8 Answers

  1. The problem with identifying Buddhism is that in the cultures where it originated and originally spread historically, there is no clear division between “philosophy”and” religion.” This leads to a whole set of problems when we want to describe Eastern phenomena in terms of Western sutra-not only Buddhism, but also Confucianism, Taoism, and yoga can be considered within the framework of the same problem.

    In Chinese, for example, religions, especially Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism are called 敎. This word, also used in Japanese and Korean, means ” teaching, religion, etiquette, custom.” So a question like “is X a religion or a philosophical / ethical doctrine” is strictly meaningless within Chinese, Korean, or Japanese culture. A similar situation occurs in India. The isolation of “religion” in the form of a special, distinctive sphere of culture is a phenomenon that came to the Western world, mainly along with Christainism, which began to actively oppose itself to the ancient heritage, including philosophy, ancient religion, theater, and in general to the entire complex of ancient ideas about the world and, in general, ancient culture.

    But if we put this question aside and try to analyze Buddhism from the point of view of Western categories, it seems that it would be most correct to say that Buddhism, since it can be quite different, can act within the framework of Western culture both as a philosophy and as a religion. It all depends on what form of Buddhism and how one adheres to it. Zen Buddhism, for example, is often viewed in the West as a philosophy rather than a religion, while gelug in modern Russia, or Japanese shingon, are more likely to be religious traditions.

    In other words, a lot depends on the context. For example, if we are talking about university courses, then Buddhism, of course, makes sense to include both in the history of religion and in the history of philosophy, placing different accents and highlighting different aspects of Buddhism in each case. If we are talking about registration of religious organizations, then we should focus on self-identity: if they consider themselves religious, they can be considered as religious, but if they don't, they can't be considered.

  2. Buddhism – – – “behavior, outlook, and meditation.” Wisdom is the Buddha himself. The basic idea of Buddhism is the existence of a material world inhabited by conscious beings; it asserts that everything is subject to the law of causality, and that everything is constantly, though imperceptibly, changing. This law applies everywhere; therefore, in the general sense of the word, there is neither heaven nor hell. Judging from the above, Buddhism is more of a philosophy than a religion. With respect.

  3. Philosophy is a science that has the goal of knowing this world. Buddhism is not concerned with knowledge of the world, it is a certain school of human self-improvement. So let's say it's practice.

  4. Buddhism is a religion without God and a philosophy about the limitless possibilities of man as an independently developing being outside of God and the universe …

  5. BUDDHISM is a RELIGION whose MYTHOLOGY is based on revelations and insights, which is not very well suited for forming a full-fledged PHILOSOPHY on this basis, at least in its analytical tradition (as is possible, for example, in Christianity).

  6. Buddhism as a set of temples, Buddhists, traditions, rituals and other things is a religion, while the teaching itself is a philosophy. Just on the basis of the teachings of the Buddha, the religion of Buddhism appeared.

  7. “Buddhism, like the Jain religion, was originally a monastic religion that originated in circles belonging to the kshatriya caste, to satisfy the religious needs of enlightened people who were not brahmins” But then it was greatly expanded from the original source. In principle, any philosophical teaching where there is a dual Deity, a doctrine about the soul, spirit, or both, while there is a concept and a clear idea of the afterlife is called a religion. With Buddhism recently as a recognition of it as a full-fledged denomination on an equal footing with everyone:Judaism, Catholics . Protestants and Muslims have only one problem . The concept of deity there is impersonal, that is, all the teachings that the Buddha speaks to him were given from above, but not from a person, but from some impersonal potential. The Buddha himself, though revered as a deity, is not a god . only a prophet.

  8. First, this question is easily clarified visually, for example, if you go to a real meeting of real Buddhists, for example, to the Moscow or St. Petersburg Theravada community (or take my word for it – I attend such meetings). After you see the recitation of Paritta suttas (special suttas from the Pali canon that have protective powers – for example, when someone is ill or when otherworldly beings are acting maliciously towards them), the blessing of Buddha puja (a special dish on which a portion of all the food that lay people brought for a joint dinner is laid out), the merit initiation ceremony, and the recitation of stanzas that call the deities to listen to today's Dhamma talk, you will stop asking such questions and immediately understand what it is, without any doubt, religion.

