Talk:Buddhism/Archive 13

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Archive 12 Archive 13 Archive 14


4NT in the heart sutra

Tengu800 wrote: Regarding the Four Noble Truths, the Heart Sutra states: "In emptiness [...] There is no suffering, no accumulation, no elimination, and no path." [...] These same lines are echoed in longer Prajnaparamita texts as well as in the Shurangama Sutra.''

Yes - and this is strong evidence for the importance and centrality of the 4NT in the Mahayana path. (20040302 (talk))
You basically view it as saying that in order to practice Prajnaparamita, you need to accept the Four Noble Truths (I still do not understand how you could get this out of it). I view it as being clearly an instruction ("No this, no that, no such and such, etc."). The only thing to be relied upon is Prajnaparamita, as the text states. Remember this is also directed at Shariputra, so Avalokiteshvara is teaching the one who uses traditional analysis of the Five Skandhas, the Four Noble Truths, etc. He negates all of these things to teach him the higher Mahayana truth so he can develop prajna. In the Amitabha Sutra as well, Shariputra is also the student and is similarly taught many of the same principles.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Tengu800 wrote: All four are shot down in succession for the bodhisattva path of Prajnaparamita.

"Shot down" ? You mean that they are shown to be empty of inherent existence, surely? What specific interpretation of the Heart Sutra are you using for this analysis, or is it your own thought? For instance, Candrakirti's commentaries point out that there is no need to redundantly use 'ultimate' in front of these (and similar) phrases found within the Prajnaparamita Sutra, and that we must not read the Heart Sutra as some massive nihilistic assertion. There is quite a lot written about this at Śūnyatā. More so, the normal reading of the Heart Sutra is the opposite of what you are saying; indeed, the Sutra informs the practitioner about those things that exist (albeit conventionally): the five skandhas, the twelve ayatanas, the eighteen dhatus, the Twelve Nidānas, and the Four Noble Truths. We can see that the 4NT and the 12 Nidayas are indeed core teachings within Buddhism. (20040302 (talk))
Yes, empty of inherent existence. This is what is taught in the Prajnaparamita sutras: emptiness and impermanent existence. I would not try to say that everything is empty, because as you point out, that is nihilism.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Tengu800 wrote: They are viewed as empty because they fundamentally have no basis, and are just interdependent phenomena -- transient images, all depending on a self.

I strongly object to this interpretation as being unfounded. I would accept (as does Nagarjuna) that they are empty of inherent existence, because they are dependant arisings, but that is not what you are claiming here. A source may be useful. (20040302 (talk))
I am in agreement with you that conditioned phenomena have no inherent existence. However, the Prajnaparamita sutras also teach that they are ultimately transient and illusory. The famous closing gatha of the Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra makes this clear. The part about depending on a self is simply referencing the principle of anatman and the nature of ignorance that perpetuates suffering and the creation of karma. It is perhaps beyond the scope of this discussion, but the major Yogacara texts detail this relationship between phenomena, self, and thought.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Tengu800 wrote: The real highest teaching of the Mahayana is usually represented by the Buddha's silence.

This sounds like Zen. It's certainly not Madyhamaka, or any of a large number of other Mahayana schoools. You have any sources for this? (20040302 (talk))
The Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra opens with the Buddha replying in silence, to the question of how to attain Anuttara Samyaksambodhi. When Subhuti does not understand, then he speaks. In the Lotus Sutra (chapter 16), the Buddha calls it the Tathagata Mantra, and is silent. When his disciples tell him they do not understand (after he is silent three times), then he teaches them skillful means with words. In the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra, Vimalakirti Bodhisattva also teaches the ultimate truth of the Mahayana with silence. These are all very important Mahayana sutras from the early period. It sounds like Zen because the most important sutra used by the Zen school is a Prajnaparamita sutra.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Tengu800 wrote: I do not see the Four Noble truths as fundamental to Mahayana at all, but rather as an early form of skillful means in Buddhism. I believe the Lotus Sutra echoes these sentiments over and over again as well.

Okay - so this is from a Tathāgatagarbha interpretation? Where everything is a skillful means, including the teaching of the Lotus Sutra itself? The difficulty then is that the 4NT and the 12 Nidana are just as salient as the Lotus Sutra - both of them are nothing more than skillful means. When we interpret Lord Buddha's actions this way, there can be no "fundamental teaching" of Buddhism, or alternatively and just as applicable, every teaching of Lord Buddha is a "fundamental teaching",
It is true that no one thing can be accurately pointed to as a fundamental teaching in Mahayana. Every teaching is skillful means, and this goes to the core of the Lotus Sutra. However, we can say that one thing or another thing is useful skillful means, or a basic method of skillful means. For example, repeating the name of a buddha or bodhisattva is skillful means in early Mahayana. However, the prajna teachings of early Mahayana still do not teach the Four Noble Truths.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

I'm concerned that you should attempt to syncretise teachings from the second turning (Prajnaparamita) sutras with third turning (Tathāgatagarbha) sutras, or worse. Certainly your claims over the Mahayana are far too reductive. As I read them your assertions deny the meaning of karma, rebirth, and even Buddhahood, (20040302 (talk) 18:35, 10 February 2010 (UTC))
The sutras I am thinking of are basically from the early Mahayana period, such as the Prajnaparamita sutras. These, along with the Lotus Sutra, practically defined Mahayana and the bodhisattva path.

Tengu800 (talk) 03:57, 11 February 2010 (UTC)

Although I largely agree with you, I have to remind everyone that most of the above discussions are original research. WP is supposed to be based on existing scholarship. Most scholarship is specialized. Scholars seem to be frequently reluctant to say what "Buddhism" as a whole "is". WP policy is that the article should reflect that. Peter jackson (talk) 10:31, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Tengu800 - Rather than continue to argue many threads here - and as no doubt we will be told this is not the place for general discussion - maybe we should bring this to a close. However, according to the Nalanda traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, as well as many Indian scholars who commentate on Nagarjuna (who is considered to be the founder or revealer of the Prajnaparamita literature), there is plenty of evidence to support the 4NT as being central to the Mahayana path.
First of all, skilful means does not mean 'untruth'. It means choosing to teach the truth according to the context of the situation, centred in compassion. Secondly, and probably most importantly, Being free of inherent existence does not mean being free of existence, otherwise you would have to agree that unicorns (or any other form of imaginary object - classically this would be a rabbit's horn) exist in the same way as your computer (or any other existent object) does. If we accept that your computer exists (but NOT inherently - everything is free of inherent existence) then we also have to accept (from the Heart Sutra) that the Four Noble Truths exist. Just from the heart sutra alone, we can establish that the mode of existence for the 4NT is identical as that of consciousness. Once we accept that, then we have to accept that the centrality of the 4NT is demonstrated by their mention within the Heart Sutra. Also, see chapter XXIV of Nagarjuna's Mūlamadhyamakakārikā - titled "examination of the 4NT". Garfield comments on this clearly:

The opponent opens the chapter by claiming that if the entire phenomenal world were empty, nothing would in fact exist, a conclusion absurd on its face and, more importantly, contradictory to fundamental Buddhist tenets such as the Four Noble Truths as well as to conventional wisdom. [...] Once we reject the Four Noble Truths, the essential ingredients of Buddhist practice becomes unintelligible. –Jay Garfield 1995, ISBN 0195093364 p294

Garfield is not alone regarding this conviction. (20040302 (talk) 15:36, 11 February 2010 (UTC))
That's totally illogical. The fact that they're mentioned in some Mahayana texts does not imply that they're central to the whole Mahayana. Peter jackson (talk) 17:45, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Your comment, by your own limitation, is {{WP::OR}}. But no - it's not that it's mentioned. It's that within the Heart Sutra, the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, and elsewhere within the Prajnaparamita, the 4NT represents the entire Buddhist culture in these texts, as has been mentioned by many commentaries. (20040302 (talk) 18:14, 11 February 2010 (UTC))
That's your interpretation of those texts, which is OR. And generaliozing from them to Mahayana is also OR. Peter jackson (talk) 18:50, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
Are there any historical East Asian masters who commented on the subject of the Four Noble Truths as central, or who taught from this angle? I am unaware of any, and they have the longest tradition of studying and commenting on the Mahayana sutras and shastras. Certainly if they are so central to Zen, they must be taught in the historical texts as quite central? Yet, in my ignorance I am unaware of any that do so. Tengu800 (talk) 19:36, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
The Four Noble Truths are indeed referenced in some Mahayana sutras. These referenced early doctrines of Buddhism provide an important basis for understanding Mahayana teachings. However, the Four Noble Truths are not regularly taught in the Mahayana sutras as a Mahayana method for achieving realization. This is because the basic approach of early Mahayana and the bodhisattva path does not focus on contemplating the existence of the suffering of one's self. Rather, the wisdom teachings typically teach prajna and emptiness, and going through the bodhisattva stages and becoming a buddha naturally as a consequence. As for Buddhist practice being unintelligible without the Four Noble Truths, that is hardly the case. The basic schema of karma, suffering, and liberation are expressed in a multitude of different ways in the Mahayana sutras. It seems that it is a modern western innovation -- trying to force Mahayana teachings into the basic schemas and emphases of Theravada. Tengu800 (talk) 19:44, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
I am not interpreting Garfield. I cited him; in fact it's the only cite in the entire discussion. I totally agree that I cannot make a generalised statement about every Mahayana school, but then no-one can - and citing modern scholars is pretty unreliable also - it is probable that even the term 'Mahayana' has many different nuances across different schools of 'Buddhism'. More to the point PJ, I also buy your general thesis that Buddhism is way larger, more intricate, more varied and more complex a subject for anyone to appear to be able to say anything at all. I have studied Buddhism (albeit not professionally) for more than thirty years. I know a tiny bit about some of the Madhyamaka philosophy of the Loseling college of Drepung monastic university and the texts that are used within that tradition. I know a little about the Lam Rim tradition and the source texts used there also. I am fortunate in that I have nearly instant access to several scholars - both Western and Tibetan. So let me rephrase my argument on this issue. From within Lam Rim (Mahayana) tradition (which has more than 9 million active followers) it is laughable to suggest that the 4NT are anything other than core to Buddhism, and just as laughable to suggest that the 4NT are not relevant to the Mahayana. Tengu suggests that the truth of suffering is a skillful means not found in the Mahayana:
Teaching the truth of suffering is skillful means according to the early Mahayana sutras because they are not the ultimate teaching and ultimate truth. The Sandhinirmocana Sutra is fairly early and has several chapters in which the Buddha teaches this exhaustively. The main schema of the Lotus Sutra is to also teaching about the relationship between skillful means and the ultimate teaching. The Avatamsaka Sutra also teaches this as the first teaching of the Buddha. After he is enlightened, he wishes to enter Nirvana, but a deva pleads with him to teach them how to become buddhas. The Buddha replies, "Stop! Stop! My Dharma is inconceivable." That is, the highest teaching of Mahayana Buddhism is always taught to be beyond thought and the five skandhas. This is really the central matter. It does not carry with it any self, suffering, cessation of suffering, or path (which is what the Heart Sutra tries to teach as well by discarding with notions of suffering and each of the Four Noble Truths). It's extremely simple, and demonstrated with silence, but even 600 fascicles of Prajnaparamita could not put it into words. Tengu800 (talk) 16:12, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

After repeatedly coming to happy rebirths, and experiencing much joy there, you die and fall into the protracted and unbearable suffering of the miserable realms –Bodhisattvacaryavatara of Shantideva

You who whirl constantly in cyclic existence yet who enter a happy realm mistaking mere calm for happiness,will certainly wander helplessly through hundreds of realms –Letter to a student by Chandragomin

High states frighten the wise as much as hell. Rare is the state of existence that does not terrify them" -Four Hundred Stanzas by Aryadeva

Those whose minds are attached to cyclic existence will continue to wander there constantly – Ratnagunasancayagatha Sutra (trans. Conze 1973)

From beginningless time you have been conditioned to believe that the wonders of cyclic existence are sources of happiness. But if you train yourself to meditate on suffering and unpleasantness you will put an end to these wrong ideas. Chandragomin says that if you neglect to meditate on these, ignorance and attachment will increase, and you will continue to fuel the process of cyclic existence. Hence it is vitally important to meditate on the faults of cyclic existence. –LamRim ChenMo of Tsongkhapa

So - Tengu may be right that there is some group of Mahayanists somewhere who disagree with (or haven't even heard of) Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Shantideva, Chandragomin - but these Mahayana scholars, several of whom have founded entire Mahayana traditions/schools themselves certainly consider the 4NT to be fundamental to the path. If you want, I can find yet more cites that show how they strongly advocate meditating upon the remaining three truths. Not just acknowledging them - but meditating upon them as a part of the path.
My problem with all this is that from where I see it the 4NT are a description of WHY there is a spiritual path. Outside of secular Buddhism, the goal of Buddhists is Buddhahood (either as a Sravaka-Buddha or Samyaksam-Buddha). But why? And what do Buddhas have that we do not? For what reason does one sit staring at a wall for twenty years? These questions are answered by the 4NT. The 4NT and the twelve Nidānas provide the entire mechanism for Buddhism. The Mahayana strand is where one recognises the suffering of all (that suffering is the same suffering! - Samsara) and out of compassion one chooses to take the path of a Samyaksam-Buddha in order to .. what? Liberate all beings from suffering. What I am curious about - and PJ, Tengu, help me out here - is the WHY of a mahayana buddhist who regards the 4NT as being a fabrication. WHY practice? WHY bother becoming a Buddha? What do Buddhas have that we do not? (20040302 (talk) 12:22, 12 February 2010 (UTC))

"From within Lam Rim (Mahayana) tradition (which has more than 9 million active followers) it is laughable to suggest that the 4NT are anything other than core to Buddhism"

There's liable to be confusion here. Let's suppose for the sake of argument that you're correct about the Gelugpa tradition. That still leaves 341,000,000 other Buddhists to be accounted for. This article is supposed to be about all of them. Peter jackson (talk) 14:29, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
And I don't disagree. Of course, we know that there are plenty of Buddhists who do agree with me. The Theravadins for one, as Tengu mentions. (20040302 (talk))

"Tengu may be right that there is some group of Mahayanists somewhere who disagree with (or haven't even heard of) Tsongkhapa, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Shantideva, Chandragomin "

The East Asian tradition has certainly heard of Nagarjuna & Aryadeva, & equally certainly hasn't heard of Tsongkhapa. Not sure about the others.
Your citation of these sources as talking about the 4 NT is OR. They don't mention them. That's your interpretation again. Peter jackson (talk) 14:34, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Don't be so fast to jump to conclusions, friend. They are contextually sensitive (to the 4NT) sources from a published scholarly work (ISBN 1559391529). But you haven't answered my question (20040302 (talk) 14:42, 12 February 2010 (UTC))
Then you should have cited the scholarly source in the 1st place. That's what WP is supposed to be based on.
As regards your question, this isn't the place to discuss "theology". Once again, we need to know what scholarly sources say Buddhists believe. And most of the time these sources will be talking about particular forms of Buddhism, not "Buddhism" as a whole. Peter jackson (talk) 14:49, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, yes. But you and I STILL differ over what makes a scholar. To claim that a scholar must be Western(-ized) or modern is a restriction which I don't believe can be found in the WP guidelines. Likewise, my consideration is that such a distinction is racist - or at least indicative of the same sort of Western imperialism that you mention further below. Within the Tibetan tradition there is a full-fledged academic tradition of scholarship that includes peer-review, using publication, authorship, dates, citations, logical arguments, careful validation of sources, bibliographies, and everything else that comes with scholarly works. The tradition dates back to the 11th century and follows directly on from the same scholarly environment that was found at Nalanda university. Modern universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, North Carolina and others recognise Lharampa Geshes as being equivalent and as relevant as PhD scholars within their field. Now, we need to establish what their field is:- see Geshe#Curriculum. Therefore, I have no problem whatsoever citing Geshes as legitimate scholars when it comes to matters of Abhidharma, Prajnaparamita, Madhyamaka, Pramana or Vinaya. They are the first to state that they cannot make sweeping claims for all of Buddhism. But when it comes to the usage of the 4NT within the Prajnaparamita, their opinion as scholars must be accepted as such. Of course, just because they say it doesn't make it so. But they are scholars nonetheless. Tsongkhapa is such a scholar.
Well, you might like to think about the Roman Catholic Church. All you say here applies to their scholars too.
Sure. Why not? A reliable source is only reliable in terms of it's source. Not in terms of it's statement. (20040302 (talk))
"their opinion as scholars must be accepted as such." Yes, but only as one view. I never suggested otherwise. I've said on a number of occasions that, if you find a major Buddhist writer who presents a view we haven't yet found in any academic scholar, then it seems perfectly reasonable to me to mention that as another view. But that's all. You can't cite such a source as a basis for a statement that something is the correct view or interpretation. Peter jackson (talk) 16:43, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Sure. A reliable source is only reliable in terms of it's source. Not in terms of it's statement. (20040302 (talk))
Of courrse the 4NT are not the whole of the teaching - but they form the basis of the teaching - they answer the WHY of Buddhism. The fourth noble truth, which represents the path, is the HOW - and of course a vast amount of Buddhist literature belongs to the fourth without stating it as such. Within the Sarma schools of the Tibetan tradition (as well as the Theravadins) the fundamental interpretation of the 4th noble truth is the three higher trainings; of these, the last is Prajñā - which is the substance of the Prajñā-paramita. How can one ignore this when discussing the relationship between Prajñā-paramita and the 4NT is beyond me. Tibetans assert that even the tantras acknowledge their entire basis is in the three higher trainings, albeit that a special form of Samatha is generated through manipulating the channels winds and drops of the subtle body which is more powerful at eliminating ignorance (hence the claims that Tantric practice can cross the five paths of insight within as little as three years). The typical breakdown of the paramitas is into those which belong to Sila (the first four), and Samatha and Prajñā (the last two). Likewise, the 8-fold path is nothing more than a re-expression of the same three higher trainings. (20040302 (talk) 15:37, 12 February 2010 (UTC))
That's right, but the 4NT are only one description, and not the primary schema in Mahayana. You can search the early sutras all you want, but there is no single primary method of explaining suffering. There are many different ways to relate and illustrate ideas about suffering (even by negating it). They all assume a background in the Sutra Pitaka and the early ideas (such as the Four Noble Truths), but they also do not teach the Four Noble Truths as the Mahayana method. This is where the distinction must be made. As I understand it, the 4NT's are not taught in Pure Land, Tiantai, Nichiren, Zen, or Shingon. Indian monks traveled to, and taught in the Far East for hundreds of years, yet the Four Noble Truths failed to become central doctrine in any of these schools. Since they make up the majority of Mahayana Buddhists and traditions in the world (as well as the oldest), how can the Four Noble Truths be taken as a central teaching in Mahayana, especially when they are not taught in the early sutras? Tengu800 (talk) 16:12, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I would like to be able to understand your use of the word 'primary' in this, Tengu, but I cannot. Also - of the various traditions you mention, Pure Land, Tiantai, Nichiren, Zen, Shingon. - which of these are you claiming to be the oldest? Nichiren is 13th century. Tiantai is 6th century. Zen is 7th Century, Shingon is 9th Century. "Pure land" isn't a tradition as such, and it's roots are found in early Indian Mahayana sutra. (Tibetan Buddhism is 8th Century, though most of my sources are 'Sarma' - and are 10th Century). Most of the sources that I have cited above are Indian Mahayana and predate ANY of these dates by two or three centuries. I am citing Tsongkhapa as a scholar, who comments extensively from Indian sources in his works. How on earth can you believe that the Far Eastern Mahayana Buddhist traditions predate those found in India? Even gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā is Sanskrit. (20040302 (talk))
Actually, I think (OR?) that one of the distinctions that we can make is that the Chinese sourced Buddhist Mahayana broke it's connections from India/Nalanda earlier than did the Tibetans. Many of the seminal commentaries used by the Tibetans (possibly most importantly those of Candrakirti) are 9th Century or afterwards, so they postdate Zen and Tiantai. (20040302 (talk))
I didn't mean to imply that Chinese Buddhism predates Indian Buddhism, only that it is the oldest extant Mahayana branch. In the beginning, the Buddhism of China was transmitted from the early schools, first recorded around 100 BCE. Most temples in China have historically not been affiliated with any school, and it was just known as "Buddhism." Indian monks made up most of the early translators, and the vast majority of texts they transmitted were sutras. For the first few centuries the Chinese mostly relied on what Indian monks taught and brought with them along the Silk Road. In the early stages, Buddhism in China had a reputation as something foreign involving meditation and supernatural powers. Kumarajiva changed that by providing high quality translations that are still praised for their clarity, smoothness, and even being emotionally moving. After Mahayana sutras such as these took hold, they basically became the backbone of Chinese Buddhism. Reading and reciting the sutras was a form of practice itself, and many of the major meditation methods came from the popular sutras. Tengu800 (talk) 18:50, 14 February 2010 (UTC)
It seems to me that you cannot have your cake and eat it. Either suffering and it's cause, as well as liberation and the path to it ARE accepted by all Mahayana schools or they are not. If they are not, I ask you again, what replaces them as to the purpose of Buddhist praxis? (20040302 (talk) 17:33, 12 February 2010 (UTC))
Nobody regards the 4 NT as a fabrication. It's a question of their place in the tradition. This is where I disagree to some extent with Tengu. Even in Theravada it's not correct to present the 4 NT as being the whole of the teaching. They're a part of the teaching, an important part, more so than in Mahayana, but still only a part.
What seems to have happened (OR) is that 19th century scholars read the Buddha's 1st sermon & assumed that must sum up the whole of the teaching. By an odd example of Western imperialism, a lot of Buddhists in the East assumed these Western scholars must have a better idea of what Buddhism "really" was than their own traditions. Then later Western scholars & Western Buddhists came across these Eastern Buddhists & assumed they must represent tradition. Feedback cycle. Only fairly recently has scholarship started to catch up with genuine tradition. Peter jackson (talk) 14:43, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
I have never heard of the Four Noble Truths here in China, or in any writings of the Chinese masters. It's all stuff from the early Mahayana sutras, along with mantras and dharanis, and Yogacara and Chan. People rarely read any shastras outside of Yogacara, so it's mostly based on studying the early sutras themselves, with guidance from masters. Some people will base their practice on only one sutra, such as the Shurangama Sutra or the Lankavatara Sutra. I think practicing Buddhists in the sinosphere have never really paid much attention to academics, and vice-versa. Tengu800 (talk) 17:52, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Is that a bit of a fundamental? Practicing Buddhists in general don't pay much attention to scholars and academics, and vice versa too - scholars and academics tending to prefer scriptures and other texts for their study. Is that really behind some of the discussions here? --Nigelj (talk) 18:03, 12 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, it's heartwarming to see a Chinese resident who agrees that Tibet and China are distinct anyway(!). So Tengu, what you are now saying is that within your own experience of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism, there is little or no emphasis on the 4NT? Well, I cannot disagree with your own experiences. Personal experience is not relevant to an encyclopedia. It's hardly the same as the claims you were making earlier. Likewise, you appear to undermine yourself by suggesting that the Sino-Buddhist traditions are not scholastic traditions, and do not make use of the large corpus of (Tibetan or Indian) Buddhist literature made available from the 6th Century up to the modern era. (20040302 (talk))
Addendum. Williams (look PJ, a Modern Western scholar!) has something to say about this:,He states "One of the features of Tibetan Buddhism in contrast with that of East Asia is the strong tendancy to approach the sutras indirectly through the medium of exegetical treatises. The Ratnagotravibhāga has played a relatively small role in East Asian Buddhism, where the primacy has always been given to sutra study"[1]. (20040302 (talk) 21:46, 12 February 2010 (UTC))
Yes, from what I understand, they are basically not taught traditionally in East Asia, let alone as central. I don't mean this to be the material for an encyclopedia, and am simply relating my own experiences. Earlier, I was explaining the relationship between the Mahayana sutras and the material of the Sutra Pitaka during the early stages of Mahayana in India. Perhaps the biggest difference between Tibetan and East Asian Buddhist study is exactly what Williams said. The idea is that the meanings of the sutras unlock with practice and repeated study.
There is a documentary called "Amongst White Clouds" that interviews Chinese Buddhist hermits. It's actually quite a good insight into traditional practice. In response to asking a hermit master to say something about Chan, he says that there is nothing to say, and it's all in the sutras. The narrator asks him who he goes to if he needs help with his practice. Then he says: You read the sutras, right? That's who you ask. The sutras contain the true path to buddhahood. [...] When you gain some ability, you see that the sutra talks about that place. Your mind is there, and the sutra talks about it, so you have arrived there. If you don't have this ability and you read something in a sutra, then even if your mind is there you won't understand. So you practice more. Tengu800 (talk) 02:03, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
"... the Four Truths ... are so little known in the Far East at the present day." (Sir Charles Eliot, Japanese Buddhism, Edward Arnold, London, 1935, pages 59f)
There's a citation to support what you & I have been saying. Peter jackson (talk) 11:56, 13 February 2010 (UTC)
Peter, I don't think a 1935 source from Charles Eliot discussing what is known in the "Far East" is useful when we have more current sources. I would like to see the full passage of the material you are citing, without the ellipses. I hope you understand, but we won't be using old sources from 1935 in this article to discuss what Buddhists believe today. Viriditas (talk) 11:05, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
As you've started a separate section below on this, I suggest we discuss it there, not here. Peter jackson (talk) 11:21, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

