Talk:Buddhism by country

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Intro Changes[edit]

I removed the line from the intro about 'most Asian ethnic groups being irreligious' and Buddhism not being a religion by "Western standards". There were a two major problems with it: first, the cited articles were about Asian-American ethnicities, not Asians in their country of origin. Second, the idea that there is a single 'Western standard' by which it is decided if someone is religious or if their practices constitute a religion is fallacious. It might be worth noting with citation that some observers don't call Buddhism a religion, but we shouldn't be presenting that as if it is a standard majority view. --Clay Collier (talk) 00:28, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

I have reverted this change because there is another, as yet unresolved, discussion currently taking place on Wikipedia Buddhism on this disputed topic, which Clay Collier is contributing to. It would be unfair at this point to bring that same dispute here until there is a clear, citeable, general agreement reached. We should try to ensure that Wikipedia articles are consistent.UkFaith (talk) 02:14, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Setting aside the issue of 'is Buddhism a religion': how is it acceptable to use sources that say something about three ethnic groups in America to support a statement about 'the majority' of ethnic groups in East Asia? At the very least, the statement needs to be completely rewritten based on that alone. That was actually my main reason for deleting the phrase, not the 'is it a religion' issue, which I see as being somewhat orthogonal to counting Buddhists in a country- it's possible to count people who self-identify as Buddhist without needing to know what that designation means to them, and in fact nearly impossible to do any other way. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:07, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Just for the record I had nothing to do with this introduction.
Without reading the five cited reports that support this line I am unable to confirm the authors intentions. Have you read the reports yourself?
When I first read the line I thought it was refering to East Asian ethnic groups in the west and how "Western standards of religion" dont apply to their practices.
I think we both agree that this page needs a lot of work and I hope you will also agree I have already put effort into improving the quality of this page.
I just dont think we need to have the exact same dispute here as well as on Buddhism talk page at the same time, especially with so much else wrong with the page. No offence by the way.UkFaith (talk) 04:17, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
No, it's nothing personal- I know you had nothing to do with the intro. I did read the linked reports- they are specifically about the characteristics of Korean-American, Chinese-American, and Japanese-American people in the US, but the statement in the article is about East Asian ethnic groups generally. They don't give any explanation of what 'Western standard' is being applied to call them irreligious. If this was doing using the sort of large-scale surveying that is often used in these things, then that conclusion is likely based on something like regular church attendance or how often a respondent says they pray daily/weekly etc. Immigrant Buddhists will tend to be reported as not particularly religiously active on such surveys because they may live in an area without access to a temple, because weekly temple attendance does not have the same cultural role in Buddhist cultures that it does in Western Christendom, or because they do not consider their ritual activities to be prayer. Whatever the case, the statement as it stands now seems to be painting all of East Asia as irreligious on the basis of the practices of three ethnic groups living outside of East Asia. Drawing a conclusion about all Asian Americans on the basis of a report about three subgroups would violate WP:SYN; drawing a conclusion about Asians outside the US from the same basis is just sloppy. That's why I would like to see that statement removed. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:47, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I have already stated that I agree there is a lot wrong with this page, including the intro. It was me that raised these issues at this time. I think we need to agree on the exact nature of the figures contained on this page and then adjust the intro accordingly to be accurate.
Just for the record I think the above post contained a number of opinions since no citations were mentioned.
I personally would not have phrased the line as the author has nor possibly would I have chosen the references you mention however I think there is a valid point made by the author after using the phrase "mix of religious ideas" that there are differences in the definitions of the term "religion" in the west from that of the east and that there are differences in the way these cultural areas are approached in the east from that of the west. The author is trying to help the reader understand the difficulting in gathering world estimates because of these reasons and the inherent problems with their accuracey and reliablility, A point well made but other scholars. There are seven other citations that contribute to this point as a whole so your point regarding the WP:SYN is not valid.
Ignoring these important points has led to some of the wildly incorrect estimates in the main table which we all agree need addressing. Once we have an agreed referenced table of estimates the intro should be a formality.UkFaith (talk) 21:13, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, I was speculating above about why the authors of the study reached the conclusion they did about Asian-Americans. That is really not relevant to my central point. Can you draw a conclusion about the behavior of most ethnic groups in Asia based on a report about three ethnic groups in America? The answer is obviously no. That is all I am trying to fix at this particular moment. What other information is needed to know we need to correct that conclusion? I've made a proposed fix to the article that leaves the issue of 'is Buddhism a religion' intact. The other part must go. --Clay Collier (talk) 23:02, 1 August 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry but I think you are wrong and have missed the point. I have already stated there are a further SEVEN citations in support of this text which also need to be taken into account, and which you make no mention of. I have not read through them myself as yet.
The citations you are querying have good and bad points. I can see that the author tried to make his comparison in the west because to some that may seem logical.
The actual points themselves surely are vital and fundamental to the article in explaining how the information is gathered and what it actually represents. You also make no mention of this in the context of this article either.
You can see for yourself from this Wikipedia article on irreligion that the authors view is supported as it is in this article on reference.com/irreligion and again in this article from allexperts/irreligion.
It is vital that an explanation as to the nature of these estimates and what they actually represent is given with in this article in some way.
For the above reason I have reverted this article until agreement is reached. No offence.UkFaith (talk) 03:05, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
One of the three articles that are in the sentence that I deleted is the only references that address the idea of irreligion. These reports are about the practices of Asian-Americans in three specific ethnic groups. The sentence is about most East Asian ethnic groups. You can not make claims about behavior in Asia on the basis of behavior in the US. You can not make a conclusion about 'most' ethnic groups on the basis of one ethnic group- there are dozens of ethnic groups in China alone. You say that you have not read the linked sources; I have. In fact, of the three linked reports, only the one on Chinese-Americans says that they could be considered irreligious; the section on Korean-Americans actually talks about the importance of religion in their history. In all the sources taken together, we have a few statements about how Chinese religion may be hard to classify according to a Western rubric, and one that says that Chinese-Americas could be considered irreligious. Yes, the article needs to make clear that Asia religions sometimes are not readily classifiable as religion according to Western standards. This statement in the article does not do that, and it is also completely misusing sources to draw an unsupported conclusion. --Clay Collier (talk) 03:39, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
And just to be clear, I looked at all the sources linked in the intro, not just the 3 reports I've mentioned. None of them provide a basis for concluding that 'most East Asian ethnic groups' could be considered irreligious. --Clay Collier (talk) 04:40, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
Lets cut to the chase. You dont appear to have read most of what I have said and have not responded to any of the issues I raised.
I think you have your own personal view that "Buddhism is a religion" and that all articles must state that as a primary view and thats what is really motivating you at the moment.
I feel like I have wasted my time believing we were actually having a discussion. Thats honestly how I feel.UkFaith (talk) 05:17, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
And for the record...the author is NOT basing his 'conclusions' on the THREE citations as you put it....the points that are made are well documented points in many articles. Why do you keep ignoring that point???? The author of this article just happend to have used those citations to support an already establish point NOT the other way round. I agree they are maybe not the best available citations.UkFaith (talk) 05:32, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

