The Essentials of Zen Buddhism

Buddhism religion powers

It is neither a religion in the sense in which that word is commonly understood, for it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being."

Buddhism does not demand blind faith from its adherents. Here mere belief is dethroned and is substituted by confidence based on knowledge, which, in Pali, is known as saddha. The confidence placed by a follower on the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician, or a student in his teacher. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha because it was he who discovered the path of deliverance.

A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by his (i.e. the Buddha's own) personal purification. The Buddha gives no such guarantee. It is not within the power of a Buddha to wash away the impurities of others. One could neither purify nor defile another. The Buddha, as teacher, instructs us, but we ourselves are directly responsible for our purification. Although a Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha, he does not make any self-surrender. Nor does a Buddhist sacrifice his freedom of thought by becoming a follower of the Buddha. He can exercise his own free will and develop his knowledge even to the extent of becoming a Buddha himself.

The starting point of Buddhism is reasoning or understanding, or, in the Pali words, samma-ditthi.

To the seekers of truth the Buddha says:

"Do not accept anything on (mere) hearsay - (i.e., thinking that thus have we heard it for a long time). Do not accept anything by mere tradition - (i.e., thinking that it has thus been handed down through many generations). Do not accept anything on account of mere rumors - (i.e., by believing what others say without any investigation). Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures. Do not accept anything by mere suppositions. Do not accept anything by mere inference. Do not accept anything by merely considering the reasons. Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions. Do not accept anything merely because it seems acceptable - (i.e., thinking that as the speaker seems to be a good person his words should be accepted). Do not accept anything thinking that the ascetic is respected by us (therefore it is right to accept his word).

"But when you know for yourselves - these things are immoral, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken conduce to ruin and sorrow - then indeed do you...

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Popular Q&A

What are two major religious beliefs of the Buddhism religion?

Karma and Rebirth are two major beliefs for Buddhists.

Is Buddhism a religion or is it a belief?

It is neither a philosophy or religion.
It is a set of principles and practices that lead to the end of suffering.
It isn't necessarily a philosophy because:
Refuge in the 3 jewels
In Tibetean Buddhism there is Tantric Yoga(very misunderstood)
It isn't necessarily a religion because:
No creator God
No claim to have absolute/unchanging truth
No single book (Pali Canon, Mahayana Canon, etc. are compilations)

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