The Lotus Sutra is an important and fairly representative Mahayana sutra, and it has a few interesting mentions of the Four Noble Truths in terms of shravaka training. This is from the Numata Center version, which is freely available online as well. In Chapter 1: To those seeking for the śrāvaka vehicle he taught the Dharma with respect to the Four Noble Truths, causing them to overcome birth, old age, illness, and death and to attain nirvana. He taught the Dharma with respect to dependent origination to the pratyekabuddhas; and to the bodhisattvas he taught the Dharma with respect to the six perfections (pāramitās), causing them to attain highest, complete enlightenment and perfect all-knowledge (sarvajñātā). Then in Chapter 20, a similar section: To those who sought the śrāvaka vehicle he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the Four Noble Truths, ferried them from birth, old age, illness, and death, and ultimately led them to nirvana. To those who sought the pratyekabuddha vehicle, he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the twelve-linked chain of dependent origination. To the bodhisattvas he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the six perfections, with reference to highest, complete enlightenment, and led them to the Buddha’s wisdom. In chapter 7 it also gives a recap of the Four Noble Truths and doctrine of dependent origination, noting that innumerable shravakas were saved by them. However, some shramanas do not have a teaching of the Dharma for attaining Anuttara Samyaksambodhi, so the Buddha teaches the Lotus Sutra and they become bodhisattvas who then teach others. As for whether Mahayana originated from shramanas who became bodhisattvas is up for interpretation, but it is interesting to read about such a foundational Mahayana sutra. Tengu800 (talk) 06:59, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

I was just looking through a 1975 edition of the Lotus Sutra today (The Threefold Lotus Sutra tr. Bunno Kato, Yoshiro Tamura, and Kojiro Miyasaka. Kosei Publishing 4333002087 on amazon), and thought to mention here that the text of the sutra itself refers implicitly to the 4NT (as the first of "three laws" in this translation); the editorial text (in the book's Glossary, p375) also describes 4NT as "one of the fundamental doctrines of all forms of Buddhism". I'm unaware of the scholarly status of this editorial staff or the provenance of the glossary in my 2007 reprint, but as I understand it, and as Tengu says above, the Lotus Sutra is central to Mahayana texts and does itself mention 4NT. Just some grist for the mill. /ninly(talk) 04:56, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I agree with Tengu and Peter Jackson. Buddhism is so vast and multi-faceted that we cannot say that one teaching is central in theory and practice to all manifestations of the Dharma - the emphases within texts and traditions will often be different. Another point to be borne in mind (not mentioned hitherto in this discussion) is that in the context of Mahayana, we cannot necessarily speak of THE Four Noble Truths (as though these truths always had the same referents or formulations), since in some of the Tathagatagarbha sutras the Four Noble Truths are completely re-envisioned as relating to the eternity of the Buddha, the immortality of the Buddha-Nature, the ending of suffering through knowledge of the tathagatagarbha, and the supreme unchangingness of the Buddha, etc. Or (as in the Srimala Sutra) only one of the Four Noble Truths is deemed to be of ultimate truth and value. So 'the' four noble truths can incarnate into a number of different doctrines and modulations within Mahayana. They are not fixed and static. So to speak of the Four Noble Truths as being central to all Buddhism is not really accurate. Best regards. Suddha (talk) 05:57, 15 February 2010 (UTC)
Something that no one has really mentioned is that Theravada Buddhism is primarily concerned (in theory) with attaining nirvana/bodhi. Mahayana Buddhism, rather, is about attaining Buddhahood (which includes bodhi, but also, and just as crucially, the consummation of the perfections so that one can be a teaching Buddha and save others). In the early texts what distinguishes an ordinary arahant from a solitary Buddha is that the solitary Buddha figures it out on his own. Otherwise they are the same. So this explains why there is a different motivation for Mahayana practitioners other than the truth of the 4NT (which are generally applied to one's own experience repeatedly through the course of the practice); one is motivated by compassion to help others. The 4NT will be applied to save oneself in one's final birth and so are not as relevant now. Or just as likely one is motivated by faith in what one has been taught from the Lotus Sutra or other places. Mitsube (talk) 21:52, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

Good points by Mitsube here, I think. Suddha (talk) 23:17, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

But not entirely correct:

"... total commitment of the Bodhisattva to emancipate all beings ... in order to do this, he must take pains never to actually reach the final stage in his career, perfect enlightenment ..." (Cook, Hua-yen Buddhism, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1977, pages 110f) I'm sure I read somewhere that Tiantai takes a similar position, tho' I haven't yet managed to find a citation for this.

So the goal of Buddhahood isn't universl in Mahayana, though the compassionate motivation is supposed to be. Peter jackson (talk) 10:46, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Never as long as the wheel of dharma is turning, i.e. certainly not in the current world-cycle. Mitsube (talk) 05:44, 18 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, PJ, you are interpreting. Cook says 'perfect enlightenment'. This, for him, may not equate to Buddhahood. He may be referring to some form of final Nirvana. Remember, lots of Western scholars believe(d) (taken from an interpretation of the Theravadan tradition) that Bodhisattvas vow not to enter into Nirvana until they have liberated all beings. Cook may well be referring to that.
As for this entire discussion, I hear what PJ, Suddha and Tengu say. Okay -so maybe for some East Asian schools of mahayana buddhism, the practice (or even awareness) of the 4NT is not emphasised although it is unfortunate that there is very little source outside of Eliot (I consider his opinion to be just that, not a declaration of fact). However, these arguments do not detract from the fact that there are also large Mahayana groups (such as the late Nalanda tradition and the Tibetans, among others) who assert that the 4NT are indeed central and pivotal to Buddhism (and likewise, they are not able to speak for those that they are unaware of). Their interpretation of the heart sutra (see eg ISBN 1559392010 by Geshe Sonam Rinchen and scholars such as Tsongkhapa as cited above - who also argues in commentary to the MMK that if the 4NT are denied, then the triple gem is denied) is that the prajnaparamita texts and other mahayana sutras and shastras demonstrate the centrality of the 4NT by mentioning them. See also modern scholars such as Garfield above.
Fortunately for WP, the issue of content does not (should not!) depend upon the majority of editors who believe one thing over another - instead the guidelines are concerned with reliable sources. I am willing to concede that there may be some Buddhists for which the 4NT do not explicitly feature in their daily Buddhist activities. But even this is not relevant. There are two salient cites from modern scholars so far - one from Eliot, the other from Garfield:

... the Four Truths ... are so little known in the Far East at the present day. – Sir Charles Eliot, Japanese Buddhism Edward Arnold, London, 1935, pages 59f

Once we reject the Four Noble Truths, the essential ingredients of Buddhist practice becomes unintelligible. –Jay Garfield 1995, ISBN 0195093364 p294

I guess that we could still argue for another month about just what 'core' or 'foundational' really means.. For me, the idea of stating that anything that, if rejected, reduces the rest to unintelligibility seems like a reasonable definition. Can we either close this subject now, or open up a new page for discussion, or at least a new section? This section is becoming unwieldy. (20040302 (talk) 13:22, 16 February 2010 (UTC))

The section #Charles Eliot below is partly concerned with this. Peter jackson (talk) 15:59, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I would like to add also that if you believe it is vital to understand that suffering doesn't really exist, the four noble truths would be neglected. Mitsube (talk) 05:46, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Charles Eliot

Peter has been promoting the use of Charles Eliot as a source on Buddhism. The current article cites a book Eliot wrote in 1935 to talk about Buddhism today. Here is what the article currently says using Eliot:

The early teaching[35] and the traditional Theravada understanding[36] is that the Four Noble Truths are an advanced teaching for those who are ready for them. The Mahayana position is that they are a preliminary teaching for people not yet ready for the higher and more expansive Mahayana teachings.[37] They are little known in the Far East.[38] This in part fuels the distinction between the two branches (cf. "Hinayana.")

In the above 35 is cited to Harvey, Introduction, p. 47, 36 to Hinnels, John R. (1998). The New Penguin Handbook of Living Religions. London: Penguin Books. pp. 393f. ISBN 0140514805 and 37 to Harvey, Introduction to Buddhism, p. 92. We then come to reference 38 which is cited to Eliot, Japanese Buddhism, Edward Arnold, London, 1935, p. 60 and followed by an unsourced conclusion. Although I have not had a chance to review these sources, I am curious if Peter is the author of this material. If he is, I request (per WP:V) to review the source material, as the use of multiple sources in this manner raises several red flags. Further, the same claim, previously made about the FNT is repeated again, this time in regards to the Noble Eightfold Path (the fourth truth):

In the early sources (the four main Nikayas) the Eightfold Path is not generally taught to laypeople, and it is little-known in the Far East.[39]

Eliot is used for a third time (citation 178) in a discussion of Buddhist texts:

Unlike many religions, Buddhism has no single central text that is universally referred to by all traditions. However, some scholars have referred to the Vinaya Pitaka and the first four Nikayas of the Sutta Pitaka as the common core of all Buddhist traditions.[177] However, this could be considered misleading, as Mahāyāna considers these merely a preliminary, and not a core, teaching, the Tibetan Buddhists have not even translated most of the āgamas, though theoretically they recognize them, and they play no part in the religious life of either clergy or laity in China and Japan.[178]

The use of Eliot in this context raises another red flag. I would therefore request to review the original source material for all three uses. I am getting the distinct sense that POV pushing is occurring here and it is being used above and beyond the source material, in this case, a single author from 1935 who made a sweeping, ambiguous generalization about the "Far East" and the role of Buddhist texts. Viriditas (talk) 11:21, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

First of all, here's a fairly full text for those citations.

Harvey, Introduction to Buddhism, Cambridge University Press, 1990, p. 47:

The Four Holy Truths comprise the more advanced teachings of the Buddha, intended for those who have prepared themselves by previous moral and spiritual development.

Similarly, in the section on Southern (Theravada) Buddhism in Hinnells, ed, New Handbook of Living Religions, Viking-Penguin, 1997, pages 393f:

Many observers have found difficulty in reconciling Buddhist theory with the actual practice of the ordinary villager in the countryside. Much of the apparent discrepancy is due to an unbalanced presentation of Buddhist thought in which elements connected with popular practice tend to be minimized. They may be thought of as less interesting or not significant for the Western reader, or sometimes as later introductions of peripheral importance. Often, too, there is a bias towards the intellectual as opposed to the emotional. The result is a very misleading picture. This is quite clear if the traditional structure of Buddhist teaching is examined.

A passage which occurs about twenty times in the Pali Canon sets this out explicitly:

Then the Lord gave a step-by-step discourse ... as follows: discourse on giving, discourse on precepts, discourse on the heaven worlds; he made known the danger, the inferior nature and the tendency to defilement of sense desires and sense objects and the advantage in being without them. When the Lord knew that the heart of the listener was fit, open, free from [394] hindrances, happy and at ease, then he revealed the elevated dhamma teaching of the Buddhas: suffering, arising, ceasing, path.


There are distinct levels to the teaching given here ...


The Four Noble Truths are well known ... Too often they are approached out of context. They are intended for the spiritually advanced hearer ...

Harvey, 1990, page 92:

Around AD 200, the Sūtra known as the ... 'Lotus of the True Dharma' ... developed a perspective which, while hostile to the 'Hīnayāna', sought to portay it as incorporated in and completed by the Mahāyāna. Chapter 2 of the Sūtra achieves this accommodation by what was to become a central Mahāyāna concept, that of skilful ... means ... This built on the old idea that the Buddha had adapted the particular contents of his teaching to the temperament and level of understanding of his audience. This was by simply selecting his specific teachings from a harmonious body of teachings. Now he was seen as having given different levels of teaching ... For the 'ignorant with low dispositions', he began by teaching the Four Holy Truths ..."

Sir Charles Eliot, Japanese Buddhism, Edward Arnold, London, 1935, pages 59f:

The Nikâyas represent the Buddha himself as teaching the Brahmavihâras to laymen. ... It is not clear that the Eightfold Path is ever taught to the laity in the same way. ... This is perhaps one reason why the Four Truths and the Path, which are fundamental formulæ for early Buddhism, are so little known in the Far East at the present day.

Is that full enough for you? Peter jackson (talk) 11:23, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Secondly, the unsourced statement after those citations is nothing to do with me.

Thirdly, as you've raised the issue, I think the statement about Mahayana may not be supported sufficiently clearly by the source to satisfy the quite strict wording of WP:V, which I hadn't studied at the time I put this in the article. Peter jackson (talk) 11:28, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Peter, could you please format your above comments so that I can respond to them? For example, the material above, "Many observers have found..." lacks a closed quote, and I can't tell what part is quoted and what part is your comments. Please also use the blockquote/indent feature to keep the layout intact. For more info, read WP:TALK. Viriditas (talk) 11:31, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Edit conflict. One thing at a time. Let me finish what I was just about to post, & then I'll have a look at what you just said.

Fourthly, I think the argumentum e silentio is very important. If, as some people assert (I don't know whether you're one of them), Buddhism is all about the 4 NT, why do so many standard textbooks not say so? Don't you think it's a rather fundamental fact about the subject that you'd expect them to mention? In fact I haven't been able to find any scholar who says so explicitly enough to be cited as a source on WP. Only a few encyclopaedia articles.

Similarly, & more generally, it's likely to be hard to find citations saying something isn't important. Sources tend to spend most of their time talking about what is important. That's why I can't find a better source than 1935. But if you look at modern scholarly accounts of Mahayana, in general or in China, Japan &c, you don't usually find all that much on the topic. Peter jackson (talk) 11:37, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

The "Many observers" passage runs on for a few paragraphs, ending with a close-quote just before the next open-quote. I'll have a look at the link you give & see about reformatting. Peter jackson (talk) 11:41, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

Please close the quote so I can know where the quote ends and where your comments begin. Please also address my concerns with the use of multiple sources in the first paragraph I used as an example. This is a red flag for WP:SYNTH. If we can find one good source that makes these arguments, or preserves the logic of these arguments, then there's no problem. But when we have paragraphs cobbled out of multiple sources there could be a problem. Any help you can provide on this would be appreciated, as this article is in sad shape. Viriditas (talk) 11:45, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I've just told you where the quote closes, & it is marked. Essentially nothing in the above quotations is my own words, just the details of the citations themselves.
Now I just noticed your second point, about core texts, so I'll go back & have a look at that.
I didn't find an explanation of the blockquote format. Peter jackson (talk) 11:53, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I looked again at what you wrote in response and I looked at the open quote again, and I was unable to find a closed quote. I still can't tell where the quote ends and your comments begin. For blockquote, just use the <blockquote>...</blockquote> preceded by whatever indentation colons you require. Viriditas (talk) 11:57, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Edit conflict again. Here's what I was just writing. Then I'll go back & try the formatting.
You may be right about that counting as synthesis. What happened was that somebody put in the citation claiming that those texts were a common core. I put in the next sources to make clear that that was wrong or misleading. I later found source 179, which explicitly rejects the idea, & put that in too, without deleting the others. The fact is that Warder's statement is highly misleading, for the reasons stated, & really shouldn't be there at all.
Now to address your last point. The way we agreed to do the article was to try to collect together the different views on each topic. That's what's happening here. Different views on the 4 NT are collected together. Peter jackson (talk) 12:02, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
OK, I think I've got it all formatted reasonably, except that the blockquote system doesn't seem always to deal with internal paragraph divisions properly. I've put all the sources before the quotations because omitting quotation marks is liable to make it unclear where one quotation ends and another begins unless there's something in between. Peter jackson (talk) 12:14, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I have limited time at the moment to respond in depth, but please first address these three points for me:
  • You cite Peter Harvey's Introduction to Buddhism, which while written as a textbook, appears to also offer "novel" interpretations about some topics from Harvey.[1] You also refer to the older 1990 version rather than the revised 2008 edition.
  • Sir Charles Eliot writing about the "Far East" in 1935 may not be the best source for this article. I would prefer to see a current source that is more rigorous. I'm not clear why we are using Eliot here. I have no objection to using Eliot as a footnote but I don't think we should be using him as a reference for current observations.
  • Hinnells A New Handbook of Living Religions is a tertiary source. The material you quote should have primary author(s) and should be quoted in its full context.
That's it for the moment. Viriditas (talk) 13:26, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
It may be notable that Williams uses Eliot in three places within the (modern) textbook "Mahayana Buddhism" - but in those places, it is the translations or a description of Honen that he uses. Eliot's opinions or analysis are not used. (20040302 (talk) 13:53, 16 February 2010 (UTC))
  • I wasn't aware of that 2nd edition. Does it say anything different here?
  • As I said before, I personally think the argumentum e silentio is what's really telling here. See further below.
  • The author of that chapter is L.S. Cousins, afterwards President of the Pali Text Society.
Peter jackson (talk) 16:03, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
Now, let me comment on the organization of the article a bit more. As I said, what we agreed on was to treat the different views on each topic in parallel. This wasn't my first preference, but I agreed to it as a great improvement on the chaos that preceded it. However, it has serious problems, as these discussions illustrate. If a particular topic is unimportant in a particular school of Buddhism, it may be very difficult to find citations to say what that school thinks about that topic, because sources tend to spend most of their time on the important things. So I prefer the historical arrangement, which is the one most commonly followed by scholars. Peter jackson (talk) 16:07, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
And let me repeat what I said about argumentum e silentio. If a source fails to mention an alleged basic fact, it's reasonable to conclude that it doesn't believe in it. Peter jackson (talk) 16:09, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
You are prevented by the policy against original research from stating such a conclusion in the article. Viriditas (talk) 11:32, 17 February 2010 (UTC)
So the fact that a number of standard textbooks fail to make any attempt to say what "Buddhism" as a whole "is" indicates that they aren't convinced by any claims they've heard, e.g. that it's all about the 4 NT. Peter jackson (talk) 16:13, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
I agree with nearly everything you say here, PJ except for the very last. if a textbook fails to make a statement about what "Buddhism" as a whole "is" we cannot assume that they aren't convinced by any claims they've heard. We can only assume that they have nothing to say on the subject. This is a huge distinction in my eyes.
When Garfield says:

Once we reject the Four Noble Truths, the essential ingredients of Buddhist practice becomes unintelligible. –Jay Garfield 1995, ISBN 0195093364 p294

He is a scholar saying something within an academic textbook published by the OUP. The lack of opposition to it in other textbooks does not either detract from it or support it. It is still a claim made by a modern scholar within a modern academic textbook. What I agree with you about is that it doesn't make his claim a fact (beyond the fact that it is his claim!). We can only trust the word as much as we trust the man's opinion. (20040302 (talk) 16:42, 16 February 2010 (UTC))
"if a textbook fails to make a statement about what "Buddhism" as a whole "is" we cannot assume that they aren't convinced by any claims they've heard."
It's the job of a textbook to tell the reader the basic facts about the subject, don't you think? If they don't mention something then they don't think it's a basic fact. Peter jackson (talk) 16:49, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
No, I disagree. I believe that all we can tell is that the textbook has nothing to say on the subject. (20040302 (talk))
The wording of Garfield's remark seems clearly to imply it's an opinion, not a statement of fact. Yes, it's an RS, so it's in accordance with WP policy to mention this somewhere. Probably the 4 NT article. Perhaps the 4 NT section of this article. Surely not the lead. Peter jackson (talk) 16:51, 16 February 2010 (UTC)
We cannot afford to start interpreting what parts of books are made as opinions vs. statements, unless they are declared as statements. It is clear from context that Garfield is NOT making an opinion, believe me.
Re his quote - was it in the lead? I didn't put it there. No problem. I have just appended it onto the 4NT section of this article. (20040302 (talk))

Getting back to the subject of Eliot. He is quoted as saying, "It is not clear that the Eightfold Path is ever taught to the laity in the same way. ... This is perhaps one reason why the Four Truths and the Path, which are fundamental formulæ for early Buddhism, are so little known in the Far East at the present day." I would like to know what text was elided here, and I have asked Peter to stop using elipses and to give me the full context of the quote. The fact that Eliot admits that "it is not clear" and makes ambiguous claims about what is "little known in the Far East", tells me this is not important enough to mention. Of course, if a contemporary writer has found Eliot's opinion on this matter important, we should be able to find it in secondary and tertiary sources. Cherry picking ambiguous statements like this from a 1935 source doesn't work. I want some indication of what Eliot is talking about ("Far East" doesn't cut it) and some indication of notability (what modern writer quotes Eliot on this topic?) Otherwise, I'm deleting it from the article. Viriditas (talk) 12:06, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Here's the whole paragraph.

The Nikâyas represent the Buddha himself as teaching the Brahmavihâras to laymen. Thus he explains them to a village headman, apparently as a sufficient method of salvatiob and without reference to higher things, and the headman asks to be accepted as a lay disciple. [citation of S 42.8 & cf S 41.7] It is not clear that the Eightfold Path is ever [page 60]taught to the laity in the same way. [footnote here reads "It is part of the instruction given to the headman Rasiya [in S 42.12], but there, as in the Vinaya, it begins with the formula "There are two extremes which should not be followed by one who has renounced the world". Rasiya asked the Buddha whether it was true that he disapproved of sacetics (tapassi) who practise asceticism (tapas), and the Buddha replied by explaining in what respects taps is praiseworthy or blameworthy."] This is perhaps one reason why the Four Truths and the Path, which are fundamental formulæ for early Buddhism, are so little known in the Far East at the present day. They are not a common phrase like the Three Treasures. The Path leads to nirvâna and has nothing to do with Paradise or deities. Throughout the Pali Piţakas it is the Bhikkhus who are regarded as the true disciples of the Buddha. [footnote: "The inferiority of the laity is clearly indicated by such phrases as sikkham paccakkâya hînây'âvattati [M 67 & 77; my translation "having renounced the training, turns to the inferior"] He forsook the world himself and advised others to do so. But for all that the good layman had from the very first an honourable position, and clearly the success of Buddhism as a missionary creed and the place which it fills in the religious history of the world are mainly due to the appeal which it made to influential persons who were not monks or clerics. And as time went on, the ideal of becoming an Arhat (like the ideal of becoming a saint in Christianity) seemed arduous and even presumptuous, so that the more human and less austere parts of the original teaching became more and more prominent.

Peter jackson (talk) 15:18, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

It's perfectly clear that the phrase "It is not clear" refers to the Path being taught to lay people, not to the next sentence.

"Wikipedia is the encyclopedia anyone can edit" You're perfectly free to delete this or any other statement. Maybe someone will put it back. Maybe not. I will just say that deleting it would increase the bias in the article. Peter jackson (talk) 15:24, 17 February 2010 (UTC)

Peter, can you find a current secondary source that quotes Eliot on this matter or refers to his opinion regarding this issue? Why is Eliot's opinion notable here? I fail to see how his ambiguous observation from 1935 helps the article. If it has historical importance, I could understand its inclusion, but I don't see why we have it. Viriditas (talk) 10:02, 18 February 2010 (UTC)

Towards a WP:Buddhism Policy

Archived to Talk:Buddhism/Archive Buddhism_Policy and re-submitted at Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Buddhism Please remain involved! I have no idea about how to add this to the auto archive header at the top.... (20040302 (talk) 11:32, 23 February 2010 (UTC))


There was an article created about Budhda birth date controversies that was sourced from a single source that I am not familiar with. I redirected that article to this main article, and am providing a link to the diff with the information it contained in case someone thinks it should be added to the main article: [2] ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 15:27, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

this article is not taken from single source,i have added many references and after some days i will add some more references regarding this article.such as

[3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

and a book -When Did The Buddha Live? : The Controversy on the Dating of the Historical Buddha Edited by Heinz Bechert, 1995
I would encourage you to review the guidelines on reliable sources and to include your proposed additions into this primary article as a new section. ConcernedVancouverite (talk) 18:47, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

I haven't had time to read your contribution yet. There is an excellent and reasonably contemporary (2008) scholarly account of the dating controversy at the Journal of Buddhist Ethics - see I strongly suggest that you give it a go. (20040302 (talk) 10:10, 24 February 2010 (UTC))

I don't think there's much at the present day that could really be called a controversy. Bechert's book is the proceeings of a specialist conference on precisely this question in 1988. Since that time, most scholars who are aware of it have provisionally accepted the majority view there, that the Buddha died sometime around 400 BC. Peter jackson (talk) 10:47, 24 February 2010 (UTC)
Does a detailed discussion belong in this article? Maybe in the article on the Buddha? Peter jackson (talk) 10:48, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

I also think that this article should be added to the buddha,it is a good article to be reveiwed by readers-- (talk) 16:28, 24 February 2010 (UTC)

Brit Hume-Tiger Woods Controversy

I suggest including some reference to the Brit Hume statement that Buddhism doesn't provide the kind of path to forgiveness and redemption that Christianity does, not to focus on the controversy itself, but to a clear answer to those who may look at the Buddhism article in the wake of the controversy. There is a lot of misinformation floating around on the TV about how forgiveness and redemption work in Buddhism (which is understandable since different sects do approach the problems differently). For example it may be worth pointing out the importance of Karma and nirvana. LynnCityofsin (talk) 22:05, 23 February 2010 (UTC)

Both of these subjects have several paragraphs devoted to each. They also have links leading to entire articles on karma and nirvana. I don't see the need to add any more. Moby-Dick3000 (talk) 16:45, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Addition to Life of the Buddha section

As I said on your talk page, all I did was move your addition down a few paragraphs within the same section. I also said you made a valid point but its position interrupted the flow of the section so I moved it without changing. You obviously didn't like that because you moved it back. Can you offer a compromise? Moby-Dick3000 (talk) 15:17, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Hello Moby-Dick. Please explain your objection to it. It now does flow nicely. Regards, Mitsube (talk) 15:21, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I have thought about it and really the only problem is stating the information about his life before he left his home. The rest of it is possibly historical. Maybe I will change it. You can tell me what you think. Mitsube (talk) 15:27, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes it flows much better now but you removed the citations. If you put them back in, I think that change will be complete. I have to go now. I'll have a look at this section later. Moby-Dick3000 (talk) 15:31, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
I do have sourcing for the rest of it. I am currently involved with an editor at reincarnation research who is not using the talk page and simply reverting things so that will take some time. I will do the sourcing here when I can. Mitsube (talk) 23:53, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from, 3 April 2010

{{editsemiprotected}} I want to correct the part where it says that Buddha was born in India and the not true fact that Buddhism was founded in India itself. Buddha was born in Nepal as many people in the world know and so did he founded Buddhism in Nepal. If any editors were to do some research outside of Wikipedia and correct the mistake, I and probably the rest of Nepal would be relieved to find some correct information in Wikipedia. Thank you. (talk) 19:14, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Requests to edit semi-protected articles must be accompanied by reference(s) to reliable sources - so I cannot make the changes you have requested. If you can find appropriate sources, and tell us exactly what should be changed and which source supports the change, then we could make the edit as a 'semiprotected edit request'.
All facts must be verifiable.
It is possible that another editor will read your suggestion and consider it, perhaps tracking down sources - or they may disagree with your suggestions.
The best approach would be to get an account, then you can help us improve articles more directly.  Chzz  ►  21:16, 3 April 2010 (UTC)

Not done

Get an account if you want, but here's what the article says, with sources: "According to the Theravada Tipitaka scriptures, the Buddha was born in Lumbini, around the year 563 BCE, and raised in Kapilavastu, both in modern-day Nepal." I see nothing in the article that says the Buddha or Buddhism came from India, unless you're referring to "the northeastern Indian subcontinent", where Nepal is located. /ninly(talk) 21:32, 3 April 2010 (UTC)
Neither the article nor the IP is correct.
Although the traditional site of the Buddha's birthplace is now in Nepal, he's said to have become enlightened at Bodhgaya & travelled thence to Benares to preach his first sermon, both of these being in India. So Buddhism wasn't founded in Nepal.
The statement in the article that the Tipitaka dates his birth around 563 BC is absurd. It gives no date, & most scholars now date it around 480 BC. The date of 563 BC was an estimate by 19th century scholars, still repeated in many non-specialist sources. Peter jackson (talk) 09:33, 6 April 2010 (UTC)

Info about Uighur buddhism....

