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"Buddhism is a religion" logic[edit]

Regarding the question of whether this article should begin with the statement "Buddhism is a religion"--we have discussed this topic before, but I would like to re-open this discussion since I feel there are some flaws in the logic of using this statement as an opening remark. For reference, please see:

As far as I can tell, the main arguments for leading with the statement "Buddhism is a religion" are:

  • The only valid definition of religion is roughly speaking "an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence"
  • There exists a scholarly consensus that Buddhism is a religion

I realize that the other editors have strong opinions on this, so I would like to focus the discussion on the points just mentioned, which I believe are the crux of the argument.

"Religion is a collection of beliefs" logic[edit]

The assertion that "Buddhism is a religion" is valid only if you define the term religion in the broad sense of "a collection of beliefs, etc."

However, the most common definition of religion-- as cited in most dictionary definitions--is (for example) "the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods."

So if we state "Buddhism is a religion", it must also be true that:

  • The only valid definition of religion is the broad interpretation offered by scholars
  • The definition of religion as "belief in a superhuman power (e.g. a god)" is not a valid definition

I think this is a very important point, because the lead of this article should be aimed at the broadest possible audience, and it is clear from the dictionary definitions that the most commonly understood definition for religion is the "belief in a superhuman power". Therefore, it is logical to assume that most people who read the statement "Buddhism is a religion" will assume that Buddhism posits a belief in a "belief in a superhuman power (e.g. a god)".

"Scholarly consensus" logic[edit]

It has often been stated in previous discussions that there is a scholarly consensus that "Buddhism is a religion". However, I do not believe that this assertion has been proven.

If there are several reliable sources that have conducted formal surveys of Buddhist scholars, and these sources concluded that the vast majority of scholars agreed that:

  • "Buddhism is a religion" is the best way to begin a description of Buddhism for a broad audience, or
  • "Buddhism is a religion" is the only valid way, or the best way, to categorize Buddhism
  • Etc.

Then we could say that there was a scholarly consensus on the matter.

However, I am not aware of any sources that have made the assertion that there is a scholarly consensus that "Buddhism is a religion" is the best way to describe Buddhism in this context (of presenting Buddhism to a broad audience).

We have seen evidence that many scholars refer to Buddhism as a religion in scholarly papers and in courses at universities. But this is a case of scholars speaking to a limited, specific audience whom they can assume will have a shared understanding of what is meant by "religion."

However, I have also provided evidence that many eminent scholars (and Buddhist teachers) who have undertaken to explain Buddhism to a general (non-academic) audience are reluctant to label Buddhism as a "religion". For example, contemporary scholar Rupert Gethin states: "I am not concerned here to pronounce on a question that is sometimes asked of Buddhism: is it a religion? Obviously it depends on how one defines ‘a religion’. What is certain, however, is that Buddhism does not involve belief in a creator God who has control over human destiny, nor does it seek to define itself by reference to a creed."


In conclusion, I strongly suggest that we follow the example of Mr. Gethin and many other eminent scholars and:

  • avoid a blanket assertion that "Buddhism is a religion"
  • make clear that Buddhism does not involve belief in a creator god

Regards, Dorje108 (talk) 20:44, 22 December 2013 (UTC)

