If we look for the definition of Buddhism on the Internet, we find several explanations and different interpretations. But what exactly does Buddhism mean to specialists? Is it a religion, belief or philosophy? What are the roles of Buddhist meditation in practice? The following answers will be of great help to you if you want to know more about what Buddhism really is.
Can Buddhism be considered a religion?
Before answering the question, it is necessary to know the definitions of Buddhism and religion. First of all, know that Buddhism is considered the fourth religion on the planet. In fact, it ranks right after Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. According to the various definitions found in books or on the Internet, Buddhism was born from the teachings of Buddha. Certainly you already know this.
As far as religion is concerned, you can define religion as a system of worship and faith. More specifically, it is the act of believing in a supreme being and then worshipping him. Hence the terms believing in God or Allah. Therefore, if we refer to these explanations, Buddhism is not really a religion, because there is no system of faith. Also, it is not a God-based teaching, because Buddha is not.
In short, Buddhism only brings together the philosophies and teachings offered by Buddha. The goal is that people who follow his advice can come out of suffering. However, Buddhism is grouped among the religions in the world because of religious rituals, meditation practices, different theories and ethics, etc. But what do specialists in this field think?
The definition of Buddhism: opinion of specialists in the field
Most practitioners and scholars of Buddhism disagree that it is a religion. For them, it is really something else, even much more than a religion. Indeed and as already mentioned, Buddha is not a God. He is only a man like the others who managed to get rid of suffering. Therefore, Buddha shares his knowledge and teachings with practitioners. They then have the choice to follow the advice or not.
Other specialists say that Buddhism is a religion, but not theistic. Specifically, gods exist but are not worshipped. If we go into detail, Buddhism is a religion that emphasizes the mind of the person in question. In fact, the solutions to free oneself from suffering do not come from the outside, but from within the person himself. Thus, Buddhism gives rise to belief in oneself.
What is really the place of meditation in Buddhism?
When we talk about Buddhist meditation, we ask ourselves a lot of questions. Is it useful? How to do it? … Know that Buddhist meditation is practiced in order to reach nirvana. However, the realization of meditative practices requires the mastery of the theories taught by Buddha. Over time, other techniques have also been added to Buddha’s teachings. As a result, Buddhists must learn Buddhist meditation from a spiritual master or a qualified person.
Simply put, meditation helps a person to endure suffering enormously. The goal is to make the mind work to bear suffering. In addition, the mind will also be disconnected from toxic mechanisms. There are two types of meditation: Vipassanā bhāvanā and Samatha. The practice of these two meditations helps to develop concentration, benevolence, compassion, sympathetic joy, freedom, wisdom, etc. The choice of the type depends on the results you wish to achieve.
So it’s a philosophy, then?
On the other hand, Buddhism is also a philosophy that leads to happiness and also a way of life that everyone can follow. There are no rules to follow to the letter and no disciplines to follow. Buddha only offers recommendations and attempts to open our eyes to the truths that make up this world. With the help of these truths, Buddhists will be able to attain supreme peace or what is called nirvana.
However, the attainment of this goal will depend on wisdom. Wisdom is developed by adopting the good meditation practices recommended by Buddha. Buddhism allows one to look at what is inside oneself, but also to have a vision of life in general. This is called consciousness in itself. In short, in Buddhism all solutions come from within the person who practices it.
In short, you now know the definition of Buddhism. The essential points to know have been discussed so that you understand. So, is Buddhism a religion, belief or philosophy? You can now answer this question.