10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion.

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
94
135.4k

Wisdom burns its own flame. So does humor. So does this title, which makes fun of the notion of religious one upsmanship. Read beyond the title, if curious:

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.

Yoga, Christianity, Buddhism, Republicanism, Libertarianism, any ism…none is better than another. That’s not the point. They’re paths of truth, hopefully. Of finding peace, and true happiness. They are not meant to create further war.

Let’s stop the My Way is Better than Yours stuff.

 ~

Bonus:
This is all Buddhists want:

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

The Elephant Ecosystem

Every time you read, share, comment or heart you help an article improve its Rating—which helps Readers see important issues & writers win $$$ from Elephant. Learn more.

Views 10
Shares 10
Hearts 0.0
Comments 10
Editor's Pick 0.0
Total Ecosystem Rating 0.0
0 Do you love this article? Show the author your support by hearting.
94
135.4k

Read the Best Articles from October
You voted with hearts, comments, views and shares.

See Who Won

Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & 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 | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view.

You must be logged in to post a comment. Create an account.

anonymous Aug 17, 2015 7:52pm

I understood your article and enjoyed reading it.

anonymous Feb 4, 2015 4:35am

You guys are wonderful and I love, love, LOVE this post. I am happy to be in the world the same time you are.

I had a friend whose daughter asked her, "Mom, if I turn out to be just ordinary, is it all right?"

I think of myself as the world's worst Buddhist because I don't like animals, but Buddhism has taught me I don't have to be the best of anything, just my own flawed self.

Athea Marcos Amir, San Miguel de Allende

anonymous Nov 27, 2014 6:26am

It's why Trungpa R. preferred the word "buddhadharma" to buddhism, as the way he presented it was as a way of life, not as a singular belief system–in fact, the view of dharma evolves over the course of the 3 yanas: first work on oneself, tame one's mind; then extend mindfulness-awareness to others in the form of compassion, generosity, + patience; then on that basis and great awareness see the world as sacred–which tends to bring out the best in everyone one encounters!

anonymous May 28, 2014 3:15am

Awesome Article

anonymous May 14, 2014 10:23pm

It seems to me there is a ton of judgment here, which is certainly not in keeping with Buddhist tradition or philosophy. It is very consistent with our culture right now. Maybe it would be beneficial to reread the article with a sense of humor and humility. Sometimes you do not have to be right in order to win. If correcting him makes you feel like you win one over on him, than so be it. But remember, a very intelligent and enlighten Buddhist once said, "Do not transfer the oxen's load to the cow." Meaning that the critique of his article is much more self directed than most posters can admit. Maybe it is time to be kinder, be less judgmental, allow people to explore what they might without being judged or labeled, and stop taking everything so personally. It is time to let go and let be. We would all be happier. Please go in peace and not as a critic. Nobody appreciates a critic.

anonymous May 4, 2014 11:43am

Buddhism is more than an ordinary religion. It is a system of the mind-centered teachings of the Buddha.

Since tolerance plays an important role in buddhism, there had been no war or battle in the world history due to buddhism and its adherents.

Of course in recent years in Myanmar, minor civil disorder arose between buddhists and muslims. In such situations, the Buddhist monks are not persecuting Muslims but they are just fighting for their own nationality without any violence. Since the nationality and religion cannot be separated there is nothing wrong with the monks trying to protect their nationality. To tell the truth, in the past few years in Myanmar it was found with evidence that a certain group of Muslims create anti-buddhism blogs on the Internet and criticize the Buddha and his teachings in a very bad manner. These are some factors leading to the conflict between buddhists and muslims.

Buddhists accept the concept of rebirth but not reincarnation.

One further point Dalai Lamai said ‘If Buddhism and science conflict we go with science’. It is not correct at all. There may be certain aspects of Buddhism that do not fit into scientific definitions but there needs no conflict between two of them. Of course the teachings of the Buddha include certain concepts of cosmology that do not suit the today’s scientific discoveries and measurements. Considering only this we cannot say the teachings are wrong. But we should note that the measurements (e.g., the diameter of the sun or the moon) are not the natural truths. Measurements can change more or less in the world. Even the conditions today and yesterday in the universe cannot be exactly the same. That is what the Buddha called the law of changing or impermanence. However the Four Noble Truths and the Dependent Origination cannot change or be changed as long as the world exists.

anonymous May 2, 2014 9:38am

Number 2 is fairly inaccurate. Currently BUddhist monks are very active in persecuting Muslim minorities in Burma and are increasingly intolerant of non Muslims in Sri Lanka. In Burma's civil unrest monks have been quick to incite civilians to attack Muslims resulting in many deaths. Some monks have however offered sanctuary to those fleeing the saffron Taliban.