I think the thrust of Gethin's statement, and something that I think is repeated by Gombrich, is that discussing whether or not Buddhism is a religion is 1) fundamentally neither tractable nor particularly fruitful and 2) an inquiry that academics are going to regard as pointless. Any definition in the lede that defines Buddhism concisely is going to have to include 'religion' to address the popular and historical understanding of Buddhism, and its tendency to be studied alongside other traditions that are considered religions. We would also need some other supplemental terms and previous candidates in this area have been repeatedly discussed and found wanting. It's also worth noting that conceptions of Buddhism as something other than a religion seem to be primarily confined to popular Western literature of the second half of the 20th century and beyond and in some cases reflect polemic goals rather than academic analysis.
In other words, if we are going to evict or qualify religion in the introduction, we need an alternative that reflects whatever the more nuanced understanding is without making the topic sentence three pages long. That's been tried numerous times, and nothing has really been adequate. We also need to think about this from the perspective of a novice reader, someone who is not already familiar with the material, given that this is an overview article. From 10,000 feet and for the casual reader, Buddhism is 'something comparable in role and scope to Hinduism, Christianity, etc' - i.e., a religion- is an adequate understanding. There are wrinkles to the definition of almost every world religion- is Judaism a religion or an ethnicity? Is Hinduism one religion or many?- but explaining those nuances is a task for the body of the article rather than a topic sentence.
I appreciate the attempt to confine the discussion to certain specific weaknesses in calling Buddhism a religion. I'll readily concede that there are some weaknesses to the blanket statement 'Buddhism is a religion' in the topic sentence, but years of raking over the topic have produced nothing that is not at least as bad or worse. It would be worthwhile to see what other encyclopedias call Buddhism; a quick perusal suggests that 'religion and philosophy' is one of the more common ones.
Is there a seperate 'is Buddhism a religion' article? To me, it would be better to summarize the situation in the main body of the article and send the list of quotes and some discussion of the history of the topic (comparative study, 20th century views, etc.) into its own article.
I'm unsure about the creator god issue; my intuition is that it does not belong in the lede, but it seems like a paragraph addressing Buddhist cosmology and addressing Buddhist theories of creation (or their absence) would be a beneficial addition to the article. Not addressing the realms of rebirth, Mt. Meru, etc., seems like an omission.--Spasemunki (talk) 09:44, 31 December 2013 (UTC)
Hello Spasemunki. Thank you for the thoughtful response. Much appreciated. If we are going to keep the term religion in the lead sentence (and I don't see any consensus for changing this), then I suggest that we can address the "creator-god" issue directly by qualifying the term as follows: "non-theistic religion". This approach was suggested in a previous discussion, but I did not follow up at the time because I was hoping for a more comprehensive change.
Adding the term "non-theistic" is only one extra word, but it immediately clarifies what separates Buddhism from the other major world religions. From the Buddhist point of view, this is a fundamental distinction between Buddhism and the other religions that existed in India at the time of the Buddha--and it changes everything really. It completely alters the meaning of karma, the self, etc. (as compared to the Brahmic religions).
I would prefer to go further and say "Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and philosophy", but I don't see much of a chance for a consensus on such a change.
In summary, I think that any of the following changes would be an improvement of the current phrasing:
  1. Buddhism as a non-theistic religion.
  2. Buddhism as a non-theistic religion and philosophy.
  3. Buddhism as a religion and philosophy.
If we choose option 3, I suggest adding a footnote to the term religion to clarify the non-theistic nature of Buddhism. Best regards, Dorje108 (talk) 20:31, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
I just realized that DiverDave has already made the change in favor of option 1 above! (I was off-line for a number of days so I missed it.) I think that it is a very good change! It should help remove a lot of potential confusion. Best regards, Dorje108 (talk) 20:40, 5 January 2014 (UTC)
Much that there are traditions and schools within Buddhism which don't look very religious, it is pretty hard to assert that Buddhism is not a religion: Religion involves adhering to some sort of faith in something for which there is no current scientific basis; although Buddhism is one of the Dharma traditions there is a strong assertion of the following beliefs against which there is no current scientific evidence: Buddhahood, liberation (cessation of suffering) / Nirvāṇa, Karma, Rebirth, and even that Prince Gautama achieved Buddhahood.
Likewise there are plenty of deities in Buddhism (there are many traditions and varieties of Buddhism) - there are even 'creator' gods - but they are not omnipotent, and they cannot 'judge', - they cannot prevent karma from ripening. My understanding of this is that Buddha said, explicitly and implicitly, 'take responsibility for your actions'.
So, IMO, non-theistic religion really is only being used as a qualifier to say "Buddhism is not Judaism, Christianity, or Islam" - which is probably a bit redundant? However, I am not bothered enough to keep the status quo. (20040302 (talk) 08:46, 22 April 2014 (UTC))

