Besides the fact that Buddhists are told to think for themselves, and that Buddhism as a philosophy exists across many cultures, time periods, and with varying teachings and practices, there are some core Buddhism beliefs that might be considered representative of most Buddhists.
This page may serve as a basic introduction to Buddhism. All quotes are from the Buddha, unless otherwise stated. If you wish to explore any idea further, select the link to navigate to a book or website specially recommended if you are interested in that topic. If you have an idea for a new belief that should be included, send us an email.
Buddha is Not a God
The Buddha was an ordinary man, who 2,500 years ago saw clearly into the true nature of reality. As such, Buddha’s teachings are not set rules to follow, nor the only wisdom in the world. Rather, they should be seen as advice to consider, from someone who has ‘gone beyond’ everyday views, ideas, and conceptions. Many have also become ‘enlightened’ before Buddha, have since the Buddha, and will in the future.
Read more in this book explaining the Dalai Lama’s most respectful views on Jesus »
You Should Not Believe Without Thinking
Buddhists are encouraged to test everything they read or hear, to see if it stands up to their own standards as true or not.
Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.
Good Basic Recommended Reading »
Gods and Deities
Some Buddhist schools have many Gods, others have none. But it would be wrong to say that Buddhism itself teaches atheism, pantheism, or any other position on gods and deities. Gods are the conception of a particular time and culture, and may be used more or less wisely in the development of one’s spiritual practice.
This book lays out some basics about the Buddhist Universe.
But… Don’t worry too much about the nature of God
The Buddha said...
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