    anonymous Jul 27, 2015 9:00am

    There are a lots of people or monks saying they are Buddhist but NOT practicing what Buddha taught. That’s is the example of what is happening at Burma on Muslim vs Buddhist. My family itself is born as Buddhist but they don’t even know what is real Buddhist is. They are Buddhist by tradition.

anonymous Apr 13, 2014 10:56am

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

anonymous Apr 11, 2014 3:12am

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.

anonymous Jan 20, 2014 12:50am

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.

anonymous Nov 27, 2013 1:23pm

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.

anonymous Nov 27, 2013 11:50am

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."

anonymous Sep 25, 2013 6:12pm

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.

    anonymous Oct 19, 2013 8:01pm

    No.They are not fighting in the name of Buddhism.They are fighting in the for their Nationality right.

anonymous Jul 25, 2013 2:21pm

Buddhism is better than your religion because it is not better than your religion? Buddhism seems a bit nihilistic when described as it is in this article

anonymous Jul 24, 2013 3:08pm

enjoyed reading. Regarding comments…people can get so bent out of shape. I always think of my connection to what i know about buddhism is this…holy crap batman buddhists are not perfect either and that is the point. They do however have a way of relating very real topics in life with very real ways to deal with things with kindness, love and enjoyment during this life without allowing judgement to enter. I consider it part of my moral compass….What would my buddha mind do, say or not do. It keeps me grounded, it reminds me to simply be happy. So thanks for this article, it made me smile. 🙂

anonymous Jul 18, 2013 1:32pm

Article sounded too biased. I don't like it. Not because Buddhism is said as the best religion but saying Buddhism is better than your religion makes it sound arrogant.

anonymous Jul 16, 2013 9:58pm

I'm sorry but I think this article is really insensitive and pretty offensive. There are many places in the world where there are serious conflicts, killing and violence being carried out in the name of Buddhism or protection of Buddhism. I am living in one of these places now and intolerance between religions is a real and serious problem. The things that the author jokes about are being claimed in serious by others. A jokey article on this subject is not a helpful contribution to this debate.

anonymous Jul 13, 2013 9:01am

I appreciated this article, and probably only read it because of the controversial, provocative title (which, as Waylon points out, one need only read through the whole article to feel less provoked). I've been studying Buddhism off and on for about 20 years now, and if there is one thing I've learned is that it's impossible to pin it down. Whenever someone starts talking about what Buddhism is or what Buddhists think, I just smile and start watching my breath. There are so many paths, and so many cultural influences and additions. And the Buddha himself, within one lifetime and within one culture, gave different teachings to different people based on their education and world view. Some of his teachings reflect relative truth (e.g., everything is impermanent and will pass away) and some reflect absolute truth (e.g., nothing is born and nothing dies). One can't state emphatically that the Buddha taught that a physical place called "hell" exists beyond this world just because he references hell in one of the suttas. Different Buddhist teachers, perhaps depending upon their own cultural influences and degree of illumination, offer seemingly conflicting views on whether and how hell might exist — some asserting that it does exist as a separate realm, others that it exists as a psychological state of being in this very here and now that is experienced during anger, jealousy, fear, etc.

anonymous Jul 13, 2013 8:46am

I appreciated this article, and probably only read it because of the controversial, provocative title (which, as Waylon points out, one need only read through the whole article to feel less provoked). I've been studying Buddhism off and on for about 20 years now, and if there is one thing I've learned is that it's impossible to pin it down. Whenever someone starts talking about what Buddhism is or what Buddhists think, I just smile and start watching my breath. There are so many paths, and so many cultural influences and additions. And the Buddha himself, within one lifetime and within one culture, gave different teachings to different people based on their education and world view. Some of his teachings reflect relative truth (e.g., everything is impermanent and will pass away) and some reflect absolute truth (e.g., nothing is born and nothing dies). One can't state emphatically that the Buddha taught that a physical place called "hell" exists beyond this world just because he references hell in one of the suttas. Different Buddhist teachers, perhaps depending upon their own cultural influences and degree of illumination, offer seemingly conflicting views on whether and how hell might exist — some asserting that it does exist as a separate realm, others that it exists as a psychological state of being in this very here and now that is experienced during anger, jealousy, fear, etc.

With regard to some of the comments that seem to put down "simplistic, Western notions Buddhism" — why should Western notions of Buddhism contain less weight, be given less merit, than Chinese, Japanese or Tibetan notions? Just because Buddhism has been practiced longer in those countries? I personally feel that the Western tendency to question dogmatic belief systems fits in perfectly with the teachings of the Buddha.