Addendum 1: Academic consensus guidelines[edit]

For reference, here are the current Wikipedia guidelines on academic consensus:

The statement that all or most scientists or scholars hold a certain view requires reliable sourcing that directly says that all or most scientists or scholars hold that view. Otherwise, individual opinions should be identified as those of particular, named sources. Editors should avoid original research especially with regard to making blanket statements based on novel syntheses of disparate material. Stated simply, any statement in Wikipedia that academic consensus exists on a topic must be sourced rather than being based on the opinion or assessment of editors.

I think it is clear that if we follow the above guidelines then the assertion of an academic consensus that "Buddhism is a religion" has not been established. - Dorje108 (talk) 18:48, 25 December 2013 (UTC)

Comment on "Scholarly consensus logic"[edit]

  • Buddhism is for Aspirants; not for the Scholars of religion. It is a practical guide for the mental health (very practicle though)Kalakannija (talk) 15:16, 26 May 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 18 June 2014[edit]

Need to change the word Buddha to Lord Buddha Jdhdineshkumara (talk) 10:28, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

X mark.svg Not done Per WP:NPOV, honorifics are not added to the names of religious figures. For example, we do not write Muhammad (PBUH) or Lord Jesus Christ. --NeilN talk to me 10:52, 18 June 2014 (UTC)


Isn't a bit much to refer to it as "nontheistic" from the start despite Buddhism having numerous sects that practice it in both theistic and nontheistic ways? It already mentions the several ways it is practiced in the article further down so shouldn't it say "its a religion and philosophy" from the start so as it doesn't seem like its dismissing theistic practitioners? -Fart Waker (talk) 00:04, 23 June 2014 (UTC)

Good idea. By the way, therea re a lot of deities in Buddhism, despite its "atheism". Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:58, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
So can the protection on the page be temporarily lifted to allow for this change? -Fart Waker (talk) 06:35, 5 July 2014 (UTC)
The primary definition of theism is belief in a creator god. (See In this sense, Buddhism is definitely non-theistic. I am not sure what sects you are referring to, but I think it is important to make the distinction between beings in other realms (devas, etc.) who are subject to karma, and the theistic view of an omnipotent create god. Having said that, I think it would be fine to change "non-theistic religion" to "non-theistic religion and philosophy". However, my first preference for a revised lead is here: Talk:Buddhism/Archive_14#Suggestion_for_revised_lead - Regards, Dorje108 (talk) 18:30, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
Even so, many sources define it as a religion and philosophy, and there are some who incorporate Buddhism into their own theistic views, so it should at least say that its a religion and philosophy but then follow with one of the statements in the link you provided, like this one: "In modern times, Buddhism has been variously described as a religion, a "nontheistic religion", a philosophy, a science of mind, or a way of life." That way the article's lead is at least not completely dismissing all the ways in which it is practiced. -Fart Waker (talk) 19:57, 7 July 2014 (UTC)
For reference, here are some lead paragraphs on Buddhism from reliable secondary sources: User:Dorje108/Buddhism_lead_paragraph_sources#Lead_paragraphs.
I find the lead paragraph by I. B. Horner to be particularly inspired. - Dorje108 (talk) 01:24, 8 July 2014 (UTC)
Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please establish a consensus for this alteration before using the {{edit semi-protected}} template. There seems to be some discussion here but no consensus as of yet. — {{U|Technical 13}} (etc) 20:33, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
Your notion of "religion" apparently includes a bias toward theism, since none of the RS describes Buddhism as theistic.
Buddhism is "a nontheistic religion", which could also be described as "a notheistic religion and philosophy", though philosophy proper (i.e., that of Ancient Greece, from where the word is derived) has a separate historical context. Both philosophy and Buddhism share the historical context of having arisen in polytheistic societies, incidentally.--Ubikwit 連絡 見学/迷惑 23:07, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
The claim that Buddhism is "non-theistic" is misleading, tendentious, and in some cases just plain false. (1) The existence of "gods" (devas) such as Indra is acknowledged by most Buddhist traditions, even when it is not emphasized. (2) Despite rhetoric to the contrary, Buddhas and bodhisattvas are often the functional equivalents of the gods of other religions, in that they are superior supernatural beings who receive worship and are petitioned for help. Indeed, some Tibetan deities (Ganesh, Saraswati) have direct Hindu analogues. (3) Whether any of various Buddhist concepts of the ultimate reality might be compared to the monotheistic God is the subject of ongoing inter-religious dialogue, whose outcome (if there ever is one) should not be prejudged by Wikipedia. (4) In Indonesia and Malaysia, Buddhism is one of several government-recognized religions, all of which are affirmed / required by the prevailing national political ideologies (Pancasila, Rukunegara) to believe in God, albeit under different names, and Buddhists there accordingly cite concepts such as Buddha Nature as the Buddhist equivalents of "God." --Dawud — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:25, 21 August 2014 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 July 2014[edit]

