Buddhism is often misunderstood. I remember my own dad telling me that he thought we worship a statue of “the fat guy”… the one he is accustomed to seeing at Chinese restaurants.
“Buddha” literally means “the awakened one,” and there are a lot of Buddhas, not just one. Many sages have awakened from the illusion of separateness, which is something we are ALL capable of doing, and that’s why we are also a Buddha (we’re just asleep and trying to wake up, that’s all).
Is Buddhism a religion? That depends on how you define “religion.” There is no God theory (in the sense of a creator), and there isn’t even a suggestion as to how or when the world “began”, so if it is a religion, then it’s like no other. For me that was the appeal, actually… If you ask a Buddhist how the world began, they simply say “I don’t know”, and you just gotta love that kind of honesty!
I think of Buddhism as a philosophy, or a school of thought.. a way of life, really. You can be Christian or Jewish, for example, and still find the Buddha’s teachings helpful and motivational.
We are all born with the ability to clearly see the world without judgment, and to be amazed by its beauty and wonder, but after years of being surrounded by greed, ego, selfishness and fear, our vision got clouded and we can no longer see that we are all the same despite our differences.
So when you think of Buddhism, think of it like a windshield wiper, cleaning up the mess that has dirtied up your eyes… and the more you read, the more moments of clarity you’re going to have. I promise you.. Non-Judgment Day is Near!
I am your brother, whether you realize it or not, and I love you, whether you agree with me or not.