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Why call Buddhism philosophy and not religio?

Sbennett
Posts: 27
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2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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2/13/2015 2:52:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

Religion : Worships a deity
Buddhism: Does not worship a deity

Thus it simply does not fall into the category of "religion"
Sbennett
Posts: 27
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2/13/2015 2:56:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:52:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

Religion : Worships a deity
Buddhism: Does not worship a deity


Thus it simply does not fall into the category of "religion"

But it doesn't fall into the category of philosophy either! Nor does it fall under the category of lifestyle. Have you ever been to a Buddhist center?

Plus, Jainism doesn't believe in a deity. Yet they have beliefs about the soul, afterlife, etc. Does that mean they are also not a religion?

Why not expand the definition of religion to also include those faiths that have no deity?
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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2/13/2015 3:02:52 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:56:22 PM, Sbennett wrote:
At 2/13/2015 2:52:30 PM, Envisage wrote:
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

Religion : Worships a deity
Buddhism: Does not worship a deity


Thus it simply does not fall into the category of "religion"

But it doesn't fall into the category of philosophy either! Nor does it fall under the category of lifestyle. Have you ever been to a Buddhist center?

Hm, I think it would fall into a category of philosophy or spiritualism if anything, despite it's religious ties. As for your question, yes, I have been to two, one as recently as last year. I must admit the practices and cultures very much resembled organised religion, so I guess it's hard to categorise.

Plus, Jainism doesn't believe in a deity. Yet they have beliefs about the soul, afterlife, etc. Does that mean they are also not a religion?

Categorically, they wouldn't be a religion either, no.

Why not expand the definition of religion to also include those faiths that have no deity?

You could do that, but then that's hard to do without including things that are clearly not regarded as religions, such as Jedi Fanaticism, etc.
Sbennett
Posts: 27
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2/13/2015 3:03:51 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
phi"los"o"phy
fəG2;l"səfē/Submit
noun
the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as an academic discipline.
a particular system of philosophical thought.
plural noun: philosophies
"Schopenhauer"s philosophy"
the study of the theoretical basis of a particular branch of knowledge or experience.

1. Zen Buddhism is NOT an academic discipline. We do not sit around studying books or writings. Christianity looks at a book 100 times more often then we do.

2. We do not speculate and discuss ideas or thoughts about the nature of reality. We do not sit around the table and debate philosophical ideas that we have over tea. Nor do we do this with a Zen teacher or master.

3. We do not academically learn about doctrines or teachings. Again, no book study. Zen Buddhism in particular is the school of Buddhism that is "beyond words and letters".

4. Zen Buddhism is not about conceptualizing reality, or coming up with nifty philosophical concepts of how reality works. There is no system of doctrine to learn that makes you an accomplished Zen student.

5. Zen Buddhism is not a branch of knowledge that can be studied.

Therefore, Zen Buddhism is not a philosophy.

What else would you call it if not religion?
Harikrish
Posts: 11,010
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2/13/2015 3:05:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.
In some definitions to qualify as a religion there has to be a deity central to the set of beliefs held by its followers. Buddha was not a deity. He was a normal human who found enlightenment. After Buddhas death some sects of Buddhist enshrined him and began to worship him as a deity. But his teaching clearly indicated he was a teacher.
Buddhism is the only transcendental religion that offers a way of life that can satisfy the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of the individual without the need for mystical/mythical Godheads.
DanneJeRusse
Posts: 12,633
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2/13/2015 3:21:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

I see no problem calling Buddhism a religion, it's even used as an example in the Dictionary.

1.a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
2.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
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YamaVonKarma
Posts: 7,570
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2/13/2015 3:41:13 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

I'm a Buddhist as well so I see where you're coming from. However, I see Buddhism and Taoism as schools of thought rather than religions. Simply because they have no worship at their core. Their more sectorial forms usually do, though.
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uncung
Posts: 3,456
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2/13/2015 7:19:41 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Go figure it since Buddhism belongs to these:
Vihara=temple
Bikshu=priests
Vendeta=another kind of priesthood
dress code
meditation as one of their ritual
vahala=reward in here after
mara=devil
naraka=hell
nirvana=paradise
holiday just like christmas
tripitaka=holy book
mantra=chanting

and soon.
will one still call them as not a religion?
Pase66
Posts: 775
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2/13/2015 8:58:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 2/13/2015 2:50:50 PM, Sbennett wrote:
Ok, I'm Buddhist, (Zen Buddhist) and one thing that drives me nuts is when people called Buddhism, or Zen Buddhism, a philosophy. I have told people in my life "I'm Buddhist" and then they come around and insist to me that my religion is not a religion but a philosophy. Yet, they have never practiced Zen Buddhism, and don't seem to know much about it.

