Buddhism is one of the major world religions. This doctrine appeared in the 6th century BC. in India. Its founder is Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha. The followers of the doctrine prefer to call it “Dharma” or “Buddhadharma” (simply the teaching or teaching of the Buddha). And the term “Buddhism” was introduced by Europeans in the XIX century. This world religion is rapidly gaining adherents, especially in Asia. There are about a billion Buddhists in the world.
In the Western world, religion is also practiced, only few people in reality understand the basis of faith. As a result, people conduct incorrect practices, needing an experienced teacher. Buddhism itself leaves many questions, beginning with what it is in general – religion or philosophy? Debunking the basic myths about Buddhism, we will do it.
Buddhism is a religion.
The status of Buddhism, as a religion, is actually quite incomprehensible. It all depends on what is considered a true religion. Buddhism does not require in principle to believe in God and not to ask to give up already established faith. There are no answers about who created the world, there is no omnipotent Creator God, there is no need for boundless faith and observance of dogmas. The Buddha himself did not particularly greet the priests and did not consider himself a God or supernatural being. Many of the practices in general are contrary to the generally accepted religious ones. Nevertheless, some perform and practice the ministry in a way that makes it look like a real religion. But the belief system is more like philosophy. Therefore, the perception of Buddhism among the believers themselves can be completely different.
All Buddhists are pacifists.
Buddhists do adhere to the principles of nonviolence, but this is not quite the same as pacifism. So, for example, when the Dalai Lama was asked about the murder of Osama bin Laden, he replied that, unfortunately, he had to take retaliatory measures in response to something serious. The Buddha himself did not profess the principles of culture or politics, dealing with issues of individuality. In the general mass, Buddhists practice nonviolence, but not all Buddhists are pacifists. The fallacy could come from old films with martial oriental arts, when masters always dodged combat when it was possible. But on the other hand, if it was necessary, they always went into battle.
All Buddhists meditate.
People are misled by a Buddhist sitting in the lotus position of a reading mantra, or a meditator. In fact, it can be said that only a few Buddhists meditate regularly, this applies even to monks. And among American religious groups Buddhists in general meditate almost as much as everyone else. Polls of believers showed that more than half meditate only with some irregular regularity.
The Dalai Lama fulfills the role of the Pope for Buddhists.
Many people believe that any religion should have its own leader. So in Buddhism is the Dalai Lama. In fact, he is the leader of only a small part of Buddhism called Gelug. All other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as various schools do not perceive the Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader. In fact, he occupies the post of “teacher” of his sect, formally not even leading it.
Buddha – this is a bald and fat fat man, as it is represented by numerous sculptures.
For most, the founder of the doctrine is exactly so, with a belly flaunting and sitting in a full lotus pose. In fact, such images of the “Laughing Buddha” have nothing to do with the original. Such a statue is also called Budai. Some believe that the “Laughing Buddha” represents a traveler monk who, perhaps, embodied the Maitreya Buddha. There is no evidence that Gautama himself was fat, most likely the Teacher was fit.
Buddhism is a form of paganism.
Some people think so, but Buddhism can be attributed to paganism only in a very broad sense.With this approach, you can include everything that does not belong to the Judeo-Christian faith. But this will be disrespectful to other beliefs. The fact is that even in the speeches of the Dalai Lama, there are many moments that make the West think that religion is not very important. The spiritual master himself repeatedly stressed that religion is something without which we, perhaps, could manage.
Buddhists love suffering.
It is generally accepted that for a Buddhist, suffering is almost a part of spiritual practice. It is possible to recall at least cases of self-immolation of monks for the reinforcement of their principles. In fact, Buddhists seek to know the suffering in order to be able to end it completely. But they understand all the impermanence of life and the fact that without pain it can not do. Buddhists do not think negative at all, focusing on suffering. They are simply optimistic in their acceptance, when pain can not be avoided. Learning gives you the ability to transcend suffering, which is an important part of the Buddhist path.
All Buddhists are vegetarians.
That everyone knows about Buddhism, which prohibits killing alive people. It is logical to assume that the believers themselves are vegetarians, abandoning animal food. Indeed, some Buddhists practice such a diet, but this is their personal choice, based on personal interpretation of the commandments. Such vegetarians believe that they are doing a big and important thing. The Buddha himself was never against eating meat, he even singled out different kinds of food for him, rejecting all the arguments in favor of vegetarianism. So in the Buddhist doctrine there are no rules that forbid eating meat, considering it a murder.
All Buddhists believe in reincarnation.
Again, it is erroneous to consider that all Buddhists believe in reincarnation. That idea of reincarnation, which is replicated by the West, actually has nothing to do with Buddhist faith. The problem lies in the translation, because many Buddhists prefer to use words that can be translated as “revival”. It is obvious that in Buddhism there is no clear idea that after death a person will be reborn as an animal, plant or other organism.
Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, was God.
Those who do not particularly understand the essence of religion, it seems that it is the Buddha who is the supreme God for believers. But in Buddhism there are no deities in the traditional sense. Gautama himself was categorical in that he himself is not a supernatural higher being, recognizing that questions about the origin of man and the world are very important. So the absence of God in Buddhism does not prevent one from believing in something of his own and at the same time remain an adherent of the teachings of Gautama. Buddhism is fully compatible with most religions. The very word Buddha literally means “wake up.” Gautama himself was an enlightened man, but he never claimed more.
Buddhism considers the world illusory.
In fact, such statements are in Hinduism, which is called “Maya.” Buddhism asserts that in the world there is nothing permanent that would not depend on anything and existed on its own. That’s why everything around us is like an illusion, but it is not so. A person perceives the world through his senses, finding it difficult to say what is that which we can not see or hear. And it also creates a semblance of illusion, where reality is subjective.
Buddhism calls to give up all desires.
Buddhism distinguishes three kinds of desires. Kammachanda is something that results from our attachments, aggression, vices. For a person, such attachments are harmful and require elimination. Kattukamaya Tchachanda is a neutral bodily need. And Dhammachanda is a positive desire related to spiritual growth, good for loved ones. These desires also need to be cultivated and cultivated in oneself. In the process of Buddhist practice, desires fulfill a key role.
Buddhism does not teach love and compassion.
One of the main conditions of practice is love, compassion and kindness towards all living beings. The development of this quality, as well as wisdom, awareness and concentration, is a condition for achieving enlightenment. It is believed that in early Buddhism there were no calls for love. But the Buddha himself taught to protect living beings, morals, to help not so much himself, as to develop good qualities in others.
Buddhists meditate to achieve bliss.
In fact, it is a means to calm the mind and stop for a time of mental dialogue. Even in silence man does not remain alone – he constantly hears his own thoughts. With meditation you can try to get rid of them. To do this, select an object, for example, breathing and there is concentration on it. Anything that interferes with concentration is considered a hindrance. Meditation serves not for bliss, but for the development of awareness. A person should feel to the full extent where he is and who he is. With awareness, control over thoughts and feelings improves, which helps to overcome aggression and addiction. So a person can cultivate compassion and benevolence in himself, advancing in his spiritual practices.