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Buddhist Beliefs

Religious beliefs are important in Buddhism, but its central doctrines aren't necessarily the same as those of other world religions. Depending on the sect, Buddhist beliefs may include gods, ancestors, and the afterlife, but the most important Buddhist beliefs about suffering and how to escape it.

The Buddha himself was called the "Enlightened One." After he became enlightened, he taught that the way to eliminate suffering begins with understanding the true nature of the world.

However, the Buddha considered knowledge important only insofar as it remains practical. He rejected speculation about such matters as God, the nature of the universe, and the afterlife, urging his followers to focus instead on the Four Noble Truths by which they can free themselves from suffering.

Basic Points of Buddhism

In the 2,500 years since the Buddha's enlightenment, Buddhism has spread over many countries, split into numerous sects, and adopted a wide variety of beliefs, practices, rituals and customs. However, an essential unity centered around the teachings of the Buddha underlies these differences. ### Is Buddhism Atheistic?

One general doctrine agreed upon by Buddhists is: "We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God." However, disbelief in a creator God does not mean that Buddhism is atheistic.

Buddhas and Deities

In Mahayana Buddhism, the universe is populated with celestial buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities that assist and inspire the Buddhist practitioner. Among the most popular are Kuan Yin, the Medicine Buddha, the Laughing Buddha and the Green and White Taras. These and other fascinating figures are explored in this section. ### Human Nature

In Hinduism, the soul, or atman, is an eternally existing spiritual substance or being and the abiding self that moves from one body to the next at rebirth. The Buddha rejected this concept. ### Purpose of Life

In Buddhism, the purpose of life is to end suffering. The Buddha taught that humans suffer because we continually strive after things that do not give lasting happiness. ### Reincarnation and Afterlife

The Buddha said of death: Life is a journey. Death is a return to earth. The universe is like an inn. The passing years are like dust. Regard this phantom world As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream

  • Afterlife

    According to Buddhism, after death one is either reborn into another body (reincarnated) or enters nirvana. Only Buddhas (those who have attained enlightenment) will achieve nirvana... full article →
  • Atheism

    One general doctrine agreed upon by Buddhists is: "We do not believe that this world is created and ruled by a God." However, disbelief in a creator God does not necessarily mean that Buddhism is atheistic. full article →
  • Basic Points of Buddhism

    In the 2,500 years since the Buddha was enlightened under the Bodhi Tree, Buddhism has spread over many countries, split into numerous sects, and adopted a wide variety of beliefs, practices, rituals and customs... full article →
  • Four Noble Truths

    In his first sermon after attaining enlightenment, the Buddha taught the "Four Noble Truths," which form the foundation of belief for all branches of Buddhism:
      - All of life is marked by suffering... full article →
  • Gods

    The Buddha's teachings and Theravada Buddhism are essentially atheistic, although neither deny the existence of gods. In Mahayana Buddhism, however, the universe is populated with celestial buddhas and bodhisattvas who are worshipped as gods and goddesses. full article →
  • Human Nature

    In traditional Indian thought, the soul, or atman, is an eternally existing spiritual substance or being and the abiding self that moves from one body to the next at rebirth. The Buddha rejected this concept. full article →
  • Meaning of Life

    In Buddhism, the purpose of life is to end suffering. The Buddha taught that humans suffer because we continually strive after things that do not give lasting happiness. full article →
  • Noble Eightfold Path

    According to the fourth Noble Truth, one can permanently escape suffering by following the Noble Eightfold Path. The word "right" in these eight items designates "true" or "correct," to distinguish the Buddhist way from others: It is not enough to gain knowledge; it must be right knowledge... full article →

Article Info

Title Buddhist Beliefs
URL www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/beliefs
Short URLrlft.co/924
Published
UpdatedJanuary 10, 2017
MLA Citation“Buddhist Beliefs.” ReligionFacts.com. 10 Jan. 2017. Web. Accessed 21 Jan. 2017. <www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/beliefs>

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