Who knows anything about Buddhism? Define it..
I identify as a Buddhist as in I try to follow the teachings of Siddartha Goatama who became known as the 'Buddha' like most religions there seem to be many many variants of Buddhism. I follow an American version of Theravada. It's considered to be a 'stripped down' version. We don't worry too much about gods, rebirth... mainly we focus on cultivating loving kindness and meditation.Sometimes summed up in a quote 'The non-doing of any evil, the performance of what's skillful, the cleansing of one's own mind: this is the teaching of the Awakened'
I'll preface to say while I grew up in shaolin dojo and Buddhist temple as my grandmother wanted, she also taught me our family's voodoo. I've slowly returned after stopping temple practice when I was 13 and one last spur at 15. So I can give a broad strokes, but I haven't practiced for ages.
It can be either religion or philosophy and both to many depending on branch. Even within a branch you can practice a philosophical version Chan Buddhism (which is umbrella over Shaolin) as a religion or as the spiritual philosophy alone.
Chan Buddhism believes in spontaneous enlightenment. Meaning if you practice mindfulness you can attain enlightenment and ascend instantly.
In reality this is seem, understood and felt more as poetic reference to the spontaneous knowing one can attain in gestalt from their mind. That is, the daily practices of mind can attune and balance the mind to the point where more information is available and intersectional. So you see something while tending your bonsai and suddenly you know how to solve that problem in neurophisiology you've been working on, you see the lotus leaf repels all bacteria from its physical shape. So you make foliecath tubes shaped in geometric similarity to the pattern.
The spontaneous enlightenment and "ascending" is the rise of consciousness after the previous descent into unconsciousness to gather and correlate data. The sun consciousness presents this data and the ascent of such a knowing is euphoric.
In practice, in time you can simulate this process both purposely and facilitate it's easier random access.
So, to the religious, near death, or in exclusive pain, such profound enlightenment and euphoric ascent can give one nirvinah in life or at the moment of death.
For Shaolin Buddhism, the mind, body and spirit are all linked. The daily practice of meditation in motion, contemplationnin stillness links the body and mind together with the spirit (subconscious). It can be practiced as religion with qi being universal life energy. Or qi can be understood as a combination of physiologic factors which only occur due to the shaolin, deep yoga, or deep Japanese tai chi practices. I could ramble for some time about the body.
It's the body, and then the mind which brought me back to temple. I walk on a paralyzed leg, I've taught myself to snowboard on a paralyzed leg. It's the daily physical and mental practices I learned from five years old, which allowed me to heal myself.
One second at a time, 18.5 cm of dead nerve healed over 1850 days if I was perfectly healthy and I wasn't, I was injured and almost died a few times.
But, shaolin is meditation in motion, contemplation in stillness. On days I could t even massage my leg, I could oxygenated via breathing practice.
Shaolin points that our most is material and material needs maintainence and care. We give our cars tune ups, but we hardly ever care for our mind or body. Yijin jing the prime core of shaolin kung fu says nothing of fighting it's "yi change, jin tendon and sinew, jing methods).
When is the last time you did a full range of motion of all your joints?
When my sternum practices in shi swing gi (hope that's right) page 2 or 3, the sudden expansion of my chest flutters my heart causing the neurons in the heasrt to send an odd electrical signal releasing endorphins and some enzyme or hormone I can feel but know not (it's not endorphin and it's only felt in qigong breathing practice without the oxygenation & nergr conduction popping does nothing). Anyway the sternum pops and within 30 seconds I'm giggling and euphoric as endorphins and Neuro conduction between thalamus and heart make me feel loved and happy.
That's the source of the "heart chakra". Proof in practice.
There are other branches of Buddhism of which I'm only tangentially familiar.
Nichiren Buddhism is the branch in Japan which gave rise to reiki.
A Buddhist doctor was asked by his students of the western obsession with Jesus and miraculous healing. Asked if such a thing was possible.
The Doctor didn't know, and being the introspective Buddhist instead of answering blindly, sought knowledge. Determined if Jesus was real, he was a Jewish Buddhist, which meant access to physical practices of self "discipline" yoga or other similar and forgotten or absorbed techniques.
Reiki is at its core mind over matter oxygenation and controlling your biochemistry throguh calling meditation.
Now as to the claims of energy... qi is an energy in the body, but we make it. It's wind our breath, both its our movement, it's our electricity. These things can allow the body to heal, if used with daily discipline.
The basis of all this is of course the conscious mind and how it can affect our body/subconscious and how the subconscious can affect both.
I know this isn't the best answer, but I tried to cover as much broad strokes and my personal experience as I could.
Buddhism is not a religion per se'. Buddhism is a philosophy for 'living', rather to help one to see that it is 'desire' of materiality in life that causes one to be unhappy. In becoming happy one meditates and practices 'mindful' living in order to expose inconsistencies within one's psyche that are causing the unhappiness. You basically go within and discover your inner therapist. There are some dogma's associated with Buddhism, but a person may choose to adopt, or drop what does not apply to him or her. It is overall a good philosophy to reduce stress. There are also several branches of Buddhism to choose from. This is my personal view of Buddhism, although it may differ from others. Dialectical Behavioral Therapies DBT in psychology are using Buddhist teachings (mindfulness living, meditation) in conjunction with other methodoligies to help people with anxiety etc... I see it as letting go of outcomes and expectations, so that one can live in the present moment and not remain focused on the future and the past - which oftentimes is the cause of stress and Generalized Anxiety/Anxiety disorders where an individual cannot 'control' things, or people in their lives.
Simplest way I can think is;
Buddhism is the following of dharma which means "cosmic law and order", and is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha(because they're the Blessed One, the Awakened with true knowledge), in order to eventually obtain enlightenment and end the suffering of the ever reincarnating soul.
I don't know much about it, but from what I've witnessed, it's more of a philosophy than a religion. It seems pretty healthy as far as teaching peace, acceptance, happiness and tolerance. Again this is just what I've seen from some of its followers. I don't hear the condemnation and hate that seems to come with the monotheistic religions. I think Jesus was portrayed as sort of a Buddhist.
Like Christianity is following the teachings of Christ, Buddhism is following the teachings of the Buddha.
And while Christ specifically he was a god, Buddha specifically said he wasn't; this makes Christianity a religion but Buddhism a philosophy.
Furthermore, Buddha's main teachings are containing are known as the Eightfold Way and the Four Noble truths.
As far as I understand it Buddhism is a philosophy of life that encourage one to achieve inner peace by shedding the desire for the material. But that's just my understanding, I am in no way knowledgeable on the subject. I have heard that Buddhism does not require a belief in a deity though. Also my understanding.