-- (talk) 07:03, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


Please remember that Buddhism is NOT a religion, it is primarily a philosophy, and therefore "a way of life". Huttick28 (talk) 06:41, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Welcome back. Viriditas (talk) 08:54, 20 February 2010 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy (WP:V) is to follow what reliable sources say, not what its own editors say. And most reliable sources (as defined by Wikipedia at WP:RS) say Buddhism is a religion. Peter jackson (talk) 10:30, 20 February 2010 (UTC)

Huttick, the Catholic Church believes Buddhism isn't a religion. But Buddhists and religious scholars regard it as a religion. Do you know the definition of religion? LynnCityofsin (talk) 14:17, 2 March 2010 (UTC)

The 1st statement is incorrect. The 2nd Vatican Council calls Buddhism a religion ([10], section 2). Peter jackson (talk) 15:07, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Clarke & Beyer, The World's Religions, Routledge, 2009, page 136:

It seems safe to assert that no consensus on a definition of religion has been reached and that no consensus is likely to be reached in the foreseeable future.

Peter jackson (talk) 15:11, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
What Huttick28 is saying is that Buddhism is not necessarily a religion, but a philosophy that supports a lifestyle. In other words, according to Huttick28, Buddhism is best expressed in the way a person lives, not in what they believe, and the Noble Eightfold Path supports this view. Viriditas (talk) 21:58, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
I came across something interesting in a new book in the shop recently, Collins, Nirvana, Cambridge University Press, 2010, page 10. I can't give the exact words, because you can hardly go copying passages out of books in shops, but basically he was saying that there are 2 different ways you can talk about this question:
  1. If someone asks what the religion of Thailand is, you can just say Buddhism in an ordinary straightforward sense, without going into all the academic complexities.
  2. In some academic contexts you go into more detail. There are neverending debates about whether Buddhism is a religion, or whether soem forms are & others aren't, or whether the question has any meaning or point. Peter jackson (talk) 10:26, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Eisai argued that it was the way one lived ones life (morally, ethically) that propagated the Dharma. Viriditas (talk) 11:20, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I find the discussion of this on Access to Insight's FAQ useful: neither and both – not a neutral source, but it does address many of the strongly held views we see here in a relatively fair way. /ninly(talk) 15:19, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
"Buddhism is an ethical system — a way of life — that leads to a very specific goal and that possesses some aspects of both religion and philosophy." Viriditas (talk) 01:27, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
You put that in quotation marks but without saying what you're quoting from. Is it from the source mentioned by Ninly? Peter jackson (talk) 08:48, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, straight from the FAQ cited by Ninly. Viriditas (talk) 09:14, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
True, "some aspects". But note also the subsections titled "It is not a religion" and "It is not a philosophy" – there is no easy resolution or unambiguously correct answer here. And as I mentioned above, that's a religious (non-neutral) source (which is just something to keep in mind). /ninly(talk) 18:05, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Edits: Life of the Buddha

I have removed two paragraphs of speculation about economic and religious aspects of Buddha's home town from the opening of this section. This is not the type of information the reader would be looking for at this point in the article in my opinion. Diannaa TALK 22:03, 13 April 2010 (UTC)

I suppose you're probably right. Maybe it belongs in his article instead. Peter jackson (talk) 17:10, 14 April 2010 (UTC)
Hi Peter, thanks for your words of support. I am going to review the rest of the article for copy edits but the lede was clean, and the "Life of" is now clean also. Keep any eye out for further edits in the next couple of days. Diannaa TALK 19:58, 14 April 2010 (UTC)

Define suffering please

Will there not always be suffering? Is it the suffering of want or need, or is it the physical suffering of being? If I do nothing to help the suffering, or if I do what I can to help the suffering and yet my suffering still persists... I don't know. It just seems as if I am shoveling against the tide. What goes out just seems to come back. Relentless. Arghhhh. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:32, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

I hear you loud and clear. The problem you are talking about is called samsara and Buddhism answers with the Four Noble Truths. Get yourself a book by the 14th Dalai Lama for help understanding these issues (it will help with your daily life too). Diannaa TALK 21:29, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, there will always be "suffering" (translated variously as "dis-ease", pain, etc.) but Buddhism can help you recognize how you always have a choice in how you 1) react to suffering, and 2) how you contribute to suffering. In other words, you can choose how you react to and how you contribute to it. If you are able to do this skillfully, suffering then becomes an opportunity to learn and grow. Remember, without pain, you would not know something is wrong. Viriditas (talk) 01:13, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
Well said. Also, with a more accepting mindset, one is able to experience suffering without the urgent need to "fix" it as quickly as possible to get back to the fun stuff. A Buddhist sense of non-attachment gives a person an opportunity to observe their own reactions and learn from the experience. Diannaa TALK 03:53, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

The Nature of Reality?

I have objections to the use of the phrase. For one, I am not sure what it is supposed to mean. It seems to imply that reality has a "nature" (i.e. it is God, it is a bunch of particles), which the Buddha never said.

He only talked about how things function as relates to suffering, not what they really are, which is not a fruitful avenue to explore as regards nirvana. For this please read the first 50 pages of Richard Gombrich, "How Buddhism began: the Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings." Mitsube (talk) 02:03, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I also prefer the picture below but it is not so important. Mitsube (talk) 02:23, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Just a first, brief answer with my immediate thoughts about this definitely arguable use of the term "reality". For me "reality" here is 1. an abbreviation/synonym for "self and all phenomena" and 2. a fitting (i.e. accesible, commmon language) title for a section that deals with Buddhist phenomenology and epistemology. Andi 3ö (talk) 02:25, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Also: one possible answer to the question "What is the ultimate nature of reality?" would be: suffering! Another, from a more mahayana viewpoint would be: emptiness: two different answers that approach things from a slightly different angle but are both adressed by the phrase "insight into the ultimate nature of reality". What unites both views is that it is the absence of ignorance that is liberating. From your edits i see that you seem to have more of a psychological approach to understanding the Buddhadharma. For you, insight into the nature of the mind seems to be the predominant aspect of the path. I think this view is perfectly justifiable as well, but i do think that it is quite a modern way of seeing it. From what i have learned about the Abidharma, mental factors are of course important phenomena, but not all! Liberation is achieved by removing ignorance about everything, all things/processes/phenomena (i.e. "reality"), of which mental factors are only one, albeit arguably the most impotant, category. Andi 3ö (talk) 02:47, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

There are many buddhist symbols and they are important and stuff... like i know one thing like im catholic but buddhists are like nice and stuff... and i like pretended to be one last year and stuff and people were nice to me when they asked me what religion i was and i said Buddhist so buddhism is a good religion!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:32, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

If the ultimate nature of reality were suffering, it would be inescapable. And Nagarjuna said himself not to take emptiness in the manner you have said. The Buddha was not concerned with physics! He was concerned only with suffering and its ending. He said that explicitly! It has already been mentioned on this talk page. Now there are certainly Buddhists who do try to pin down reality in the way you have demonstrated but the Buddha himself did not. So if we are talking about the material common to all schools we should go with what the Buddha himself said. Then if you want to talk about the Mahayanists who make emptiness into a "nature of reality" that is fine but it must be stated as such. Removing ignorance about black holes, asexual reproduction, etc is irrelevant. Mitsube (talk) 03:03, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
yes, you are quite right about the first part. Of course the ultimate nature of reality in the budhhist sense cannot be suffering, but for the uninitiated reader the answer to the question can be, and definitely the first step of removing ignorance is, to gain the insight that reality "as we know it" i.e. from an unenlightened perspective, is (or rather "ultimately" leads to) suffering. That's what i meant. That's what the first noble truth and the second of the four seals express.
You write: "And Nagarjuna said himself not to take emptiness in the manner you have said." Sorry, i don't know what you mean. What exactly did i say that you are referring to here? Andi 3ö (talk) 03:28, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
You said that a Mahayana response to the question "what is the nature of reality" would be "emptiness." But Nagarjuna himself said: "The Victorious Ones have announced that emptiness is the relinquishing of all views. Those who are possessed of the view of emptiness are said to be incorrigible", that is, the concept of emptiness is used to deconstruct ontological assumptions, not stand for "the nature of reality."
I suppose we are in agreement, I am just trying to be careful that we not state things in a misleading way. Maybe you have better ideas than what I have currently written? Also regarding a psychological approach, suffering is psychological, is it not? This explains the Buddha's approach. Later Buddhists have written very interesting theories about other things and we can mention them as appropriate too. Mitsube (talk) 03:38, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, i'm sure we'll figure out a good compromise :) Right now i am very tired and got to sleep a bit...i posted your other edit below. Let's see what other people's ideas are... good night! with metta, Andi 3ö (talk) 03:58, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Apart from removing this sentence from the lead:

Buddhism is traditionally conceived as a path of liberation attained through insight into the ultimate nature of reality.[2]

you also changed this (in the "Nature of reality" section):

The concept of Liberation (Nirvana), the goal of the Buddhist path, is closely related to the correct perception of reality. In awakening to the true nature of the self and all phenomena one is liberated from the cycle of suffering (Dukkha) and involuntary rebirths (Samsara).

to this:

In the earliest Buddhist teachings, shared to some extent by all extant schools, the concept of Liberation (Nirvana), the goal of the Buddhist path, is closely related to the correct understanding of how the mind causes stress. In awakening to the true nature of clinging, one develops dispassion for the objects of clinging, and is liberated from suffering (Dukkha) and the cycle of incessant rebirths (Samsara).

I'd like to hear others' opinions about this edit as well. Andi 3ö (talk) 03:48, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

actually, I think it's more correct to say that the "ultimate nature of reality" is that which is not dukkha. Dukkha (suffering, in not-so-good translation) is what happens when you have attachments. when all attachments are gone (should such a thing happen), what's left is what's left, which is the only thing that could really merit the term 'ultimate nature'.
with respect to that particular edit... if you want to go the psychological route, you'll have to take it a step farther, I think. the moment of liberation comes when one realizes that both the attachment and the object are unreal, that in fact the object one is attached to is created by the attachment itself. simple dispassion isn't quite enough, since dispassion leaves the object in place, but just reverses the valence of the attachment (much the way that nihilism becomes a kind of faith in its own right). --Ludwigs2 03:56, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
The object is created by the attachment? So the chair I am sitting in is created by my desire to sit in it? I don't understand. Dispassion is the removal of clinging either for something or for something not to be. It is like equanimity; it neither attaches nor pushes away. Mitsube (talk) 06:20, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
more accurately, chairs exist because we desire things to sit on. So, a tree stump in the forest is not a chair, even if you sit on it. If you decide you like it (mild attachment), you take it home, shape it, cover it with a pillow, and it becomes a chair of sorts. if people laugh at you for sitting on a gussied up tree stump, you'll be embarrassed (larger attachment) and get a better chair, and if you follow that process all the way to the end you'll end up with a throne, where your entire identity as a person is tied up in the fact that you have the biggest, baddest chair around. Now, you can be dispassionate about a throne (convince yourself that it doesn't matter that it's the biggest, baddest chair around), but that's not the same as not having the concept of a throne. See, there's the thing you sit on (which isn't really a chair), and the concept of a chair (which isn't really the thing you sit on); dukkha is (sort of) becoming dependent on the second and imposing it in the first.
or possibly I've gone completely insane in a delightfully buddhist sort of way. Namaste! Face-grin.svg --Ludwigs2 08:44, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Most of the above discussion looks like original research to me. As usual, try to find out what reliable sources have to say on the subject.
"So if we are talking about the material common to all schools we should go with what the Buddha himself said." That's not valid, for several reasons:
  1. Why talk about the material common to all schools? Why should that be automatically assumed important? "Common" & "important" are different concepts. As I noted in a section further up this page, the belief that Oslo is the capital of Norway is common to everyone, but that doesn't make it important.
  2. What's actually common to all traditions is the following:
    1. Most of the Vinaya Pitaka
    2. Most of the Dhammapada
    3. A few dozen suttas/sutras
    4. A number of stock passages found in different texts in different traditions
    5. Maybe some ideas expressed in different words in different traditions
  3. "what the Buddha himself said" is a matter of dispute among historians.

Peter jackson (talk) 10:39, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

Peter - of course it's OR; this is all in good fun. I think the phrase should just be removed from the article, because it strikes me as a Western philosophical projection onto Eastern philosophy. it's just going to cause more confusion than it resolves. --Ludwigs2 17:36, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I will try another wording. Mitsube (talk) 06:05, 7 January 2010 (UTC)

The 'Ultimate nature of Reality', as much as such a term can be applied to the Buddha's teaching is certainly not suffering. As someone pointed out, if that were the case it would be inescapable. Saying it is 'emptiness' is closer, but also problematic as it depends in what sense this is taken. Nirvana is not to be seen as some 'ground of being', but rather that all phenomena are ultimately to be seen as empty of self. In other words, the closest the Buddha came to declaring the ultimate nature of reality was in declaring the causal matrix. Everything works in relation - dependent co-arising (pratītyasamutpāda). Discerning dependent co-arising in terms of all of our experience, is to discern what could be said to be 'The Ultimate nature of reality'.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 12:26, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

Union with God?

I have just finished reading the Tevijja Sutta, and it looks like the Buddha preached a way to achieve union with God:

"Just as if a mighty trumpeter were with little difficulty to make a proclamation to the four quarters, so by this meditation, Vasettha, by this liberation of the heart through cornpassion, …through sympathetic joy, … through equanimity, he leaves nothing untouched, nothing unaffected in the sensuous sphere. This, Vasettha, is the way to union with Brahma."

Hokie Tech (talk) 20:04, 14 May 2010 (UTC)Hokie Tech

Perhaps he was speaking figuratively.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:07, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
It is also translated as "companionship". He is telling some Brahmins that if they do those practices they can be reborn in a Brahma realm. Mitsube (talk) 06:14, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
That's the literal & traditional interpretation. Gombrich, How Buddhism Began, argues that the Buddha meant it as synonymous with nirvana, which G says is how the Upanishads use it. Peter jackson (talk) 09:51, 15 May 2010 (UTC)
I think this passage is pretty clear. There are other passages that contain the prefix "brahma" that might have that meaning. The pre-Buddhist Upanishads don't contain the word nirvana, though the concept of liberation, and the use of the word nirvana, predate him.
Bhikkhu Bodhi says there may be an allusion to the theory at MN 341, which is probably true. Gombrich's student Wynne has an interesting take on this, that I find persuasive. The pericope there occurs in many other places as well. Wynne references this, and makes the point that the evidence of the texts suggests that the pre-Buddhist Brahmins believed that liberation came at death, when one became absorbed into (insert most subtle stratum of the universe here). The Buddha took this and twisted it around to refer to the sage who is liberated in life: "himself become brahma" (though yet alive). Though the Buddha did say that the supposed "self of the universe" did not exist. So this is another example of the Buddha taking someone's idea and turning it around by changing the assumptions. Mitsube (talk) 08:58, 16 May 2010 (UTC)

Background of Buddha

I noticed his life background description only includes a foretelling that his father is told before birth, but his mother, Mahamaya, before his birth had a dream about him. She dreamed that "a beautiful elephant, white and silver, entered her womb through her side." She then asked Breahmin priest to interpret the dream and they as well foretold of a son who would become either a universal monarch or a buddha. I found this in the Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions. 1999. under Buddha Gotama page 145. Italiala (talk) 19:56, 20 May 2010 (UTC)5/19/2010

Strange mobile site only text

OK - this is strange... I was looking this up on the mobile site, and found the text "to be a buddist basterd u have to rape and kill someone at the same time" in the 'See also' category, right after 'Buddhism in Africa' and before 'Buddhism in Asia' but cannot find anywhere on the main page where this might be in the text... Thus, can't edit that out... Any ideas?

Jkstark (talk) 00:18, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Should mention for clarity; this is on

Jkstark (talk) 00:20, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

I see it, and I'm trying to remove it. Will update asap. Viriditas (talk) 03:06, 8 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, got it all. It was the last remaining vestige of template vandalism, appearing on at least four articles: Buddhism, List of cities in Malaysia, Economy of Vietnam, and List of red-light districts. Logged in users couldn't see it, so I did a ?action=purge on the articles and related templates and that seems to have solved the problem. However, some of these templates are still not fully protected, so I'm going to make a request for protection. Good work, Jkstark. Viriditas (talk) 03:30, 8 June 2010 (UTC)


I am curious. As a religion or philosophy, should a Buddhism article include logical or popular criticism of core Buddhist beliefs? (talk) 15:34, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
I think NOT. Because, Criticism/support of religion is in itself a personal Point Of View. So if a new section for Criticism of a religion is added; POV will flourish and it will be difficult to maintain weight balance and NPOV in the article. So, for the purpose of criticism, the article Criticism of Buddhism can be used which is innately an article viewing Buddhism in a critical POV. I think that this itself may be the reason why articles on religions do not normally have a section "Criticism". Cheers Arjuncodename024 17:22, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
Right, because there is a history and a sizable critical literature associated with most religions, it is entirely acceptable and encyclopedic to treat the topic on WP. However, because of (A) the complexity of major religions, leading to already very long articles and (B) the complexity of the critical history, these topics are usually treated in separate articles, linked from the main article's "See also" section—see Criticism of Christianity and Criticism of Islam, for example, and indeed Criticism of Buddhism. Of course, the articles on criticism should not reflect or condone a non-neutral POV, but should fairly and verifiably examine critical arguments made in reliable sources, as well as (likewise sourced) counterarguments. /ninly(talk) 18:24, 13 June 2010 (UTC)


there is a proposal for the creation of Wikiproject:Gnosticism. It is mentioned here as Gnosticism is a cultural impulse that in some of its forms has combined many religions such as Buddhism. Its scope will include all gnostic faiths and will serve as a nexus for the improvement of Gnosticism related articles on Wikipedia, If any one would like to join or comment it is located here --Zaharous (talk) 01:17, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

Buddha was from Ancient India and Nepal

I cant belive this is still a debate. I mean there was no Nepal back then. Yes there was no India back then either. But there is a sphere. A people. A culture. And I dont think its wrong to fall into Ancient India. I mean if you dont like the name ok. But Ancient India is a term used to describe most of the region. I mean Buddha was born a short distance outside of India in Nepal this is true then. But he also gained englightenment in India. He first taught in India. He Died in India. And again he was born a distance outside of India in Nepal then here. So is it right to just say he was from Nepal without mentioning Ancient India? So how about say he was from Ancient India, and born in what is now Nepal then? Is that fair? (talk) 07:07, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I thought we already resolved this several times. Does someone keep changing it? Viriditas (talk) 08:43, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes, people keep changing things. I think the article on the Buddha is now protectd because of this.
I may as well mention here, while we're on the subject, that, not only did Nepal not exist until the 18th century, but thsi particular area only became part of it in 1860. Peter jackson (talk) 10:13, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The first paragraph of this article says "Indian subcontinent"; a large and significant geographical region, named after India. The article does not say he was born in Nepal, it says "modern-day Nepal" (and has seen other forms of this, "what is now Nepal", etc.). To me, "Ancient India" bears implications of a political cohesiveness that, as you say, did not exist. The purpose of these passages is to locate the birth of the Buddha geographically, and "modern-day Nepal" is relatively effective for a modern-day audience. If he taught in parts of modern-day India, I have no problem with that being stated, too. The contemporary sociopolitical context is (or should be) dealt with elsewhere in the article. /ninly(talk) 13:41, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Shouldnt the start of the article say it is a Indian religion coming from Ancient India? That is how some other areticles start so why not for this one? (talk) 23:31, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

.....If its not India or ancient India now, then what's the purpose of writing it? Just write what it is now. Coz before modern Nepal if it was ancient India, than it was something else before that. So its not fair to go back and back. since India, time and again claims about Buddha born in India this will create controversy. And yes why do India bother in this matter, you guys have nothing to do here just leave it alone with Nepal where it belongs. Nepal never claims about Taj Mahal saying ancient Nepal or anything else. I think this matter should be sorted out before India start saying Mt. Everst was in Ancient India. What a joke? Indians stop making fun of yourself. Because nobody wants India named alongside with gautam Buddha. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:34, 25 July 2010 (UTC)

Shoudlnt the start of the article classify as an Indian religion?

On other articles on Wikipedia the article might start as saying this is a Abrahimic religion or an Indian religion, but in this article it does not start like that. Why Then? (talk) 23:32, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Let's not localise a world religion. Anyway it is mentioned that its origins are in India. Gantuya eng (talk) 01:59, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

It is not an 'Indian religion', or a 'nepali religion'. So the answer is no. It is a world religion.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 11:19, 11 August 2010 (UTC)

Edit request from Shedor, 4 June 2010


Shedor (talk) 12:43, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Not done There is already external links containing Buddhist texts in the external links section. Per WP:EL I see the section as good already. Maybe build consensus for it to be added, or suggest replacing one of the links already serving the same purpose. Thanks. SpigotMap 12:55, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Edit request

I think that the site should be included among the external links. It offers access to most of the Pali Canon texts in modern English translations, plus a lot of supplementary texts.

JMT 19:34, 18 August 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by JdeTeresa (talkcontribs)

according Amar Visharat who is belong Buddhist community from Ujjain Madhay Pradesh and he is working on teaching of Buddha in India Through Lord Buddha Trust. said that Buddha is method of real livening art.Buddha is great personality in World. Prince Siddhartha (later known as Gautam Buddha) was born in the year 623 B.C., in Lumbini at Kapilavatthu, (in present Nepal near Indian border). His father was King Suddhodana of the Sakya clan (hence Buddha is often known as "Sakyamuni" ) and his mother was Queen Maha Maya. The queen died seven days after his birth. In his youth Siddhartha was married to Yashodhara and had a son called Rahul. At the age of 29 years he left the life of luxury in search of true meaning of human life. After practicing asceticism and long intense meditation near present Bodh Gaya, at the age of 35 years Siddhatha attained, enlightenment and was thereafter known as Gautam Buddha (The Enlightened One).

He gave his first public sermon in the Deer Park at Sarnath, near Benares, setting in motion the wheel of the Dharma (or spiritual law) as he expounded the doctrine of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

THE Four Noble Truths:

All Buddhist teaching is ultimately contained within the Four Truths.

1. The first Truth - Duhkhasatya The true nature of life to be "dukkha," meaning that which is characterized by suffering and general dissatisfaction (in short - Life means suffering).

2. The second Truth - Samud Ayasatya - The cause of such dukkha to be "tanha," or attachment.

3. The third Truth - Nirodhasatya The end of dukkha is possible, by eliminating tanha - i.e., with the removal of the cause, the effect ceases.

4. The fourth Truth - Margasatya - The path that leads to the elimination of tanha, which in turn causes the cessation of dukkha. A gradual path of self-improvement, which is described more detailed in the Eightfold Path.

The Noble Eightfold Path:

It describes the way to the end of suffering. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things.

1. Right View :

Perceptive realization of dukkha, karma and the dharma. It simply means to see and to understand things as they really are and to realize the Four Noble Truth. Right view is the cognitive aspect of wisdom. Right view leads to grasping of the impermanent and imperfect nature of worldly objects and ideas, and understanding the rule of Karma. Since our view of the world forms our thoughts and our actions, right view yields right thoughts and right actions.

