5 Things You May Not Know about Buddhist Philosophy

I have been doing a lot of soul-searching the last 6-7 months. My yoga and meditation practices have been a game changer.  I have also been writing a lot of blog posts on Upwork, particularly posts on alternative and complementary therapies.  Currently, I am writing some posts for a blog that discusses Asian medicines and Asian meditation.  I just finished one about Buddhist philosophy and I found it fascinating.

1.  Buddhism in not a religion.

Many people may call Buddhism a religion, but Buddhists do not consider it to be a religion.  They feel that it is a philosophy and way of life.  They do not worship the Buddha.  Expressions of gratitude are given to the Buddha for bringing his philosophy and Noble Truths into the world.  His statue ‘reminds people to “strive to develop peace and love within” themselves’ (www.buddhanet.net).

2.  many people follow an organized religion and buddhism.

Since Buddhism is a very tolerant, accepting belief system.  It teaches people a “way of life that leads to true happiness” (www.buddhanet.net).  People can be Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Muslim…any religion and still follow the tenets of Buddhism.  It recognizes the moral teachings of different religions and adds upon them with the 4 Noble Truths, the Noble 8-Fold Path and the 5 Precepts.

3.  many people live by the all or some of the 5 precepts and don’t even know it.

The 5 precepts are:   1 – not to take the life of anything living, 2 – not to take anything that is not freely given, 3 – abstain from sexual misconduct, 4 – refrain from untrue speech and 5 – avoid intoxication because it means losing mindfulness (www.buddhanet.net).  Living by all of these may seem extreme to some, but many people live by some of them.

4.  the buddha, siddhartha gautama, was born into a royal family.

Siddhartha lived in the lap of luxury, but came to realize that money and luxury doesn’t buy happiness. He left his royal family to journey through studies of various religious teachers and meditation.  Enlightenment occurred after a night of sitting and meditating under the Bodhi tree.

5. the laughing buddha is not the founder of buddhism.

Siddhartha Gautama is what some people may call the “skinny buddha” and he was the founder of Buddhism.  The “laughing or fat buddha” was a Chinese monk name Pu-Tai who lived over 1000 years ago.  He is known for his kindness and giving nature and was given the title, “Buddhist saint” (www.oddlyhistorical.com).

I loved learning about Buddhist philosophy because it really resonated with me. Personally, I am not a big fan of organized religion, but I understand why many people find comfort and faith in those religions.  I love that Buddhism is accepting and tolerant, which I feel is so important in the world today.

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