(1) How to start learning about Buddhism? | Is it a Religion or Science?

Buddha Statue (Credit: Mattia Faloretti)

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for your step here searching for Buddhism, be it out of coincidence, curiosity or suffering of yours or someone. I sincerely hope that you would be able to explore and learn something from the ancient wisdom, which might help change your life from all prospectives.

Q1. Is Buddhism a religion or science? I’m not a Buddhist…

When talking about Buddhism, the first question that one might ask or concern is regarding whether Buddhism is a religion or science. The short answer is “Both, yes and no”. (Yes a very non-duality or Middle Way style of Buddhist argumentation.)

Buddhism is often regarded a religion as it is commonly understood and accepted in the contemporary society. As a lay person, we could meet Buddhism from many occasions in our life, while many of us likely come across Buddhism for the first time when we visit a temple when travelling somewhere in the world, especially countries like China, Japan and Thailand, where Buddhism is common and countries with Buddhism as their state religion like Bhutan.

Ninnaji Template, Kyoto, Japan (Credit: Manuel Cosentino)

In its usual form or impression to society, Buddhism or Buddhist culture is known for its rituals, monks, Buddha statues in temples and profound sutras written in Sanskrit or Tibetan. One might also relate Buddhism to its archaeological or mystical side, or even literature like the popular novel “Journey to the West”.

Journey to the West Drama (Credit: TVB)

After all, Buddhism is “firstly” a religion from its origin to current status, and from its historical development to its recent application. So why shall we ask whether Buddhism is a form science, or how shall we explore and understand its non-religious angle?

To be continue…

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