As the Buddha’s concern is the True Happiness of all beings, His teachings can be practiced in society or seclusion, by all of every race and belief. It is totally unbiased and truly universal.
Emphasis on the Truth
First and foremost, Buddhism believes in seeking Truth (the reality of all things). Truth is beyond worldly knowledge and instead focuses on a direct path to happiness. You could also say it’s about wisdom.
You can Change Yourself
There aren’t too many founders of worldwide spiritual teachings who have taught anyone can be what they are. But Buddha did. He taught that anyone can attain enlightenment.
Buddhism encourages everyone to question the world they live in and move beyond dogma. It shies away from such things as rituals and elaborate ceremonies, as they can distract from the true nature of the spiritual path.
A True Example
Buddha was a complete example of his teachings. He embodied everything he said.
From Experience and Reason to Faith
Experience is really the crux of any true religion or spiritual path because it emphasizes the individual — not blind faith. According to Buddha, we are our own savior.
If you really read Buddhism, you will see that even 2500 years ago they had a very solid grasp on psychology. As complimented by Carl Jung:
“As a student of comparative religions, I believe that Buddhism is the most perfect one the world has seen. The philosophy of the theory of evolution and the law of Karma are far superior to any other creed…It was neither the history of religion nor the study of philosophy that first drew me to the world of Buddhist thought but my professional interest as a doctor. My task was to treat psychic suffering and it was this that impelled me to become acquainted with the views and methods of that great teacher of humanity (the Buddha), whose principal theme was the chain of suffering, old age, sickness and death.”
Many religions promote a fear-based ideology that almost coerces others to join its ranks. But not Buddhism. Instead, reason and logic are used to appeal to mankind.
Purification of the Mind
Buddhism teaches that we must go beyond ceasing evil and purify the mind, the true root of all evil and suffering.
Freedom of Thought
There is absolutely zero compulsion to believe or accept anything Buddha said. Instead, it encourages us to think freely and deeply.
No Blind Faith
Unlike many religions, nothing is promised for those who call themselves Buddhists. No salvation, virgins, or anything else. So instead of bargaining (you will get this if you do this), it’s all about a noble way of life to find enlightenment for oneself and others. Buddha advised choosing a religion that works for you, but certainly not on blind faith.
Not only did the Buddha teach non-violence and peace, He was probably the first and only religious teacher who went to the battlefield to prevent the outbreak of a war.
Despite the progress of modern science, these teachings have never been contradicted. Einstein commented on this:
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual and a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description… If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.”
No Political Abuse
Buddha never used his political connections to influence the people to accept his teachings. Instead, he urged Kings to be morally upright and to rule with compassion.
As the Buddha’s Compassion is universal, He sees all creatures great and small, from insects to beasts, as equal ultimately, each with the same rights for happiness as Humankind.
Buddha believed both sexes were equal. He allowed both men and women to join the monastic order, which was extremely radical in his time.
Buddhism is not a wholly otherworldly religion. Though practicing Buddhism in this life has positive effects that extend beyond this life, much of the direct practical fruits of our practice can also be seen in this very life.
Buddhism strongly encouraged care and respect for the ecological environment as he clearly saw the close interdependence between man and nature.
No Sacrificial Rites
The Buddha disapproved of animal sacrifice as He saw it cruel and unfair for anyone to destroy any living being for one’s selfish “benefit”.
Nothing is unforgivable in Buddhism. There is always the ability to change as long as one recognizes the mistakes made and changes for the better.
Peaceful Missionary Work
An outstanding example of the approach of a Buddhist missionary is Emperor Asoka, who sent Buddhist missionaries to many parts of the Asian and Western world to introduce the Buddha’s message of peace. One of his scripts engraved in stone on the Asoka Pillars, which still stands today in India says,
“One should not honor only one’s religion and condemn the religion of others, but one should honor others’ religion for this or that reason. In so doing, one helps one’s own religion to grow and renders service to the religions of others too. In acting otherwise, one digs the grave of one’s own religion and also does harm to other religions.”
Holy wars, crusades, inquisitions and religious discrimination do not mar the annals of Buddhist history.
Goodwill and Understanding
The Buddha’s message of goodwill and understanding to all beings is a universal message. The world today needs this noble message more than ever before in the history of Humankind.