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: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.
: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live

Without a doubt, Buddhism meets the definition of “philosophy” as stated above. The message of the historical Buddha, known as the Dharma, is very practically oriented toward the nature of life and what is truth vs. delusion.

Buddhism speaks to the idea that life is transitory and constantly in flux. Nothing stays the same. This means that we will experience loss, that new things will wear out, that our bodies will age and be prone to sickness. It also acknowledges that “all good things must come to an end.”

For many, such statements seem negative. However, they are realistic, and in order to be happier, we must acknowledge and address them.

Buddhism encompasses ideas like karma as well; that actions have results. One could simplify this to say that good actions bring about positive returns, and bad actions will eventually catch up to us, but’s probably an oversimplification; it really seems to infer cause-and-effect and that actions result in it other events.

None of these things come wrapped in “God” or carry threats of divine judgment; they are simply logical conclusions based on the observations of the historical Buddha and others who have studied them throughout the years.

Because Buddhism arose at a time and place where it was normal to hold animistic and/or polytheistic views, it fits well in such environments. Therefore when Buddhism spread to other (mostly eastern) cultures, it melded with their existing beliefs and practices and, when looked upon from afar, can appear to encompass such things. Inherently, however, the original Buddhist teachings (known as Theravada) do not involve worshipping or venerating gods or spirits.

While Buddhism might be more than a philosophy to some, “philosophy” seems to be the best fit, and it is generally as a philosophy that we refer to Buddhism on this site.

By Kenn

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