This is a difficult forum to discuss such things, as pretty much anything anyone says is going to elicit a reaction. But in a way, this is one of the things I love most about Buddhism — that it provokes passionate discussion that ultimately leads to being more awake in the world 😉

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 4:26pm

Thank you for providing a humorous look at something people take way too seriously as evidenced by some of the comments. I appreciate a lighthearted take on life, the things that help make us happy and the things we find less than helpful. No criticism, no corrections, just enjoying the way you presented your comparison to other philosophies. Keep sharing the happiness and love you have found. Have a great day!

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 9:04am

Fantastic article! On a side note, you may want to check out this relevant article from Time about Wirathu. It involves #7…Although at least he's being transparent about his abhorrent behavior? http://lightbox.time.com/2013/06/20/when-buddhist

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 8:35am

Hi Waylon,

This sounds like a Brad Warner, Stephen Batchelor, American middle aged white guy version of Buddhism. It sounds very easy and there doesn't sound like there a need for great doubt, which I think is a big part of the practice, because with great doubt comes the questions, What is reincarnation, What is Buddha, What is this…cup of coffee. Great doubt helps us ask what is this path?

Your interpretation doesn't have enough grit. It sounds like it's going to be an easy time at a meditation gym and I should bring my own spandex. My biggest problems is when you say "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." How can we prove anything? Buddhism is not about proving, it's about inquiry.

Thanks anyway!

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 8:35am

The title of this article is "10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion."

Yet look at reason 6 and 7.

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 8:29am

Love this! Great article!

anonymous Jul 12, 2013 5:40am

Buddhists do believe in hell. Hot and cold.

    anonymous Apr 14, 2015 2:10am

    I am Buddhist and i don't believe. Hot and Cold. To have a religious perspective for Buddhism, it can be wrapped up with a belief system which can either be true or false. But there is no restriction to stay out of beliefs in Buddhism. Actually Dhamma is explained as "Ehi passiko, Opanaiko, Pangnanthan wehi thabbo" which means Come and experience by yourselves, and be understood with by own levels of wisdom.

anonymous May 25, 2013 10:38pm

#7 is just plain wrong, sir. The suttas are full of the Buddha telling people they will go to hell for various reasons. Some such reasons are:
1) saying that the Buddha doesn't have superhuman knowledge: "21. "Sariputta, when I know and see thus, should anyone say of me: 'The recluse Gotama does not have any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. The recluse Gotama teaches a Dhamma (merely) hammered out by reasoning, following his own line of inquiry as it occurs to him' — unless he abandons that assertion and that state of mind and relinquishes that view, then as (surely as if he had been) carried off and put there he will wind up in hell." http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.012… .
2) reviling the monks: "Or how these beings — who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech & mind, who reviled noble ones, held wrong views and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views — with the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in a plane of deprivation, a bad destination, a lower realm, hell.'" http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.130

Oh religions.

    anonymous Apr 14, 2015 2:03am

    As far as i understand, yes Buddha has mentioned about hells and heavens. I am not sure if i remember this correctly. anyway in a story, Buddha explains his monks that he uses various techniques to keep his listeners in the right track. First he tries to improve enthusiasm of his listeners by explaining Dukka in hells and Happiness in heavens just to improve their motivation to listen more(And they may be historically accurate and valid as well). But for some listeners he directly go for deep dhamma parts that can only be experienced and nothing to believe.

anonymous Mar 7, 2013 11:11am

And also buddhism is better than ur religion becuse in buddism v dont slaughter innocent animals in the names of GODS!
😉

anonymous Feb 15, 2013 9:09pm

[…] It’s not about dogma, even tradition: it’s about reality. […]

anonymous Jul 19, 2012 12:36pm

Sorry I'm a Christian. I like being that way. The world is full of evil, greed, sadness, war, and the list go on. No one is perfect except GOD. We all want peace

anonymous Jul 19, 2012 12:11pm

[…] Four months back, I wrote a little introduction to basic Buddhism in a fun, troublemaking way (as op… […]

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 6:07pm

oh and very cute article…:)

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 6:06pm

I'm a bit more hesitant to throw out essential teachings on precious human birth and motherly sentient beings (that take the assumption that the meditator believes in reincarnation) just because we can't yet prove them scientifically. Are we losing essential and fundamental teachings in westernizing Buddhism and picking and choosing what to accept and reject. There are more conservative voices on this subject and a training camp with HE Khandro Rinpoche or even modern Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche would certainly contain fundamental teachings on karma and rebirth. …I know the article said 'reincarnation' so maybe its a matter of semantics…anyway that's my two cents.