So, what is your motive behind calling Buddhism a philosophy?

(Is it a compliment because you see all religions as necessarily horrible things? Or is your definition of religion so narrow that Buddhism doesn't fit into it? Or have others just told you that so you believe that is true? Or do you not realize that there are places people go- even Zen Buddhists, especially Zen Buddhists- to practice it?)

For those of you who call it a philosophy, how many of you have actually gone to a Buddhist center or service and practiced it (or at least observed other people practicing it?)

My suspicion is that people who call it a philosophy have never been anywhere, and have only read about it in books or heard about it in religious classes. I know a lot of people see religion as "bad" but I also think that's not a great reason to exclude Buddhism from being called a religion, because the truth is not all religions ARE bad, and not all religions ARE dogmatic. There are many (non-Buddhist) religions that act nothing like Christianity or Islam, for example. (Not that I believe Christianity and Islam are by necessity bad, but some people might think that.)

Anyway, I'd be interested in learning the reasons why people say this.

The confusion comes from what buddhism is about. One can follow buddhist philosophy (four seals of dharma, four noble truths, eightfold path), but are not considered buddhist. My understanding is, to become buddhist, one has to take refuge in the three treasures (the buddha, the law, and the sangha). I think the problem arises when people see a great, undogmatic religion out there (I believe Zen discourages people from following scripture exactly, and encourages one to find practical ways to attain nirvana), they want to separate it from what they believe is a bad thing. I personally don't see religion as a bad thing (I myself was raised in a Hindu family, yet the Buddha is highly revered in hinduism).
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Welfare-Worker
Posts: 1,181
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2/15/2015 7:50:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
A special transmission outside the scriptures;
Depending not on words and letters;
Pointing directly to the human mind;
Seeing into one's nature, one becomes a Buddha.

No reliance on sacred scriptures.
No statement on god - the follower of the Buddha can accept or reject god(s) as they choose.
No statement on a persistence of identity as associated with an afterlife.
No rituals ordained by the Buddha to observe.

Buddhism has been absorbed by many cultures and societies, very much like Christianity, not so much like Judaism and Islam.
In being absorbed it has taken on taken on the character of the host,
Where there was no god, now there is.
Where there were no sacred scriptures, now there are.
Where there was no persistence of personal identity, now there is.

It is easy to argue Buddhism can become a religion. I would not, others might.

One saying from Zen that I like is 'If you meet the Buddha on the way to the marketplace, strike him with your spade.'


Why not expand the definition of religion to also include those faiths that have no deity?
We call those 'belief systems'.
'Belief systems' are the ideas one uses to guide their life, to make decisions, many belief systems are religions, many are not.
'We' are not in the habit of changing the meaning of words to suit 'you.
You need a smaller ego.

1. Zen Buddhism is NOT an academic discipline. We do not sit around studying books :or writings. Christianity looks at a book 100 times more often then we do.

We do not, or we do 1% as much as Christians? You must choose, it cannot be both.
Meditation is sitting around studing - if you are soto.
I am Rinzai. so my meditation is with rake in hand.
Life requires discipline. If you have no life, you have no Zen.

2. We do not speculate and discuss ideas or thoughts about the nature of reality. We :do not sit around the table and debate philosophical ideas that we have over tea. :Nor do we do this with a Zen teacher or master.

And how is it satori is attained?
Why is it that these religionists have no satori, if it requires no effort?
Being mindful we become without mind. If the state of no-mind were as easy spending the day sleeping, as teenagers we would all be Zen masters.

3. We do not academically learn about doctrines or teachings. Again, no book study. :Zen Buddhism in particular is the school of Buddhism that is "beyond words :and letters".

If you must go beyond the mountain to reach the sea, how do you reach the sea without passing the mountain?

4. Zen Buddhism is not about conceptualizing reality, or coming up with nifty :philosophical concepts of how reality works. There is no system of doctrine to :learn that makes you an accomplished Zen student.

"Before I grasped Zen, the mountains were nothing but mountains and the rivers were nothing but rivers. When I got into Zen, the mountains were no longer mountains and the rivers were no longer rivers. But when I understood Zen, the mountains were only mountains and the rivers only rivers."

So, you see mountains as nothing but mountains, and by this you consider yourself accomplished. And when you realized mountains were not mountains, what were they?

5. Zen Buddhism is not a branch of knowledge that can be studied.
If you want to be a Zen Buddhist you must live it.
Before you decide if you must live it, you must study it.

Belief systems are personal philosophies.
Zen is a belief system.
Zen is a philosophy.