2. Right Purpose (intention):

Purpose should be beneficial and selfless. Right purpose can be described as commitment to moral and intellectual self-improvement. Buddha described three types of right purpose: 1. Intention of renunciation - that means to oppose the desire and cravings. 2. Intention of good will - meaning to resist the feelings of anger and hatred. 3. Intention of harmlessness - that means not to think or act cruelly, or violently, and development of kindness.

3. Right Speech :

Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. It is essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. According to Buddha right speech includes: 1. Not to tell deliberate lies and not to speak deceitfully, 2. Not to use slanderous and malicious and offending words against others. 3. To desist from idle chatter that lacks purpose or depth. In short - speech should truthful and helpful, not disruptive, harsh or deceptive and to talk only when necessary.

4. Right conduct :

The second ethical principle is right conduct and actions. Right conducts means 1. Abstain from harming living beings and taking life (including suicide) 2. Desist from taking what is not given, which includes stealing and deceitfulness. 3. Desist from sexual misconduct.

5. Right Livelihood :

It means earning one's living in a virtuous way. The Buddha mentions four jobs or activities that one should refrain from: 1. Dealing in weapons, 2. Dealing in living beings (including raising animals for slaughter as well as slave trade and prostitution). 3. Working in meat production and butchery, and 4. Selling intoxicants and poisons, such as alcohol and drugs.

6. Right Effort :

Without proper effort, nothing can be achieved, while misguided effort distracts the mind from its task and results in confusion. It also includes striving with dedication but without personal ambition to stay on the Eightfold Path.

7. Right Mindfulness :

Awareness is kept entirely on feelings, thoughts, conduct and events that are in the present moment. It is the mental ability to see things as they are, with clear consciousness. Right mindfulness is anchored in clear perception. Right mindfulness enables us to be aware of the process of conceptualization in a way that we actively observe and control the way our thoughts go.

8. Right Concentration :

Developing concentration and mental focus. Concentration here means a state where all mental focused onto one particular object. The best way to develop concentration is through the practice of meditation.
The Law of Karma - In Buddhism Law of Karma states that for every intentional action there is a corresponding consequence. Beneficial actions produce beneficial results, and detrimental actions produce damaging results. Deed itself is not as important as the intention, with regard to your own karma.

After teaching for 45 years at the age of 80, the Buddha entered into a deep trance and died peacefully in Kushinagara.

After his death Buddhism split into number of schools the two main schools being termed "Hinayana," or "Lesser Vehicle" and "Mahayana," or "Greater Vehicle." Mahayana school propounded a goal of universal salvation, while the Hinayana emphasized the importance of working primarily for one's own emancipation. The Mahayana ideal is the 'bodhisattva' a person who seeks to attain the state of Buddha hood in order to help others to find the path to final happiness. The Hinayana ideal being is one who overcomes all ties to the phenomenal world and so attains nirvana, which is said to be a state beyond birth and death. It is also described as perfect bliss.  —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:57, 29 July 2010 (UTC) 

Buddhism does not have 1.5 billion followers

Who wrote that Buddhism has 1.5 billion followers? That's Islam. Buddhism has more like 400 million. Can that be changed?

Ferrari353 (talk) 14:48, 22 August 2010 (UTC)

It's sourced three times. It says it has 'as many as 1.5 billion', not definitively '1.5 billion'. It's hard to define what constitutes a buddhist, if one counts most of the population of China that practice religious syncretism, that's the number you get. Zazaban (talk) 18:48, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
I think Ferrari has a point. The figures are usually quoted as between 100 and 500 million. Viriditas (talk) 19:36, 22 August 2010 (UTC)
Zazaban, those sources were poor, and I restored the previous version as a result. Viriditas (talk) 12:17, 23 August 2010 (UTC)

OK, what's the problem, why do you think Buddhism doesn't have 1.5 billion followers but a mere 100-500 million(100 million being an absolutely ridiulously low number and without any source) there are a couple of sources that do show that Buddhism has 1.5 billion followers, one is from the BBC(the BBC is a poor source? GHimme a break) and nrn, religioustolerance also admits that there may be 1600 million followers and at minimum 350 million Buddhist(again 100 million being an absolutely ridiculous number) Sure Islam has 1.5 billion belivers, but so does Buddhism. What's the big deal with accepting this number, why aren't you counting China as Buddhist, the Chinese are the heroes of Buddhism, you can'tr discuss the history of Buddhism without them, did you think that Communism eliminated it in just 2-3 decades? Gimme a break, a 2 millenium history of Buddhism won't disappear just like that, changes have occured, sure, but Buddhism is still thriving in China[3] Why do you refuise to ount all the Buddhists that mix Shintoism with their beliefs such as in Japan, or Hinduism as in Nepal, or Jainism as in India, or primal beliefs as in Burma and Laos, or Taoism as in China. For an african it's also common to mix Islam or Christianity with several african beliefs, does that mean Islam has less than 1.57 billion adheresnts or that Christianity has less than 2 billion, it would if you don't count syncretism and it would be even lower if you just count the practicing Christians as you do when you ignore all the non-practicing Buddhists in China So again, what's the big deal, why do you think the 1.5 billion figure is wrong? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 14:51, 31 August 2010 (UTC)

There may be a reason for updating the numbers in this article, but it first must be made clear and explicit with good sources on the subject. The BBC aricle quotes a Newsweek article which in turn quotes people associated with Buddhism. It would help if instead you would isolate the claims and sources on the talk page for us to look at per WP:V. So far, the quality of the sources and claims are less than scholarly. Viriditas (talk) 19:47, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

That's it? Why couldn't you reply sooner? Why couldn't you cover all of my sources and arguments while you're at it? Anway let's finish this quickly

"The BBC aricle quotes a Newsweek article which in turn quotes people associated with Buddhism"

So what? I've seen that figure quoted numerous times in wikipedia in different articles and i've seen many people quoting the Christian Encyclopedia even though it obviously has a Christian bias, isn't it obvious from its name? You also ignored , or what, are you going to tell me that nrn is also biased because its author is a buddhist? How about religioustolerance then that quotes that Buddhists might have as many as 1600 million followers, and if you accept religioustolerance estimate then why is the BBC and nrn unreliable when it estimates less Buddhists?

"the quality of the sources and claims are less than scholarly"

So you want a scholarly source?, define scholarly If you just mean non-Buddhist sources I could give you a ton of those look at "Sharing Jesus holistically with the Buddhist world" which estimates as many as one billion Buddhists or how about the World Religions Special Report (1998) which estimates as many as 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone See here:

But a figure of 230 million? How ridiculous, how absurb, you're clearly underestimating Buddhists. China alone gives enough proof of this, you really think China is more Christian than it is Buddhist?

I doubt if you'll reply unless I'll edit the article again. But I'll wait nonetheless Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 09:55, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

What scholarly sources have you reviewed? What tertiary sources have you looked at? What does the Encyclopædia Britannica say? What about other sources? I've already found your previous sources wanting, so please find others. Viriditas (talk) 10:33, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
Encyclopædia Britannica: Worldwide Adherents of Buddhism by Six Continental Areas, Mid–2009
Africa Asia Europe Latin America North America Oceania Total  % Change Rate (%) Countries Branches
287,000 456,709,000 1,820,000 783,000 3,614,000 608,000 463,821,000 6.8 +1.05 141 56% Mahayana, 38% Theravada (Hinayana), 6% Tantrayana (Lamaism).

I've seen such low estimates countless times, but 230 million, ridiculous. And 100 million is definitely false Again, these estimates fail to take into account that many Buddhists fuse their religion with other religions and they fail to count China, the hero of Buddhism "Sharing Jesus Holistically With the Buddhist World" explains this very well in much details, you should read it, at least the "Counting Buddhists Fairly" part, on it's way it also gives other estimates like Johnstone's 613-700 million in the year 1993(although it also counts the Chinese mix) or Eerdman's 600 million in the year 1982 and yey you believe that today Buddhists may be as low as 230 million? Do you think that there China isn't even a lousy 2% Buddhist or something, do you honestly think China is more Christian than Buddhist? Anyway, you didn't explain what was wrong with my sources, I can give you plenty, sure. But no matter how much I give if you're just going to tell me that they don't count then what am I supposed to do? What kind of source could possibly satisfy you? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 09:42, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

The current estimate in the article could be raised to under 500 million unless we can find a current lowball figure. The Encyclopædia Britannica estimates do not fail to take into account that Buddhism is mixed with other religions nor do they fail to count China. Why do you say that they did? Have you looked at the source? EB lists those adherents under a separate category called "Chinese folk-religionists". I did explain what was wrong with your sources, and I asked you to find more authoritative, scholarly, current sources to compare them with. Have you done this? Viriditas (talk) 09:56, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Of course they fail to take China into consideration, wikipedia itself admits that China is 50-80% Buddhist so how can their numbers be so low You didn't explain what wasw wrong with the religioustolerane source(whiich sums things up quite nicely) or with many other of the sources I gave you like Eerdman's or Johnstone(most reently) along with others, just look at what I wrote again. And the Chinese folk religionists should be counted along with Buddhists, my dictionary even says that Taoism and Confucianism along with Buddhism are among China's 3 religions and that they are usually fused together China is 50-80% Buddhist, any source that doesn't think so obviously only counts organizational reportings, the most unreliable method

"The number of people who follow Buddhism are over 1 billion (80%)"

"More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 million (50%) and over 1 billion (80%)"

"China....80% Buddhists"

I'm amazed at how quickly you reply, but I wish you would address more the issues I bring up Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 10:31, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I've addressed every issue you've brought up. The latest links you've offered as sources tell me that there's a fundamental misunderstanding about the kind of reliable sources we require for this type of data and the kind we use for encyclopedic articles about religion. One of the reasons I mentioned a tertiary source like EB is because it will give you an idea of the kind of source we want. Feel free to find a tertiary source of your own choosing, with the more current and authoritative source as a favored choice. Next, start looking for secondary sources that represent scholars in the field. You might want to try, for example, looking for studies in Google Scholar or books in Google Books. Viriditas (talk) 10:42, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

No, again, you didn't address most of my sources, Johnstone and Eerdman are scholars and they point to a higher figure of Buddhism than 500 million, and "Sharing Jesus holistically with the buddhist world" is actually a book I found at google books, and it says that there are nearly a billion Buddhists, does that mean you finally agree that the number of Buddhists is significantly higher than 100 million?

I'm in the position where I must ask you, what could possibly convince you that you're wrong, and be detailed and specific about this

No matter how many sources I give you, you just shrugg them off, why is this? Isn't it clear already that most Chinese are Buddhist, yes or no question, do you agree that most of China is Buddhist? If you say yes then we're finished, there are over a billion Buddhist and we can finally edit the article, if you're answer is no then why not and what do most Chinese believe? Also how do you explain my sources saying that China is 50-80% Buddhist or that there are over a billion Buddhists

Isn't it clear already that the evidence weighs strongly against you? What makes you seriously think that there are just 100 million Buddhists, when last time did you look at Vietnam, Thailand, and Burma and above all China

If you still disagree then why don't you remove sources like the BBC and nrn and some of the other sources I gave you from the several wikipedia articles around here, why don't you change China's religion statistics at that country's wiki article, what are you waiting for. Do you think that every single source I gave you doesn't count? I honestly don't get it, what's wrong with all these sources that I gave you? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 15:16, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

"Bethany World Prayer Center" is not a reliable source for our article. Neither are commercial websites promoting tourism and business in China. Please consider taking your concerns to the reliable sources noticeboard. Viriditas (talk) 17:15, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

Then how about any of these:,people,news,dalai-lama-joins-ashton-kutcher-and-stephen-fry-on-twitter

Once again, you haven't addressed many of the issues I brought up, isn't Johnstone reliable, isn't Eerdman reliable? And if the BBC and all the other sources are unreliable why don't we remove them out of wikipedia?

Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 19:17, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

I have addressed all of your issues. It looks like instead of separating Chinese folk religion beliefs, you are combining them with the Buddhist figure. Our best sources don't do that. Could you provide sources for the scholars you state above? I'm not seeing the citations to their current, published research. Viriditas (talk) 19:37, 6 September 2010 (UTC)

"I have addressed all of your issues" Nope, you still didn't address religioustolerance 1600 million Buddhists or World Religions Special Report (1998) 760 million Buddhists in Asia Also, answer me, do you think that there China isn't even a lousy 2% Buddhist or something, do you honestly think China is more Christian than Buddhist? Even wikipedia itself admits that China is 50-80% Buddhist so why don't you go ahead and change this figure if you don't believe in it and remove all of these sources I talked about from wikipedia, afterall wikipedia still uses some of them in several articles

"It looks like instead of separating Chinese folk religion beliefs, you are combining them with the Buddhist figure" Whioch is exactly what should be done, though I myself didn't do that in thhese sources, I just gave you sources that tell you that there are a billion buddhists, they didn't mention Chinese folk religion Anyway there's no such thing as a Chinese-folk religionist, nobody would answer like that f you asked for their religion, they would answer "Buddhist" the book "sharing jesus holistically with the buddhist world" talks about it in detail, you haven't read the sources I offered you have you?

"Our best sources don't do that" A "best source" that doesn't count China is one of the worst sources you could get for Buddhism, again, answer me, what is China's religious composition, what do you think they believe, you seriously think it's more Christian than Budhist as your encyclopedia might suggest?

"Could you provide sources for the scholars you state above?" By that do you mean Johnstone and Eerdman or the links I gave you, again, you seriously haven't looked at my sources have you?

"I'm not seeing the citations to their current, published research" I don't get it, what does that mean? "Patrick Johnstone's 1993 edition of Operation World more accurately recognized a much larger Buddhist population. He noted that Buddhist-Eastern religion totaled 613 million in 1990, today's equivalent of about 700 million(1993:23)....Even Eerdmans' Handbook To The World Religions, published in 1982, suggested that, "the total world membership of the Buddhist religion may be as high as 600 million"(1982:228)....The Laussane II Christian Witness to Buddhists fairly declared "peoples influenced by Buddhistic thinking compromise one of the largest blocs of unreached peoples in 1980, claiming over a billion people" Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 00:25, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Hello, again. There appears to be a communication problem regarding how we use reliable sources on Wikipedia. For example, you keep referring to Christian religious texts and out of date sources, when I've asked you to only use current and reliable sources instead. I would like to ask you for a second time to compose your thoughts in a brief manner, and file a report at Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard, making sure to leave a short message summarizing your thoughts, with links or pointers to the best sources (and any quotes you want to share) demonstrating the problem as you see it. Please do not post a long screed with naked links as you have done here, as that doesn't go over well on the noticeboards; I want to see your side of things given the fairest share, so keep your report short and to the point with properly formatted links. Thanks, and looking forward to seeing you on the noticeboard. Viriditas (talk) 02:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Hey now, don't pretend as if "Sharing Jesus holistically with the Buddhist world" is the only source I gave, besides, even though it cites Johnstone, Johnstone is not the kind of person to be preaching Christianity, ditto for Eerdman. Outdated? Even so, think about it, if there were over a billion buddhists in 1980 what makes you think that now there are only 100 million, what a ridiculously low number, what about you? What are YOUR sources for claiming there are just 100 million Buddhists? How about "The complete book of Buddha's lists--explained", how about "The rough guide to Nepal" aren't those the books you wanted from books google? What changed your mind all of a sudden, isn't the thefirstpost a reliable source? Isn't the "Beginner's Guide to Buddhism" a reliable source? What kind of source could possibly satisfy you, what are your sources and why do you think they're more reliable? I gave ou a source from there that says 760 million in Asia alone, cia? It fails to count China and it fails to count atheists in countries such as Sweden, Denmark, and Norway even though the atheist percentage over there is high, it also gives a very small percentage of unaffiliated for France when it should be over 40% atheist. The international religious freedom report? I don't see where it says that over there but even if it does that's in 2004, there are newer versoins and it also fails to count all the Chinese Buddhists. Remember even wikipedia says China is a majority Buddhist country

"Please do not post a long screed with naked links as you have done here" I don't get it, what do you mean?

Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 06:12, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Kim-Zhang-Hong, I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but you are being quite rude in the above passages, with all these "answer me"s, etc. This is not considered acceptable on Wikipedia. If you continue to behave this way, I think it would be reasonable for everybody else to simply start ignoring you.
Please write a short, to-the-point summary of your argument. I suggest choosing a few of the sources that you think are most appropriate for inclusion in the article, and including those along with a brief description of what the link is and why it is a good source (e.g. "Example, a recent journal article from a peer-reviewed journal related to Buddhist studies", or whatever accurately describes the source you are providing). Viriditas has suggested posting this to Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard, and that sounds like a good idea to me.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 06:56, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

What else am IO supposed to say when people aren't answering, oh well ignore this and that and let the article remain the same way? Then what was the point with me starting this discussion. I haven't said a bad word, I haven't cursed anyone, and I'm willing to listen to the other side on discussion, so why would people want to ignore me? What wrongs did I do aside from having a different opinion? He hasn't answered religioustolerance figure of 1600 million and he keeps ignoring things I say already so why can't I point that out? I think almost every single source I mentioned is appropriate, I still didn't understand why he ignores every single source I give, nothing satisfies him even when I do give him sources from the exact place he wanted me to give it to him. Are you saying I'm talking too much? That's because the evidence is oerwhelmingly against him and I keep repeating the same thing because he won't answer many of the questions I ask I'm relatively new to wikipedia and have never posted anything in the Notice Board, I would prefer to finish things here first. There are tons of objections that I still have Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 08:44, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

When editors have a dispute, one way of dealing with it is seeking help. We generally don't use an article talk page to "finish things" because we often have to get an outside perspective to develop consensus. That's why I recommended a noticeboard, which allows us to request opinions from editors outside of this discussion which isn't going anywhere at the moment. I say that you aren't listening to me, and you say that I'm not listening to you. Therefore, we need the opinions of other editors to help us resolve this. The reliable source noticeboard is only one way of working towards resolution of this dispute; there are many more. Please feel free to visit the DR page I linked to above and pick a method that appeals to you. Viriditas (talk) 09:15, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, apparently the number of Buddhists worldwide topic isn't going anywhere in the noticeboard, so are we going to continue our discussion or are you going to give me a different suggestion? What now? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 06:05, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

You received one response, but you would have received many more if you had listened to me when I kindly asked you to keep your report brief and to the point, and not to post naked, unformatted links. Editors tend to ignore reports that are long and unwieldy, which is exactly what happened. In any case, User:Cs32en responded.[11] Have you taken his advice to heart? Viriditas (talk) 09:51, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

That's because I have no clue what that means, I asked you before but as usual you just didn't respond. If you're so experienced and confident then why don't you post a omment based on mine? What advice? The "caution against picking sources based on how close their figure are to estimates derived from other sources.", that tells me what not to do, not what to do, or is it the Buddhism in China? Because pewforum was of no help on that subject Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 04:41, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

What part aren't you understanding? Please keep your comments short and to the point, and format your links appropriately instead of posting them bare, otherwise your report is likely to be ignored due to TL;DR. Viriditas (talk) 04:49, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

"format your links appropriately instead of posting them bare" There, that's the part I don't understand, do you mean I should post my links like this? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 06:54, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes, that's one way. You could also do it like this: [12] Viriditas (talk) 08:53, 14 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree with some of the points that Kim is making- if you count folk religion being mixed as an exclusion criteria, that discounts much of the African population with regards to Christianity and Islam. The cited estimates must therefore reflect this discrepency in terms of how Buddhism is defined. The article should state this, that estimates vary between 350 million to 1.6 billion, depending on how Buddhists are defined. If Kim could post below 2 or 3 of the better sources and we can have this range of estimate included in the article. KnowledgeAndVision (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:56, 14 September 2010 (UTC).

This is true. Viriditas (talk) 09:44, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Wow, you agree with me, that's a little unexpected. Anyway should I post it like this:

Hi, I have objected to "Buddhism" article in that there are just 230-500 million Buddhists. I think there are over a billion Buddhists and that the low figures fail to take into account China as Buddhist and refuse to admit that a Buddhist may also be a Shintoist, Taoist, Confucianist and combine many other religions

Alex. Smith explains it pretty well here

I agree to wikipedia's article in China that states that some 50-80% of China is Buddhist. Here are some sources to strengthen this:

"The number of people who follow Buddhism are over 1 billion (80%)"

"More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 million (50%) and over 1 billion (80%)" "More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 million (50%) and over 1 billion (80%)"

"China....80% Buddhists"

According to religioustolerance, the number of Buddhists range from 350 million to 1600 million, it would be ideal if the "Buddhism" article were to state so

Here are more figures that pont out to a much higher Buddhist adherents worldwide than a mere 230-500 million

A billion Buddhists[13][14][15][16][17]

A 1.6 billion Buddhists[18][19]

A 1.5 billion buddhists[20][21][22]

In addition, the World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 14:40, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Kim, you just posted the same poor sources, many of which are out of date. I have previously asked you to find better sources. Could you do this please? Print and scholarly sourced would help. The stats collected by EB for 2009 are above for comparison. I would not cite this as a range, but rather add two figures, one for the number of Buddhists in the world, and another for Chinese folk religion which might include Buddhism. Viriditas (talk) 18:16, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Are all my sources poor or were there some soures which you think I should cite? Which sources are out of date I don't think I can find better sources, what would that even mean anyway. Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 02:54, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

The Alex Smith artcle explains things well, however it would be better to cite a survey of Chinese religion for use as an actual source. Certainly his points about 'folk Buddhism' and 'folk Christianity' are true.

However, the source that is currently being used for the estimate 230-500 million is also poor. It does not cite an actual survey and there is no link I can find to the "U.S. state departmenr religious freedom report".

So currently all sources, including the current one on the page are poor. Better sources need to be found, and the part of the article talking of numbers needs to be reworded to reflect the subjectivity involved in defining a religious adherent. Othewise we can at best provide a reworded version that mentions the above points.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 11:56, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

In the Christianity article you didn't cite a survey either, it's not a surprise, it's very difficult to account for over a billion people that are found in several countries. Ditto for Buddhism

You're saying my sources are as poor as the 230 million figure, you honestly think that Christians in China outnumber Buddhists? Did you not count Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka? You seriously think my sources are that poor? What's so poor about the book "The rough guide to Nepal" which gives you a figure of one billion Buddhists. What's poor about 1.6 billion Buddhists in The First Post

And even if my sources are that poor, why are these low figure sources getting my credit than mine's, why do you cite these sources in the article while you delete mine, why not just kep silent and mention nothing about the number of Buddhists worldwide and simply say that it's "one of the major religions"?

