Some Characteristics in Buddhism


  1. Buddha is not a Supreme God
  2. Buddhism claims eventual extinction of itself
  3. Buddhism is pragmatic and practical
  4. Buddhism is optimistic towards life
  5. Buddhism does not attack other right religions
  6. Buddhism is not just a religion

1.1 Buddha is not a Supreme God nor the Creator of Universe.

Buddha is just an enlightened being. If you are enlightened, you are Buddha too. All sentient beings can be Buddha. There are numerous enlightened beings in millions and millions of worlds in millions and millions of years. Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was the enlightened being in the world of our time. Although Buddha is the most supreme being known in all realms, he has no power to control everything. For instance, he is unable to change the principle of cause and effect. In other words, if you commit an evil deed, Buddha cannot save you by "waiving" the effect caused by your evil deed. Nevertheless, Buddha can advise you how to mitigate the adverse effect, if you really repent of your evil deed.

1.2 Buddhism is perhaps the only religion that claims the eventual extinction of itself, and also the sutra.

Buddhism and its sutra inevitably abide by the universal truth of impermanence. Whichever exists, it will extinguish, and vice versa. Buddhism is a "vehicle" to carry all beings to the shore of the Sea of Suffering. When you arrive at the shore, get off the vehicle.

Don't attach to it! Let other beings use it. It is just a "convenient tool" to facilitate all beings to understand and certify the reality of the nature and lives, and liberate themselves. Thus, in view of highest wisdom, all verbal and written Buddhism with names and forms are "not real" By the time of enlightenment, there will be no Buddhism. However, before one is enlightened, one has to study and practice Buddhism wholeheartedly and vigorously, cultivating all merits and virtues.

1.3 Buddhism is pragmatic and practical.

Buddhism was originated from and established for the sentient beings. It teaches how to observe and understand and certify the reality of the nature and lives in objective and scientific way. Do practice and don't just study theories, especially those which are abstract. Some people would like to know about the origin of the universe, finite or not, eternal or not, before they will undertake to practice a religion. It is just like a man who is wounded by an arrow wishes to know who shoots the arrow, what the arrow is made of, and other irrelevant questions before he will have the arrow removed.

1.4 Buddhism is optimistic and enthusiastic towards life.

It rejects the principle of fate, though it emphasizes karma. The principle of impermanence and the principle of no-self enlighten us that we should not attach and crave to fame and wealth, not benefit ourselves by hurting others. One can enlighten and realize oneself by enlightening and realizing others. Therefore, one has to cultivate and commit oneself in society. Without selfishness, we can really serve the society and people. Without the craving and clinging to personal fame and wealth, we can be really free, comfortable and "rich". The principle of Middle Way enlightens us about the interdependent nature of existence, therefore we should not go extreme. Be optimistic! The secret of happiness is not doing things what we like, but liking things what we do.

1.5 Buddhism does not attack other right religions.

How do we know a religion is right? Firstly, don't be superstitious! Don't believe in legend, though the legend may be respected by many people many places. Just like all other things, don't believe because many people say so; don't believe because the great people or scholars with high respect say so; don't believe what you think so or gods enlighten you. You have to observe carefully and think thoroughly whether it is logical and sensible, then you have to practice it in your daily life, and verify your belief with the results. And if it is good and beneficial to yourself and the others, then it is the right religion!

The four processes of learning, namely belief/faith, interpretation, practice and certification, are known as The Four Ways.

The faith to a religion should not be affected by the behavior or performance of an individual in the religion. A group of people is just a miniature of society, having some good guys and some had guys. All religions and philosophies have their doctrines, values and functions. Within a specific time frame and space, different religions will serve and benefit a particular group of human beings towards kindness and wholesomeness. Amongst the right religions, there is no such religion that is "better" than the others. However, since the wisdom and vision of the founders of the religions are different, there are different levels in their doctrines, different methods of teaching and different goals and objectives. Therefore, the extent of the benefits of the religions is different.

1.6 Buddhism is not just a religion!

Strictly speaking, Buddhism is not a religion because it is not "a system of faith and worship owing any allegiance to a supernatural being:.

What Buddhism interprets and reveals is the nature of existence, the principle of birth and death of the universe and lives. It advises all sentient beings how to accord with and manipulate the principle, in order to pursue the ultimate liberation and happiness by the highest level of wisdom. It is much more than a science, a philosophy or a religion. To be more exact, believing in Buddhism is a process of learning! Buddha is our teacher, and the Buddhist is a student.