"Buddhism has the characteristics of what would be expected in a cosmic religion for the future: it transcends a personal God, avoids dogmas and theology; it covers both the natural & spiritual, and it is based on a religious sense aspiring from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity" Albert Einstein
John sent his thoughts about Buddhism:
As much as I like the Dalai Lama and his philosophy, anyone who understands Buddhism will hold off on calling it a “religion,” at least one comparable to the theistic religions. Science explains the workings of the perceived universe, and has always been welcomed by Buddhists, who would perhaps say they are more concerned, spiritually, with the not-perceived universe. The major difference between Buddhists and believers in theistic religions, in my view, is that Buddhism concerns itself with the individual and his/her achieving happiness amid the exigencies of daily existence. “God” is irrelevant to this world view. Theists see man’s purpose as service to God, individual happiness being a secondary benefit, even something that can be dispensed with altogether in favor of paradise in the next life. It seems to me that Buddhism offers a far more practical approach to dealing with the very real issues of human pain and suffering, our own or that of others, than do the theistic religions. Interestingly, Buddhism and the theistic religions express the same basic ethical rule: do not do to others that which you would not want done to yourself.
My two cents,
I don't quibble with those who call Buddhism a religion any more than I quibble with those who do. I sort of think that this is beside the point I was trying to make about how "religions" tend to lie, claiming "truth" where no facts exist.
Most Theistic religions have a body of historical myth, usually a mix of oral history and supernatural occurances, used to justify the particular religion's claim to be the one "True" belief system. When science, and its stringent method of determining the validity of any claim, contadicts religion, Religion tends to attack science. Buddhism is an exception to this disgusting practice.
There is no science whatsoever behind the Buddhist belief in reincarnation, for instance, though Buddhist texts speak of reincarnation as a known entity and weasels by saying that science cannot disprove it, so far. The "knowing" of the unknowable makes it a religion to me.
Reincarnation, in my thinking, falls into the same category as heaven and hell in more familiar mythologies...The reward, if you act as the religion suggests, and the boogeyman, that'll get you if you don't.
Interestingly, Buddist philosophy accepts my personal inability to accept the supernatural part of Buddism...Something no other major religion would tolerate.
As a continuing service to my poor suffering readers, here is a quickie on Buddhism from a web site I visit often. There are good resources in abundant supply at the home page, but I've given you the short cut to today's topic.
Be sure to think about the Five Precepts:
And now this:
Consider the story of the two octogenarians on a park bench. One asks the other: "Do you believe in heaven?"
"Well, Joe," replies Harry, "I've never really thought much about it."
"Maybe we ought to start thinking about it," says Joe. "One of us is going to go first. Let's agree that the one who is left behind will come to this park bench every Wednesday at 11:00 a.m., and the one who has departed will find a way of getting a message to him at that time about heaven and all those other things that are beyond our understanding."
One month later, Joe dies peacefully in his sleep. Every week for several months, Harry takes up his station at the park bench at 11:00 a.m.
Then one Wednesday, at the appointed hour, he hears a voice, as though from afar.
"Harry, Harry, can you hear me?" the voice says. "It's Joe."
"Joe! Oh my gosh! Quick... heaven... what is it like?"
"You wouldn't believe it, Harry, about the only thing you do up here is make love. They wake you up at seven in the morning and you make love until noon. After lunch and a nap, you're at it again right through until dinner time."
"Good gosh, Joe, heaven sounds incredible!"
"I'm not in Heaven, Harry...I'm a rabbit in Montana!"