(Indent reset) I'm quite frustrated by this discussion as well. I'm not arguing the article shouldn't mention the view that Buddhism is not a religion. What I want to know is this: what are these sources that say most East Asian ethnic groups are irreligious? Where is this point established? Here are the references in the first paragraph, in order:

  1. [1] discusses the problems and utility of discussing Chinese religion in terms of its 3 well-known religious traditions. Nothing implying that the Chinese are not religious, and deals with only one ethnicity.
  2. [2] Discusses multiple religious belonging in China. Again, only deals with China, and does not contain any claims regarding the non-religiousness of any ethnic group.
  3. [3] 'Generally speaking, Chinese people do not have a strong religious inclination but despite this the three main faiths have had a considerable following.' Discusses Chinese attitudes towards religion- doesn't directly call the Chinese non-religious, but does provide examples of how Chinese religiosity might be different from Western views of the topic.
  4. [4] Discusses differences in Chinese expressions of religion vs. those familiar in the West.
  5. [5] Just discusses the interaction between the three Chinese 'Great Traditions'.
  6. [6] Appears to be a commercial link that should be removed.
  7. [7] Broken link
  8. [8] Report on Chinese-Americans. The first half of the sentence I am proposing to reform is a modification of a line in this text. It does say that Chinese-Americans might be considered irreligious by Western standards. Is specifically discussing the Chinise diaspora in the US, not people in East Asia.
  9. [9] Report on Korean-Americans. Does not call them irreligious, does not discuss Koreans outside the US in this context.
  10. [10] Japanese-Americans. Does not call them irreligious, does not discuss non-American Japanese.