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 10:10am

May I suggest "Buddhism is about confusing people" ; )

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 10:09am

I wonder how many other people have been put off reading the article by the use of a misleading title?

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 9:33am

Bluebell It's not a competition
3 hours ago · Like · 2
Aida 'tata' Guzman what an EGO!!
2 hours ago · Like · 1
Phet Lay H Religions are complex and require deeper analysis than just a top ten list. The author's interpretation of Buddhism is very diluted. One cannot separate the culture from the religion. One cannot drink just the coconut water and tells people that he's experienced everything that's in a coconut.
about an hour ago via mobile · Like
elephantjournal.com Writing this from hell. Tried to practice but didn't do it right so they sent me here. 🙂 ~ AB
15 minutes ago · Like
Valerie Fadok The fact that you have a statement that says "10 reasons why buddhism is better than your religion suggests you don't really understand the Buddha and his teachings.

elephantjournal.com Valerie, the fact that you're saying that means you didn't read the article before commenting. Buddhism suggest 1) slowing down 2) examining your experience 3) retaining a sense of humor

elephantjournal.com Rachie, Aida, this blog is making fun of the notion of religious competition. Please read before commenting. You're pretending to be offended by something you haven't read.

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 8:26am

Love this. Wonderful humor!

anonymous Jul 18, 2012 6:31am

Quite a threatening title/subheading; not conducive to Buddhism at all!

    anonymous Jul 18, 2012 9:34am

    Lighten up, smile, that is Buddhism (and any religion worth its salt). The whole world looks threatening when we take things too seriously. This blog is a sendup of the notion that any religion, including Buddhism, is better than another…and yes, the blog says that.

anonymous Jun 5, 2012 12:40pm

[…] 10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion. (elephantjournal.com) 0.000000 0.000000 Share this:TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInTumblrEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post.Tagged as: Buddhism, children's art, Henry David Thoreau, Jon Kabat-Zinn, laundry room, mindfulness « Feelin’ free inside and out […]

anonymous Apr 18, 2012 6:15pm

This is a wonderful article. It serves Buddhism with a pleasant humor. I would like to learn more about Buddhism. I was unsurprised by all points except #9. I'm curious how this seemingly unaware, unquestioning practice – including "go with science" and "buddhism doesn't believe anything" – fits a seemingly traditionalist, you-owe-something political/duty philsophy. Enjoyed the article, thanks!

anonymous Apr 18, 2012 2:02am

[…] 10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion. (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Apr 17, 2012 1:04am

I tried. I took a deep inhale of sutras and learning most i could absorb.
But you are who you are born and the one ur come from as yoga says.
I enjoy yoga- but would not trade something that is just not me- religion.
Peace, love, health and wealth 🙂

anonymous Apr 16, 2012 8:26pm

Fun article! Sounds like your grandma is someone I'd like to meet. Cheers!

anonymous Apr 15, 2012 10:23am

Relax folks 🙂 if every person practiced pureness of body, speak, and mind…we would all need to take a vow of silence. We are not all at the sme level in our practice, and that is ok too. If this article opens up conversations for folks to discuss the merits of a happy, vituous life, than it has been helpful. Elephant is a wonderful gift and service to the online community. I suggested those that are easily offend, just log off the Internet and bliss out.

anonymous Apr 12, 2012 5:27pm

#2 is plain wrong. Unfortunately, Buddhists have raged wars against people of other faiths and amongst themselves. I have seen monks bless weapons of soldiers in Sri Lanka back in the 90ties when the Buddhist majority brutally faught the Hindu minority. Reputable Zen Masters supported the aggressive invasionist Japanese war efforts during WW2. Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Korea have historically not been the most peaceful places either. Buddhist dogma does not make people more peaceful than Christian dogma…

    anonymous Jul 18, 2012 9:35am

    Overall, it's dead right. Buddhists have fled invasion after invasion, and the teachings actively discourage the above examples, which are admittedly rare exceptions.

    anonymous Sep 11, 2014 1:15am

    Buddhists fought wars for political reasons. Not to spread their religion.

    anonymous Apr 14, 2015 1:43am

    In Sri Lanka back in the 90 was not a war among Hindus and Buddhists lol. Actually Hindus believe Buddha to be a reincarnation of their Lord Krishna and they respect Buddhism as much as they do with their own religion. But there has been a struggle for lands in which some Tamil people (Tamil Christians, Tamil Buddhists, Tamil Hindus etc) believe North and East parts of Sri Lanka to be their Historic lands and keep asking for a separate country. However armed conflict was ended by 2009 and peace has been almost established. I don't understand how you keep saying gibberish with so much confidence.

anonymous Apr 12, 2012 11:38am

[…] 10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion. (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Apr 11, 2012 11:05am

[…] 10 Reasons why Buddhism is Better than your Religion. (elephantjournal.com) […]

anonymous Apr 9, 2012 8:45am

Hi Waylon,

Firstly, congrats for taking the initiative and commitment to running your ventures. It's inspiring. Secondly, thanks for creating a platform that allows us to have this discussion.

