Is Buddhism Monotheistic or Polytheistic?

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Buddhism preaches the existence of a number of devas, which are god-like, semi-divine beings that live on other planes of existence. However, devas do not perform many of the functions commonly associated with gods in other religions. For this reason, Buddhism is better described as non-theistic rather than polytheistic.

The purpose of devas in Buddhist scripture is to teach lessons or act as a allegorical models for worshippers. In most branches of Buddhism, devas do not intercede on behalf of humans or other creatures on lower planes of enlightenment. Through meditation and adherence to Buddhist teachings, humans are believed to be able to ascend to the level of devas.