The next three references are discussing the view that Buddhism is not a religion. I have no problem including that here. The problem is: there is only one ethnic group called irreligious in the source material. Chinese-Americans. Other ethnicities in East Asia are not discussed at all, and only two emigrant communities are discussed- neither of which are called irreligious. The language for the statement in the article is taken directly from the Chinese-American article, and then broadened in a way that the sources don't support. Where is any ethnic group other than Chinese-Americans discussed as being irreligious by Western standards? The language of the statement in the article is way too broad, and isn't what the sources are saying. --Clay Collier (talk) 05:50, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

ok I tried to remove some of my statements before you responded. I did but not before you had seen the page. I did not feel some of my statements were entirely in context.
I actually agree with the author in that what the west refers to as religion is not what is practiced in the east.
I honestly think that the misuse of the word religion is in this context is an obstacle rather than helping people understand and appreciate eastern beliefs and practices.
As I said earlier...after stating "Mix of religious ideas" it seems fair to clarify what is meant by religious in the east and that it differs by western standards of religion. Did you see the three citations I added?.UkFaith (talk) 06:19, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
How about this? Site the survey data from the religion article as the source. Delete the spurious references to the Asian-American data. Rephrase it as: "According to survey data, the majority of the population of East Asia could be considered irreligious by Western standards, but this attitude is not necessarily incompatible with participation in Buddhist religious practices." Separate sentence, with the current references: "Some practitioners of Buddhism claim that Buddhism should not be considered a religion. Such claims are not unique to Buddhists, and scholars generally continue to consider Buddhism alongside other religious traditions (source from the material on Peter Jackson's source page (User:Peter_jackson#Religion), and I have an additional source from a book by Richard Gombrich that deals with the classification of Buddhism. --Clay Collier (talk) 22:59, 4 August 2009 (UTC)
I dont know why you are so incredibly hung up about refering to Buddhism as a "religion" at every point....even by western standards, and continuallly make that the focal point of any discussion.
Other points are being made here and the purpose of the paragraph is to put some contextual meaning to these estimates by further describing eastern practices.UkFaith (talk) 09:26, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I am not insisting on calling Buddhism a religion. I am trying to fix a misused source. I am insisting on having explicit sources for statements, and reflecting that some people consider Buddhism a religion and some do not, but there is no single consensus on which is the case. Again, I am more concerned about revising the statement about 'most East Asian ethnic groups'- which we lack usable sources for- so that it fits the sources. I don't care if we call Buddhism a bucket of French fries covered in gravy as long as we have sources for it and reflect the diversity of opinions in the wider literature. Is there anything in the proposed language that you actually take issue with on a factual basis? There are sources for all of them. Nowhere does it say that calling Buddhism a religion is the only, or the correct, view. It states that it is usually considered alongside other religious traditions by scholars. Do you see any reason to believe that to be false? You seem absolutely committed to the current language. There are two basic, factual problems with the current language. 1) It confuses number of ethnicities with number of people. We have sources talking about number of people. We do not have sources talking about number of ethnicities. The footnote that purports to be the source for the statement does not contain the information in question, and 2) the current language states 'according to Western standards Buddhism is not a religion' as an uncontroversial fact, when in fact this is a subjective decision and no single 'Western standard' of what is a religion exists. We have some sources calling Buddhism a religion. We have some sources saying Buddhism is not a religion. Why should we not include both? What I want the article to reflect is 1) accurate information about the demographics, sourced with correct sources that actually contain the information we are reproducing, and 2) that the issue of Buddhism being a religion is more complex than a yes/no question. I am not the one who made Buddhism as a religion the focal point of this discussion. I wanted to avoid that entirely. I left the statement about Buddhism not being a religion intact in one of my proposed versions qualifying it very, very slightly to make it clear it was not a unanimous view. The current version grossly misuses a source in the intro; it plagiarizes wording from a report about Asian-Americans and uses that as a footnote to make a claim about all East Asian ethnic groups. That is a flatly wrong use of a source. Citations appear in text and appear close to the fact they are referencing for a reason. What objection do you have to changing the first half of that sentence to accurately reflect the data that we have? Secondly, I know you don't think Buddhism is a religion. But there are a lot of views on the subject. All that I am insisting on is that we not pick one side and claim that it is the only correct view. The current version is over-simplistic in its categorization. I want to include the claim that Buddhism is a religion. I also want to include the claim that Buddhism is not a religion. I also want to provide