When we discuss 'Buddhism', obviously our views are determined by which teaching/text we have found most resonance with. From my point of view, if we are to have a sincere desire to discover what the Buddha was supposed to have taught than it be wise to start with what most Buddhist scholars would agree are part of the earliest known texts of Buddhism. In this case I'll refer to the Pali Canon. There are others like the Chinese Agamas that are almost identical.

*I'm not advocating that these links are the true word of the Buddha, but merely they are part of some of the best sources we have at this time.

In relation to a few of your points I would like to comment;

5. Buddhist teachers are transparent

Being transparent is very important in order for students to trust teachers. I'll add though that practising what you teach is even more so. Look at your teachers conduct. Do they teach one thing but do another?

7. Buddhism doesn’t say other religions are wrong or anyone’s going to hell

There are hell realms in Buddhism. The difference is that none of them are permanent. Have a look here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/a

8. Buddhism is of the world. It is wildly enthusiastic about money, sex…

If you can show me a Sutta where Buddha was 'wildly enthusiastic' about money and sex I'm all eyes. There's a reason sincere Buddhist monastics are celibate. Yes it's OK to have sex, but as long as you desire the carnal pleasures, full liberation is out of reach.

10. We’re not better than your religion

The Buddha did actually say that the path he rediscovered is the 'best way' for liberation. Not to say that other religious practices are wrong, but that the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are best. You can see here: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/dhp/dh

In relation to your favourite teacher Chogyam Trungpa, what do you think he would say to these points included in the links above?

"The drinking of fermented & distilled liquors — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from drinking fermented & distilled liquors is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to mental derangement." (A iv 247)

284. For so long as the underbrush of desire, even the most subtle, of a man towards a woman is not cut down, his mind is in bondage, like the sucking calf to its mother. (Dhp 273-289)

anonymous Apr 8, 2012 6:16pm

I don't think one can separate good from bad when it comes to religion(s). Is it helpful to have a list of just positives like this? Or does it mislead? It's not as though Buddhism doesn't have a rich history of excluding women and marginalizing and repressing others (like Muslims in Tibet), like all religions. And plenty have been violent or oppressive. Buddhism's not a panacea for moral or religious purity, and I feel like your list paints a reductive portrayal of Buddhism by including only these sort of generic positive characterizations (some of which are a stretch).

No disrespect. I know you're not trying to sugar-coat Buddhism or say that it is perfect. But many of the items in your list are a pretty simplistic portrayal of things as they are. And, I really, really, really don't buy this notion of "Buddhism isn't really a religion." Hogwash. That may be true for white Buddhists in the States – no offense. In Asia – where Buddhism came from – how folks practice their Buddhism accords with most sociologists' concept of a religion. Folks pray, go to temples, make offerings, invoke deities, celebrate holidays and feasts. It is a religion, meaning that it falls into that same category that Christianity, Islam, and Taoism do. Yes, these are all different traditions, with very differing conceptions of spiritual truth. But insofar as religion is a meaningful concept, Buddhism too is one. But, if you don't agree, I would love to hear why you think Buddhism is somehow an exception or outlier to this group.

I actually think that this way of thinking about Buddhism ends up in a sort of problematic valorization, holding Buddhism up to be some kind of ideal arbiter of spiritual truth (the Catholic Church recognizes all teachings of other religions that it sees as containing spiritual truth), as though Buddhism is somehow more metaphysically objective than other religions? Well, yes, maybe it is. But it's still really, for all intents and purposes, a religion. and like all religions, imperfect. I feel like saying, "My religion isn't really a religion" is just a way of asserting that it is somehow more scientific or more truthful than others. I know the Buddha SAYS "don't believe me, check it out for himself." But the expectation is that if you do that, the Buddha will turn out to be RIGHT. And all religions assert that they are right. The Qu'ran enjoins Muslims to scientific inquiry in order to discover God's manifestation in the world.