While Buddhism is practiced primarily in Asia, both major branches are now found throughout the world. Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Estimates range from 350 million to 1.6 billion, with 350–550 million the most widely accepted figure. (talk) 08:36, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Red information icon with gradient background.svg Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. Anupmehra -Let's talk! 09:18, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I know about that, population of Buddhists is still unconfirmed. Bladesmulti (talk) 17:06, 31 July 2014 (UTC)

Removed Criticism subsection[edit]

I have removed the criticism and apologetic section. There was criticism of Buddhist doctrine, but it is neither frequent nor it has been accurate in last few decades.

When this section was inserted to the article, it was simply because the Criticism of Buddhism was long, with citations citing some of the SPS and personal blogs. It is not big anymore. Bladesmulti (talk) 02:27, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Frequent? Don't understand. I've restored the section for now. How is it not accurate? --NeilN talk to me 02:35, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Pope Benedict XVI's profession is to speak against all religions except his own. His opinion cannot be considered as constructive criticism. 3rd paragraph is not really criticism. Bladesmulti (talk) 03:03, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
Trimmed. What do you think about incorporating some of the "Women in Buddhism" criticism in the child article into here? --NeilN talk to me 03:13, 6 October 2014 (UTC)
It will work. Bladesmulti (talk) 04:50, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Ad Stuart Lachs. His criticism of Japanese Zen has been influential. And there's fundamental criticism on "guruism" in (Zen)Buddhism, also by Stuart Lachs, among others. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:54, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

Regarding the remarks of Pope Benedict XVI, and I say this as a non-Catholic, his argument was a valid criticism of some aspects of some branches of the Buddhist faith. Naturally as the leader of a rival religion, he will criticize other faiths but that does not mean that what he says is automatically untrue or unworthy of mention. What is more, in criticism of religion, his opinion is valid, in that it represents a sober critique of the Buddhist faith on a par with the criticism of Christianity by Shinto priest Guji Yukitaka Yamamoto. If I could find relevant criticisms of Buddhism from other religious leaders I would add them as well, and vice versa. When I first added the section Criticism and Apologetics, I did so to ensure that the article on Buddhism shared common features with those of other religion articles, including those for Christianity, Islam, et cetera. No religion is above criticism, as much as some fundamentalists of every religion, and indeed militant atheists, might wish it to be the case.

At the same time it is equally vital to combine criticism with apologetics, so that from a common reference people can find answers to the criticisms proffered by others. The goal of Wikipedia, as an NPOV encyclopedia, must be to expose this information as transparently and elegantly as possible, without prejudice either for or against the subject matter.

