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Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy? How about Taoism?

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Erick67 6 July 1

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I think it's possible to accept many of the philosophical ideas within buddhism without accepting it as a religion. Many ideas and cognitive strategies prevalent within modern psychology have been plagiarised from buddhism.


I have intermittently described my beliefs as pseudo-Taoist. Not sure what I mean by that, and that's mostly the point.


both depending on how you treat it.


Yes... it is! However, taking philosophies from it, working with meditation and generally being kind is not a religion. Even with Cathalisim we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. If I’m at all Buddhist it would be secular Buddhism… But I don’t think I’m Buddhist because I don’t think serious Buddhists would think I’m Buddhist☯️


These things are religions despite having no deity. Religion to me is one of those things where there is a list of symptoms and if you have enough of them, you have a religion. Worship of a deity is only one of those symptoms. Others include adherence to a holy book and/or tradition that asserts some unfalsifiable speculative truth, a belief in supernatural beings, forces and/or realms whether the list of such things includes a god or not, belief in an asserted cosmology, a priest class (preferably with funny dresses and hats and various ascetic trappings), an elevation of religious faith over intellectual honesty, etc.

There is, I suppose, a philosophical core behind and permeating each religion (for example, authoritarianism and presuppositionalism is a pretty big component of many religions) but since I think it's true that every individual and group has a philosophy whether or not they recognize it as such, I think it's kind of meaningless to say a religion is also a philosophy. Particularly when religion tends not to innovate or create anything, they tend only to appropriate.

I think that you may need to read more about the philosophy of buddhism in that they were ideas put forward to live by and if they don't work, throw them out. Philosophical buddhism postulates nothing about an afterlife. Siddhartha, the first buddha, when asked about what happened after death said that he didn't know. And before you accuse me of being religious, I'm a raducal atheist and anti theist. There is a buddhist religion, but that's because people can make a religion of anything and it's more a blend of buddhism and hinduism which was the religion of the time, but there is a distinctly separate buddhist philosophy

@Cyklone My point was that the definition of a religion may, but need not, include a deity on offer. I am aware that Buddhism, Taoism, and some others don't have a deity unless some sub-sect bolts one on. I borrow a few ideas from Buddhist philosophy and am well acquainted with a couple of people who practice Zen Buddhism.

@mordant point.


We had a similar post a couple of days ago. I will give the same answer. Yes it is a religion. It may also be a philosophy but Buddha is definitely worshipped and his statues are everywhere in numerous Asian countries. Offerings are left and they have monks. You know the old expression “if it look like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck”.


Confucius says man that wrights to fast scribble.


It's not about what you believe, it's about how you conduct yourself in the belief.

It can be philosophical, religious, or just a cult.

Like when the Buddhists in Myanmar kill and drive out the Rohinga people because they are Muslim. Is this a philosophical or a religious decision ?


Who am I to say what another's life and belief is or is not?


A philosophy is a system of thought that must be prepared to adapt and change. Neither Buddhism nor Taoism allows that.

I don't think that's true. I think both allow you to adapt and change. And I agree with @Stacey48 that that's not in any definition of philosophy I've heard of.

@Stacey48 @tnorman1236 I didn't say it was a definition. Forgive me, perhaps I should have said that one of the characteristics of a philosophy is that it must be inherently able to change. I still say that neither Buddhism nor Taoism is capable of that.


I am both, and more. I chose the principles of Buddhism and Taoism to guide my life in my 20s, like many others did in the late 60s. As a hereditary Jew raised as a Christian, no formal religions made sense to me so i focused on principles instead of dogma. Now i don't fit into any category or box. And i like it here. hahaha

How do you see yourself Josephr ? You obviously think outside the box that is why you don’t fit in one. What do you say you are when asked?

@Marionville Thanks for asking. I see and describe myself, in this context, as a secular hereditary Jew who has rules for himself; to friends i explain that the self-direction includes always behaving truthfully, honestly, openly, and with empathy. I'll add that Taoist principles as published have inspired many of my beliefs and behaviours. I also know that what 'i don't know" far exceeds 'what i do know, ' so one of my jobs here (in life) is to learn.

Is that more info than you wanted? LLOL

@josephr I like your reply. You are obviously a man at peace with himself. As individuals we are living, thinking animals and can call ourselves whatever we think we are. That is what distinguishes us from the lower orders of species. I subscribe to all your principles and refer to myself as a humanist.

@Marionville You are perceptive. I am at peace with myself and the world in which i function. Thank you for seeing that

You have a wonderful view of humanity, our world, and our role which obviously matches mine. Maybe that's why i believe it is wonderful. LLOL

Seriously though, i periodically search for an easy label to use for describing what i believe, toyed with humanist and humanism as it is defined by others, but when i tested it out to see what others understood it to mean, blank looks was my response. So my inner jury is still out about that and i still describe who i am instead of labelling myself. It's all good though.

Now i need to go to bed. Thanks for the chat. Cheers.


They both started as a philosophy and got turned into a religion.

For some. LLOL

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