context for those claims- that Buddhists are not unique in saying that their beliefs are not a religion (here's one that says that same thing about Hinduism, which I have also heard called a 'way of life' or a culture; likewise, some argue that Judaism is an ethnicity or a cultural context rather than a religion in the ordinary sense. Kant took this view. Taoism has been called a philosophy rather than a religion. Confucianism has been called both. Islam has been called a political ideology, or again a 'way of life'). At the same time, Buddhism is generally studied alongside other world religious traditions. None of these things mean that Buddhism is a religion, nor do I want to use them to argue that. I simply want to provide a complete context for readers as to how Buddhism is regarded from inside and outside the tradition. And more importantly, I want to get the mis-sourced statement about East Asian ethnic groups corrected. --Clay Collier (talk) 10:53, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I am sorry but your but your current arguments are getting further and further away from the actual topic.
As far as I can tell you were involved with the writing of the heading for the Buddhism article which is completely uncited which does not seem to bother any of you. There for I do not accept that your goal here is to have this article correctly associated and supported by its citations.
It seems to me that you will say anything to get what you want.
What is the PURPOSE of the entire paragraph in question?????????????????
And for the record....it actually says..."could be characterized as irreligious".
So why dont I just add the three citations I found which do support the wording????????????
But of course thats not really what you want.UkFaith (talk) 13:44, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
WP:AGF. I am trying to focus on a single specific sentence in this article to keep the discussion focused and concrete. Your solution of adding the sources you found is essentially what I proposed above, except that I suggested that 'majority of East Asian ethnicities' should be changed to 'majority of the population' in order to make the statement in the article comply with what the actual sources say. Do you understand the distinction between 'majority of the population' and 'majority of ethnic groups'? The majority of the POPULATION of East Asia is concentrated in a small umber of ethnic groups relative to the number of ethnic groups in East Asia. The sources you provided are about population. I am entirely content to have the article state that the majority of the population can be considered irreligious. 'Majority of ethnic groups' is asserting a fact that is materially different from what the sources state. THAT IS THE ONLY CHANGE I AM PROPOSING RIGHT NOW. Get rid of the spurious Asian-American articles. Use your sources. Change the sentence from ethnic groups to population. --Clay Collier (talk) 14:18, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
ok have changed the text and citations according to your points. I really think that it is the table that needs the work though and as I have already said once the table is corrected the lead will need to be rewritten accurately according to the definition of "Buddhist" and estimates used in the article.UkFaith (talk) 16:43, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Thank you- that is an improvement over what we had before. In your version though we've lost the idea of Buddhism not being a religion, which is what the last two sources are talking about specifically- they're not talking about irreligion. I've reworded things slightly. Also, the references for the 'irreligious' sentence- we should use the survey data in the Wikipedia irreligion article rather than the Wikipedia article itself as the source, since WP is not supposed to use itself as a source. We can wikilink to irreligion to keep some connection to that article. One of the other references is a copy and paste of the Wikipedia article (reference.com mirrors Wikipedia content), so that one can be removed. I'll give you a chance to look over the rewording I made before making those changes. --Clay Collier (talk) 17:35, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
The wording at the moment seems fine and conforms to your points. If you wish to make further changes can you please supply citations to support those changes. You have maintained through out these posts that above all...text should be supported by citations And you said that in the above post the ONLY problem you had was with the term East Asian ethnic groups and the corresponding citations.UkFaith (talk) 17:55, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I did not change the meaning of the sentence. I broke up a run-on sentence into two manageable ones. The citations are again not saying what they purport to verify; the citations are two article arguing Buddhism is something other than a religion. I think you are conflating the 'irreligious' idea with Buddhism not being believed to be a religion, but these are two distinct ideas. The survey data that is sited in the source material is defining 'irreligious' as those to whom religion is unimportant, or who claim to not have a religion. You were very explicit earlier that you wanted to preserve the idea of Buddhism not being a religion in the article; my edit made that point more clear than the version that you reverted to. Why are you now objecting to explicitly including the idea that some people do not think Buddhism is a religion? --Clay Collier (talk) 18:06, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