Pursuant to this I am going to reconstruct the section based on your feedback, and the criteria outlined above. For the moment I am going to restore it and then as I see it we can jointly co-edit it until we are satisfied, but for me including Ratzinger's opinion, and also including apologetics, is vital. What I would eventually like to do is create a standard model for criticism sections related to religion, and apply them to every religion article and to the articles on atheism and agnosticism. That would give us complete fairness, and would elegantly reflect the diversity of opinion on this most interesting of subjects.

Wgw2024 (talk) 20:32, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

I've split Criticism and Apologetics into two separate sections, restored the Ratzinger's quote, and deleted references to news items, like Bhutan's purge of non-Buddhists, which are not strictly speaking criticism of the religion, but rather evil acts conducted in its name.

Wgw2024 (talk) 20:45, 6 October 2014 (UTC)

This is not soapbox. Something done in its name cannot be criticism towards religion. Pope's main aim is to generate followers for his own sect. How his criticism could be constructive? Bladesmulti (talk) 02:03, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Criticism does not have to be constructive. Competing views are just as valid for an encyclopedia article. --NeilN talk to me 02:53, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Although I had found the criticism from 14th Dalai Lama to be pretty well for the article. If we can add Pope's research, we can summarize it, not to add quote. Bladesmulti (talk) 03:18, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

I've reverted Bladesmulti's reversion as it does not appear to reflect the consensus. Pope Benedict's opinion carries weight on the basis of his status as a theologian and does not require citations to support it; the subject matter is subjective and impossible to prove. There is a necessary element of polemics in any criticism of religion, and Wikipedia must transparently expose this criticism to avoid bias and provide a solid information base.

Now, more importantly, I reverted Bladesmulti's deletion of the Apologetics section. Bladesmulti, for reasons unknown, keeps deleting that vitally important section, which has nothing to do with criticizing Buddhism, and which does not contain any content mirrored elsewhere on the Wiki. Apologetics are vital, and we need an apologetics section.

Now at this point, I can do nothing further, and nor can Bladesmulti; we are both at the threshold of the three-reversion rule and any further reversion on either of our parts would constitute an edit war. The ball is in NeilN's court to resolve this issue, or to simply do nothing, for the next 24 hours. I'm going to walk away from this for a week or so to avoid even the temptation to edit war with Bladesmulti, and hope that NeilN and other editors of this page act correctly to preserve relevant content and ensure that the criticism of Buddhism presented is balanced and of the same quality as the criticism sections on the pages describing other major world religions (Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Jainism, et cetera).

Wgw2024 (talk) 12:38, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Wgw2024 It is irrelevant propaganda and I don't see how you agree with NeilN. He did his job. If you can read and hear, you have seen that NeilN himself trimmed it. It has been already told that "Beyond Belief is a book which refutes the arguments..." or "In the mid-19th century, encounters between Buddhists and Christians in Japan prompted"(unsourced) have nothing to do with the article. If you are going to add something, propose here first. I can agree about adding criticism from 14th Dalai Lama and little summary from Pope, but anything else is just irrelevant. Bladesmulti (talk) 12:55, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Bladesmulti has violated the three-edit rule and is now technically edit warring. However I will hold off for six hours before reporting him, to allow for him to restore the deleted Apologetics section. The Pope Benedict quote can be left out for the time being since it seems to be the main bone of contention, although I maintain that Bladesmulti's rationale for excluding it is both unfair and illogical.

