Buddhism is an Eastern religion and philosophy that originated in the 6th century BC, in India. It subsequently spread throughout much of Central and Southeast Asia. It is estimated that about 500 million people worldwide, or about 10% of the population, practice Buddhism. Reading this article, you will understand what is Buddhism religion, what Buddhism believe in, and also the main differences between Buddhism and Christianity.
According to the Buddha’s teachings, what Buddhism believe in is that the secret to happiness is simple: want what you already have and don’t want what you don’t have. The fat Buddha that people often see in restaurants as decorations is not the real Buddha, but a character from Chinese folklore called “Buddha”. Legend has it that the Buddha lived to the age of 80. He supposedly died between two trees, which miraculously blossomed then. Scientists who have studied the brains of Buddhist monks during meditation have concluded that impulses in the brain change, increasing feelings of happiness.
Throughout the ages, Buddhism has fascinated world leaders, actors, and even scientists. The Buddhism beliefs, religion, and folk philosophy that originated in India have been embraced by an estimated 500 million people around the world.
What does Buddhism mean?
Religions are so numerous globally that it is almost impossible to keep track of all the practices done in the name of faith. Each individual tries in their way to find God, no matter what religion they have adopted. Yet, although they are so different, they all have in common the idea of bonding and teaching about love.
Buddhism means an Eastern religion and philosophy, originating in sixth century BC India. It spread throughout most of Central and Southeast Asia. Based on the teachings of Gautama Siddhartha, an Indian thinker, and spiritual leader. Buddhism has undergone many splits and is now a divided religion. With no common sacred language and no strict, formulated dogma.
Buddhism remains one of the most fascinating and unique ways to live and choose to believe in something. Especially if you are not familiar with that belief. The fourth most widespread religion globally, at around 7% of the planet’s population, Buddhism is not just about meditation or silence.
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Buddhism and Christianity
Buddhism is a very divided religion without a strict and formulated dogma. Also, Buddhism religion is widespread in China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Korea, Mongolia, the Union of Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Buddhism and Christianity are very different. While similarities can be found between Christianity, Judaism, Martyrdom, and Islam, it will be seen below that there are very few similarities between Christianity and Buddhism, with predominating differences between Buddhism and Christianity.
Buddhism is the only religion whose founder declares himself neither God’s prophet nor his messenger and which rejects the idea of a God who is a Higher Being.
|The sacred book is the Bible||The sacred book is the Tipitaka|
|Belief in a personal God||No belief in a personal God|
|Jesus Christ is the Light of The World and The Promised Messiah||Buddha was enlightened|
|Individual identity is a reflection of God's image||The individual self is an illusion|
|Death leads to sleeping in the body until the coming of Christ||Death leads to reincarnation|
|Heaven/ Hell are the final destination||Nirvana is the final race|
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Where does Buddhism originate?
Buddhism belongs to the group of Dharmic religions, along with Hinduism and Jainism. Retaining a strong influence of the main elements of these two religions. The teachings of the Enlightened One are confirmed by new contemporary scholars. Despite old theories which considered Buddha to be a mythological figure.
Buddhism originates from the earliest extant account of the prophet’s life, which abounds with fantastic and legendary elements. Buddhists believe that Prince Gautama was born in Lumbini. And raised in Kapilavastu, near the India-Nepal border. The Buddha’s father was the leader of the Sakya tribal group. After dreaming of his son leaving his palace as a hermit, decided to protect him from hostilities, lest he chooses the path of asceticism.
Asia, a visionary of the region, foretold the infant prince of a prominent destiny in the priestly sphere. The Buddha manages to make four forays outside the palace, encountering a feeble old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a monk. The first three reveal to him the ephemerality of material existence, due to old age, sickness, and death, and the monk reveals the way to overcome human suffering in all its forms through meditation.
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What does Buddhism believe in?
Buddhism was founded in the 5th century and is considered by some to be a religion, by others a philosophy or practice based on meditation. There are a large number of different philosophies in which compassion, love of neighbor, concern for the sufferings of others, and self-effacement are of fundamental importance regardless of the philosophy.
Buddhism strongly believe that the most precious thing is compassion and even practices it. They truly believe that if we have a good heart and kind feelings, we will be happy and content with ourselves.
Buddhism does not contradict science. It does not contradict medicine, nor is it in opposition to other faiths. Buddhism itself shows that no one likes suffering, but all beings experience it, at least until they reach enlightenment. It is also a tool for liberation from conditioning.