The term Irreligious also means NOT religious which is fully supported by the two citations that state Buddhism is not a religion. I actually changed that part from "not a religion" because I thought you would agree with it this way being less biased.UkFaith (talk) 18:32, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, here's the issue. The source for being able to say that East Asians are irreligious is a survey of attitudes toward religion in Asia. That is what the Wikipedia article is written using. The specific questions asked in that survey were whether or not someone 1) did not have a religion, or 2) did not think religion was important. Now, it could be that some people who reported not having a religion are Buddhists who don't think Buddhism is a religion. But we have no way of knowing that, because we have no information on who exactly it is that does not think Buddhism is a religion; we have the two opinions in the sources that are linked, but they represent the views of those two authors, and do not make any claims about how widespread this view is. It appears to me that the chain of reasoning you are following is: 1) Lots of East Asians are irreligious. 2) Irreligious means not having a religion. 3) Buddhism is not a religion. 4) Irreligious East Asians are Buddhist. 5) The statement 'Buddhism is not a religion' and 'Buddhists are irreligious' is equivalent. But there are a couple problems here; one, 'Buddhism is not a religion' is an opinion, not a fact. I've linked the sources above (on Peter Jackson's user page) that describe that, or you could look at other encyclopedia introductions, the religious demographics information published by governments and almanacs, etc. to verify that 'Buddhism is not a religion' is not the only view on this topic. Second, while irreligious can mean not having a religion (according to the dictionary definition), some of the people being identified in these surveys as irreligious are not people without a religion, they are people who have one but don't think it important. As I mentioned above, there might be people who are Buddhists who do not think Buddhism is a religion in that category, but there is no way to know. We can not assume that once someone is classified as 'irreligious', we can apply any and all of the definitions of that word to them. A very specific definition is being used in the survey material that informs the articles that are reporting statistics on irreligion. Bottom line is, we have sources that say unambigiously that the population of East Asia (or at least China and Japan) are majority irreligious, and sources that say unambiguously that the opinion of the authors is that Buddhism is not a religion. Why not just report exactly what they say rather than try and wrangle out whether or not they support some related but distinct conclusion? As to the wording, "Adherents of Eastern religions such as Buddhism with local Animism, Chinese folk religion, Confucianism, Shamanism, Shinto, and Taoism often have beliefs composed of a mix of religious ideas" is a confusing phrase (are all of these Eastern religions, or is just Buddhism mixed with everything an example of an Eastern religion?), and the sentence joins puts two distinct ideas into one sentence- having a mixture of religious views, and having none or being indifferent towards them. --Clay Collier (talk) 19:11, 6 August 2009 (UTC)
I know you are desperate to say that "Buddhism is mostly considered a religion but 'some' dont see it as one", but this is not the page for such discussions. As you know such a discussion is currently taking place on Wikipedia Buddhism article, where it belongs.
The text here says "could be considered irreligious"...and it could be...in fact thats exactly how some people do see it...so the statement is true.UkFaith (talk) 00:03, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I fixed the run-on sentence while leaving your wording and use of sources about the 'irreligion' issue intact. I still don't believe that the sources are being used correctly, but the two of us can clearly not settle that issue. I'll ask for a 3rd opinion about this issue and we can see what someone else thinks. --Clay Collier (talk) 00:35, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I reverted your change because you put the text out of context.
Do you mean you will get one of your buddies to back you up?
Is that how things work on here...
Should I get a fourth?UkFaith (talk) 09:42, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I have also reverted your uncited changes.UkFaith (talk) 10:15, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Ok, you're obviously just reverting any edit that I've made without looking at whether it accords with the sources or improves the article. This is just a grammar correction; this is fully referenced from the linked report and corrected poor language; this corrected the incorrect tense in the original sentence and correctly noted that the source was talking about China, not all Buddhists. I've rolled back your reverts, because there is really no justification for them. How can splitting one run-on sentence into two sentences 'put the text out of context'? As I said, I've asked for a third opinion from an uninvolved editor to provide some additional input. --Clay Collier (talk) 11:51, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I have reverted your changes once again since they are your own opinions and not cited.
You seem to wish to edit the article anyway you wish to your own wording that suits you with out taking into account the perpose of the article.
This is not the place for an argument as to how to qualify Buddhism from a western view point, nor which side carries a majority. The sentence is merely intended to clarify Eastern practices and traditions and the difficulties in estimating world Buddhist population.
You can call as many of your buddies as you like. I've seen the way you operate here and on other article.
As for the second sentence it was taken out of context by splitting the sentence into two and making it two seperate points which is not how it was intended. The author makes a single point.UkFaith (talk) 12:34, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I have already given my reasons why I reverted your changes above.UkFaith (talk) 13:11, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