But hey, if it's surveys you want then you should be aware that according to two sources

"More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 million (50%) and over 1 billion (80%)"

"More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 million (50%) and over 1 billion (80%)" Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 05:51, 17 September 2010 (UTC)

Okay I hate to burst in here, but here's my $0.02USD. It seems to me that both Kim-Zhang-Hong and Viriditas have some points. Viriditas is trying to point to reliable sources and clearly has issue with a number of the sources used here. And both of you are right that you clearly are misunderstanding each other. I do think that Viriditas has a good idea in pointing to the noticeboard for resolution in order to break the deadlock. That is a very civil response. As for the misunderstanding we have to remember that tone is very hard to discern over the internet through text. I think what you are seeing as hostility in Kim-Zhang-Hong's posts is just frustration. You may be right about him needing to look more into what reliable sources are, but he does seem to be asking for help, and while you are probably giving your best answer, it seems he needs a further nudge to understand your intent.
Reliability and verifiability are neverending battles as I see it. We can always improve. If you have issues with sources it would seem helpful if you would explain which ones and why.. that is what he is asking. Maybe your answer is "all of them" for the reasons you did state, being unreliable, non-neutral, or out of date. Your suggestion to look at religious surveys sounds like a very good idea, and would go a long way to resolving this issue. But whereas maybe I can see you discounting the web sources he provided, I don't think you addressed the books by scholars he mentioned. (An aside: Wikipedia has a strange, IMHO, conundrum here, because online sources are supposed to be prized, because they are easily verified as far as what the source said, but online sources seem to be the most prone to being called unreliable, even if they are not blogs but actually articles by experts. Obviously when it comes to websites the question is more complex.) Maybe you think you did because you mean to lay a blanket on all the sources he has provided as being unreliable, non-neutral, and/or out of date, but if that is your meaning it was unclear to me coming in with a relatively cool head and no dog in this fight, and it seems reasonable that it is unclear to him especially as he is understandably frustrated. The fact he's asking the same question over and over again indicates to me he does not understand your answer, or does not see it as actually addressing the more specific questions of certain specific sources as opposed to the broader view you have thus far presented.
Reading your answers, I have to say I do wonder about a few points myself. For instance, what is the number of Buddhists you see as being shown through what you consider reliable sources (the ones you named are all excellent examples, by the way)? I don't see any source for a number as low as 100 million. I agree with you that wikipedia is about verifiability, not truth, so I can see you being strict in the sense that although it may seem unlikely that the lower numbers are correct (especially the 100 million figure), if we have no sources saying otherwise it does not matter. You did quote the Encyclopedia Britannica, but that source soundly spanks anything less than around 500 million Buddhists. Kudos for you pointing out that it is tertiary and we would much prefer secondary sources. But I rather do think we should dig deeper in this question of how you count the Buddhists and the comparison to how other religions are counted. For example Christianity is generally considered a majority religion in the United States, so the high percentage of people responding that they are Christians is routinely quoted along with that figure of billions. But it really depends on how you count them. Within Christianity itself, the counting is kind of a contentious thing. A glaring example is the widespread belief that Mormons are not Christians. Or even Catholics being viewed as non-Christians by many people! But really there are Churches of less than 100 (indeed Bill Maher interviewed one of a handful of people and their opposition of a Church of ONE person), who do not consider anyone outside their church a true Christian, and even if you discount the discrimination among sects there is still the question of what is the definition of a Christian that will get you very varied responses.
I don't doubt that just believing in good faith that people who respond that they are a given religion when asked is the source of the higher numbers. Basically what I am trying to say is that even among scholars, at least according to what both of you have said, this is an important question with respect to Buddhism. In any case this also opens up the fact that really bare statistics are not as helpful unless they are viewed with a source that explains where they come from so you have some basis for comparison. A real scholarly paper on a survey would include that and this could be explored. I can totally see you having multiple sources that would pass muster not just on Wikipedia, but anywhere, with wildly different numbers, a contention that will only make sense if you dig into what their criteria for inclusion was, sample size, methodology, the actual questions asked, etc. In any case my opinion (not even worth $0.02!) is that we should use the same criteria for giving these numbers for all religions. For instance, I might say that someone who reveres ancient Chinese gods as bodhisattvas are still by definition Buddhists. You may disagree, and more importantly the sources may disagree with that, but we should dig deeper into why, and if we accept that kind of criteria then you have to shave off some Christians, too, by applying the same logic. Not that I am encouraging Original Research, but I would hope you understand what I am getting at.
In any case, so far we have two editors (or perhaps.. 1.5!) other than you two weighing in, and the idea to bring this to a larger group of editors is definitely sound. I just hope that maybe what I said made some sense to you and will help rather than create more confusion. Rifter0x0000 (talk) 17:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)
Just FWIW, I've been following this discussion, though I haven't had a lot to contribute. I did at one time argue against inclusion of the 1+ billion figures and associated reference (and this has been discussed several times—e.g., see discussions under Talk:Buddhism/Archive 10#1.691 billion? and Talk:Buddhism/Archive 3), but there are definitely some compelling points above, both in the number and the sources of references supporting the larger figures and in the discussion of how Buddhists are counted. My only real input is that if larger figures are included, it may be beneficial to have a clause ("depending on how they are counted" or something) to help fend off future argument against including those higher figures. /ninly(talk) 20:42, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

I think that the best and most accurate representation is to mention the full range and the discrepancy that is dependant on how Buddhism is defined. I also think that this is a deliberately overlooked issue in other statistics such as those on Christianity, where it is clear that much of the African and South Amercian convert populations did not abandon their folk religions, yet this is overlooked when coming to the '2 billion' figure. Regardless of that, I would suggest wording the passage something like this:

Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Lower estimates are between 350-500 million. However, when including Chinese religion which has tradtionally consisted of forms of Mahayana Buddhism alongside Chiense folk religion the number would range from 1 - 1.6 billion.

After this passage the various references can be addded for this range. The part about Buddhism being the 'number something' religion in the world would also be deleted or reworded with the same caveats, as this would now vary on estimates, from a lower estimate of 4th largest to an upper etsimate of 3rd or even 2nd largest religion in the world. This seems a fair representation of the views on the issue, which in turn determine how statistics are interpreted.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 12:04, 24 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree with KnowledgeAndVision, so have we finally reached an agreement? Is it ok to edit it now? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 04:51, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm still not satisfied with your sources, KZH. I've asked you find good sources, and I don't see that you have done this. Viriditas (talk) 05:04, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

That's because I have no clue what you mean by good sources, if none of these sources satisfy you then I'm pretty sure that even if I continued to search I wouldn't find a source that would satisfy you

And to quote myself:

"You're saying my sources are as poor as the 230 million figure, you honestly think that Christians in China outnumber Buddhists? Did you not count Vietnam, Thailand, Burma, and Sri Lanka? You seriously think my sources are that poor? What's so poor about the book "The rough guide to Nepal" which gives you a figure of one billion Buddhists. What's poor about 1.6 billion Buddhists in The First Post

And even if my sources are that poor, why are these low figure sources getting my credit than mine's, why do you cite these sources in the article while you delete mine, why not just keep silent and mention nothing about the number of Buddhists worldwide and simply say that it's "one of the major religions"?" Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 13:27, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

Kim-Zhang-Hong, those are both excellent illustrative examples of poor sources. The Rough Guide to Nepal is a guidebook about a particular country, not a book about global Buddhism or the world religions. The First Post article is in the genre of celeb-watching. Neither source appears to be by someone who even claims to be an expert on Buddhism, nor are they likely to have editors who are specialists. Both mention the number of Buddhists incidentally in the context of describing something else. Neither gives any indication of where their information about the number of Buddhists. Basically, there is very little about either source which would prevent the numbers from simply being guesses or otherwise incorrect.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 23:41, 1 October 2010 (UTC)

So what if it's a guidebook about a particular country, it doesn't mean it's unreliable. Who said it has to be directly about Buddhism for it to be reliable?

But if you want something more into buddhism then look up at Alex Smith

But surely some of my sources must be reliable surely the religious Tolerance article is reliable and it says that as many as 1600 million people might be Buddhists. The World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone

Aren't those sources reliable? I also got this one which estimates over a billion Buddhists

I also got:

If you guys are confident in your abilities why don't you do me a huge favor and get a source that's reliable so that we can finally edit this article Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 05:11, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Kim-Zhang-Hong, a guidebook about a particular country is not reliable because there is no reason to think that the authors know what they are talking about when they talk about Buddhism. To be frank, I don't see the point of looking at additional sources you provide until you have demonstrated that you understand what Wikipedia means by reliable sources.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 18:52, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Just in case it has not been clear to KZH or anyone else here, Wikipedia's discussion of reliable sources, with examples, is at WP:RS. /ninly(talk) 23:53, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

The religious tolerance statistic is as reliable as the current one that is being used on the page. It references 350-1.6 billion which means they are sensible enough to know that no clear cut figure can be given on this issue. You have one more reference which I would consider decent, which cites 760 million in Asia. I therefore think that these two references are appropriate to go ahead with a change including this range of figures. Since this has become a bit of a discussion, it would be appropriate to see any objections to using these references in support of the change before anyone goes ahead with it.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 10:57, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I think people are missing the point here largely. There are really no reliable sources that can give you a figure on how many 'Buddhists' there are. This is true of all religions to an extent, but the situation is even more problematic with Buddhism. One of the links Kim provided talks a bit about this Uncertainty for numbers of Buddhists Whilst most of Kims sources are poor, he has indeed provided two mentioned above which are as good as the current one on the page that is being used to cite 230-500 million. Therefore , a more accurately worded paragraph explaining the range of views is required which can include these sources, or a complete removal of anything mentioning numbers since it subject to such a variety of views ans we can provide no truly reliable spurces on any numbers, only speculative estimates.

KnowledgeAndVision (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 11:21, 3 October 2010 (UTC).

Relevance of link

I can't see what is gained by the link to Seongcheol in the passage 2.2.3. Middle way, point 4. The article mentions the intepretation of the middle way by Seongcheol, but this seems to be a bit too specific for the main article on Buddhism. Perhaps the link should be incorporated into the article Middle Way instead. Gon-no-suke (talk) 01:59, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

edit request

{{Edit semi-protected}} typo in the last sentense second paragraph: However, when including Chinese religion which has tradtionally consisted of forms of Mahayana Buddhism alongside Chinese folk religion the number would range from 1 - 1.6 billion — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ivann.exe (talkcontribs)

Done Thanks, Stickee (talk) 05:59, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

Biographies of the Buddha

I noticed this in the biography section for the Buddha:

The above narrative draws on the early scriptures. However, later texts, such as the Mahayana Lalitavistara Sutra, give different accounts.

Just so others know, there actually is no biography of the Buddha in the "early scriptures". That is to say, the Tripitaka, Jatakas, and related texts. The Theravada biography is actually the latest of the classical biographies, written in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghosa as an introduction to the Jatakas. The so-called "later" Lalitavistara Sutra is actually quite a bit older, dating to the 3rd century CE. This dating is definitely established, since the Lalitavistara was translated into Chinese around this time, the resulting Chinese text is available, and the historical records for its translation are as well. It seems a bit presumptuous to assume that the Theravada account must be early, whereas Mahayana accounts would necessarily be later. In the case of the biography of the Buddha, that is simply not the case. Tengu800 (talk) 01:15, 22 October 2010 (UTC)

This article is full of absurd claims about a Nepalese Gotama

Nothing in the history, archaeology, literature, or art of early Nepal has the faintest hint of Buddhism, and it is uncanny that the patently absurd story of the rise of Buddhism in Nepal has survived scholarly scrutiny for nearly a century. Sir Aurel Stein, who almost single-handedly established the material basis of Buddhism, found nothing in Nepal. It is most important to note is that the antecedents of Buddhism are found in the Indus-Saraswati area and South Iran, not Nepal. The largest number of Buddha images is from Gandhara, not Nepal or eastern India where one should expect them in the Jones-Cunningham Theory. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mejda (talkcontribs) 14:04, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

Could you cite one of these "absurd claims"? I see three references to Nepal in the article: only one mentions the Buddha's birth and upbringing in a location that happens to fall within Nepal's modern-day boundary (nothing there about early Nepalese culture, the "rise of Buddhism", or where Gotama subsequently lived and taught). The others refer to the modern presence of Buddhism in that country, not its development or historical importance. If it is the first mention you are talking about, and there is evidence that the given birthplace is incorrect, I am not familiar with the scholarship and would love to know more—but I'd hardly conclude that the article is thus "full of absurd claims". /ninly(talk) 15:26, 11 November 2010 (UTC)

The above mentioned comment about birthplace of Buddha is fully biased and ridiculous. Commenter should be an Indian guy who has no knowledge about Buddha and his birth place. It is 100% true that Buddha was born in Kapilbastu, Nepal. All the archeological and ancient history are still there and world know it. You can lie the people with rumors and words but cannot hide the truth. Indian government made a structure (building)considering Lumbini as a Buddha's birthplace, which is officially formal recognition by the Indian Govt. You can see this link,, which is the evidence of UN recognition of that fact. I hate to debate with you in this well established matter but I compelled me to do so. So, dont go beyond the truth. Dont be fool yourself. Ask yourself three times before expressing your thought specially in the matter that has associated with someone else country and nationality.

As far as I know, the Buddha Gautama is believed to have been born in Lumbini, in what is now southern Nepal. He was born into the Indo-Aryan janapada Shakya clan of the Kshatriyas, inhabiting the foothills of the Himalayas. Gautama is believed to have been raised in Kapilavastu, the capital of the ancient Shakya Kingdom. Whether the region of "Nepal" was actually recognized as a kingdom independent of Ancient India, I do not know, but the culture there was primarily a Hindu (or Indian) culture. Nepal was and is ultimately a part of the Indian subcontinent, and may have not been distinguished from India during the Buddha's time. However, this needs to be researched more, and shouldn't be taken to mean that Gautama wasn't born in what is now southern Nepal. -Ano-User (talk) 07:45, 3 May 2011 (UTC)
This is part of a broader trend of Nepalese nationalists who also seem to lurk on the Siddhartha Gautama page, acting as though they are indignant, and denouncing the article as being full of lies propagated by the people of India. You could point out that the article in question does not mention the modern state of India, or uses the term "ancient India", or that Nepal did not include Kapilavastu until two or three centuries ago, or that "Nepal" did not exist 2500 years ago.... Still, none of these things will matter because the person claiming the unfairness of the article probably never even read the article text in the first place. They usually don't bother to respond either. Tengu800 02:03, 4 May 2011 (UTC)


The story of enlightenment was when Sidharta (Buddha), was trying to find enlightenment. He fast, and became so thin it was said you could see his spin through his stomach. He eventually realised that none of this was getting him very far, so he sat under a tree, vowing not to move until he had reached his goal of enlighten ment. And there it was he found it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Flipa25 (talkcontribs) 17:07, 18 January 2011 (UTC)

Lead image

I think there's better images that could be put in the lead. Does anyone else think that? Someone65 (talk) 06:16, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Do you have any to offer or suggest? /ninly(talk) 13:20, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

Who is Lord Buddha?

Gautam Buddha was physically born in Nepal. He is formless God come to play Divine role to teach people how to get enlightened(From mind to soul) or free from suffering,In other words to attained liberation .There is still proof of his divine play from birth to end in Kapilvastu, Lumbini(Nepal). He forbid his disciple don`t pray by making his idol.Once he spoke that " You are also Buddha, I am also Buddha difference is that I am aware of it but you are still in deep sleep. " He has taught how to realize the universal truth! the ultimate truth. Truth is God. According to Lord Gotama Buddha, "All the people in this earth are Buddha. All have Buddha(Self)nature. Here, the Self indicates SOUL. Every living being have Soul. This soul or self nature is Buddha nature. Nowadays people have many paths(ways) to pray or worship the God. There are so many ways but the goal is same. Hence, what the Lord Gotama Buddha saying is that "This world itself is Gumba(Monastery) where Buddha resides. Your Body itself is Gumba (Monastery)where the Lord Gotama Buddha resides. There is only one religion the religion of Love. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. He did not come to established new sect what nowadays people are saying Buddhism, Hindu, Christian, Muslim etc. These are the human made label(Name). He came to this earth to show the whole humanity:the right way! Gotama Buddha infact himself is Supreme One. You may find somewhere his pose indicating I am the Supreme One. But he never say about God or soul. He refused to answer such questions.Infact, religion and Dhamma are different word and differnt meaning. Name can be changed, form can be changed but the Dhamma can not be change. Dhamma means the law of nature. Dhamma means the quality of element,the self nature! Let us say the sun in the sky gives light and heat and it is Dhamma of the SUN. However, without the Dhamma of the Sun, there is no life in this earth similarly without the Self(soul)there is no life of living beings. If we follow our self, we never make mistake.But, if we follow our mind(Monkey mind) we may do many many mistake. Hence,Once Buddha spoke that "Ahimsa Parmo Dhamma." If you wake up from yourself, you never do himsa. He came to this earth to unite the people,not divide the people. God never discriminate same like the sun in the sky never discriminate among the living and non living beings. The Lord Buddha`s Dharsan often termed as ShunayaBad. It means he can be visible and invisible. He comes from Zero (0) and merge with Zero (0). He is immortal. He has no start no end. He is omnipresent, omnopotent and omnificent. "You are also Buddha, find Buddha nature in yourself". This is Lord Buddhas profound saying. He was for whole world, He is for whole world and he will be for whole world. His divine play is for whole humanity! This is fact! He did not come to this earth to make sect. The term "Buddha" indicates the selfnature i.e. quality. Infact, the religion is a Greek word which is combination of two words: Re+Ligion. Re= Again, and Ligion= Join back with Supreme one! Hence, the Love is the royal road to close with Supreme one. The main objectives of spiritual (Dhamma) practice is Realising that All is One and One is all. Infact, all are interconnected and interrelated. Blind leads Blinds. Ha Ha Ha....! Books for Reference- 1)Dhamma- An art of Living (By: Satya Naryan Goenka) 2) Characterology ( By Swami Sachchidananda BishuddaDev) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:52, 24 January 2011 (UTC)

The figure of 1.6 billion Buddhists

The figure of 1.6 billion Buddhists is ridiculously exaggerated. Counting the amount of followers of Chinese folk religion, Shinto, Shamanic religions and other Asian religions as Buddhists is totally amiss and inane. They're not Buddhists and their religions are not Buddhist schools, even though Buddhism exerted somewhat of an influence on their organizational and artistic features. The old figure of 350 million Buddhists in the world is obviously totally outdated, particularly given the recent rise of Buddhism in China where 20% of the population tend to identify as Buddhist. The outright number of Buddhists in the world today is probably between 600 and 700 million, and many studies endorsing similar figures can be found throughout the web. Some examples:

-- (talk) 12:17, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I am in complete agreement with you, but unfortunately, others are not, and they have overturned my edits. I suggest that this dispute be elevated to at least an RFC. Viriditas (talk) 12:35, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

The guy used google books Viriditas, didn't you say we don't use this? Yet you're in complete agreement? Then why don't you at least put his sources insteaed of declaring there are only 350-500M Buddhists

Look at your sources more closely, your "Buddhism" by Di Sue Penney is giving you official figures when most Buddhists in China aren't assigned officially at a temple, how about Buddha Nature Now"? It says there are 1.8 billion muslims when the true figure is 1.6 billion( But worse, it claims 1.1 nonbelievers, you seriously believe this?

I also don't think there are 1.6 billion Buddhists, it's probably closer to 1.4 billion, but estimates are estimates. I also don't think there are 350 million Buddhists, an absolutely ridiculously low number, yet I don't remove it, didn't we reach an agreement on this already?

I'm not saying that Taoism/Confucianism/Shinto/Jainism/Kirant Mundhum/Shamanism/whatever is Buddhism, I'm just saying they mix it, look at the international religious freedom report at places like Burma, it says "Buddhism coexists with astrology, numerology, fortune telling, and veneration of indigenous pre-Buddhist era deities called "nats.", in Taiwan it says "Researchers and academics estimate that as much as 80 percent of the population believes in some form of traditional folk religion. Such folk religions may overlap with an individual's belief in Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or other traditional Chinese religions.", in Thailand it says "most Buddhists also incorporate Brahmin-Hindu and animist practices", in Vietnam it says "Many Buddhists practice an amalgam of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism that is sometimes called the "triple religion."", do I really need to continue? Anyway my sources say "Buddhism" not that there are 1.6 billion Taoists, so I'm not making facts up and counting Taoists/Confucianists/whatever as Buddhists, I'm not making this stuff up, the data is there

Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 13:10, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

He said we don't use Google searches, which is true. Google Books is fine if the source is reliable. I'm not sure a 125-year-old article without an author counts as reliable. /ninly(talk) 13:50, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, I see the other references (besides the 1884 article) now. Still, we need proper citation of these if they are to remain. Also review the bold, revert, discuss process before undoing reversions. My impression of this is that, even given this data, we can't claim 1.6 billion Buddhists. Maybe something like "Buddhist thought and practice has strongly influenced as many as 1.6 billion people" would have better traction among editors (although that is imprecise and synthetic as is). /ninly(talk) 14:04, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Did you say sorry because you realized that these old sources are there only so that I can claim that Buddhism was once the largest religion? What's the difference between Google searches and google books, all you have to do is get into the book and a google search turns into a google book, you don't have to delete all of this just for that, fix it rather than eliminate it. Besides, the most important source for the claim that Buddhism was the largest is a google book, not a search Define " proper citation" Actually Viriditas discussed nothing and he reverted it back to how it was, meanwhile, I discussed this topic a long time ago and the users have agreed to the 1-1.6 billion estimate along with the lower estimate, I didn't edit it that way, I only returned it to the way the users who agreed with me edited this, they agreed and they edited, should just anyone delete stuff on wikipedia after people reached a census just because something seems unlikely? I might as well claim that +2 billion adherents of Christianity is unlikely since it's so high, would we say that most of those are secularists like you guys do with Buddhism? No, why are you giving Buddhism a special treatment This is consuming alot of my time guys, look, we discussed this long ago and we reached an agreement, I already laid out everything, why go on over this again? Am I supposed to do this next year also and the year after that just because some guy thinks this is improbable? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 15:57, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

I apologized because I made my first statement based on seeing only the first of several references (the 1884 document), whose reliability i questioned. Proper citation is discussed at the link I posted, and more fully described there under inline citations and text-source integrity. Also see Embedded links. A reader should be able to look at the footnote associated with a reference and determine some information about the source – nominally its author, title and publication, at least (publisher and date are also standard) – ideally without having to click on any links.
I would contend that a stable consensus has never really been reached on this topic. /ninly(talk) 18:44, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

We have that, thefirstpost article for example was published in 2010. In addition, another sources which I mentioned and are not there are "The complete book of Buddha's lists--explained" in 2006 by David N. Snyder, also Alex Smith article in 2004(

A census was reached, they got it into the +1 billion figure not me, were you even there to make that claim? What? Now all of a sudden there is no consensus and I'm supposed to start all over again because a new guy joins in and declares these numbers to be improbable? And this even happened without any talks at all, some guy just comes and removes all the sources that I worked so hard to find and declares that no concensus was reached and I'm supposed to accept this?

If you disagree then give me a reason, opinions are meaningless in the face of evidence Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 19:06, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Here is a 3-year-old discussion (which I happened to initiate) of the issue. My point in linking it is to show that I've been following this discussion (and occasionally involved in it) for some time. That particular thread ended with the removal of a poorly referenced 1.6+ billion figure, but I recognize that much has happened since then. Note that I said there has never been a stable consensus. Like many specific points in religion articles, there are diverse and strongly felt differences of opinion on this matter. We therefore need to be very careful about what is stated as fact and how we reference the data that backs it up. /ninly(talk) 20:32, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

Reply to Kim-Zhang-Hong

You have the burden of proof, Kim. Here's why your edits are not acceptable:

  • The complete book of Buddha's lists--explained By David N. Snyder - This is a self-published book. It does not meet our criteria for a WP:RS.
  • - The references offered at RT quote Wikipedia.[23] This is a self-ref and unreliable.
  • The First Post, a free and independent daily online news magazine, whose author quotes a figure about Buddhist adherents without any reference, likely taken from Wikipedia or RT above.[24] Again, a self-ref.
  • Non-Resident Nepali Association - a website hosting a speech. Not a reliable source.[25]
  • Educational Leadership - a 1954 article.[26] Out of date, and misused to push your POV. This is called original research and is unacceptable.
  • Google Search - A Google search pointing to an 1884 book.[27] Unacceptable misuse of source. You can't just perform a Google search and use the result as a "source" to prove your POV.
  • Google Search - A Google search pointing to many things, all of which are irrelevant.[28] Misuse of primary sources.
  • Google Search - A Google search pointing to a book published in 1910.[29] Unacceptable misuse of a primary source.
  • Buddhism: Religion in Korea - An interesting book about Korean Budhism published by a reliable source,[30] but looking at it in depth, it appears to be written as a promotional hagiography. It would have to be used very carefully, and with attention to any references used by the author. I looked for references in the book and found none. This tells me it is more of a textbook than a secondary source, and we generally avoid tertiary sources like textbooks.

I am therefore reverting Kim's additions. More importantly, the misuse of all of these sources together is evidence of original research and POV pushing. Viriditas (talk) 20:05, 1 March 2011 (UTC)

It seems there are (at least) a couple of points that perhaps should be discussed separately:
  1. Buddhism was at one time the most populous religion (whatever the population figure), and
  2. the 1.6 billion figure.
If true, the first point should be easier to cite, provided proper references. The second point involves a more difficult discussion of how or whether mixed adherence or heavy Buddhist influence should be counted. /ninly(talk) 20:53, 1 March 2011 (UTC)
Agreed. There are quite a number of Buddhist scholars who have received PhD's in Buddhist Studies in the last three decades, so we should be able to find scholarly material for use in this article. For example, many popular reliable academic sources about Buddhism are listed on the University of California web page. It should be easy to find at least one that has the information we need. There's also the Group in Buddhist Studies at UC Berkeley and the Center for Buddhist Studies at Stanford University. Viriditas (talk) 04:19, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Although this is not exactly the best source, the Buddha Dharma Education Association (as of 2008) maintains the number of 350 million, which is in parity with other sources.[31] Note, Chinese traditional religion is not included in that number. lists an updated (current) number of 376 million.[32] Viriditas (talk) 04:46, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Part of the problem with Kim's research is that it is not a representative sample of reliable secondary sources, but rather cherry picked POV from unreliable sources. When we truly start to look at the RS, we find the following:

  • "Today, it is considered that there are more than 300 million Buddhists in the world..." [33] Faith & Philosophy of Buddhism (2009) Kalpaz Publications. Please note the extensive bibliography.[34]
  • "There are over 300 million Buddhists in the world."[35] A World Religions Reader (2009). John Wiley and Sons.
  • "There are over 300 million practicing Buddhists worldwide today."[36] The Knowledge Book (2009). National Geographic.
  • "There are somewhere between 230 and 500 million Buddhists in the world today..."[37] Globalization (2009). John Wiley and Sons. Note: This publication makes use of extensive footnotes.
  • "There are 350 million Buddhists worldwide making up 6% of the global population ("[38]Religion, Belief and Social Work (2010). The Policy Press. Note from publisher: "This book is the first to deal with social work and religion so comprehensively and will therefore be essential reading not only for social work students, but also for practitioners in a range of areas, social work academics and researchers in the UK and beyond."[39]
  • " sheer numbers there are...roughly 350 million Buddhists (Theravada and Mahayana)..." [40] Introducing Philosophy of Religion (2009). Routledge. Note from publisher: "...ideal for student use...this is the perfect introductory package for undergraduate philosophy of religion courses."[41]
  • "According to Russell Chandler, the author of Racing Toward 2001, there were an estimated 359 million Buddhists in the world in 2000, with a projected growth rate of 1.7 percent annually. Some estimates have placed this number much higher with over 1 billion Buddhists worldwide, and an increasing number coming from the West." The Everything Buddhism Book (2011). Adams Media. Note: the author appears to be quoting Chandler's 1992 book, which estimates the size of Buddhism in 2000. This 1992 estimate has been superseded by more current sources. The "some estimates" claim about 1 billion Buddhists does not have a footnote. The author of this source does not take a critical view of Buddhism, but rather promotes it as a religion for interested neophytes. The publisher is known for its selection of popular religion books, but not for academic works.
Something to be aware of: One of the archived discussions of this topic raised the issue that the estimate here did not jive with the numbers at Buddhism by country. That page uses a different, more piecemeal approach to securing and citing its estimates, and while it does acknowledge that numbers depends heavily on the "degree of syncretism" allowed in making an estimate (if I'm reading it correctly), it also gives a fairly confusing presentation, in my opinion, and appends a more daunting list of references than would be appropriate here. I would also ask whether mirroring the results of that approach constitutes synthesis, at least for the purposes of this article. /ninly(talk) 15:43, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

That "3-year-old discussion" wasn't mine, I wasn't there, and my case was by far stronger, I cited sources much more than this and the users agreed with me. Viriditas although didn't agree, but he didn't offer any counter argument so I thought he was finished, yet now he comes back after halfd a year and I'm supposed to take his editing and get back to that old subject? Remember, the users edited it to the +billion figure, not me

Viriditas, even now you did not answer everything, I cited many many more sources some half a year ago and there were sources that you didn't respond to at all For example, the World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone See here: You never disputed this source and you agreed a while ago to the 700 million figure so why only claim there are 350-500million while recognizing these are among the lower-estimates? says something wikipedia says, it's not using wikipedia as a source for the +billion Buddhist figure

The First Post: Right, so because it doesn't clearly say where it got it's information it must be from wikipedia, sorry, doesn't work that way. You can use the same kind of logic on just about any source, this kind of logic is no good

Non-Resident Nepali Association: if speeches are unreliable then we should stop listening when the Dalai Lama talks about Buddhism right? Nope

Educational Leadership : I used this to claim that Buddhism was ONCE the largest religion, I'm not using it as a reference to the +billion figure

Google Search : if a search is unacceptable then just use the book itself as a reference, what's the big problem with that? It says it "it has the largest number of followers of any religion" how is that irrelevant, that's exactly what I'm telling you all along. Buddhism was once the largest religion. "Unacceptable misuse of a primary source"? Why is that?

