10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion.

Via on Apr 5, 2012

If you don’t do Buddhism

don’t worry,

you’re not going to hell.

*You’ll just endure countless lifetimes of cyclical suffering.

1. We’re not really a religion. As the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and Science disagree, go with science. As the Buddha himself said, don’t believe anything I say unless it matches with your experience.

We are however a path: there are teachings, meditation practices, rituals with meaning…but it’s all centered on one point. Wake up. Be kind. Be present. Be genuine. Be generous to others.

2. We don’t go to war, much. Historically, when we’re attacked, our anemic joke-of-an-army fights heroically while the rest of wherever we’re at flees, gets burned, looted, raped, pillaged. No fun for us, but at least we don’t fight others in order to spread our religion.

3. Buddhism works. If we meditate, and we meditate some more, and we study, and we work with our mixed bag of a (difficult, incompetent, sycophantic, insecure, kind, generous, gentle, eco-minded, tolerant) community, we’ll naturally begin to soften, and straighten, and enjoy life, and help others enjoy life more, too.

4. Buddhism doesn’t believe in anything. Any Buddhist who tells you to believe in reincarnation or anything that can’t be proven is caught up in superstition, and should be forcibly sent to remedial Buddhist meditation camp, which sounds like a fun camp.

5. Buddhist teachers are transparent. The greatest Buddhist teacher I’ve ever known was utterly human: full of “mistakes,” full of wildness and sweetness, open about just about everything. If Buddhist teachers aren’t transparent...on to number six.

6. Buddhism is non-theistic. In Buddhism, we’re taught to bow with mutual respect, and self-respect. You aren’t any better than me except to the extent that you serve me and others better than I do. Serving is leadership.

Our hierarchical triangle is upside down. To lead is to serve. To lead without serving is selfish and useless and silly. If a Buddhist teacher leads out of arrogance or selfish privilege, they will be slapped in the face, with a grin. It’s happened.

7. Buddhism doesn’t say other religions are wrong or anyone’s going to hell and doesn’t advocate judging others “nonbelievers” from afar, let alone sending them to some sort of eternal damnation. In the Buddhist view, we’re all damned already by our happiness-desiring egos, but luckily we’re all fundamentally aok, and we just can relax and (through meditation, study) begin to be ourselves, and serve others in suffering. And then the joke is we’ll start being happy.

8. Buddhism is of the world. It is wildly enthusiastic about money, sex, family, business, sports, books, education, politics…as long as these things are being used to help us and others wake up and be of benefit, it’s all good.

9. Buddhism is not laissez-faire New Ageyness. While Westerners who embrace Buddhism as a lifestyle may be irritating Portlandiaish parodies of a type, like yours truly, Buddhism is all about tradition, about being a good, dues-paying member of society, about decorum and giving back and the arts.

~

The 10th Reason why Buddhism is Better than your Religion is…

{drumroll}

We’re not better than your religion.
Your religion has lots of goodness and helpful stuff in it, and you should honor and practice that if you like. If you don’t like, you should become agnostic or atheistic and that’s pretty awesome, too. My grandma is a lifelong intellectual agnostic, and she’s the kindest person I know. As an old Christian saying goes, I can see how close you are to God by how kind you are.

 ~

Bonus: Buddhism isn’t about being perfect. It’s about having a sense of humor, and getting over ourselves, and yet being ourselves:

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About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | facebook.com/elephantjournal | twitter.com/elephantjournal | facebook.com/waylonhlewis | twitter.com/waylonlewis | Google+ For more: publisherelephantjournalcom

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76 Responses to “10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion.”

  1. Rachel says:

    The title of the article was off-putting to me, those who dont read your work regularly would be unable to inderstand its intimation, and having spent time in Sri Lanka I can assure you that wars are fought in the name of Buddhism. I am, however, thankful for your article because the discussion in comments have taught me more about Buddhism than anything else has in the past year. For that I am grateful.

  2. todd says:

    1. We’re not really a religion. As the Dalai Lama said, if Buddhism and Science disagree, go with science. As the Buddha himself said, don’t believe anything I say unless it matches with your experience.

    **Not entirely true. In the Kalamas sutta, the Buddha states that it is more than just personal experience:

    "Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness" — then you should enter & remain in them."

    8. Buddhism is of the world. It is wildly enthusiastic about money, sex, family, business, sports, books, education, politics…as long as these things are being used to help us and others wake up and be of benefit, it’s all good.

    **This seems like a convenient popularizing of the teaching, but how can Buddhism be of the world? Siddhartha was not a grihastha (householder), but a sannyasin (renouncer). Unless you are specifically talking about the Mahayana paths and the syncretism that led to the concept of the bodhisattva, the path of Buddhism is wholly based upon an understanding of the pratityasamutpada, i.e. dependent origination. I don't how anyone could understand this doctrine and say Buddhism is "of the world". To be sure, there are many people that call themselves Buddhist, but if it's not a religion, AND they don't take up the robes, how can one be called a Buddhist? Anyway, in the tenth chapter of the Vinaya Cullavagga, Lord Buddha himself said very clearly that the authenticity of his teaching would only last 500 years, attributing the decline (in a somewhat misogynistic vein) to ordaining women as nuns:

    "If, Ānanda, women had not gone forth from the home into homelessness in the Way and Discipline made known by the Tathāgata, then the Holy Life would last a long time; the true Way would last for a thousand years. But since, Ānanda, women have gone forth from the home into homelessness in the Way and Discipline made known by the Tathāgata, now, Ānanda, the Holy Life will not last for a long time; now, Ānanda, the true Way will last for only five hundred years."

  3. Marco says:

    Come on people! If you don't have a sense of humor, why bother reading this article? Did you notice the laughing Buddha at the top? Did you read the 10th reason ( We’re not better than your religion!)…. Spirituality is also about laughing and having joyful moments and acceptance of others. It does not have to be serious all the time. We don't have agree on everything. There are many paths to "heaven"…
    Namaste.

  4. Jake says:

    Buddhism is the only religion that hasn't done anything evil in history yet. Christianity is known for Crusade and religious persecution; Islam is known for Jihad; Judaism is known for genocides & massacres as recorded in the Bible; Hinduism is known for the Caste system as well as Sati, the practice of cremating widows alive.

  5. ddd says:

    What I like in buddhists is that they aren't wide eyed crazy-looking and trying to persuade you of their truth, when the question arises.
    It is almost amazing that you can notice glimpses of craziness in the eyes of so many christians, mormons, muslims.. it's weird.

  6. Gegee says:

    Only one philosophy that betray the one that give oxygen to sittadha (buddish inventer) life blow
    Every philosophy faithful to that one name is GOD

    and buddish is supjetive in please thing soil stone tree fiber and the thing in myst that is all benefet with merchandice

    Buddish have god difference another philosophy. They have GOD for neny to betray but other have to faithful

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