(Reset indent) Where are 'my opinions' in edits like this? You say 'the author' was making a single point- what author are you talking about? The authors of the sources? The author who edited the introduction before we started? The sentence that was there before we started editing related the concept of irreligion to Buddhism not being a religion. Now the sentence that you want to keep discusses Asians following a mixture of religious practices and being irreligious in the same sentence. The sentence is not grammatically correct in the form you propose to keep, and connects two loosely related concepts without any transition. How is this out of context? Following the practices of multiple religions and being disinterested in religion, or not personally identifying as religious are pretty clearly two separate situations, no? --Clay Collier (talk) 13:15, 8 August 2009 (UTC)

You have tried to edit this page in the way that you wish claiming about four or five different reasons, but always the same change. You set out from the begining with a single goal. Mostly you have ignored all the points raised and have continued to push in the direction of your own goal. Its a complete waste of my time putting forward any more argumets since you are not interested in anything I say. UkFaith (talk) 13:30, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Could you please focus on the actual edits? Every time I try to ask you a specific question about an edit, you reply with these vague accusations about my insidious agenda. What is this 'single goal' that I have? At one point you claimed that I was trying to get rid of the view that Buddhism was not a religion, but when I tried to restore that wording, you then accused me of something different. And again: how is this a bad edit? I found the original source from a broken link, corrected the grammar, added facts taken directly from the presentation that gave an impression of the ways in which religious practice in China is difficult to classify. --Clay Collier (talk) 13:35, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Are you a Buddhist?UkFaith (talk) 13:54, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Again: I do not wish to get into personal discussions. I want to talk about concrete improvements to the article. --Clay Collier (talk) 13:56, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
You have ignored almost everything I have said so dont come that!UkFaith (talk) 14:12, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
I have disagreed with you. I may have at some points misunderstood the point you were trying to make. I do not believe that I have ignored your opinions. There are edits that I have made that you have removed that I do not feel at all match up with the reasons you gave for removing them, such as the several I linked above. I would appreciate if you could explain why you think such changes- which I think are improvements to the article that did not change that factual content- should be removed. --Clay Collier (talk) 14:20, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
If your changes dont change the factual content then theres no big deal is there. Also since your edits are never accompanied by any citations could you please discuss the issues here to save keep messing the main article about. Thankyou.UkFaith (talk) 14:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
There have been citations in the text for all the edits I made. There are plenty of reasons why an edit might not change the information represented but still improve the article. In the example I linked above, the text was almost unreadable in places and incorrectly identified the name of the source of the information, for instance. Splitting the sentence in the introduction does not change the factual content, but makes a single run on sentence into two more readable, grammatically correct sentences. This edit added a fact that was already in the cited source (that the estimates had not been updated in years), moved the sentence to be in a paragraph discussing the same topic, and changes the incorrect use of the past tense. How can I provide a citation for that beyond what is already there? Or this, which just changed two words to make them closer to standard English. In a couple of cases I have changed words because the text was copying language from the article without quoting, which is plagiarism. Improving grammar, spelling, and word choice is part of the editing process that Wikipedia articles are supposed to go through. How is a reader supposed to divine what is meant by sentences like: "All this contradictory data gives an idea that it will be the own evolution in the opening in the Chinese society the one that will be polishing these numbers"?? --Clay Collier (talk) 15:09, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Its untrue to say ALL your edits have been cited and you know it.
As for the line that you gave as an example....how about changing that line only instead of making "tweaks" all over the place which bend the article to your way of thinking.
That single line, I guess, was a mix of edits and probably originally tried to say that in time with China being more open estimates are likely to get better...feel free to make the correct word choice though ...and the correct grammer, ..syntax, ..spelling, etc and check that there can be no allegation of plagiarism. Gosh its so refereshing to see someone so diligent.UkFaith (talk) 15:52, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
What changes have I made that have not been cited? And how was the rest of that edit that that line was a part of innappropriate? You should not be reverting my entire contribution because you object to a part of it- that is part of what Wikipedia:Reverting spells out. You are reverting things that have nothing to do with the content that you are disputing. --Clay Collier (talk) 21:30, 8 August 2009 (UTC)
Don't you think it would be better to have an honest conversation instead of trying to play me?
You are never going to 'win' so long as you keep looking to 'beat me' on a technicality to get what you want.
Why don't you give up and try approaching this subject honestly?UkFaith (talk) 11:47, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
By the way I note that you had no interest in changing the last line of text of the intro when it did not involve 'tweaking' the article in other areas!! UkFaith (talk) 12:06, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
So now you getting your buddies to vandalise the article!...What next?UkFaith (talk) 20:34, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
This is totally useless. Write whatever you want. --Clay Collier (talk)
23:06, 9 August 2009 (UTC)
Well I guessed you would turn down my offer to have an honest conversation.
And you still have no interest in correcting the last sentence despite making a big deal of it!!! UkFaith (talk) 11:24, 10 August 2009 (UTC)
The line I took away verges on racism. Why in the world should this nonsense be in the article. "Irreligious"? How can people practicing a religion be irreligious? And this thing about "from a Western point of view". Maybe you mean your point of view. This article is one of the worst written I have seen on Wikipedia. I strongly suggest that the line I took out is taken out and unless you can offer a convincing argument, I will attempt once again to remove it, as I believe it is offensive and meant to be that way.--TheRealKing2 (talk) 04:43, 12 August 2009 (UTC)
Furthermore, all the "refernces" to this statement are simply articles on "irreligion" being either Wikipedia itself or sources that leech off of Wikipedia. There is not a single real source for the statement. I therefor will take it out once again. When you reverted my last edit, you did it without engaging in a single bit of conversation first. If you want to change my edit, engage in some discussion first please. Thank you.--TheRealKing2 (talk) 04:51, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Third opinion on "irreligious"[edit]