Buddhism: Religion in Korea: If it's a reliable source then what's the big problem? So what if it tries to promote some saints, doesn't everyone view saints positively? Isn't that the reason why they became saints in the first place?

More evidence that there are over 350 million Buddhists:

"Theravada...followed by over 100 million...'Eastern' Buddhism followed by 500 million to one billion people"

"The Buddhist religion is now embraced by one billion followers"

"If China's Buddhists were counted, Buddhism would join Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism as a religion of over a billion adherents"

"the majority of Chinese people follow Buddhism(between 660 million, 50 percent, and over 1 billion, 80 percent)

More evidence that Buddhism was once the largest religion:

"For instance, many do not know that there are more Buddhists than Christians ; that about one-third of the population of the world are Buddhists",or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=fdd35f689f495207

"Even at the present time Buddhism has the largest following of all the living religions. About one fifth of the total population of the world today profess the Buddhist faith"

"The religion which to-day counts the largest number of adherents, Buddhism"(year 1897)

"This is attested by the religion which counts the largest number of adherents on earth, the ancient, highly moral, indeed ascetic Buddhism, — whose adherents now number three hundred and seventy millions"(years 1901, 1936, 1926)

"The result is that Buddhism can claim the largest number of adherents in the world, in fact, one-third of the human race"(year 1930) Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 14:38, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Apologies if I misunderstood; I thought you were referring to me as the "new guy", and the "3-year-old discussion" was only meant to show that I'd been consistently involved in discussions on this topic for a while – I didn't mean in the least to point out the outcome or content of that discussion. /ninly(talk) 16:12, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I don't consider that 3 year talk as a discussion, the guy just cited a buddhist source and finished, I cited by far more and gave reasons and engaged in argument with different users and still that guy comes after some half a year reverting things back as they were, why didn't he speak up at that time, I waited a long time for him to respond, I thought his silence was his way of saying he agrees, and again, the users changed it, not me. And now he comes along and disappears again, I'll wait until next month, if he doesn't respond and if there isn't anyone who disagrees with the +billion figure and that Buddhism was once the largest religion then I'll cite my sources again. So how about you? Do you oppose what I'm saying? Do ou still think there are only 350 million Buddhists? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 10:07, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

First of all, please recognize that I did not cite that talk page archive to make a point about its content or outcome. It is irrelevant to the current discussion.
I am not sure which user you are talking about, but silence does not typically indicate consent. I haven't seen positive agreement that these references are reliable enough to change claims about current or historical Buddhist populations.
I personally think the current wording (under "Buddhism today") is sufficiently broad to reflect current scholarly estimates while acknowledging the difficulties in making those estimates. As for historical numbers, I would prefer to see wider agreement before they are added to the article; I don't know enough to appraise these older references. /ninly(talk) 14:54, 29 March 2011 (UTC)

If it's irrelevant, don't mention it. The new user I was talking about was you, I don't remember you were here when we discussed the Buddhism estimate, and that discussion was larger and longer than this one, so I consider it to be more important, yet Viriditas edits out these high estimates out, the high estimates that the users who discussed things with me agreed to, so your argument that silence doesn't mean consent doesn't work here, the other users were consent, they edited it, and for half a year the guy said notrhing even though he was there at the discussion, what, for how long am I supposed to wait for him? And why should I let him edit out things other users agreed about and have that old debate all over again? It's tiring, I forget most things, and it takes alot of time, let's finish this already. Is this "positive agreement" you're refering to is the current agreement or the old one I had? Why do you consider these sources unreliable? And cite ALL of them, remember, if just one is reliable that's enough to refute your claim, and how much wider agreement for the argument that Buddhism was once the largest do you want to see, I gave over 7, want me to cite them all at once again? If you don't know enough what am I supposed to do about it? Just ignore these sources and pretend they don't exist? Christianity surpassed Buddhism because they gained adherents in Korea partly at the expense of Buddhists, and gained adherents in sub-saharan Africa(which btw has high birth rates) and because of China's one-child policy, when you consider that it's very believable that Buddhism was once the largest, and that's what these sources seem to point out to. As for your 500 million source, again, ignoring China, ignoring syncretism, and if there are only 500 million why does wikipedia claim these are lower estimates? Apparently even wikipedia confesses there are higher estimates, so why not put it? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 16:57, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

As for positive agreement – I am talking about the current discussion, and I have not seen any other editors agree, in positive terms, that any of these references reliably support the statement that Buddhism has over a billion followers. I would like to see at least one reference that is both 1) recent, and 2) from a peer-reviewed or other recognized scholarly source in Buddhist/Asian Studies (or a related, impartial field) – a secondary source. The reason that higher estimates have been repeatedly removed from the article is that no one has been able to point to an unequivocal secondary source with the higher figures.
As I stated above, I feel that the question of whether Buddhism was historically the world's largest religion is separate – and to be clear, some of your references may be sufficient to state that. However, they are all quite old, and it may constitute synthesis to use them alone. I don't know enough about the history or sources of the writing to judge, so again, I'd like to see either 1) a recent scholarly source saying that Buddhism was once the largest religion, or 2) assessment of those references by someone more knowledgeable than myself.
Finally, please recognize that we are all working to improve the article here, according to Wikipedia guidelines and processes, and that complex issues do take time to resolve. /ninly(talk) 04:14, 31 March 2011 (UTC)

Current discussion? But there's just the two of us, so really 50% of the people hewre agree with me, that's fairly decent, and what? I have to convince people every time someone disagrees?

What is this, a popularity contest? At least some sources report higher estimates, why not include them? Even if you think there's probably just 350 million Buddhists point out the higher "unlikely" numbers

Almost all of my estimates are recent, the only ones that aren't are the ones declaring that Buddhism was once the largest religion, and that bit doesn't matter because they are claiming that it was the largest only at a certain time, not that it is the largest currently, so I don't have to keep finding current estimates foer that one

Peer-reviewed, what is this a scientific argument? Let me remind you that many peer-reviews claimed Zoroastrianism had only a hundred thousand believers, Guinness at once even declared it as the major religion nearest extinction, now all of a sudden most sources claim it has 2 million and some even as much as 3.5 million Zoroastrians. Demographics are not 100% accurate, probably not even 90% accurate, but it's useful for generalizations

Anyway, what exactly the definition of "peer-reviewed or other recognized scholarly source " by what scholar and what is exactly a peer-review, that many people checked things out behind it? That it has multiple authors? If so then we have those

Nah, it's not because nobody has been able to point out an unequivocal secondary source(which won't surprise me, this is just a free encyclopedia), it's because most sources don't count China, literally, some of these 350 million sources even show me a map and the percentage of Buddhists in each country and I see no percentage estimate in China, why? It's also because Buddhists tend to be quieter and mix many religions with their own, so seeing the 1.6 billion figures puts us in doubt, Buddhism has as many adherents as Islam? Can't be! Right?

"some of your references may be sufficient to state that"

Excellent, then I can put them right? Again, don't tell me they are too old, doesn't matter because they are referring to a certain time, no matter how much time passes historical sources claim that Alexander the Great was born at 356 BCE, period, and a later book on Alexander won't matter because we're talking only at a certain time in the past

The sources do state it was once the largest religion, that's notr a synthesis, want me to quote them?

Alright, sure most people probably want wikipedia to improve, otherwise there'd be no wikipedia, however, there are some people that remove and edit wikipedia with a biased view of point and it's much easier to destroy than to build so it's difficult to stop them even if a quiet agreement was reached by several users to improve wikipedia Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 16:25, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

I would like to mention that in the case of Chinese Buddhists, it is impossible to separate "Chinese Folk Religion" from Chinese Buddhism, and anyone following "Chinese Folk Religion" is basically a Buddhist in some sense. For East Asian Buddhism, the 500 million to 1 billion figure seems about right, but probably closer to 500 million than to 1 billion. Also, many of these Buddhists may not study the sutras or sit in meditation, but they would visit a temple to pay respects, burn incense, etc. This still counts as Buddhism, and Theravada laypeople have followed the same general practices of merit-making. The similarities between lay practice in ancient Indian Buddhism and that in Chinese Buddhism are even more striking. This is logical since China absorbed Buddhist practices from the Silk Road and from India over hundreds of years. It seems that in this whole controversy over the number of adherents, in addition to the difficulty of finding accurate figures, there is some elitism regarding exactly who counts as a Buddhist. Tengu800 (talk) 22:55, 10 April 2011 (UTC)

I Noticed that you said "For East Asian Buddhism", does that mean that Buddhism overall has more adherents, such as perhaps those Buddhists in Thailand? East Asia actually isn't the most devout Buddhist place. Thailand and Cambodia have higher Buddhist percentage and Burma is the one that spends the most on Buddhism per percentage gained. Aside from that I noticed that you accept the billion figure as a possibility although you personally believe lower estimates are more accurate, am I right?

So what if many of these Buddhists may not study the sutras or sit in meditation, did you know that only 45% of Americans can name the first four gospels?

Yet nobody would doubt that most americans are Christrian, at least three quarters of them. Who said everyone is devout? Using that definition we can get much lower estimates for Christianity or Hinduism, most Christians have no clue what's in the Bible aside from what their preachers teach them. This is just a no true scotsman fallacy Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 15:39, 11 April 2011 (UTC)

Thank you, Tengu, for your perspective. I really do not wish to appear elitist or biased. In many ways I personally agree with both of your arguments – but my opinion doesn't matter much. My concern is primarily with the verifiability of our sources and the quality of our citations. Kim-Zhang-Hong, you asked:
what exactly the definition of "peer-reviewed or other recognized scholarly source " by what scholar and what is exactly a peer-review, that many people checked things out behind it? That it has multiple authors?
First of all, these definitions are quite well presented here and here. This is not a popularity contest (as you point out, there's no one here); my concerns are based on my understanding of Wikipedia guidelines such as these, and the fact that the billion-plus figures have been repeatedly reverted and contested over the past few years.
Peer-reviewed, what is this a scientific argument?
Insofar as sociology is a social science, yes it is. I don't demand that all references be from scholarly journals, but I am concerned that none of these references offers scientific backup to the population figures they supply – i.e. they don't identify the methodology or precision of those figures. On the contrary, numbers are just mentioned in the context of other topics and various points of view (Christian evangelism, Tibetan political activism, in one case some kind of personal essay about romance novels, etc.). You are correct that demographic techniques are inexact, but when done properly their inaccuracy is well understood using statistical tools (and presented along with results in margin-of-error figures and the like).
It is likely that high-quality evidence exists outside of English-language sources. I unfortunately don't read the most relevant languages and in any case wouldn't know where to look. If someone does find something in a foreign language, we should note these guidelines.
As a side note, Tengu, can you point to source(s) that equates "Chinese Folk Religion" with Buddhism as you have done? That may be a starting point for more fruitful discussion. However I suspect it would entail more revision of the article, since syncretic/lay Buddhism isn't covered in much detail (don't want to give numbers for something that's not really being described). /ninly(talk) 19:34, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Oh, I did not mean to imply that you were elitist or anything like that. It was just a comment about some general trends I have noticed when this issue arises. I would not equate Chinese Folk Religion with Buddhism, but I think it would be accurate to say that Chinese Folk Religion implies Buddhism, Daoism, and other beliefs. Therefore, if there are for example 500 million Chinese who follow Chinese Folk Religion, then it follows that it would be accurate to say that there are 500 million followers of Buddhism, 500 million followers of Daoism, etc. This would have to be qualified in some way, but Chinese Folk Religion basically would not be what it is without Buddhism, nor is it strictly separable from Buddhism even among very devout and well-educated Chinese Buddhists. I think maybe a starting point would be to establish that a follower of Chinese Folk Religion is to some degree a follower of Buddhism as well. I will have to do more reading to find out if there are actually good sources which describe this basic relationship. Many authors like to pour over old texts and make their own interpretations of them, but few actually study Chinese religion in the modern world, unfortunately. Tengu800 (talk) 00:26, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
Right; equate was poor word choice on my part. This approach and starting point sound right to me; I agree that work along these lines would take a bit more qualification than just adding/changing numbers. /ninly(talk) 15:55, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

I used newspapers, journals, textbooks, which are considered reliable according to your links. The links you gave don't explain the problem you're having with my sources

Social science is not a hard science like Physics or Math .Demographics are used in social science but are they part of it? I doubt it, the closest thing in social science that has anything to do with demographics is geography, and the study of their countries behaviors regarding religion, but that alone doesn't tell us much how many believers there are

They do identify the methodology$precision of those figures, polls, specifically 50% to 80% of those in China claim to be Buddhist, that's over 650 million Buddhists in China alone

It's true that Buddhism sometimes isn't the main topic of my sources, but if it was then you would probably tell me it was too much pro-Buddhist and that it's just trying to make Buddhism look big and important, what about the book everything buddhism if you want something that specifically talks about buddhism, it reports that some estimates give the figure at over 1 billion although it reports many sources also report a lower figure, the figure we're talking about here, seems good enough, religioustolerance also talks about this topic and details the problems of why some sources put Buddhism at only 350 million while others put it much higher at 1.6 billiom, ditto for Alex, he also talks about why Buddhists are underestimated, do I nweed to mention more sources? Comon, how many more sources must I give so people would understand that 350 million Buddhists is a low figure that counts only those who went for refugee

So what if some of them are from evangelics, I don't see anyone opposing the Christian Encyclopedia or someone opposing the +2.1 billion Christians figure, why is Buddhism different when these evangelicals claim things about Buddhism

The inaccuracy of these Buddhist numbers is like the inaccuracy of Zoroastrianism, because it was persecuted most people thought Zoroastrians are an extremely small minority, just about a hundred thousand, now that America invaded countries like Afghanistan and tries to set it up as a democracy we feel the presence of Zoroastrians more. Likewise now that China is opening up to the world and to religious freedom we can no longer pretend Buddhists are just minorities that Christians surpass in China, a few decades later these 350 million sources will be laughed at, just like today hardly anyone thinks there are just a hundred thousand Zoroastrians and Guiness Book no longer claim it as a near extinct religion. Or maybe it's also like arguing with someone that there are more than 300 million english speakers, sure some sources report that but it's ridiculously small considering those whose first language and native tongue is english and ignoring all the places that the British Empire influenced like India that has at least 200 million speakers, a much more accurate figure is at +1billion English speakers. Same thing with Buddhism, I won't erase the 350 million figure, but if you truly agree with me we should tell readers that some sources put it at over a billion Buddhists

I can search outside the english language, but no matter how many sources I give you claim it's not good enough, so what's the use? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 13:56, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Alright, let's beat this dead horse, here are more estimates

This source says there are 1.5 billion Buddhists worldwide:

This source says 230 Buddhists although it recognizes other sources speak of 1691 million:

This source says between 230 to 1691 million:

This source says 230 million although puts it up at 1000 million if Chinese would also confess their faith:

This source recognizes again the low estimates of 230 and 500 million but says it might be as high as 1600 million: Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 18:20, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

As you have been repeatedly informed, none of those sources are reliable enough for Wikipedia. Viriditas (talk) 02:05, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

So you say, though when pressed for reasons you can't give much, I already refuted your arguments about why you think they're unreliable. You think the sources we use for things like Christianity are more reliable, like the World Christian Database, seriously, the World Christian Database, do I have to tell you how unreliable that source is, yet it's there in the "major religions category" as a source for the number of Christians worldwide. Yet with Buddhism you guys use completely different standards, religioustolerance alone is enough to show that there are more than just 350 million Buddhists, so many sources and yet you claim not a single one is reliable? No way Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 09:07, 16 April 2011 (UTC)

Rather than posting huge swaths of text with non-descript links that vary widely in quality, why not gather the best and most reliable sources of these, present an organized and concise proposal, and then make some modifications based on input from others if necessary? Tengu800 02:07, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

The sources that claim +500 million are Buddhists or the ones claiming that Buddhism was once the largest religion? As far as I'm concerned, all of these sources are reliable, I have no idea why you don't accept them, how about giving a reason for why you don't accept the below:

"Theravada...followed by over 100 million...'Eastern' Buddhism followed by 500 million to one billion people"

"The Buddhist religion is now embraced by one billion followers"

"If China's Buddhists were counted, Buddhism would join Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism as a religion of over a billion adherents"

the World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone See here:,people,news,dalai-lama-joins-ashton-kutcher-and-stephen-fry-on-twitter Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 14:34, 4 May 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from, 11 February 2011

{{edit semi-protected}} On the first line of the Buddhism article it says Buddhism is a religion. I believe citation is needed for this claim, as it is debatable. (talk) 11:57, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Not done: You are correct in observing that it is debatable. Please look at the archives, where every conceivable aspect of this debate has been covered, including a look at probably every English source on the subject. The consensus on this debate is settled: we describe it as a religion and a philosophy. Viriditas (talk) 18:14, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

spelling error

The word "comparison" in the second paragraph of this article is spelled incorrectly. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ZanClan (talkcontribs) 26 February 2011

Fixed, thanks. /ninly(talk) 21:15, 28 February 2011 (UTC)

Buddhism being born in Ancient India

I have started a discussion about Buddha being born in Ancient India, in what is now known as Lumbini Nepal, and someone took it off. This is wrong. The point of discussion is to discuss. And if your taking that off, then your not even allowing discussin. (talk) 00:18, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

Are you referring to this discussion, which was archived late last year? Please look through the archives and edit history before assuming bad faith. As yet, there has been no significant agreement to change the current wording about the origins of Buddhism. /ninly(talk) 16:34, 16 March 2011 (UTC)

The Buddha was bone in sri lanka.In sri lanka have so many evidence to that, but anyone not belive . becouse sinse the large number of years we ware think with "Janaprawada" from palli Mahawansa (written 800yeras after Buddha's life), that was written by Mahanama thero (Mahayanik).But remember sri lanka had a hela mahawansa which is written 300yeras after Buddha's life. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dakshinajayadewa (talkcontribs) 12:37, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Buddhism was not born in Ancient India (and definately not in ancient sri lanka, that is a ridiculous idea.) The evidence indicates he was born in what is now Nepal. The reason this is not 'ancient India', is becasue no such thing existed. India was a collection of kingdoms and principalities that were not unified and cannot be recognised as what we now call 'India'. Born in the Indian subcontinent yes, but not 'ancient India'. KnowledgeAndVision (talk) 09:15, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Needs load more emphasis on divya caksus

Since the divya caksus is the central thing in buddhism and is acknowledged from Theravada to Vajrayana, shouldn't there be more emphasis on this?Thigle (talk) 03:19, 5 April 2011 (UTC)

The divine eye (divya caksu) is not commonly mentioned in the sutras or emphasized. Even when it is mentioned, it is usually just in passing reference. For example, in the Diamond Sutra, it appears in a list of the different types of vision the Buddha has. It is a pretty small detail in the overall scheme of Buddhism, though. Tengu800 (talk) 01:25, 6 April 2011 (UTC)
Agree with Tengu. As I suggested at the end of this exchange, the emphasis you suggest would require the support of references showing that this concept is considered central to Buddhist thought or cosmology. /ninly(talk) 04:35, 6 April 2011 (UTC)


Why is Shinnyo-en listed among the major buddhist traditions in East Asia in the introduction of the page? It is a derivative of the Shingon school and claimes about one million adherents according to the Shinnyo-en wiki-page. How could this be mentioned, but not the four different Tibetan schools, for example? I propose to remove it. --Guttormng (talk) 15:57, 23 April 2011 (UTC)

Edit request from Shaolinguy, 6 May 2011

Contrary to popular belief, Buddhism is NOT a religion nor a philosophy. Shaolin Temple's official website ( defines it as: " Buddhism is the teachings of Buddha rather than a religion of Buddha worship; it is neither a religion nor a philosophy.". Shaolin Temple's reference is important because they have a direct connection with Buddha and Buddhism. Here is the linage which directly connects Shaolin with Siddhartha Gautama .

Shaolinguy (talk) 18:38, 6 May 2011 (UTC)

The consensus view in scholarship is that Buddhism is essentially religion, which is often qualified in some way, so as to not lead people to believe that it is the same notion of religion as in Abrahamic religions. The Shaolin Temple's website just gives a very broad and simplified overview of Buddhism, and is not really an appropriate reference for a page such as this. Tengu800 22:41, 6 May 2011 (UTC)
Which scholars? And, about the reference in this article, what makes Encyclopedia Britannica an authority on Buddhism? How detailed should the clarification be when affirming that something "is not" something? There's much more detailed information about what Buddhism is in Shaolin's website. I can't find anything that even remotely relates Buddhism to a religion or it being referred as that, and why should they spend their time clarifying something that they clearly are remaking that it isn't? There should be valid proof that Buddhism IS a religion and a philosophy from authorities in the subject, not proof that it is REFERRED as one, and I seem to find none. Then, how are we claiming that it IS a religion? --Shaolinguy (talk) 06:37, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
How many sources have you examined? How long have you been studying Buddhism? Tengu800 13:33, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
Enough. --Shaolinguy (talk) 03:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
The Shaolin Temple is not the end-all-be-all of sources. We use a variety of sources to back up the information here, some of which may contradict other sources. As far as I can tell, the source you are actually suggesting, which is a primary source, is not as reliable as other sources listed on the article already (by the way, even your source says, "As one of world religions, Buddhism is..."; it goes on to qualify the statement, but even the intro states that it is a world religion). You're going to need to provide more and better sources to make this change. Further, given your chosen username and edits on this site, I am concerned you may have a conflict of interest on this subject and editing in a more objective manner may be helpful to all involved. Thank you. ICYTIGER'SBLOOD 21:28, 8 May 2011 (UTC)
My interest is that Buddhism page reflects what Buddhism is, as it is taught. But I won't do something against the rules of wikipedia, and you shouldn't expect me to. The explanation of the sources you and Qwyrxian give are good, and actually much better answer than what I got from the spanish mods of the article which was: "it's not in discussion". Actually is not "a much better answer", it's a right answer. Anyway, I will find more sources. Thanks for your time. --Shaolinguy (talk) 03:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC)
In order to make such a major change, Shaolinguy, you'll need to present us with some independent secondary sources, ideally scholarly sources, that state that Buddhism is not a religion. If you have such sources, you can change the "yes" in the template above to "no", but without clear verification, we can't make that change. Qwyrxian (talk) 01:55, 9 May 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for your explanation and time, I will try to find more sources. --Shaolinguy (talk) 03:50, 10 May 2011 (UTC)

Uninformed view of Tathāgatagarbha doctrine.

The actual orthodox view of the Tathāgatagarbha doctrine, is that it refers ONLY to the POTENTIAL of a human to become a Buddha, like milk can become butter. Thigle (talk) 23:14, 7 May 2011 (UTC)

See my comments on the Tathagata-garbha Talk Page. Who decides what is "orthodox " ? The people who misread and misinterpret the sutras ?-- अनाम गुमनाम 03:05, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

I,m sorry vm

but not Polish buddists but Czech. The Czech Republic or Czechia is a country of Central Europe. Poland and Czechia are two absolutely different countries. Don,t speak each other. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 8 May 2011 (UTC)

Shouldnt the first paragraph Buddhism is from India, or that it is classified as an "Indian Religion"?

I would think one of the most basic things to write is that Buddhis is a religion from Ancient India, or of the classified "Indian Religions" (such as other religons have Abrahamic Religions....I mean this has been disputed, and yet when evidence is given, it is settled, and yet now it is back to this?....I should start by saying it is a religion from Ancient India, or classified as a Indian Religion......... (talk) 06:22, 9 May 2011 (UTC)

drugs and alcohol?