Basically, I just don't think Buddhism meets criteria of the exception to a norm that all other religions somehow fall into. Such an allegation, I think, is chauvinistic and unfair. I was born with a religion other than Buddhism I'm perfectly happy with. I don't however post on the Internet why it is better than other religions. Not to be snarky but I really think it is offensive to natively raised Buddhists – and certainly to other religionists – to suggest that it "isn't really a religion." Hopefully you don't think I am just being combative, because I do feel this is a pretty important issue to think about, in how we use language to describe the traditions and practices of others and of ourselves.

    anonymous Apr 9, 2012 7:26am

    "white Buddhists in the States". Suzuki Roshi said, "Buddhism isn't like those other religions…like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and Buddhism." While this is an example of a zen master having a little fun with language and semantics, there is also truth to what he is saying.

anonymous Apr 8, 2012 3:30pm

Waylon, I worry that you're turning the spiritual path into a celebration of yourself. Read your bio below the article; what would you lose from making it shorter and less clamorous? I question why we need to hear about any of the awards you've won, let alone the ones that were literally for "shameless self-promotion."

About elephant's content itself, you're doing a good thing by making the Dharma accessible to a specific kind of reader, but I worry that you dilute it too much in the process.

This article is no exception. You claim its intent is "to make fun of the whole 'our religion is better than yours' theme." Except that it doesn't just make fun of it, it also half-ironically indulges in it. I wish you were more willing to see these kinds of distinctions, and stick only to what is really true.

Best wishes.

    anonymous Apr 15, 2012 10:27am

    Buddist don't worry, go back to your cushion.

    anonymous Jul 18, 2012 9:38am

    Buddhism, and Walt Whitman, advises that we celebrate life. There is no shame in ego, once we are aware of it.

    But your condescending remonstration brings up a powerful sidetrack to the Buddhist path: we ought to be ashamed of any sense of big-ness.

    I'm sorry, but that's not correct. We are humbled in light of our duty, our vow to be of service. We are not humbled by anonymous folks telling us to be smaller. I am not small—I am nothing, and so are you.

    Given that: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/03/pretty-muc

anonymous Apr 8, 2012 10:53am

[…] Step 9: Take this opportunity to tell your family why you dislike their religion of choice and think your is… […]

anonymous Apr 7, 2012 9:54pm

Great summation of buddhism’s strong points. And fun to read too 😉

anonymous Apr 7, 2012 9:18pm

Sorry to say, but, you are quite wrong on some points. Buddhism most definitely says an individual can go to hell; or more correctly, be reincarnated as a being in the hell realms, either hot or cold. What I think you mean by this is that there is no God judging you and then sending you to hell for being bad. It is our own actions which project our consciousness to one of the six realms: god, demi-god, human, animal, preta, or hell realms. So, there is definitely a hell (many of them) in Buddhism, and you can go there.

Similarly, Buddhism is NOT "wildly enthusiastic" about money, sex, etc. I have no idea where you get this idea. Non-attachment and detachment from worldly concerns and the five poisons: anger, pride, desire, envy, and ignorance are high on the list of central Buddhist thought.

On the point of sex, in all my years as a practicing Buddhist, Tibetan style, I have never EVER heard a lama, high lama, or practicing monk recommend or espouse recreational sex as a dharma path. I think this is something westerners have invented or manufactured from some tantric teachings, but it is not taught by lineage holders.

Finally, all schools of Buddhism accept the ideas of reincarnation and multiple lifetimes.

I simply don't know where you get your information; perhaps you are taking things out of context, which really doesn't work.

    anonymous Apr 7, 2012 11:22pm

    I'll decline to compare spiritual credentials, and simply assure you that your views are accurate from a literal, serious, conservative point of view. If you'd like to actually debate these at length, in a friendly manner, I'd be happy to go toe to toe.

    anonymous Jun 14, 2012 1:59pm

    I agree with you. The ideas in this article are not from traditional Buddhism, but a watered-down secular Buddhism that I personally believe is more of a marketing tool to attract skeptical and religion-weary Americans and Europeans to temples and meditation centers. While there's nothing wrong with the "Western Buddhism" that is actually more pop-psychology, one need only to read the short Dhammapada to learn about heavens, hells, and rebirth. Assuming the Buddha actually said what is attributed to him, he definitely taught these things. As far as reincarnation or rebirth, it seems to be the only life-after-death scenario that has any evidence to back it up.

      anonymous Jul 19, 2012 11:01am

      Heart of the Buddha, among many other un-watered down books, discusses the hell realms from a more psychological point of view—as in, if and when we're angry, we're already, in that moment, in hell. Again, the Buddha did away with superstition or the need to believe—like science, which the Dalai Lama has said should take precedence over Dharma if the two conflict, Buddhism does not need to be believed, because it's a set of teachings about reality. It can be tested.

        anonymous Apr 13, 2014 11:02am

        And we inevitably reach the "my buddhism is better than your buddhism" end point. I also am Tibetan tradition buddhist and love this article. If you ever met Lama Yehse, the abbot of Samye Ling in Scotland, you'd find him the most down to earth, purely joyful you'll ever meet. This "dabbling westerners" rubbish is just that. Rubbish. Why is their path less valid than yours because you've squirrelled away a few words of Sanskrit/Pali/Tibetan? Their path to mindfulness and buddhism is no less important. But your views are the most unbuddhist I've come across for a while. Thankfully..

anonymous Apr 6, 2012 11:47am

Home run, Waylon! Love how you start off with "better than" in the title—religiosity at its shallowest—and bring it home to the sweet truths that Buddhism shows are present at the core of all religons.

