is not exactly useful.