Wgw2024 (talk) 13:01, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

3rr is 3 revert under 24 hours. In last 24 hours I have made 2 reverts. But that is not even a point. Till now, I have agreed with opinion of these 2 people but not really with the encounters or famous apologetic. Bladesmulti (talk) 13:08, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

@Wgw2024: I'd like to see your version of the reconstructed section, incorporating the feedback given earlier. --NeilN talk to me 13:22, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

NeilN, I can't make any changes to this part of the article now for the next 24 hours at least due to the bright line 3 edit rule, which I fear Bladesmulti may have already violated. However, what I would suggest is the apologetics section be restored without modification, and the Criticism section expanded to feature the Dalai Lama's self-criticism of the violence of certain monks (even if this is not criticism of the religion per se, which is why I trimmed it), the material from Women in Buddhism referenced earlier, and a summary of Pope Benedict's quote, if not the actual quote itself. I'm not a controversialist and I don't want to cram that quote down anyone's throat; if Buddhists reading this article find it hugely offensive rather than a useful information resource then far be it from me to force it upon them. There is a need for sensitivity in these matters. I would urge you to construct, based on this feedback, a revised section, but also to simply restore the Apologetics section as is, because I see nothing about it that could be construed as remotely controversial, since after all, it simply cites various movements and individuals who have sought to, through the discipline of religious apologetics, a worthy field of endeavor, defend the doctrines, history, and praxis of the Buddhist faith.

Wgw2024 (talk) 13:36, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

I don't have problem with Dalai Lama's view, but what he was saying is more about the Myanmar conflict. Not really Buddhism.
I have already told you about the pope. I wouldn't have problem, but it is better to summarize. Or if you can find more than one pope being critical to Buddhism, we can say "popes have criticized". - not a true reliable citation. No where this whole pdf has words like "Apologetic", "The Debate of King". Source was misrepresented.
19th century encounters is unsourced for a while now. Bladesmulti (talk) 13:45, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

I myself object to the quote of the Dalai Lama as I view it as being not an actual criticism of Buddhism but of the actions of Buddhists. I do not agree with your opinion on the apologetics, what apologetics means is material written in defense of the Buddhist faith, and this article needs it. Re summarizing the Popes remarks, that is fine with me. While I am not aware of any Popes before Benedict specifically engaging with Buddhist theology, there was a clear aversion to it; a reading of the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that historically most Catholics dismissed the Buddhist faith as idolatry, If you implement the changes you just outlined I am prepared to withdraw my charge of edit warring.

Wgw2024 (talk) 14:10, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

How kind! But there was no edit-warring, only a miscalculation. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:14, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
By the way, I like the quote from the pope, and the comment by Schmidt-Leukel. It's a correct observation, I'd say. So, I don't mind to restore Wgw's edit. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 14:20, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
Underconstruction... Can you propose a summary? It is just a quote(on pope's side) right now. I can agree with adding these two. Bladesmulti (talk) 14:27, 7 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Bladesmulti: In the context of this article a summary (!) of criticism may be appropriate (like the criticism section of Islam). I don`t think that the quote from the pope is helpful in a summary. Wgw2024 might try to introduce this quote in the Criticism of Buddhism article. I can`t follow how the statement from the Dalai Lama does contribute to the criticism of Buddhism, it seems to be a criticism of violent buddhists in Myanmar. JimRenge (talk) 14:42, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

Just to reiterate, I share in the consensus that the Dalai Lama's quote is irrelevant; the Dalai Lama was clearly criticizing the violence of some Buddhists, but not the religion itself. Thus, it does not belong in the Criticism section, unless the point of the Criticism section is merely to smear Buddhism, which I would be the first to object to. I do maintain that the Pope's opinion is valid however; the Pope expresses a legitimate concern that many Westerners have with some aspects of Buddhist spirituality; I feel it should be included, ideally along with a response by an eminent Buddhist scholar. I would also love to see if anyone is familiar with any in depth criticism of Buddhism from a Hindu or Jain, because I feel that would really add some perspective to the article.

I have withdrawn for the time being the charge of edit warring against Bladesmulti in the interest of reconciliation and getting this fixed, however, if he reverts anyone else's attempts to restore or otherwise re-implement the criticism section I will reinstate it.

