Q:

Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

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Quick Answer

Buddhism has characteristics of both religion and philosophy. If religion is defined as having belief in the existence of a central god to whom one prays for redemption and security, then Buddhism would not be considered a religion. However, if it defined as a specific system of beliefs and worship, involving a code of ethics, then it would be considered a religion and not just a philosophy. Buddhism is a spiritual approach to living a peaceful and fulfilled life.

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Full Answer

While Buddhism involves elements of belief, faith and self-transformation, which are common to religion as well, the difference is that it does not mandate worship or the belief in a superhuman controlling power.

However, over the years, some followers of Buddhism have created statues and temples dedicated to Buddha, and they have created a sense of the existence of a supernatural power that is similar to other major religions of the world. Essentially, Buddha was a philosophical teacher who established and taught certain guidelines that could help people achieve peaceful lives.

While Buddhism does address a connection to the spiritual field, this is not always facilitated by rituals or theological aspects similar to other religions such as Christianity or Hinduism. Rather, the intention of Buddhism is to provide instructions for exploring the mind and consciousness through meditation and is a practice and means of controlling the mind.

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