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Buddhism can be a religion but often isn’t

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Buddhism is a set of principles and practices that demonstrably improve your life. No faith is necessary. You can believe in another religion or be an atheist and it still works. The Buddha himself said that if any teaching contradicts your own experience, discard that teaching. The Four Noble Truths Life means suffering and struggle. The origin of suffering and struggle is attachment. It is possible to end suffering and struggle through… …The Eightfold Path The Eightfold Path 1. Right View The Four Noble Truths 2. Right Intention Renunciation: Resistance to desire. Goodwill: Resistance to anger and aversion. Harmlessness: Compassion. Don’t think or act cruelly, violently or aggressively. 3. Right Speech Tell the truth. Don’t gossip. Don’t use offensive or hurtful language. 4. Right Action (The Precepts) Don’t harm other living beings. Don’t take things not freely given. Don’t engage in sexual misconduct. Don’t engage in false speech. Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. 5. Right Livelihood Don’t work in a job that violates The Precepts. 6. Right Effort Create, preserve and increase healthy states. Prevent, eliminate or decrease harmful states. 7. Right Mindfulness See things clearly. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness Be mindful of: body feeling state of mind phenomena. 8. Right Concentration Meditation Concentration on healthy thoughts and actions Buddhist Virtues (The Four Noble Abodes) 1. Compassion: The intention and capacity to relieve the suffering of oneself and all other living beings. 2. Loving Kindness: The intention and capacity to bring joy and happiness to oneself and all other living beings. 3. Empathetic Joy: Rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of another living being. 4. Equanimity: Accepting loss or gain, praise or blame, success or failure with detachment. Regarding all living beings equally. Being clear-minded and tranquil but not dull. The Three Poisons (The Roots of All Suffering) Anger/Aversion/Hatred Craving/Attachment/Greed Delusion/Ignorance The Three Jewels (The Credo of Buddhism) Buddha: Mindfulness, your highest spiritual potential Dharma: The teachings of the Buddha and the practice of those teachings Sangha: The community that supports that practice I take refuge in the Buddha, the one who shows me the way in this life I take refuge in the Dharma, the way of understanding and love I take refuge in the Sangha, the community that lives in harmony and awareness — “For a Future to be Possible: Buddhist Ethics for Everyday Life”, Thich Nhat Hanh

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1 David Zuniga PhD MDIV MA = "Hi Justin, Thanks for posting this; I always enjoy my dialogues with you. Was this from Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay)? It looks like that if I'm reading your post correctly, just thought I'd check. I like Thay a lot, in fact I've spoken at a local sangha here in Austin in his lineage, Plum Blossom Sangha and have many friends there. Thay is popular and a good teacher. He does have one take on Buddhism. I'd say Buddhism is a religion but a different kind of religion than people sometimes think of when they think of religion. It's true one could believe in God or not and be a devout Buddhist either way. But I don't think religion is defined by believing in God. For example, there is non-theistic Christianity. I draw on the work of Ninian Smart who argues that there are different dimensions to a religion; specifically religion has rituals, mythology, experiential, institutional, ethical, doctrinal/philosophical, and artistic dimensions. Smart's idea is that if something is a religion it generally has those seven characteristics. Your post raises a lot of important points about Buddhist doctrine and also how we define religion. I'd love to hear more of your thoughts and thanks for sharing! Peace, Rev. Dr. David Zuniga (Psychologist and Deily Advisor; www.drdavidzuniga.com/)"
2 Michael McKissick = "Thanks for adding this interesting insight into Buddhism!"
3 Rev Donna P = "This, from The Buddha, is one reason I became an Inter Faith minister. Thank you for sharing this."