"To refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness (specifically, drugs and alcohol)"

This makes no sense since alcohol is a drug, albeit a legal one in most cultures. For it to read sensibly it should be changed to "specifically, drugs including alcohol" — Preceding unsigned comment added by JMack23 (talkcontribs) 18:23, 29 May 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, that makes more sense. In East Asia at least, this rule is also often interpreted to allow for light social drinking, but basically discouraging intoxication, drunkenness, heavy drinking, etc. This could open a can of worms to some extent, as the wording here is very vague. For example, the interpretation that it leads to a "loss of mindfulness" ... mindfulness of what, exactly? According to the Ekottara Agama there are ten major forms of mindfulness, and using the term so indiscriminately and out of context seems sloppy. If someone were drinking milk instead of beer, what would they be more mindful of? If they are mindful of drinking milk, is this an eleventh form of mindfulness? This type of material would benefit from a bit more care and attention. Tengu800 19:15, 29 May 2011 (UTC)
In order to have a productive, disciplined practice, one would need to be sober. Then, as one practices daily, the mind becomes like a clean house. If you clean your house, the last thing in the world you would want is your dog tracking mud across the floor. In the same way, if you work hard in your practice, the last thing you would think of doing is using drugs and alcohol. The thing is, the mind can and does crave these things, and in some way, meditative practices that can be seen as altered states of consciousness can replace this craving with a feeling of equanimity. Viriditas (talk) 09:49, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
This is just adding further personal interpretation to the matter. The sutras generally do not speak in terms of using altered states of consciousness in order to get a "feeling of equanimity." The original problem was that the wording was vague and there seemed to be some personal interpretation of the rule. The same issue exists for the rule on "sexual misconduct." Everyone has their own spin on these things to advance his or her own view, and a little rigor is needed to find original context and reliable sources. Tengu800 11:48, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
William James popularized the concept of "altered states of consciousness". FYI.. It is generally agreed by scholars that mindfulness and meditation practice are classified as an altered state of consciousness. "Mindfulness has also been described as a metacognitive state of detached awareness". (Marlatt et al. 2004) The feeling of equanimity is cultivated by mindfulness practices. "The voluntary deployment of attention, in combination with these attitudes, is thought to result in a heightened state of awareness in which one is conscious of a particular situation and one’s cognitive, emotional, and somatic experience in that situation in a way that fosters a greater sense of equanimity." (Bishop 2002) Viriditas (talk) 12:23, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Note that this is a western interpretation of Buddhist practice. Traditionally Buddhists have not used such terms. Particularly strange for Buddhism is the idea that states of samadhi and dhyana are all relative "alterations" of the ignorant state of clinging and grasping. In contrast to this, the Buddhist sutras frequently compare the ignorant state of clinging and grasping to sickness, disease, and insanity. Tengu800 23:46, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
You consider samadhi to be the true and natural state rather than an altered state. I understand, but that's not how it is defined by people who study it. In order to argue from your POV, one would have to redefine consciousness. Viriditas (talk) 00:39, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
But who "studies" and "defines" it, now? For a few thousand years, it was the Buddhists themselves, and these are the original definitions and studies. Now western intellectuals are the essential authorities on the matter? In terms of western understandings of consciousness, even rebirth is impossible, because it is not believed that a being goes through transmigration within the Triple Realm. Rather, consciousness would typically be interpreted as electrical signals, and the functioning of the nervous system. In this regard, the basic Buddhist views of consciousness are already very different from that of many academics and scholars, and it is not always accurate to substitute one for the other. Tengu800 01:52, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Multiple interpretations and definitions certainly exist, within and outside of Buddhist discourse, and seem further complicated by various understandings of what the precepts are and what it means to take them. But more to the original point, I'd just point out that the phrase "drugs and alcohol" is established idiomatically (at least in American usage), probably because although alcohol is technically a drug, the term drugs often refers only to the illicit ones. I see no problem with a change to "drugs (including alcohol)" or "alcohol and other drugs". However, I'm not sure the clause beginning with "specifically" needs to be there at all.

Actually, I'll take that another step, and advocate removing everything after "intoxicants" — none of the other precepts in the list gives a reason it's there, why should this one? In their own way, lying and killing may "lead to a loss of mindfulness", as well, but I don't see a need to say so here. And by itself, "intoxicants" seems clear enough to me. /ninly(talk) 02:17, 1 June 2011 (UTC)

I'm curious where tobacco comes into it. I'll never forget the posters of Thai Buddhist monks in Berkeley, showing them crouching down at a temple, with cigarettes in their mouths. That really surprised me. Viriditas (talk) 02:29, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
It's been a while since I talked with / listened to discussion about the specific limits of the boundaries of intoxicants with regards to the precepts, but as I recollect, the two primary reasons were a general prohibition on any substance that A) diminish or prevent the three higher trainings or B) is physically or mentally harmful. Alcohol is considered to diminish one's ability to maintain Sila as well as the ability to train in Samatha. Regarding tobacco, it was not until the last few decades that it was correlated with physical harm, and it's still possible to see monks smoke, but becoming less so. (20040302 (talk) 09:47, 1 June 2011 (UTC))
Agreed, a simple list should suffice, and "intoxicants" would be fine. Interestingly, at Nalanda, Xuanzang was given a daily allotment of 120 betel leaves and 20 areca nuts, both stimulants with carcinogens. In general, his situation was pretty extravagant (e.g. he was also given 10 lay servants), even for a Nalanda monk, but it still shows that these mild drugs were being used by the monks there. Tengu800 11:11, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, tobacco is a new-world crop, so it didn't "come into it" at all for about 2,000 years of Buddhist development. :-) And my (insufficient and unreferenced) understanding of the Vinaya sources is that they only name a couple of specific, contemporary intoxicating beverages – no terms so general as intoxicants. Of course, many centuries of practice have broadened the scope on this, and I'm not making any arguments about the intentions of the texts or the precepts (I still think saying "intoxicants" is fine here); I'm just thinking in terms of verifiability. /ninly(talk) 18:46, 1 June 2011 (UTC)
Checking on some Chinese sources, I found these quotes below. Not entirely useful at the moment, but still interesting to see perspectives from within that tradition. Sheng Yen: "There is no regulation prohibiting smoking in the Buddhist precepts, and when done to prevent tropical diseases, the Buddha permitted bhiksus to smoke. But to promote good habits and dignified conduct, Chinese Buddhists have always discouraged smoking. Buddhism does forbid the use of harmful narcotics or stimulants, which is why the fifth precept prohibits the consumption of alcohol. Drinking itself is not evil, but the effects of alcohol often lead to evil behavior. For the same reason, Buddhism does not permit people to use harmful substances such as opium or heroin." Hsuan Hua: "After you have taken refuge, you should not smoke again. The bodhisattvas do not like people to smoke. If you smoke, the smell of it will drive the bodhisattvas away." Tengu800 00:20, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Please include this information in the future

Please add this information.,0 Thigle (talk) 04:11, 3 June 2011 (UTC)

References for population figures

I'm going to drop the argument of whether the references provided by Kim Zhang Hong are reliable or appropriate; however, all these Google Books links are not appropriate reference citations, and I have removed them for now. Please carefully review the guidelines for proper and consistent referencing at the Citing Sources page, and recast your reference citation in an appropriate bibliographic format before reintroducing them into the article. For example, this citation:

...would look like this in what is called "Chicago style":

  • Snyder, David N. The Complete Book of Buddha's Lists—Explained (Vipassana Foundation: Las Vegas, Nevada, 2009), 14.

There are other styles, but they always include

  1. Author's name
  2. Book title
  3. Publisher
  4. Page number for the supporting information

Some flexibility in citation style may be OK, but bare links to Google searches don't work, and several of these links are simply incompatible with the articles automated reference list (that is, the links are broken on the article page). Note (again) that this completely ignores the question of whether these references are acceptable from the perspective of verifiability (e.g. the example above appears self-published). /ninly(talk) 16:24, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

Definitely, adding Google Books references with those huge URL's is the worst, and makes editing very difficult. Worse, it shows that the editor didn't even bother to post the name of the book in question, which just looks sloppy and disrespectful to the reader. Why should someone click on a link to examine a source when the editor hasn't even bothered to format the link or present it in any way? Doesn't that just take all credibility away, showing that the editor just looked something up through Google Books, and dumped the results on the page? It would be much better to selectively pick quality sources that corroborate the position, and to present them on the talking page for others to examine. Otherwise, nobody wants to read the posted material, and little support will be given. A little work to organize thoughts and bring together quality sources can go a long way in building some meaningful consensus and improving Wikipedia. I've directly addressed this subject before on the talking page, but apparently the editor was unwilling to organize and present the relevant sources in any meaningful format. Tengu800 16:58, 22 May 2011 (UTC)

They are reliable, deal with it. Why is the Christian Database reliable when it's about how many Christians there are and yet from my over twenty sources not a single one is reliable? This is nonsense, no source in the world will satisfy you as long as it says that theree are over half a billion Buddhists For how much longer are we going to engage this discussion, finish it already, throw everything at me right now, it's tiring to engage in this back and forth, even Viri at one time admitted that one of my sources are reliable

Don't pretend as if google books is all I got, I gave you over 20 sources, you know better than this

Yeah keep mentioning that this ignores the question of whether they're reliable, maybe then I'll change my mind and declare them to be unreliable,m is that what you're hoping? Start attacking the sources, why are they not reliable, not a single one of them is reliable? This definitely isn't true, that's just your bias

If huge URL's are the worst then type the name of the book or at least tell me to type it, is that all you want, that I'll type the book? But why type the book when the user can see the link along with the text

Tengu, you stopped in the middle of this, what unwillingness, you guys should make things clear and keep the discussion going, don't stop in the middle, give it everything, tell me everything that's wrong and I'll fix it, but don't delete the sources, you're ruining the article. These facts are so interesting and yet you guys keep removing them Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 08:36, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Actually I just got tired of seeing non-descript links to Google Books, rather than a respectable attempt to gather quality reliable sources. As I wrote quite some time ago, "Rather than posting huge swaths of text with non-descript links that vary widely in quality, why not gather the best and most reliable sources of these, present an organized and concise proposal, and then make some modifications based on input from others if necessary? Tengu800 02:07, 4 May 2011 (UTC)" That approach is still what needs to happen with a controversial topic and an important article. Tengu800 11:13, 23 May 2011 (UTC)
These are not even links to a book on Google Books, they are links to searches on Google Books. The results of those searches could easily change, and some of them return a lot of unrelated content.
"is that all you want, that I'll type the book?" — Yes, this is what I asked for – a book and/or article title; the author; the publisher, organization, or website; and a page number (where appropriate) for the supporting material – you can see this pattern in almost all the article's existing references.
"But why type the book when the user can see the link along with the text" — because those are the referencing standards that the Wikipedia community has developed for us to use, on the model of many decades of academic and journalistic publication. "The user can see the link" is not a reliable, predictable, or consistent form of citation. As I said above, you can read the guidelines here. /ninly(talk) 19:26, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

How am I supposed to know what's the best in your view, they're all good. Besides, I did just that tengu, but here it is again[42]

  • "Theravada...followed by over 100 million...'Eastern' Buddhism followed by 500 million to one billion people"[43][44]
  • "The Buddhist religion is now embraced by one billion followers"[45]
  • "If China's Buddhists were counted, Buddhism would join Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism as a religion of over a billion adherents"[46][47]
  • the World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone[48][49]

Searches on Google Books? Like what? Once I open the link there's a book with text in it that says Buddhism has +billion followers, what search? My reference is right in front of you

  • "a book and/or article title; the author; the publisher, organization, or website; and a page number "

I did just that from before Here's an example

  • Book: Ecumenism and Nostra Aetate in the 21st century
  • Author&Publisher: George F. McLean, John P. Hogan
  • website: [50]
  • Page: 229

See, that wasn't so hard, I put all the links for you, you only have to click on them, no need to delete everything just for that

OK, so all I have to do is type the name of the book, np, I'll do it reight away. No need to delete stuff just for that, fix it insteadKim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 05:33, 24 May 2011 (UTC)

Kim, all you need to do is properly format one source and add it to the proper section. You do not need to continue adding 20-30 unformatted citations to this article and expect other editors to clean up after you. The entire reason we cite sources in a proper format is to allow the reader to quickly verify the statement. It seems to me that you do not understand what multiple editors are saying. Per WP:COMPETENCE, I'm going to ask that you stop editing the main article, and discuss your proposed edits as a form of edit request so that other editors can teach you how to format and use citations. I would like to point out that you are engaging in cherry picking and relying on sources that are problematic. This has been repeatedly pointed out to you. You tend to disappear for a few months and then come back and make the same edits. Please do not continue to do this. Please also format your talk page comments in an appropriate manner as you've been asked to do in the past. I've just now reformatted them so that others can participate in this discussion. I really don't think your sources hold up under scrutiny. Kim, when asked, you should be able to provide one example of the best source that represents what you are trying to say. Please provide that one source here. Viriditas (talk) 11:08, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
Your link is of no help, what incompetence are you seeing now? No matter what I do it just never satisfies you
I'm not cheery picking, sure there are sources that state there are only 350 million Buddhists, but others say there might be as many as 1.6 billion, what kind of cherry picking is this? I'm just stating the facts, and why are my sources problematic while the World Christian Database is reliable for Christianity when it states that several countries are +75% Christian when census data and surveys show otherwise? You're the one who's cherry picking the 350 million estimate and are relying on problematic sources that don't count the Chinese and those who mix their religion with Buddhism, this also has been repeatedly pointed out to you. You're the one who tends to disappear, you disappeared for over half a year when we were making the discussion, so some other user back then changed it to pretty much what I'm saying. I also don't think your sources hold up under scrutiny, but facts speak louder than opinions, your estimates are unreliable and I stated why, yet you don't see me removing them. I provided sources which I consider to be good, the ones you just formatted, how about talking about why they don't hold up to scrutiny, and while you're at it why don't you do so with all the other sources, remember, if only one of them is good then my claim is correct even if the rest are unreliable Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 09:48, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Kim, I asked you to provide a single source that supports the material you would like to add. Please do so, here. Also, your latest edits to this article still demonstrate that you don't understand the information you've been given above. I need you to stop editing this article until you've shown some kind of understanding about what editors are saying to you about citing and formatting sources. Our job is not to clean up after you, but for you to learn how to edit Wikipedia. If you can't do it, say so, and we'll help you out on the talk page. But please, do not continue to add disputed content, poorly formatted sources, and inappropriate material. If you have questions, ask, but you need to show that you understand what is being said to you. So far, you do not. Viriditas (talk) 10:21, 25 May 2011 (UTC)
Just to agree – this may not be clear to you, KZH, but a number of users have shown willingness to review and consider the changes you are proposing. Your own unfamiliarity with how those changes should be discussed and implemented, and your unwillingness to keep to that discussion rather than repeating the same points you've been making for months, have made the process very difficult. You keep coming back to the notion that your references and the material they provide are clear and unquestionably reliable – that is simply not so. If the evidence were as clear as you say, someone else would have come in here and made the changes by now.
Still, a number of us have shown willingness to assess the references and help you build a proper proposal. Your edit warring in the article and your argumentative responses on this page have consistently discouraged such cooperation and, as Viriditas said, demonstrated that you don't understand the reasons for disagreement. You need to work with other editors, even if they don't all agree with your views.
It may be worthwhile to take the approach Viriditas has suggested – you provide a single reference here that you consider good. If other editors disagree, we'll move on to another one, and maybe find some good material along the way. (Personally, I think there may be room to acknowledge higher population estimates in the article, but avoiding synthesis may require a different approach.) /ninly(talk) 14:51, 25 May 2011 (UTC)

That's just an Argument from authority, besides, at the first time someone actually did come here and made these edits instead of me, what, am I supposed to win different people over every few couple of months? But your job isn't deleting valuable information either, cleaning up after me is always better, and if it's so easy it should take you no more than a couple of minutes What is it exactly that I don't understand? I did give you sources, so many times, here they are again:[51]

  • "Theravada...followed by over 100 million...'Eastern' Buddhism followed by 500 million to one billion people"[52][53]
  • "The Buddhist religion is now embraced by one billion followers"[54]
  • "If China's Buddhists were counted, Buddhism would join Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism as a religion of over a billion adherents"[55][56]
  • the World Religions Special Report (1998) estimates there are 760 million Buddhists in Asia alone See here: [57][58]

If you're wondering why I didn't quote the books you organized for me, that's because you put two books who say different things as saying the same thing, iw, you messed it up, and right now it's the talk page, no need to add the "[" marks Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 12:52, 27 May 2011 (UTC)

Kim, please provide a single source that supports the material you would like to add. This source should be the best example or a reliable source that supports one statement. The reason I keep asking you this, is beause we've already discussed problems with your sources, but you ignore those issues and keep pointing to them over and over again. So, please choose one source we can focus on, and we will go from there. Please do not respond with another list of sources. Please respond with only one source. Thank you. Viriditas (talk) 10:57, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
It's true that at one time you pointed out problems with my sources, but I refuted that. Besides, some of these current sources were never mentioned by you, pleaes refute all of my sources not just those because I have no idea what you mean by most reliable source, they're all reliable, unless you refute all of them you can't tell me they're all unreliable, there are so much sources that point this out and they're all wrong? Hard to believe Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 07:50, 31 May 2011 (UTC)
Kim, please choose the best source you feel represents the material you want to add to this article, and we will discuss it. Please do not respond with more than one source. Again, the reason I am making this request, is because you keep claiming you have refuted previous discussions when no such refutation ever occurred. So, let's start over with one single source, the best source you can find, and we will go from there. Thanks for your patience. Viriditas (talk) 09:59, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

Actually that refutation did occur, and the users long ago were the ones who edited it to the 1-1.6 billion estimate. And I refuted your arguments about the unreliability of the sources right here, here it is again

" says something wikipedia says, it's not using wikipedia as a source for the +billion Buddhist figure

The First Post: Right, so because it doesn't clearly say where it got it's information it must be from wikipedia, sorry, doesn't work that way. You can use the same kind of logic on just about any source, this kind of logic is no good

Non-Resident Nepali Association: if speeches are unreliable then we should stop listening when the Dalai Lama talks about Buddhism right? Nope

Educational Leadership : I used this to claim that Buddhism was ONCE the largest religion, I'm not using it as a reference to the +billion figure

Google Search : if a search is unacceptable then just use the book itself as a reference, what's the big problem with that? It says it "it has the largest number of followers of any religion" how is that irrelevant, that's exactly what I'm telling you all along. Buddhism was once the largest religion. "Unacceptable misuse of a primary source"? Why is that?

Buddhism: Religion in Korea: If it's a reliable source then what's the big problem? So what if it tries to promote some saints, doesn't everyone view saints positively? Isn't that the reason why they became saints in the first place?"

If you absolutely want just one source, start with religioustolerance then Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 07:56, 2 June 2011 (UTC)

Kim, is there a particular reason that you bring up multiple issues each and every time I ask you to narrow the discussion down to one? Am I not making myself clear on this? In order to have a discussion, we need to focus. The reason we need to focus on one thing, is that each time I reply to all of your issues, you ignore them and then claim they've been refuted. This can't be allowed to continue. Therefore, we will focus on just one thing at a time. Not two, not three, not four, not five things. One item and one discussion about one item. In this case, the discussion we will have will be focused solely on using as a source. When we are finished with that discussion, we will discuss other topics. Do you understand what I am saying, Kim? If you do, please respond with a link to the page you wish to use as a reference. Viriditas (talk) 09:59, 2 June 2011 (UTC) Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 17:30, 2 June 2011 (UTC) is a self-published tertiary source, which we consider reliable depending on how its used. Wikipedia depends primarily on secondary sources, and in this case, we see that the site is citing "Greg H. Parsons, Executive Director, "U.S. Center for World Mission," Pasadena, CA; quoted in Zondervan News Service, 1997-FEB-21." This "source" is primarily focused on preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Buddhists. I would say we would need a more scholarly or reliable source. I have no idea why uses this source, but it is very strange. I would recommend looking at the figures cited in the World Almanac and Book of Facts and the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year, which Religioustolerance also cites on that page. I know that the Encyclopedia Britannica does not support this figure and I suspect that the World Almanac and Book of Facts does not either. Which leaves us with a claim from the U.S. Center for World Mission as published in a press release. That figure is at odds with and other sources. I don't think anyone would suggest that the U.S. Center for World Mission is the most reliable source for statistics on Buddhists adherents. Viriditas (talk) 02:07, 3 June 2011 (UTC)
wikipedia quotes from the Christian Encyclopedia all the time, and its author, Barrett, also calculates religious populations for the Encyclopedia Britannica Book of the Year, standard estimates that are used in turn by the World Almanac and innumerable journalists. Why are missionaries unreliable all of the sudden? Why when it's about Buddhism your attitude changes? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 18:58, 14 June 2011 (UTC)
I've addressed your point here. EB doesn't combine Buddhists with Chinese folk religions as you are doing. On the other hand, can you show that the World Christian Encyclopedia, the World Christian Database, and the World Religion Database do combine these figures? Viriditas (talk) 11:16, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
That's not what we were talking about, we were talking about whether missionary sources are reliable, you always bring this up and act as you have answered everything when you haven't answered anything, I already told you that the problem with these sources is that they don't count the Chinese as Buddhists and refuse to accept that many Chinese fuse religions. Many sources today know better, as the book "Chinese Gods" by Jonathan Chamberlain also reports that there are some a billion Buddhists, most of which fuse it with Taoism and Confucianism. It's about time for people to be more aware of Buddhism, why is it so hard to accept this? Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 17:35, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
It's precisely what we are talking about. Please answer the questions. Viriditas (talk) 20:18, 15 June 2011 (UTC)
No it's not, and I don't think any of your sources consider that one person could adhere to more than one religion, and I specified that this is actually one of the problems with them, so where you got the idea that I think your source combine all these religions is a mystery to me Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 13:47, 18 June 2011 (UTC)
Kim, do you have good evidence that there are more than a billion practicing Buddhists? Viriditas (talk) 00:11, 20 June 2011 (UTC)

Define "good evidence", is this "good evidence" also includes the Christian Encyclopedia? Why are you so lenient when it comes to Christianity yet high estimates for Buddhism are not acceptable, I'm still waiting for your refutation of religioustolerance but I can always give you more, how about the BBC which says there are 1.6 billion Kim-Zhang-Hong (talk) 03:50, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Kim, in order for us to be on the same page, you need to 1) learn how to cite sources, and 2) learn how to evaluate sources. This has been explained to you over and over again, with no sign of learning on your end. The BBC is not the author of the link you posted above nor is the mobile version appropriate. What you linked to is a transcript of a BBC Radio 4 opinion piece by Alain de Botton.[59] The correct link and citation to the radio show you posted above is the following:

de Botton, Alain (January 14, 2011). "'News' and concentration". A Point of View. BBC Radio 4. Transcript. Retrieved July 6, 2011.

Now that I've shown you how to cite a source, here's how you evaluate it: This is a transcript of an opinion/editorial piece by Swiss writer Alain de Botton. The piece is not about Buddhism at all, but about the inability to concentrate in our modern world. de Botton makes reference to "1.6 billion Buddhists" in the opinion piece, but this does not shed light on the problem under discussion in any way. Please find an expert source about Buddhism and cite it. Viriditas (talk) 04:17, 7 July 2011 (UTC)

Buddhist population

Could the population statistics of the different religions be taken from an amalgamation of the national censii? Since they usually aren't done in each state in tandem, the latest of each state could be projected with population growth trends to get current estimates. Also how great would it be if this was updated every 5 years on the Wikipedia. (talk) 16:30, 29 June 2011 (UTC)Sumedha (28/06/2011)

Buddhism is not a religion!

Buddhism is not a religion (nor is Hinduism). There is no central god nor is there a devil or demon awaiting to punish you for your sins after death. There is no dogmatic principle, no judgement, and monastic duties are voluntary and not based on a ranking system. Buddhism is a spiritual/philosophical practice and only that. Can someone at wikipedia please correct this (and the Hinduism article as well). It's slightly offensive since choosing the "middle path" is a form of denouncing dogma and focusing on the inner spiritual self. M. Kali 5:24 PM — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:28, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

This notion has been discussed at great length on Wikipedia and elsewhere — peruse the talk archives for several examples of discussion (most of which have topic headers that contain the word religion). Note that the traits you point out (judgment, afterlife, dogmatism) are not necessarily definitive/constitutive of religion (that is, other forms could be religious, too). Finally, given the scholarly consensus (in comparative religion, sociology, anthropology, political science, etc.) that Buddhism "counts" as a religion, we would have to have opposing views published in some major reliable sources to even begin addressing this in the article. /ninly(talk) 04:04, 30 June 2011 (UTC)

Proposal for a New Sentence in Lead

After the sentence "Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation...," there should be another sentence that says "The cardinal doctrine of dependent origination is the only doctrine that is common to all Buddhist teachings from Theravada to Dzogchen to the extinct schools." LhunGrub (talk) 20:46, 7 August 2011 (UTC)

Sounds about right to me. We need a source, though. Viriditas (talk) 05:48, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Theravada, "the oldest surviving branch"?