I am responding to a request for a third opinion.

the disputed text

...although according to the Western standards of religion much of East Asia could be characterized as irreligious <ref>[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irreligion Wikipedia - irreligion]</ref> <ref>[http://www.reference.com/browse/Irreligion?jss=0 reference.com - irreligion]</ref> <ref>[http://en.allexperts.com/e/i/ir/irreligion.htm allexperts - irreligion]</ref> including Buddhists <ref>[http://www.amtb.org.tw/e-bud/releases/educati.htm Buddhism is an Education, Not a Religion]</ref> <ref>[http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/snapshot01.htm Buddha Net]</ref>

Such a statement (poorly sourced at that) might have been widely perceived in the United States as true in the 1950s. It does not belong in the article. — Athaenara 20:15, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

Why was this topic archived?[edit]

Why was "1.5 billion estimated Buddhists wild and unsubstantiated." archived? The last comment made was on the 31st of October. Saimdusan Talk|Contribs 10:54, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

Probably because the wiki editors / admins. were tired of your same old biased arguments using every logical fallacy in the book. It was just getting too old and you were repeating the same unsubstantiated claims with no basis other than your own agenda. I had nothing to do with it and just found out about it being archived. Good decision, admins. thank you. Theravada1 (talk) 17:07, 15 November 2009 (UTC)

totals[edit]

I see this discussion is quite difficult due to widely varying sources and definitions, but how come even the lower-end totals end up around 500 million, while 350 million is an often used total figure in some sources? say adherents.com? Also, just wondering, what's the position arrived at on irreligious - adherents put that as high as 75% of japan for instance? Is irreligious actually overlapping with Buddhist - or just different research/definitions? Or could this number be added as lower-end estimate for japan? I don't wish to argue for any particular number or value, just wondering what positions has consensus here come to - and maybe suggest - an FAQ on a discussion page might be useful? Aryah (talk) 14:27, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

