Buddha: a “Non-Theistic” Religion.

Via Waylon Lewis
on May 1, 2012
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Is there a God? Maybe. What’s more important is being present, genuine, and kind:

What do Buddhists believe in? Trick question:

Always retain your critical intelligence. Trust the principal one. Do not place others on pedestals. Do not look for satisfaction outside of one’s own heart.

Trungpa Rinpoche always described Buddhism as “non-theistic.” We aren’t a-theistic, he’d say—we don’t not believe in God, or gods. We only believe in things that we can find to be true. That said, if God or gods show up, we’ll be happy to believe.

Same goes for reincarnation. Same goes for kami. Same goes for cat. Same goes for Buddhism itself, as the Dalai Lama reminds us (he says if Science and Buddhism conflict, Buddhist ought to go with Science).


“When we tell ourselves and others that our heroes are inhuman and on a pedestal that is not just high but unattainable, we are actually pushing ourselves down rather than climbing.” ~ Katrina Honigs 


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


23 Responses to “Buddha: a “Non-Theistic” Religion.”

  1. Padma Kadag says:

    When His Holiness the Dalai Lama "goes with science", let me know. What do you think the meaning of that statement, allegedly by His Holiness, is? I only say allegedly because i did not hear him say that. he has been misquoted continually. Also, what is it that makes that statement attractive to you and others?

  2. ValCarruthers says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

    Valerie Carruthers
    Please go and "Like" Elephant Spirituality on Facebook

  3. […] that, the Buddha says more simply and eloquently, is the goal of all those who would be genuinely happy in this life. Yours in working (and playing) […]

  4. guest says:

    is this another "my religion is better than your religion" post?

  5. integralhack says:


    I think Trungpa's double negative (don't not believe) is brilliant. I think it is good to "don't not believe" in science or religion. Ultimately when I argue against people with a scientific materialist persuasion it is essentially the same argument I would have with a religious fundamentalist (which isn't to say that I hold their views to be "equal"–I usually find the evidence of science to be more compelling, if not obvious). What I question of both is the level of attachment to their view and the fear or insecurity that is usually behind the zealousness of commitment. Often both want a clean, concise narrative of reality, but you can never really have that. Both lack the "wisdom of insecurity," as Alan Watts put it.

  6. suri_k8 says:

    Buddhism is so profoundly relativistic , that it seems like anything goes really.

  7. […] spring and one of the things that means for American Buddhists is that it’s Vow […]

  8. […] And that’s why we call Buddhist “non-theistic.” […]

  9. Mel says:

    Great post! Best I've seen on EJ actually

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