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Buddhism is one of the main world religions. There are already 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. Buddhism itself leaves a lot of questions, starting with what is it in general - a religion or philosophy? We will deal with the debunking of the main myths about Buddhism.
Myths about Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion. The status of Buddhism as a religion is actually quite incomprehensible. It all depends on what is considered a real religion. Buddhism does not require, in principle, to believe in God and not ask to abandon an already established faith. No answers are given about who created the world, there is no omnipotent God-creator, unlimited faith and observance of dogmas are not required. Buddha himself did not particularly welcome priests and did not consider himself to be God or a supernatural being. Many of the practices generally contradict generally accepted religious practices. However, some do and practice ministry in a way that makes it feel like 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 non-violence, but this is not exactly the same as pacifism. For example, when the Dalai Lama was asked about the assassination of Osama bin Laden, he replied that, unfortunately, he had to retaliate in response to something serious. The Buddha himself did not profess the principles of culture or politics, dealing with issues of individuality. In general, Buddhists practice non-violence, but not all Buddhists are pacifists. Misconception may have emerged from old martial arts films, where masters always shied away from combat whenever possible. But on the other hand, if it was necessary, they always fought.
All Buddhists meditate. People are misled by a Buddhist who is sitting in the lotus position either reciting mantras or meditating. In fact, it can be said that only a few Buddhists meditate regularly, this applies even to monks. And among American religious groups, Buddhists generally meditate almost less than everyone else. Polls of believers have shown that more than half meditate only with some irregular consistency.
The Dalai Lama plays the role of Pope for Buddhists. Many people believe that any religion should have its own leader. This is the Dalai Lama in Buddhism. 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 holds the post of “teacher” of his sect, without even formally heading it.
Buddha is such a bald and fat fat man, as numerous sculptures represent him. For most, the founder of the doctrine seems to be just like that, with a belly for show and sitting in a full lotus position. In fact, such images of "Laughing Buddha" have nothing to do with the original. This statue is also called Budai. Some believe that the "Laughing Buddha" represents a traveling monk who may have embodied the Buddha Maitreya. There is no evidence that Gautama himself was fat, it is likely that Master 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, everything that does not belong to the Judeo-Christian faith can be included there. But that would be disrespectful to other beliefs. The fact is that even in the speeches of the Dalai Lama there are many points that make the West think that religion is not very important. The spiritual teacher himself has repeatedly emphasized that religion is something we could possibly do without.
Buddhists love suffering. It is generally accepted that for a Buddhist, suffering is almost a part of spiritual practice. You can recall at least the cases of self-immolation of monks to support their principles. In fact, Buddhists strive to know suffering in order to be able to finally end it. But they understand all the impermanence of life and the fact that one cannot do without pain in it. Buddhists do not think negatively about suffering at all. They are simply optimistic about accepting them when pain cannot be avoided. Training provides the skills to transcend suffering, which is an important part of the Buddhist path.
All Buddhists are vegetarians. Everyone knows that there are commandments in Buddhism that forbid killing living things. It is logical to assume that the believers themselves are vegetarians, refusing animal food. Indeed, some Buddhists practice such a diet, but this is their personal choice based on a personal interpretation of the commandments. These vegetarians believe that they are doing a big and important job. The Buddha himself was never against eating meat, he even singled out its different types for nutrition, rejecting all arguments in favor of vegetarianism. So there are no rules in Buddhist doctrine that prohibit eating meat, considering it murder.
All Buddhists believe in reincarnation. Again, it is a mistake to think that all Buddhists believe in reincarnation. The idea of reincarnation, which is being replicated by the West, actually has nothing to do with the Buddhist faith. The problem lies in translation, as many Buddhists prefer to use words that can be translated as “rebirth”. Obviously, there is no explicit idea in Buddhism that after death a person will be reborn into an animal, plant, or other organism.
Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha, was God. For those who do not really delve into 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 adamant that he was not himself a supernatural supreme being, admitting that questions about the origin of man and the world are very important. So the absence of God in Buddhism does not interfere with believing in something of your own and at the same time remaining an adherent of the teachings of Gautama. Buddhism is quite compatible with most religions. The very word Buddha literally means "wake up". Gautama himself was an enlightened person, but he never claimed anything more.
Buddhism considers the world to be illusory. In fact, there are similar statements in Hinduism, which is called "Maya". Buddhism claims that there is nothing permanent in the world that does not depend on anything and exists by itself. That is why everything around us is like an illusion, but still it is not. A person perceives the world through his senses, finding it difficult to say what it is that we cannot see or hear. And it also creates a kind of illusion where reality is subjective.
Buddhism calls for giving up all desires. Buddhism distinguishes three types of desires. Kammachanda is what stems from our attachments, aggression, vices. For a person, such attachments are harmful and require elimination. Kattukamayatachanda - neutral bodily needs. And Dhammachanda is positive desires related to spiritual growth, good for loved ones. These desires must be cultivated and cultivated in oneself. In the process of Buddhist practice, desires play a key role.
Buddhism does not teach love and compassion. One of the main conditions for the practice is love, compassion and kind attitude towards all living beings. The development of this quality, as well as wisdom, awareness and concentration, are the conditions for achieving enlightenment. It is believed that there were no calls to love in early Buddhism. But Buddha himself taught to protect living beings, morality, to help not so much oneself as to develop good qualities in others.
Buddhists meditate to achieve bliss. In fact, it is a means of calming the mind and stopping the thought dialogue for a while. Even in silence, a person does not remain alone - he constantly hears his own thoughts. Through meditation, you can try to get rid of them. For this, a certain object is selected, for example, breathing, and there is a concentration on it. Anything that gets in the way of concentration is considered a hindrance. Meditation is not for bliss, but for the development of awareness. A person should feel fully where he is and who he is. With awareness, the control over thoughts and feelings improves, which allows you to defeat aggression and addictions. Thus, a person can cultivate compassion and benevolence in himself, advancing in his spiritual practices.