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Buddhism major beliefs
The founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Guatama (born 560 BC, died 480 BC according to modern historians) was born into a royal family in India. He lived a life of luxury, his family trying to protect him from pain and suffering by limiting his contact with outsiders.
The basic principle and Buddhism’s major beliefs are compassion and love of neighbor. Amplifying love and compassion is fundamental, and the Dalai Lama says this is the religion’s main message.
Buddhism believe that Dalai Lama also argues that it is important to practice the essentials in our daily lives, and in this respect, there is almost no difference between Buddhism, Christianity, and other religions. All religions emphasize improvement, the straightening of the human being, the feeling of brotherhood, and love for one’s neighbor.
- Compassion (karunā)
- Unconditional love for others (pali:mettā; Sanskrit:maitrī)
All these are common to all religions. So, if we examine the essence of religion, there are no great differences between Buddhist and Christianity religions.
Buddhist beliefs about God
Buddhism is an Eastern religion and philosophy. It originated in India in the 6th century BC and spread throughout much of Central and Southeast Asia. It is based on the teachings of Gautama Siddhartha (Buddha Shakyamuni), an Indian thinker believed to have lived between 563 BC and 483 BC.
Buddhists perceive God not necessarily as a being, but more as energy, they in turn become a kind of god. They rely on traditions and the teachings of Buddha.
Over time, Buddhism has undergone many changes and is now a highly divided religion with no common sacred language and no strict, clearly formulated dogma. Widespread in China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Korea, Mongolia, Union of Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The Buddhist Bible
The historical veracity of the founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha (623-543 BC, according to Buddhist tradition in Burma and Thailand; 560-480 BC, according to modern historians), is confirmed by most scholars today, despite old theories in the past that he was more of a mythological figure.
The official Buddhist Bible is called “The Tripitaka“. Still, there is no single book of Buddhist scripture comparable to the Bible (Christianity) or the Quaran (Islam). Some followers of Buddhism consider the “Mahayana sutras” to be the original teachings of the Buddha. For others Pāli Tipitaka (Three Baskets, refers to three collections of texts: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka)
Buddhism belongs to the group of dharmic religions alongside Hinduism and Jainism, retaining a strong influence of the constituent elements of these two religions. It is also called ‘Buddha Dharma’, which in Sanskrit and Pali (the languages of ancient Buddhist texts) means ‘the teachings of the Enlightened One.
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Meaning of Dharma Wheel
Dharma Wheel in the shape of the wheel, as a circle, symbolizes perfection or the Dharma teachings, where the three components signify the three aspects of these teachings, relating to ethics, wisdom, and concentration. As the center of the wheel, the hub embodies the discipline and mental stability vital to meditation. The spikes are symbols of the wisdom and awareness needed to dispel ignorance, while the obada represents the state of awareness that holds everything together.
The word ‘dharma’ can be translated as ‘law’, which is why the Dharma wheel is said to be the ‘wheel of law’. This Buddhist symbol may have its origins in Hinduism as the Hindu god Vishnu is usually depicted carrying a wheel which is considered a powerful weapon capable of defeating human passions and desires.
Representation of Dharma Wheel
Buddhism death beliefs
A man’s karma is the result of a deed as in Hinduism and is based on the strict law of conditionalism (Pratitya-samutpada) according to which from every phenomenon another must result. The consequence of a deed committed in this life does not necessarily materialize in the next life but may manifest itself in the same life or more distant lives.
Buddhist death beliefs involve karma. If in the pre-Buddhist religions of India the soul (atman) was the element of the passage from one life to another through reincarnation. Buddhist death beliefs are the very ‘thirst’ (tanha) of the dying man to reincarnate into a better being for his karma. As there is no eternal soul, the connection between a present individual. And one in a pre-existing life is not a physical or spiritual one, but a purely karmic, moral one.
However, Buddhism believe that it is not the deed itself that determines karma. But rather the intention to commit it and the attitude of the perpetrator. For example, if a person intends to do a certain deed but is prevented from doing it. This intention will influence that person’s karma, even though the deed itself has not changed the environment in any way.
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What is Nirvana?
A Buddhist must detach himself from karma and the cycle of reincarnation by continuing to do good deeds. But with an attitude detached from their outcome. He must let go of certain states: desire, ignorance, craving, delusion, and self-centeredness. Belief in an eternal self, and hatred, to detach himself from these human instincts.
