Le bouddhisme est-il une Religion ou une Philosophie ?

Like any other religion, Buddhism has its origins, its history, its practices, its beliefs among many others. This spirituality interests a large number of people, men and women. But is it really a religion or a philosophy? To answer this question, let's take some essential points from Buddhism.

Buddhism, the extent of the major religious currents

Over the past decade, the scope of Buddhism and its practices has expanded. New practitioners are converting to benefit from the well-being of practices. We can divide the main currents of current Buddhism into a few points:

  • Theravada or hinayana: This is the traditional form of Buddhism. It is also called "conformist Buddhism" or "the little vehicle", because the practices respect Buddhist tradition and are consistent with the time of the Buddha. The traditional countries are Nepal, Ceylon, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Indonesia;
  • Mahayana: This other aspect of Buddhist practices highlights the Buddhist tradition that adapts to the current trend, namely the socio-cultural environment. It is also called “The Great Vehicle” and is distributed as follows:

- Vajrayana: This Buddhism is more common in Tibet and the practices are centered on magical formulas or “Dhâranis”, magical signs or “Mudrâs” and magical prayers or “Mandâras”;

- Dhyana: This Buddhism is called “Zen”, because meditation is at the heart of the practices;

- The Pure Land: This last aspect of Buddhism is manifested by the recitation of the name of Buddha Amithaba and the practices are done with the rosary.

The impact of Buddha’s teaching on social life

The main impact is moral and psychological. The Buddha himself emphasizes the importance of exemplary leadership from lay people and monks in society. Indeed, this is part of his preaching with virtues such as:

- Compassion and/or understanding;

- the desire to save others from suffering and misfortune;

- The desire to bring joy to others;

- The joy of the happiness of others.

Furthermore, Siddhartha Gautama, known as Buddha, gave advice to his son before his entry into Nirvana, he said: "It is good, whatever you do for your own sake and in the interest of others; it is wrong, everything you do against your interest and against the interest of others; and you must be very careful when you want to do something in the interests of some but against others.” This is supported by precepts such as not stealing, killing, lying, committing adultery and not using drugs or alcohol.

The essential rules of life according to Buddhism

To live in peace and learn to live like a Buddhist, here are some rules to follow:

  • Acceptance of life in itself, that is to say the importance of humility. This allows us to bypass permanent suffering and learn to coexist;
  • The preservation of honor is a value that every human being must have. Indeed, it gives value to our existence and our personal life;
  • Never regret, because regret is a factor of suffering. You must learn to live each moment as if it were your last. Thus, each situation would be a new learning experience for oneself;
  • Get rid of desire, because desire can be another cause of suffering. The famous samurai warrior Miyamoto Mushashi said: "He who desires much is very frustrated. Therefore, to be at peace, one must learn to give up desire;
  • Learn to let go of the useless, that is to say, objects that you don't really need. The more you attach yourself to an object, the more you become a slave to that same object. We must therefore never forget that it is the human being who controls objects and not the other way around;
  • Helping others, in Buddhism, doing a good deed gives satisfaction in itself. </>

Is Buddhism a philosophy?

Etymologically, in the term philosophy, there is the Greek word "philein" which means love, and "sophia" which means wisdom. In a word, philosophy is defined as a love of wisdom. In this sense, Buddhism is a philosophy because wisdom is a trait or even an aspect of this spirituality. According to Buddha's teachings, wisdom trumps love and faith. Moreover, the main role of a Buddhist is to develop wisdom within oneself. Thus, one who attains fully developed wisdom is considered a Buddha.

The most common definition of philosophy is based on the rational and experimental study of life and nature. If we refer to this view, Buddhism converges towards philosophy because Buddha developed dharma, Buddhist doctrine, through a rational and experimental study of life and nature.

Nuance between Buddhism and philosophy

To determine the difference between philosophy and Buddhism, it is essential to examine their boundaries. Philosophy is limited in its context and belongs to a phenomenal world. While the scope of Buddhism, on the other hand, is immense. It affects the universe and its components, including nature and humanity, and is therefore unlimited. Beyond rational and experimental studies, Buddhism considers itself as a practice that encompasses method and experience. The latter two contribute to and even promote the achievement of the final goal of happiness and the liberation of man from his personal control.

However, it is good to clarify that Buddhism is neither magic nor miracle. According to the teachings of Buddha, every situation, every existence, etc. has meaning. There are wise people and specialists who can provide an explanation for everything. Otherwise, meditation is an essential way to find truth and wisdom.

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