Weren't the Mahayana texts created by the Mahāsāṃghika, which is THE oldest vinaya of Buddhism and the "default" vinaya of Buddhism, while Theravada is some side branch of some people who split off from the Mahāsāṃghika. If you read up on Mahāsāṃghika, you must conclude that Mahayana is the oldest surviving branch. LhunGrub (talk) 19:10, 12 August 2011 (UTC)

"oldest branch" is a very unclear phrase in this context. When talking about human genetic or linguistic history, "oldest branch" would refer to the group that split off earliest from the mainstream population; for example, we can talk about the Anatolian languages are the oldest branch of Indo-European because they have both innovations and archaic features that are not shared by any other attested Indo-European languages. However, that's different than what most people are likely to think it would mean: actually, all branches of Indo-European or of Buddhism are equally old, because they all go back to the same source (otherwise, it would be a mistake to think of them as branches). I think the point the author of that passage was trying to make is that Theravada is closer to the original Indian Buddhism than any other currently-practiced form of Buddhism is. That claim is controversial in a sense because it contradicts religious claims which may be made by a large number of Buddhists, but it is a well-established point of consensus among Western scholars. The more accurate way to describe this would be to say that Theravada is the most conservative surviving branch of Buddhism: it is equally old, but it has changed less over time.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 23:17, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
Theravada is in no sense "closer to the original Indian Buddhism." They subscribe to a total deviation called Abhidharma. Secondly, I am reading a couple of recent history books on early Buddhism, and neither of them support your other statement that this is a "well-established point of consensus among Western scholars." In fact quite the opposite, hence me starting this new section. LhunGrub (talk) 23:37, 12 August 2011 (UTC)
What are the books you're reading? I'm not completely sure about what the consensus is, but my impression is that they would say that abhidharma is less of a deviation than the stuff other Buddhist sects believe in. My personal biases, to the extent that I'm biased, are sympathetic to Mahayana.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 00:02, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
Abhidharma is not necessarily a deviation, and was an important part of Buddhist teachings in many Indian schools. For example, the Vaibhasika Sarvastivadins had an extremely large body of Abhidharma works including the Mahavibhasa, which is the largest of all works of Abhidharma. In the classical meaning of Tripitaka, the Abhidharma Pitaka is one of the major divisions. Of course the Sutra Pitaka and Vinaya Pitaka came first, but Abhidharma was not so late. I agree with some of Greg's sentiments about the ambiguity of the claim of Theravada being the earliest. It is probably the most conservative in its approach, but in some sense all branches of Buddhism are ultimately equally old, because they all have their roots in the very earliest Buddhism of India. Tengu800 01:31, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I know little of the intricacies here, but very similar phraseology (with the word "school" replacing "branch") opens the article at Theravada, with a reference to "Gethin, Foundations, page 1". This is presumably The Foundations of Buddhism, Oxford University Press, though no full bibliography is given. /ninly(talk) 20:26, 15 August 2011 (UTC)

I suggest everyone read A Concise History of Buddhism by Skilton. I seriously think that Mahayana is the oldest. LhunGrub (talk) 03:06, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

I've read that book, although it's been a while. Can you quote a relevant passage?—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 03:18, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
It is not simply one passage. Some of the book is online on Google Books as well. This is my understanding. (1) Basically I know what Paul Williams says that Mahayana was never a separate vinaya. (2) The Mahāsāṃghika, the original buddhist vinaya, created the Mahayana texts as a reaction to several heterodoxies and blasphemies. (3) The Theravadas themselves ultimately claim decent from the splinter group, the "Sthaviravada". It is important to note that while "Sthaviravāda" means "Teaching Of The Elders", that does NOT mean it is the elder school. They were called elder because 100 or so literally old dudes split off from the majority, the Mahāsāṃghika. (4) Even though the Mahayana texts certainly were slightly later, they were a REACTION to heterodoxy and blasphemies. If the Catholic Church reacts to a new religion like Scientology, that doesn't make the Catholic Church a new religion. LhunGrub (talk) 16:01, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
It should be noted the the group which split from the Mahāsāṃghika were called the "Sthāvira", not "Sthāviravāda". The connection between the two is not exactly straightforward, but the precursors of the Theravāda school were only one part that group, which also included the precursors of the Sarvāstivāda, the Dharmaguptaka and others. -- अनाम गुमनाम 02:58, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Also "sthāvira" does not mean literally old dudes which is disrespectful US slang, while "sthāvira" is a respectful word meaning "elder". The Indians respected the elderly, unlike many today.-- अनाम गुमनाम 03:05, 17 August 2011 (UTC)
Certainly, a lot of the Mahāyāna literature was written in reaction to what the authors considered to be heterodoxy and blasphemy. That's a particular POV. I don't think the consensus of Western scholars supports that view. I also think the link you make between Mahāsāṃghika and early Mahāyāna is highly simplified. It may have been the case that there were a lot of Mahāsāṃghikas among the early Mahayanists, but I don't think we have evidence that Mahāyāna was ever a subset of one particular vinaya school. It's worth noting that the neither of the two surviving Mahāyāna vinaya traditions, viz China and Tibet, use the Mahāsāṃghika vinaya.—Greg Pandatshang (talk) 22:52, 16 August 2011 (UTC)
I exaggerated a little. Certainly Madhyamaka, the foundation of Mahayana, was a reaction to Abhidharma and a return to the Buddha's message. I'm pretty sure that is consensus among scholars. There was an academic book on this. LhunGrub (talk) 04:49, 17 August 2011 (UTC)

Number of Buddhists in the world exceed 1.5 billion by conservative estimates.

There are numerous credible reports that the majority of Chinese people are in fact Buddhist although the Government is Communist. The 350-500 million number estimate is a gross under-estimation as it is based on the CIA Handbook which every other site quotes off of. When it comes to China, the CIA Handbook is NOT a credible or unbiased source due to the PR war between both nations. There are many credible articles that suggest there are over 1 billion Buddhists in China and this has to be accounted for. Similarly, in India, there are reports of hundreds of millions of Hindus who also practice Buddhism, also worship the Buddha in their prayer alters and also subscribe to Buddhist philosophy. Swami Vivekananda himself verified this by calling himself a Buddhist on many occasions. It is very important to include this in the discussion when stating that there are only 350-500 million Buddhists. That is not accurate and Wikipedia should also strive for accuracy instead of merely regurgitating falsehoods. Thanks everyone for your kind consideration and thought on this topic. Here is an article that can shed more light on the subject: — Preceding unsigned comment added by BuddhistPHD (talkcontribs) 17:27, 8 January 2012‎ (UTC)

Please see WP:GREATWRONGS. If "the number of Buddhists around the world is grossly underestimated", it is not our job to correct that great wrong. It is our job, on the other hand, to cite reliable sources and to compose accurate encyclopedia articles. As the talk archives show, the most reliable sources classify these numbers separately under different categories rather than lumping them into one category. Please consult the archives. Viriditas (talk) 01:44, 9 January 2012 (UTC)

Brahmavihara, the four immeasurables

Hello. Would someone here kindly point me to the section of this article that explains Brahmavihara? I come a roundabout path which doesn't mention this, as far as I know, but it seems to be a central practice for Buddhism. Looking quickly in Google, "the four immeasurables" appear in Thubten Chodron, University of Pennsylvania,,,, and Google Books. Thank you. -SusanLesch (talk) 22:16, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

I've read this article now, top to bottom. It doesn't mention Brahmavihara or the four immeasurables. How terribly sad that one could have a Wikipedia featured article on Buddhism that completely missed covering the path to Nibbana. I'd appreciate a note on my talk page if anyone ever responds to this comment. Thank you. -SusanLesch (talk) 00:50, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I will contact you on your talk page. Viriditas (talk) 06:47, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
It is a former Featured Article, so there is work to be done to improve it. I agree with Susan's point that the Brahmavihara is a central teaching. Sunray (talk) 07:56, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
If you look at the unsourced version that was initially promoted, you'll find that it would not pass the current FA criteria, as much has changed since 2004. Brahmaputra does not appear to be a central teaching in Buddhism, as most Buddhists do not get that deep into the practice, unfortunately. For example, what percentage of Buddhists engage in daily meditation? And what percentage of those attain jhanas? I hope you see my point. Viriditas (talk) 08:30, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you are referring to when you mention "Brahmaputra." I've always thought of that as a river. The Four Immeasurables are certainly important in Theravada (think Metta). Contemplation of the Four Immeasurables is one of the practices leading to Bodhicitta in Tibetan Buddhism. As to meditation: How could one call oneself a "Buddhist" if one doesn't meditate? Sunray (talk) 09:20, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
The number of Buddhists who meditate is extremely small, probably 1%. You may want to take a look at Buddhism in Thailand as an example. My understanding is that the average Thai Buddhist does not meditate at all and leaves that type of thing to the monks. In any case, the reason for this is obvious. It is extremely difficult to live in the world and maintain a daily meditative practice, and one has to be very disciplined to do it every day. You also have to be part of a sangha and have a teacher, because if you do it by yourself without knowing what you are doing, strange things start to happen, and some people have a tendency to freak out if they don't have guidance. I'm also not aware of anyone who says you must meditate to be a Buddhist. (Apparently, Firefox's dictionary automatically changed Brahmavihara to Brahmaputra somehow, or perhaps I clicked it by accident.) Viriditas (talk) 09:35, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure how we got into this discussion about Buddhist meditation statistics. I haven't seen any statistics on actual practice so am not able to discuss that beyond saying that it was taught by the Buddha and remains central to several traditions of Buddhism. Did you have more to add about Brahmavihara? Sunray (talk) 17:14, 9 January 2012 (UTC)
According to Buddhist practitioners, meditation is one of two components that helps develop the state of mind needed for the brahmaviharas, the other being conduct. I've already informed SusanLesch on her talk page that she should make the changes she thinks are needed. Viriditas (talk) 00:21, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
I would tend to disagree with your assessment, as many people who are Buddhists in Tibet and China use meditation via mantra practice regularly. These would be far above 1% of the Buddhists in those respective regions. There is also information supporting this in the records of Ming Dynasty China, that meditation and mantra practice were pervasive and popularly integrated into the lives of ordinary people. Tengu800 12:34, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
It's highly unlikely and implausible that the ordinary person in Asia would have the time and the skills to meditate. In modern times, it might be argued that "meditation is central to most Euro-American Buddhists, for leaders and lay people alike". However, "this is a startling contrast to historical Asian Buddhism, where meditation was always a relatively uncommon practice engaged in by a small number of elites, usually monks."[60] I believe that is the supported version of history. Viriditas (talk) 20:50, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
"In Chinese Buddhism, lay practitioners have traditionally played an important role, and lay practice of Buddhism has had similar tendencies to those of monastic Buddhism in China.[23] Many historical biographies of lay Buddhists are available, which give a clear picture of their practices and role in Chinese Buddhism. In addition to these numerous biographies, there are accounts from Jesuit missionaries such as Matteo Ricci which provide extensive and revealing accounts to the degree Buddhism penetrated elite and popular culture in China.[23] Traditional practices such as meditation, mantra recitation, mindfulness of Amitābha Buddha, asceticism, and vegetarianism were all integrated into the belief systems of ordinary people.[23] It is known from accounts in the Ming Dynasty that lay practitioners often engaged in practices from both the Pure Land and Chán traditions, as well as the study of the Buddhist sūtras. The Heart Sūtra and the Diamond Sūtra were the most popular, followed by the Lotus Sūtra and the Avataṃsaka Sūtra.[23] Laypeople were also commonly devoted to the practice of mantras, and the Mahā Karuṇā Dhāraṇī and the Cundī Dhāraṇī were very popular.[23] Robert Gimello has also observed that in Chinese Buddhist communities, the esoteric practices of Cundī enjoyed popularity among both the populace and the elite.[24]" In addition to historical material such as this, there is much material regarding popular use of mantras by modern laypeople, such as recitation of Namo Amituofo, Namo Guanshiyin Pusa, Om Manipadme Hum, and even long Dharanis like the Mahakaruna Dharani, which are all forms of meditation. The importance of laity in Indian Buddhism and cases of advanced lay practitioners there is also documented in the travel journels of Chinese pilgrims. Tengu800 01:34, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't know if you are being purposefully silly so as to spark discussion and refutation or if you are ignoring the entire history of Buddhism to promote a revisionist idea that the masses meditated in the world in the same way that the monks meditated in the monasteries or in caves, but it's not true, and no reliable source supports it. Some people make good meditators and others don't, and Buddhist schools recognized this a long time ago. Further, you have to have be relatively wealthy and have lots of free time, which aside from monks, is pretty rare. I suspect the only reason we know of any Buddhists who meditate outside of these schools is because of the recent migration of Buddhist teachers around the world due to conflict, war, and political pressures. This idea that the majority of Buddhists meditate isn't supported. Viriditas (talk) 05:15, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Since both monks and ordinary laypeople use mantras in Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism, for example, you would be wrong to say that laypeople do not meditate using similar methods as monks. There is much historical evidence to support this, and all you have given are vague statements about "Asians". As for meditation requiring much free time, this is not true, and many meditators may only practice for a few minutes, or a half hour a day. In Japan, for example, laypeople were traditionally encouraged by the Zen school to practice for a small amount of time. You seem to be overlooking the fact as well, that meditation is not simply something that people may do while sitting down austerely in full lotus position, but is also something that may be practiced while standing, walking, etc. Classically in East Asia, for example, there are 72 sitting positions for meditation. If you would like, I can add material to the article in support of historical and contemporary practices of meditation in East Asia by laypeople. Of course, I do not (as you erroneously suggest) state that the majority of lay Buddhists meditate. What I do suggest is that it was never rare among Buddhists in regions such as China and Tibet. Tengu800 23:48, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Your suggestion isn't supported by historical facts. Farmers do not have free time to meditate. Most Buddhists are not monks with free time to meditate. "Monks are to focus on meditation without the distractions of farming or the accumulation of personal wealth."[61] Why would Eisai make this observation about "actual contemporary practices"? Because the average Buddhist did not have the free time necessary to meditate unless they were a monk and most people were concerned with making money to survive. In the off chance you've never held a job or had to worry about making money, let me be the first to tell you that both of those things are not conducive to a daily, disciplined practice of meditation. That's why in the west, people are encouraged to go on retreats, as the Western lifestyle makes meditation very difficult. Viriditas (talk) 11:43, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
Your postings here are just original research. For example, how do you know how much free time farmers had in 15th century China, and what they chose to do with it? Do you have any actual facts, or are you just expressing your own personal incredulity and prejudices? There is much factual information about laypeople who practiced a variety of meditation methods, including personal anecdotes written specifically about farmers and villagers in imperial China who did meditate. Even the earliest Catholic missionaries to China wrote about such things, which is briefly hilighted in the text I included above. Tengu800 03:44, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Let me correct your misunderstanding of history: "Meditation is central to most Euro-American Buddhists, for leaders and lay people alike. This is a startling contrast to historical Asian Buddhism, where meditation was always a relatively uncommon practice engaged in by a small number of elites, usually monks."[62] Viriditas (talk) 04:11, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Broad generalizations about "Asian Buddhism" are not comparable to a true study on practices in individual countries and traditions, which is what my material contains. Again, you seem to cling to vague pan-Asian theories of Buddhism which lack any specifics about practice, and cite no sources or have any clear basis in historical records. Tengu800 13:16, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
You're pushing a POV not supported by historical sources. See for example Welch, Holmes. (1967) The Practice of Chinese Buddhism, 1900-1950. Harvard University Press. The book describes the elite practice of meditation by monks in China during the early to mid 20th century, a practice that is consistently described as difficult and challenging. Then there's the debunking of Japanese Buddhism by Duncan Ryūken Williams. (2005). The Other Side of Zen. Princeton University Press. Williams maintains that "the vast majority of ordinary Sōtō Zen monks and laypeople never practiced Zen meditation".[63] The great difficulty of meditation and its historical absence of practice by the laity until the mid 20th century is also observed in Sri Lanka by anthropologists and scholars of religion[64] Viriditas (talk) 20:48, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
A western scholar saying that meditation is "difficult" does not make it fact, because that is like someone saying that riding a motorcycle is difficult. No matter what rationale there is for it, it's not an objective statement that can be proven, and each person may have different experiences. As for proof of lay practice of meditation in Chinese Buddhism prior to 1950, there is quite a bit of information available even in basic sources like the works of Charles Luk, a layman who was a disciple of a Tibetan tulku and the Chan master Hsu Yun during the first half of the 20th century. He was the author of a comprehensive book on Chinese Buddhist meditation. In addition to his own example, he also translates and cites many instances of laypeople practicing meditation and seeking out meditation teachings such as those of the Tiantai school and those of Tibetan Buddhism (i.e. Chinese seeking out Tibetan teachers). In particular, the accounts of Yin Shizi are rich and useful sources that date to the late 19th century or early 20th century. Yin even mentions that in his little village, there were a few elderly men who had "mastered the art of meditation," who gave him some advice when he first began practicing meditation. If you want more scholarly sources for practices such as mantra recitation, visualization, or mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha, then I can provide those as well. As for Japan and Sri Lanka, we are not discussing the Buddhist practice in those countries, nor have we been. Tengu800 00:42, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
You refer to "the ordinary person in Asia." That is a very broad generalization. Practices are very different in Thai villages as compared to large cities. It is true that in some places Buddhism has more to do with religious observance than practice. However, I agree with Tengu800 that there is a long history of meditation in Tibet and China. In other countries, including Japan and Korea, there are many Buddhists who meditate daily. Sunray (talk) 22:54, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, a long history of meditation by a small minority of Buddhists. Viriditas (talk) 05:15, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I haven't seen a source for this. Do you have any? Sunray (talk) 09:53, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Cook 2010. It didn't become popular until the 1950s. Viriditas (talk) 10:25, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, I've read Tim Ward's What the Buddha Never Taught in which he describes Buddhism in Thailand. My problem is with making sweeping generalizations. Sorry about that, it's just my training in the social sciences :) Sunray (talk) 23:43, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Cook's findings support everything I've said above. Meditation is uncommon because it is challenging and requires lots of free time usually only available to monks in monasteries. Tengu800 refuses to accept this fact, and that's fine with me. But you can find source after source making this claim. For example, in Jordt 2007 a monk claims that vipassanā meditation was uncommon in Burma before Mahasi Sayadaw brought it to the public, and didn't even become popular until the 1990s. Which is exactly what I've been saying. Viriditas (talk) 11:32, 17 January 2012 (UTC)
"Vipassana meditation" is irrelevant to this discussion because it is not a classical form of Buddhist meditation, and is basically a Theravada phenomenon, when we are talking here about regions such as China and Tibet. Note that vipassana is found in the classical texts, but only as a principle of meditation. Theravada Buddhism typically makes a strong distinction between the practices and responsibilities of monastics and laity. Essentially, laity are regarded mainly as the supporters of monastics, and are not typically encouraged to meditate in Theravada traditions. As I've stated before, meditation does not necessarily involve a great deal of free time, and your own opinion that it is "challenging" is just that — your opinion. Tengu800 03:44, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
Virtually every source on the subject of vipassana, and the free time required for Buddhist meditation in general, as well as its challenging aspects, is at odds with your strange, personal opinion. Viriditas (talk) 04:13, 18 January 2012 (UTC)
It is no use brandishing sources that are not available on the Internet, Viriditas, unless you quote from them. Also, I find Tengus' comments quite apt and useful. While this may be an interesting discussion, I don't think it should be pursued further here, as it now has scant relevance to the article. Sunray (talk) 21:03, 19 January 2012 (UTC)
Meditation isn't easy, and it isn't widely practiced historically. It became popular after the 1950s. I'm sorry that you disagree with those facts, but they are fully supported by the sources. Viriditas (talk) 00:25, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
  • I've been following this discussion about how prevalent (traditionally) meditation has been (and is) amongst the laity of Buddhist countries with much interest. I have no vested emotional or intellectual interest in either side of this debate (for what it is worth, I personally think that meditation is generally extremely important as a part of Buddhist practice). However, as someone with 4 years' experience of living, studying Buddhism and teaching in Thailand, I can confirm that in Thailand at least it is far, far from usual for the 'laity' to practise meditation. Most of the Thais seem to be what I would call 'nominally Buddhist' (just as many English people might be termed 'nominally Christian'). I suspect that Viriditas is basically correct, and that this pattern of the vast majority of lay Buddhists not meditating on a very frequent basis is the norm - including in the Mahayana countries. Professor Carl Bielefeldt of Stanford University has some interesting words on this (he is writing about Buddhism in America, but also largely about the Mahayana forms of Buddhism in culturally Buddhist nations). He says:

'For the most part, laity in immigrant Buddhism, like laity in Asia, don't engage in meditation --a practice for the ascetic monks who are imitating the Buddha's lifestyle of renunciation. They don't expect to become enlightened beings like the Buddha; they just want the Buddha to help them make it through this life and into better circumstances in the next. This kind of old-time Buddhism doesn't often get into the American media and doesn't attract many converts from outside the ethnic group.' ('The Direction of Buddhism in America'). This tends to back up what Viriditas is saying. Of course, it is difficult to be certain about how many lay Buddhists did and do meditate, as no one has ever carried out an in-depth and extensive survey in this area (as far as I am aware). So it's possible that Tengu is right after all. My own impression, however, is that the bulk of cultural lay Buddhists did not, and do not, engage on a daily basis in what we would normally understand as Buddhist meditation (samatha and vipassana - which are also important in some significant areas of the Mahayana - my own field of study). That's my little contribution to the debate. Best wishes to you. From Suddha (talk) 09:45, 20 January 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Wish me luck because I came here to learn about this topic, rather than write it. Sunray, thanks for pointing out this is a former featured article. I went back in the history and didn't find any mention in 2004 either. We can try to fix that now. Also sorry if I mischaracterized the point of the four immeasurables which are essential to awakening. But probably more importantly, they lead people to a peaceful world plus they appear to originate with Gautama. -SusanLesch (talk) 14:06, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Based on your past contributions, I can't think of anyone more qualified than you to write it. Viriditas (talk) 21:29, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Very funny. Here's another question. Where is a good source with a free license to something like this? Thanks. Three versions:
  • May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
  • May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
  • May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
  • May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

  • May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
  • May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
  • May all beings rejoice in the well-being of others.
  • May all beings live in peace, free from greed and hatred.

  • May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
  • May we be free of suffering and the root of suffering.
  • May we not be separated from the great happiness devoid of suffering.
  • May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression, and prejudice.

-SusanLesch (talk) 21:40, 10 January 2012 (UTC)

Search for "metta bhavana". Viriditas (talk) 21:46, 10 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you, Viriditas. That could come in handy for a missing citation. What I'm wondering is where are the original texts that must be out of copyright? -SusanLesch (talk) 01:15, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
See p. 75 of the Shrīchakrasambhāra tantra: a Buddhist tantra, translated by Kazi Dawa-Samdup (1868–1922) and published by Biblia Impex India (1919) on Google Books:
May all sentient beings have happiness and be endowed with the cause thereof.
May all sentient beings be free of pain and its causes.
May all sentient beings ever enjoy happiness unalloyed with pain.
May they feel supremely equable.
Does that help? Viriditas (talk) 05:01, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, indeed it does help. -SusanLesch (talk) 14:49, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Susan, looking for the most common of the four translations, it seems that the first one is widely used. I think we should use that one. We don't have to worry about copywrite issues because it meets the requirement for fair use. Sunray (talk) 17:38, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you both. I don't know what else we're missing but this topic seems covered now. -SusanLesch (talk) 21:30, 11 January 2012 (UTC)
I like what you have done with it and agree that it is well-covered now. Sunray (talk) 22:36, 11 January 2012 (UTC)

The four bhrama viharas were never held to lead to liberation. They are the practice of devas and humans that only lead to a better rebirth. Please correct the article. CO2Northeast (talk) 21:13, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

CO2Northeast, you are welcome to make changes to this article and add any applicable reliable sources (WP:RS). I would say though that Karen Armstrong is a good source (plus she is mentioned in the article) not likely to mislead. -SusanLesch (talk) 21:57, 16 January 2012 (UTC)
Regarding this last issue, The practice of Brahmavihara is widely regarded as a virtuous action (hence the high rebirth into the realm of Brahma) which acts as an antidote to the mental non-virtues of avarice, anger and pride. If we accept that the mechanism of the fourth noble truth are the threefold training of śīla,samādhi,prajñā - (as reflected in the eightfold path, the six perfections, and the tantras) then we can identify brahmavihara as a śīla practice of the fourth. More specifically, it is a desire-realm śīla practice. It is normally considered that liberation is not achievable without prajñā (see Pratītyasamutpāda ); likewise, there are plenty of texts which say that śīla-samādhi is common to Buddhists and non-Buddhists - leading to Deva rebirth. However, prajñā without samādhi does not have the strength to cut the root of suffering - and samādhi without śīla is considered unachievable, (though bear in mind that the actual nature of śīla differs in accordance with the method of achieving samādhi - and therefore there are different emphases of śīla across different traditions). If this reasoning is acceptable then we can definitively state that Brahmavihara does assist in the path to liberation - but they are not enough on their own to achieve liberation, as they themselves aren't prajñā, and therefore otherwise there would be no need for all three higher trainings. The question that I raise is what, specifically, CO2Northeast means by 'lead to'? Does CO2Northeast reject śīla as being unnecessary for liberation, does s/he reject Brahmavihara as being śīla, or is s/he merely stating common doctrine - that śīla without samādhi/prajñā cannot result in liberation? (20040302 (talk) 10:26, 20 January 2012 (UTC))
The Four Brahmaviharas, if practiced alone, cannot lead to liberation. The Four Brahmaviharas are shared with other religions. Certainly the Brahmaviharas combined with understanding dependent coarising and sunyata can lead to liberation. CO2Northeast (talk) 20:55, 20 January 2012 (UTC)
Please correct this error. CO2Northeast (talk) 03:20, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top.
The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). Viriditas (talk) 03:49, 23 January 2012 (UTC)