Just posted to "Featured Today" on the Elephant Spirituality Homepage.

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

anonymous Apr 6, 2012 11:45am

Why can't it be a religion?

    anonymous Apr 7, 2012 11:23pm

    Sorry? Explain more what you're asking? Buddhism certainly is a religion, one of the world's major religions, at that. It's a 2,500 year tradition, time tested. That said, it's not theistic. So it's often referred to as more of a path, or "spiritual tradition." Perhaps that addresses your question, to some extent?

    anonymous Mar 7, 2014 2:34am

    How it was explained to me is that buddhism and taoism both exist in a culture that has a word to explain neither religion nor spirituality. That Buddhism and Taoism can be practiced in and out of other "typical" religions because it is not one, it exists as something that in the West there is no name for.

anonymous Apr 6, 2012 6:35am

I was skeptical when I saw the title but this was an awesome post.

    anonymous Apr 6, 2012 12:19pm

    Thanks! That was kind of the point: to make fun of the whole "our religion is better than yours" theme that's gone on for centuries, and caused wars and hate and rivalry where it should all be debate, fun, learning from our respective traditions and strengths.

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 7:59pm

Right speech?

Why separate yourself from others by these classifications, we all have the divine light. If you think that "We" or "I" am Buddhist, perhaps rethink that statement.

    anonymous Apr 6, 2012 12:19pm

    On some level, I agree. But prajna (discriminating awareness wisdom) does distinguish between different things. You're pro-diversity, aren't you? The melting pot of tolerance doesn't mean we get rid of everyone's indigenous traditions and make everyone follow one way, does it? Differences are beautiful, and sometimes not beautiful. You eat organic food versus McDonald's for a reason, for example?

    Does Hitler have the divine light? It's alllllllllll good, right?

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 6:32pm

Right on! Thanks for the love . . .

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 6:07pm

Love, love, love this. Perfect. Lyimperfect, that is….

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 4:25pm

-The title says "*You’ll just endure countless lifetimes of cyclical suffering." but #4 says "Any Buddhist who tells you to believe in reincarnation or anything that can’t be proven is caught up in superstition," So, how can I reconcile the two?
– I'd be happy if I could read Buddhist texts directly, but in all my study of Buddhism I've only been told what Buddhism is by someone else.
– I also notice this article is rather condescending in tone to religions that do believe in "eternal damnation", as if saying you don't believe in it means you are more enlightened in some way.

    anonymous Apr 6, 2012 9:51am

    David~ of the two, the first was a 'funny' (in a previous life, Waylon was a Borscht Belt comedian, if one believes in that 🙂 Shakyamuni Buddha himself even said: "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.” But, you can find his sutras (teachings) online or in books.
    Regarding the "eternl damnation" thing–the idea that "David" will have the same physical body and the same consciousness which suffers now after death isn't part of the Buddha's path. Yes, everything we do–right NOW, has an effect, which is what Waylon was pointing to….one could say that 'Heaven' and 'Hell' are right here, right now, but it is not about judgment or damnation. The Buddha also said: “You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished BY your anger.” ::blessings::

    anonymous Mar 27, 2013 10:06am

    same goes with many other religions but the difference is Buddhism develops over time and learns as it goes along…….most other religions don't

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 4:21pm

Would be better with a different title

    anonymous Apr 6, 2012 12:16pm

    Yes. Less self-deprecation or humor, more egotistical holiness.

      anonymous Mar 7, 2014 2:25am

      Or how about with kindness instead of either?

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 4:05pm

Maria Von Egidy i am not going to read this in case you are serious..

Christina Willow ‎#'s 1 and 10 saved this. thank goodness because i really like the elephant journal.

Keith Winkler Read it Maria, you won't be disappointed. It's fun. 🙂

Sara Wdb why i have been able to be a buddhist for as long as i have

Madhava Ananda This has got to be the most Dogmatic Atheistic title I have heard this Kali Yuga!!

Michael Rivers Whatever works….

