“The dharma that I preach can be understood only by those who know
how to think.” ~ The Buddha
I get plenty of comments when I say
that I’m not a religious person, but I am a practicing Buddhist.
known worldwide as a religion, for me it is not. Frankly, I used to perceive it
as one, before knowing anything about it and delving into its culture.
To start off, the wordreligionmeans
“a system of faith and worship” and “the belief in a superhuman, or god with
power.” After visiting India and Nepal, and observing the Buddhist complex, I
came to notice that Buddhism is neither a system of faith, nor a god-based
Buddhists do not consider the Buddha
as a supreme god. For them, he is a man like any other man who’s walked on the
earth. Nevertheless, Buddha untangled the reasons of suffering and offered us a
concrete way of getting out of them.
And although he did offer the world
teachings about how to get unstuck fromsamsara,he insisted that he wanted no worship or praying. All he
asked for is that we must examine his teachings first, and if they do resonate
with us, then we practice them. If not, however, we have the utter freedom to
Although I have watched rituals and
ceremonies being held at monasteries, I’ve been told that they’re not in any
way worship-based. The so-called “worship” that we might see is one that is
offered as a way of showing respect and thankfulness to the man who exhibited
the truth. Even the prayers that we hear are ones that read compassion,
kindness and love to all sentient beings, without any exception.
If we look more closely at Buddhism,
we can even ascertain that there is no leader in the culture.Dzongsar Khyentseconstantly
talks about how theDalai Lamais a
secular leader for the Tibetan community in exile and a spiritual master to
many people all over the world—and not merely for Buddhists. He insists that
there is no authority in Buddhism with the power to decide who is a true
Buddhist and who is not, or who is punishable and who is not.
If Buddhism isn’t a religion, what is
The way I see it, Buddhism is a
way of life—it’s a philosophy and a truth that simply represents how things are
I must admit (and I’m not ashamed to
claim it) that Buddhism has helped me understand the religion I was brought up
with, as well as all the other religions in the world. Before being
introduced to Buddhism, “holy books” were on par with the Chinese language
to me. I couldn’t understandwhyI
was supposed to pray, to attend religious ceremonies or to follow a spiritual
leader, without true conviction or belief for what they’re saying. Before
Buddhism, I was co-dependent on “God.” I constantly searched outside of
myself, and I believe this is why I never found myself.
Buddhism helped me lookinward.It taught me independence and self-awareness. Through it,
I began to understand how the world ticks. It helped me look at myself and
take responsibility for my actions, thoughts and emotions, rather than taking
refuge in a supreme god.
With Buddhism, I came to finally
understand that God isn’t a judgmental man who lives in the clouds. I stopped
this duality between God and myself, and I figured out that God is in everyone
(and everything and everywhere). It is not something that is outside of us or
something we cannot reach—it isin
So you might ponder the question—why is it worth looking into Buddhism or practicing it?
I utterly believe to each their
own—however, I also believe that it is never wrong to live with an open
heart and an open mind which expands our knowledge and raises questions in
Unlike other religions, Buddhism
doesn’t tell its followers to stick only to its teachings. Buddhists don’t care
where you’re from, what you believe in or who you worship. All they care about
is that you know the truth—and the truth is:“All compounded things are impermanent.”
It’s worth understanding Buddhism,
because the final outcome of its purpose is not something that is beneficial to
itself—the benefits are forour own sake.The
benefit is that we will actually understand the truth of life, our existence
Again, like Dzognsar Khyentse said,“Buddhism is not a survival kit for living that dictates how many
husbands a wife should have or where to pay taxes or how to punish
thieves. Buddhism doesn’t even have a ritual for wedding ceremonies.”
The Buddha didn’t tell people what
they wanted to hear—he simply opened their eyes to the truth of life.