8 Common Myths about Buddhism

What you need to know about Buddhism

Sometimes we get a false picture in our heads about something we know very little about based on something we read, heard or saw in the media. Often this is the case with regard to religions or philosophies we don’t practice. Unfortunately, these misunderstandings can lead to discrimination and prejudice. Buddhism, being an Eastern religion is often misunderstood here in the Western part of the world. To help break down some common misconceptions about the practice, here is a list of myths, and truths, about the practice of Buddhism.

Buddha was a god

The Buddha was not a deity, and he never claimed to be one. He was a normal man who, through his own efforts, attained enlightenment.

Buddhists worship a god

Unlike many other religions, Buddhism is about following a path — not a person. For this reason, some consider Buddhism more of a philosophy than a religion.

All Buddhists are vegetarians

Some Buddhists are vegetarians, but some are not — it depends on the sect of Buddhism that you follow. The Buddha said that meat can only be eaten if you do not see it or hear it being killed, and if it is not killed for you.

Buddhists believe in reincarnation

Buddhists believe in rebirth — not reincarnation. Reincarnation deals with a constant and unchanging identity that moves from life to life, carrying memories and emotions with it. In rebirth there is no carrying over of emotions and memories, just a small imprint of them in what is known as karma.

There is a single set of Buddhist beliefs

The idea of a uniform Buddhist code of belief is a misconception. There are many different schools of Buddhist beliefs, and each person is told to ask questions and receive answers that are specific to her.

Buddhists welcome suffering

Buddhists don’t actually welcome suffering into their lives, but they try to take a positive approach toward it. They see suffering as an opportunity to grow and become a stronger, more complete person.

Buddhism requires strenuous meditation

While meditation is a part of an active Buddhist lifestyle, its importance depends on the sect of Buddhism to which a person adheres. Even if meditation does become physically demanding, it only becomes that way to further enlightenment.

All Buddhists wear robes

While some of the monks and priests who are following, literally, in the footsteps of Buddha wear robes, it is a myth that the wearing of robes is required of all Buddhist followers.

Thank you for signing up!

Tell us what you think!
If you'd like to comment on this article, become a member of Gaiam Life.
Click here to create your account.