Madhava Ananda Leave to to Elephant journal for the cream of New-Age Gibberish! how about "10 reasons my hog-poge belief system is better than your faith which I have no clue about" The Nature of the mode of ignorance, is that is is elusive when you are swimming in seas of misconceptions…..Does anyone actually know what "Nirvana" means here?

elephantjournal.com Madhava, sounds like you're the New Age learning-skimming guilty party here (though I'm guilty, generally). You didn't read the list. If you had, you'd have read #10, which directly contradicts the title. Thanks for surface skimming with lazy righteous indignation, the internet doesn't have enough of that! ~ Waylon

Maria, we are never serious, and when we are, we make fun of ourselves for being self-serious. That's our practice. ~ Waylon.

    anonymous Jul 18, 2012 6:04am

    Wow does that ever sound flip and arrogant Waylon. Somehow this article just doesn't ring true, nor do your comments.

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 3:25pm

Besides, everyone knows Ceiling Cat is the one true faith! 🙂

anonymous Apr 5, 2012 3:00pm

Excellent summation, Way. And thanks for including the Arj Barker vid – never fails to make me lol…:)

Mimi Gennuso Oct 21, 2018 5:28am

It’s a bit confusing ...Because in Buddhism then there are the 8 hot hell’s and the 8 cold hell’s ...yet they don’t believe in god ...and some say that the hells are not literal hell’s but metaphorical.. perspective is talked about and about how everyone has their own perspective on things . it seems a religion because of certain things like, observing Buddha’s birthday and other special times ...and there are lots of statues . Not at the center I have been to ,but there are diffferent statues that you can buy in their little store . whether they literally believe in all the deities or whatever ..or if it’s all symbolic . maybe depends on the person . it honestly seems like a philosophy ,but at the same time it seems like a religion . Only thing I don’t like is that ..at the place I’ve gone ..they call it class ..and so your going to class which seems weird to me because it’s like a religion ...but this comes back to the whole ..it’s a philosophy thing . I like it that it’s vegetarian , but I believe there were Christians known as Essenes that were vegetarian ...so there’s always that. Buddhism seems similar to Hinduism . but with Catholicism then different saints symbolize different things such as travel..or animals ..so you could see it like that too ,although it seems Buddhists don’t actually believe in god and you will realize that if u go to more than one Buddhist center then eventually you’ll be around some that will admit that in a group setting . but they are nice people though . I been to 2 Buddhist centers in the city I live and there are nice people at both Buddhist centers . Buddhism is hard to accept because of the whole reincarnation thing but I cant except every little thing about Christianity either .

Amika Halley Oct 12, 2017 12:39am

there is jainism

Alina Kaspranskaya Jul 8, 2017 8:07am

I would add the strongest reason why for me buddhism is better than any religion - it cares about ALL living beings, not only humans. No other religion really gives a fuck about any other living thing than humans, that is what all sorts of horrifying cruelties being done in the name of "God". Buddhism on the other hand acknowledges equal value of any life, and promotes non-killing , vegetarianism and non-cruelty.

Alina Kaspranskaya Jul 8, 2017 8:05am

I would add the strongest reason why for me buddhism is better than any religion - it cares about ALL living beings, not only humans. No other religion really gives a fuck about any other living thing than humans, that is what all sorts of horrifying cruelties being done in the name of "God". Buddhism on the other hand acknowledges equal value of any life, and promotes non-killing , vegetarianism and non-cruelty.

Hatem Yahia Saad-Eldin Jan 10, 2017 10:24pm

If i understood correctly, the main point in this article is that people should be good with other people irrespective of their beliefs. True. But, it is not a correct concept that all religions are fine. What if there is a religion that not only stresses on treating fellow humans well (unless of course if they harm others), but progresses beyond that? Would'nt that be superior? And this is Islam, not only does God gravely warn from harming other harmless fellow humans, but that a person should treat all living creatures well, such as animals and even plants. It also encourages individuals to think and ask questions about life, to activate the mind, and through that to be in connection with the creator of this Universe, God. It is a practical religion in the journey of life, and sensible too. I implore you to read the Quran and asess this by yourself, or check out my book about in what ways it makes sense: https://www.xinxii.com/en/the-religion-that-captivated-minds-with-its-logic-p-373076.html Or contact me for a free copy no problem

Ogyen Gyatso May 17, 2016 6:05pm

I heard of a story where a monk got TICKLED TO DEATH. The Christians lynch their enemies. The Muslims beat them to death with a brick. We frickin' tickle our victims apparently.

Rick Ash Apr 14, 2016 3:31am

So....nothing is better than anything and nothing can be known. Thanks. Can I have my 5 minutes back?