    Secondly, it is necessary to understand where the idea of Buddhism as “just such a philosophy”came from. I've already said this several times here, but I can repeat it again, it's not difficult for me 🙂 It's going to be a little long and boring right now:

    During the period of the emergence of industrial capitalism and the collapse of traditional society, that is, in the 18th and 19th centuries, an individual appears in Europe who begins to have free will in relation to his own life. After mass migration from rural areas to cities, the individual has the opportunity to choose the place and type of activity. He even has the opportunity to choose a marriage partner of his own free will – the great German sociologist Niklas Luhmann noted, for example, that the very concept of romantic love arises just at this time as a way to legitimize the free choice of a partner from another class.�

    Similarly, in the 19th century, active secularization began: in an industrial society, the church was no longer able to perform the same functions as in a patriarchal traditional society, and the need for it as an important social institution disappeared. In addition, at this time, society was strongly influenced by positivism, which rejected the religious picture of the world. For example, according to Auguste Comte, humanity has evolved from the most primitive-the theological stage, to the most progressive, that is, the scientific or positive stage of development.�

    Religion itself, on the one hand, is losing ground, and on the other hand, it is becoming just one of the possible options for choosing. With the development of modernity and the transition to late modernity (postmodern), the possibilities of choice are rapidly increasing. You can already choose your own identity and place of residence, and in general, today everyone wears New Balance sneakers, and tomorrow there may be a fashion for frock coats and ball gowns.�

    In the 19th and 20th centuries, religion was actively studied under a magnifying glass by anyone who claimed to be a humanist or a representative of the social sciences. This is an important factor in the secularization and “disenchantment” of the world (Weber): there is nothing more mystical about Christianity now; we can look at it like a fly under a magnifying glass. And at this time, religion is actively “promoted” by philosophy, and it all starts with the same Christianity (Christian existentialism) and Judaism (for example, Martin Buber). But this does not make Christianity “partly a philosophy”! Christianity with all its sacraments and faith, the Christianity of village churches, processions and “Christ is risen!”at Easter, there is nothing further, even if the occupancy rate of these churches is falling, and some Gabriel Marcel (just a famous Christian existentialist) is further away.

    So what's going on with Buddhism? And the fact that it just at this very time in the West becomes known and immediately “gets into circulation”. It is immediately registered by everyone who is not lazy, starting with the newly appeared psychologists (Jung, Fromm). Zen, thanks to the efforts of such figures as Daisetsu Suzuki or Alan Watts, immediately becomes part of popular culture (“That is, Buddhism from the very beginning falls into the already secular consumer society and therefore cannot be perceived as a religion! A secular, individualistic, consumer society doesn't need religion. It exists as a kind of annoying anachronism, which cannot be completely eliminated, within modern society, but such a society does not need an additional full-fledged religion at all. But some new mysterious positive “philosophy”is quite useful as a kind of fashion. Therefore, a full-fledged perception and understanding of Buddhism by the West has not happened and will not happen, because real, non – “pop” religious Buddhism was not really needed there before and is not needed now.

    But here is another important aspect of the popularity of Buddhism in the West: New Age. New age (or rather new age/holistic spirituality) is a part of the behavioral pattern of a modern person, a way of perceiving and living the most traumatic manifestations of modernity, what the British sociologist Anthony Giddens called existential isolation. The spiritualistic worldview with its reliance on self-development and self-knowledge, with its perception of life as an endless” flow”, helps a lot to live such unpleasant manifestations of modernity as non-shootedness (including personal identity). That is why now everyone has fallen in love with meditation (in traditional Buddhism, lay people, and most monks, especially, have never meditated), as a way to stay “here and now”. This is exactly what exactly corresponds, for example, with the works of such a new age guru as Erhard Tolle, who even has a book called The Power of Now…

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