Is Buddhism a Religion?

Posted by ChampDog | Sunday, March 20, 2011

This question may be raised especially when you start knowing or researching in Buddhism – Is Buddhism really a religion?  Well, let me ask you this. Does that really a matter to you? Isn’t all that based on your definition of “religion”?


Alright it does matter to you and you insist want to you know the answer, then let me ask you this question. 
  
Is freethinking a religion? 

If your answer is yes, then Buddhism is a religion. If your answer is no, then Buddhism is NOT a religion.  This is only true if you 100% understand what Buddhism is all about.
 
Human has already defined Buddhism is a religion and freethinking or freethought is NOT a religion. You can just check it out the definition of religion and freethinking by wikipedia. Let’s set this as baseline of our discussion. The confusion happens when you start getting closer to understand the Buddhism, then you soon realize that Buddhism in fact is a free thinking philosophy.


Can you see the contradiction here? Buddhism is a religion but it is also a freethinking philosophy (after you fully understand what Buddhism is about). However, freethinking is NOT a religion. So, what is Buddhism now? 

Well, this goes back to the people who define Buddhism as religion because they do NOT think Buddhism is a freethinking philosophy but it is. This is due to lack of understanding about Buddhism concept when this definition is defined.

 
Thus, technically speaking Buddhism is NOT a religion if you 100% understand what Buddhism is about. So my answer to this question is:


"No, Buddhism is not a religion"

P/S: This is only assuming freethinking or freethought is not a religion which is the common understanding. :D 

[Update: June 16, 2012]: What is Buddhism?

10 comments
  1. Anonymous March 23, 2011  

    I`m atheist but if i had to choose between religions i would choose buddhism.

    It`s so realted to nature and human needs... and almost anyone could follow it`s true path.

    Well written article. Keep them coming :3

  2. ChampDog March 23, 2011  

    Thanks and I agree of what you said. :) Buddhism is making a lot of sense scientifically in fact.

  3. Michael Tsen April 30, 2011  

    totally confused, why must free thinker not a religion has anything to do with Buddhism at all ?

  4. ChampDog May 01, 2011  

    This is because the highest level understanding of Buddhism is a free thinking philosophy.

  5. Michael Tsen May 19, 2011  

    only true by your own definition, logically it doesn't seem matching at all.

  6. ChampDog May 21, 2011  

    Will add more information in the upcoming topics if it is not convincing enough from this post:

    http://champdog.blogspot.com/2010/12/is-buddhist-free-thinker.html

    :)

  7. Jimmy Clay August 21, 2011  

    Hi ChampDog, I don't know a lot about Buddhism, but doesn't Buddhism have beliefs regarding Karma and what other ideas about what happens to us after we die? I would call those supernatural beliefs because we cannot know anything about them directly. And that is were the religious element would come in. I think Buddhism could be a religion and philosophy at the same time. In fact I think all religions are also philosophies. Just some thoughts.

  8. ChampDog August 21, 2011  

    If you talk about Buddhism, the most important element of Buddhism is about “realization” and NOT on beliefs. There is no “beliefs” in Buddhism in fact. This is also what most people are confused about the Buddhism. Another important point about realization is, it must be from within and not from external. You realize something by your own but not realizing something because of someone says something to you. That’s the reason why Buddhist practice meditation everyday. The ultimate goal is to stay focus and find out the answers by their own.

    So you may ask, what is Karma and all those things that happen after death? Isn’t that a belief? It is not a belief, it is merely a sharing by someone who “realize” or “aware” how this system works and he writes it down to share that to you. In this case, there are more than one person to realize the same thing but it doesn’t mean they’re all correct too. Of course, it doesn’t mean they’re wrong too. Whether that is a truth or not, you have to experience or figure out that yourself. That is what Buddhism philosophy teaches you to do. If you believe them without your own realizations or awareness, that is no longer called Buddhism. That’s where Taoism comes into the picture.

    That is also why in my other posts or articles, I mentioned Buddhism is in fact a free thinking philosophy. Everything is from within and not from external. The sad news is many still do not understand truly what Buddhism is about even for those who has been been practicing Buddhism. Since Buddhism is not about beliefs like most religions do, I classify that as philosophy instead of religion.

    Hope my explanation is making sense to you. Feel free to comment if you have any. I love your comment and I appreciate that very much. :)

  9. KL Gan March 15, 2012  

    interesting thoughts...

    in fact, now it seem like all religions are free thinking, started by someone whom had realisation while in free thinking state. And than share his experienced with others.

    The problem is when the non-thinking mass took the idea and follow it literally. To the point of killing others who dare to divert from those experiences of the other guy whom initially wrote that piece of document (his experiences)

    make any sense?

  10. ChampDog March 17, 2012  

    From my point of view, I think it makes sense but I don't think many will agree with us. Are you a free thinker?

    Not all religions can accept the free thinking stage. It is not started by someone. It is started by HIM and that is the ultimate.

    Killing is a little bit extreme. and I think that is not proper teaching of all religions.