Nirvana is the state in which suffering is annihilated and man is freed from the cycle of reincarnation. The ultimate goal of Buddhism is Nirvana when the ‘extinction’ of all desires is complete and the person is transformed into another state.
Those who believe that the Buddhist religion is the true religion should ask themselves if this is the purpose of life: to live, to endure so much pain and suffering, and then to die and start again. It should raise a question mark over the point of such things. Christians know that God sent His Son to die for us, just once, so that we would not suffer for all eternity.
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The teachings of Buddhism are also common to Hinduism. Namely: reincarnation, karma, Maya. Buddhism can be difficult to understand in terms of its relationship to God. Some streams of Buddhism could legitimately be called atheistic, while others could be called pantheistic, and others believe in something supernatural, but it is not very clearly defined what. Classical Buddhism, however, tends to remain silent about the reality of a supreme being.
Buddhism is divided into two broad categories: Theravada and Mahayana. Theravada is the form of monasticism that reserves the highest enlightenment and Nirvana for monks, while Mahayana Buddhism is for non-monks. Buddhism is divided into many branches: Tendai, Vajrayana, Nichiren, Shingon, Pure Land, Zen Koans, and Ryobi.
Buddha never considered himself a god. Instead, after his death, he was elevated to godhood by some of his followers, although not all Buddhists agree with this view. Buddhism does not answer the question of who created the universe because there is no notion of beginning and end in Buddhism. For Buddhists, man is subject to an endless cycle of reincarnation.
Similarities between Buddhism and Christianity
In Buddhism, there are three ‘fires’ that the practitioner tries to extinguish to find Nirvana: passion, hatred, and ignorance (delusion). This teaching is common to the Bible, which says, “So let sin no longer reign in your mortal body and do not obey its lusts.” (Romans 6:12).
At the same time, hatred and ignorance are also denounced in Scripture. There are around 70 proverbs that speak of “foolishness” and all of them are in a negative context. Hatred is also a negative state: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all faults” (Proverbs 10:12).
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Differences between Buddhism and Christianity
Buddhism’s quelling of “passion” is far different from the direction the Bible offers. Buddhism does not see sin as a violation of a divine moral code. Rather, it recommends the elimination of all desires to get rid of all desires. Instead, God promises to fulfill the desires of our hearts so that we may enjoy Him (Psalms 37:4).
Unlike Nirvana, heaven in the Christian view is a place where there is eternal joy and desires are fulfilled. Buddhism does not believe in the existence of the soul, or eternal life. Or the existence of a creative and loving God. Thus, as in Islam, man must strive to save himself.
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- Buddhism spread throughout the Indian subcontinent and neighboring countries (such as Sri Lanka) during the first five centuries. After the Buddha’s death. In the two millennia that followed, it spread to Asia and all other continents.
- According to Buddhist philosophy, existence, the world in general, has three characteristics: impermanence (Skt. anitya pal. anicca); non-self (Skt. anātman pal. anatta), and dissatisfaction (Skt. duhkha pal. dukkha) or pain.
- The Buddhist eight-armed path is the way to remove suffering, the fourth part of the four Noble Truths. The eight arms can be divided into three sections: Sila (which refers to physical actions, and gestures), Samadhi (which aims at meditative concentration), and Prajñā (which directs spiritual insight into the true nature of things).
Guatama meets four different people: an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a monk. The first three reveal to him the ephemerality of material existence, due to old age, illness, and death respectively. Seeing the monk’s peace of mind, he decides to give up the life of wealth and decides to become an ascetic himself, to pursue enlightenment.
At the age of 35, through meditation, he achieves ‘enlightenment’, becoming known as the ‘enlightened one’, or ‘Buddha’. Later, he began to teach his fellow monks, among whom he had already acquired great influence. Five of his colleagues became his first disciples. Gautama discovered that enlightenment lay on the ‘middle path, not in pampering, a life of luxury, or complete self-denial. He discovered what would come to be known as ‘the four noble truths.
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In conclusion, Buddhism believe that to achieve enlightenment, a Buddhist must detach himself from karma and the cycle of reincarnation. So he must continue to do good deeds, but with an attitude detached from their outcome. He must let go of desire (lobha), ignorance (avijjā), and craving (tanha). Delusion (moha), self-centeredness or belief in an eternal self (attā). And hatred (dosa), and become impersonal.