Wgw2024 (talk) 15:16, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

When Kardinal Ratzinger gave this interview to the French newspaper L`Express, he was not the pope but the precept of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition.
The quote is: "If Buddhism is attractive, it is because it appears as a possibility of touching the infinite and obtaining happiness without having any concrete religious obligations. A spiritual auto-eroticism [...] of some sort." Since spiritual autoeroticism is synonymous with spiritual masturbation, this polemic may be seen as an insult by buddhists who honestly try to comply with the rules and obligations of their faith (Five Precepts for lay people and Prātimokṣa for monastics etc.).
WP:Quote states: "Where a quotation presents rhetorical language in place of more neutral, dispassionate tone preferred for encyclopedias, it can be a backdoor method of inserting a non-neutral treatment of a controversial subject into Wikipedia's narrative on the subject, and should be avoided." JimRenge (talk) 17:25, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

There are things more offensive than that to Muslims on the Islam page and to Christians on the Christianity page. Buddhism cannot expect preferential treatment. What is more, it should be clear that Ratzinger was speaking of certain Buddhist traditions that emphasize effortless acquisition of enlightenment, as opposed to the more rigorous schools. Ratzinger remains one of the most important religious figures to have commented on Buddhism, and the fact that he did so as the head of what was at one time the dreaded Inquisition makes it even more interesting and relevant. I would love to read whatever Ayatollah Khameni had to say about it, even though it would probably vitriolic bile, it would still be interesting and worthy of mention. Wgw2024 (talk) 21:08, 7 October 2014 (UTC)

There's no evidence that Ratzinger is a reliable source on Buddhism, or that his statement reflects a significant viewpoint, so the quote may not belong to begin with. But, beyond this, Schmidt-Leukel, the source for the Ratzinger quote, clarifies that it "was apparently meant as a critique of certain forms of the Western reception of Buddhism..." Leo Lefebure says the comment could be taken as indicting certain contemporary Western distortions of Buddhism rather than the Buddhist tradition itself."[1] So, the quote may not fall within the scope of the article.
If the quote is left in, the wording "certain Western forms" should be corrected to "certain forms of the Western reception". Fearofreprisal (talk) 08:31, 8 October 2014 (UTC)

At this point, after some reflection, I am of the opinion that the quote is better omitted. To understand where Bladesmulti was coming from, I put myself in the shoes of a Buddhist, and realized that Ratzinger appears to essentially accuse them of spiritually masturbating, and given that in many schools of Buddhism such activity is considered sexual misconduct, I have concluded that the quote, while important, is inherently offensive, and furthermore does as you say apply more to the Western reception of Buddhism than to the Eastern praxis of it. What is more, one could level a similar charge at the Western reception of other Eastern religions.

I propose that we move forward with the integration of the relevant content from Women in Buddhism into criticism as was discussed previously. I do believe an apologetics section is strongly warranted however. There is a need in this article for a review of the main apologists of the Buddhist faith, both ancient and contemporary. I want to see what the Buddhists had to say about Hinduism, Jainism, Confucianism, Shintoism, et cetera, and what they have to say about Christianity and Islam. I want to see this from credible sources who have a legitimate voice in Buddhism, but this represents the threshold of my expertise.

Wgw2024 (talk) 23:42, 9 October 2014 (UTC)

I think that many Buddhists would agree wholeheartedly with the quote: any search for enlightenment that's only about ones personal relief is a form of auto-eroticism. After all, "enlightenment" is about diminishing self-concern, and working for the greater good. But alas, your concerns are well-appreciated, and are to be preferred. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 07:59, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Adding Middle Way to lead[edit]

Shall I add "(also known as the Middle Way)." after "by practicing the Noble Eightfold Path" or does that make the sentence too long? eu.stefan (talk) 18:12, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Not really long. Bladesmulti (talk) 10:03, 24 October 2014 (UTC)


buddism is wierd — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:27, 23 October 2014 (UTC)

Very wierd indeed. Joshua Jonathan -Let's talk! 05:12, 24 October 2014 (UTC)