As it happens, I've been collecting estimates recently, here's what I've found so far. I'll put it after my signature so people can add to it. PS. No attempt top decide what's a "reliable source". Peter jackson (talk) 16:16, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
  • 150,000,000 to 500,000,000: Shambhala Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion, 1994 (translated from German original published 1986), page 50
  • 200,000,000: unspecified sources cited in Farrington, History of Religion, Chancellor/Hamlyn, 1998, page 91
  • 230,000,000: Carlisle, Illustrated Encyclopedia of Mankind, volume 19, Marshall Cavendish, 1990, page 2494
  • 250,000,000:
    • [11]
    • Zickgraf, Laos, Chelsea House, Philadelphia, 1999, page 63
  • 254,867,450: [12]
  • 258,000,000: de Blij, The Earth, Wiley, 1987, page 281
  • almost 300,000,000: Yenne, 100 Men Who Shaped History, Bluewood, San Francisco, 1994, page 13
  • 300,000,000: [13]
  • over 300,000,000: Rausch & Voss, World Religions, Trinity Press International, Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, 1993, page 81
  • 303,000,000: Columbia Encyclopedia, 5th edition, 1993, page 387
  • 309,000,000: Cambridge Factfinder, revised edition, 1994, page 401
  • 311,438,016: Faux, New York Public Library Reference Desk, Prentice-Hall, 1993, page 270
  • 314,939,008:
    • [14]
    • Markham, World Religions Reader, Blackwell, pages 356f
  • 324,000,000: Christian Science Monitor, August 4, 1998, page B2
  • 334,000,000: [15]
  • 334,001,984: [16]
  • 337,000,000: "The Public Square", in First Things, 70, pages 58-74
  • 338,500,000: Zeman & Kelly, Everything You need to Know About Geography Homework, Irving Place Press/Scholastic Reference, New York, 1997, page 69
  • 350,000,000:
    • Neusner, World Religions in America, Westminster/John Knox, Louisville, Kentucky, 1994, page 217
    • "Rise of Buddhism" in Wichita Eagle, 16 October 1999
    • Esposito et al, Oxford University Press, 2009: Religions of Asia Today, page 166; World Religions Today, page 392
  • 350,000,000 to 1,600,000,000: [17]
  • more than 350,000,000:
    • Wilkinson, Illustrated Dictionary of Religions, Dorling-Kindersley, 1999, page 55
    • Cambridge Encyclopedia, 4th edition, 2000, page 189
  • 353,000,000: [18]
  • 356,875,000: Smart, Atlas of the World's Religions, Oxford University Press, 1999, page 13
  • over 359,000,000: projection in Sine, Wild Hope, Word, Dallas, 1991, page 174
  • over 360,000,000: Penguin Encyclopedia, 3rd edition, 2006, page 208
  • 376,000,000: [19]
  • 378,809,103: Ash, The Top 10 of Everything 2008, page 68, citing World Christian Database as source
  • 384,318,000: Encyclopædia Britannica Yearbook 2009, page 302
  • 400,000,000:
    • Bowker, Beliefs That Changed the World, Quercus, 2007, page 141
    • Hill, No-Nonsense Guide to Religion, New Internationalist, 2010, page 30
    • The Times World Religions, page 100
    • Ganeri, Religions Explained, Henry Hold & Co, Markham, Ontario, 1997, page 44
  • 418,000,000: Morris, What Do Buddhists Believe?, Granada, 2006, page 7, citing Wikipedia as its source
  • 500,000,000: Pastva, Great Religions of the World, St Mary's Press, Christian Brothers Publications, Winnona, Minnesota, 1986, page 87
  • more than 500,000,000:
    • Macmillan Encyclopedia, 2003 edition, page 199
    • Barker, Ananda in Sri Lanka, Hamish Hamilton, 1985, frontispiece
  • 1,193,900,416 to 1,595,485,458: [20]

How is China 80% Buddhist?[edit]

The CIA World Factbook, which is an accurate source reports that China is only 3-4% Buddhist, yet wikipedia says 80% based off which reliable source? No reliable source indicates that China is 80% Buddhist at all. The Dhamma web site given as a source is not reliable and does not link to any reliable source indicating that China is 80% Buddhist. After China's communist rule Buddhism went down. A number around 8-23% is much more accurate. --71.163.31.116 (talk) 07:06, 23 January 2011 (UTC)

The article doesn't say that China is 80% Buddhist. It gives a range of figures from various sources and leaves the reader to decide which figure to use. The lead paragraphs explain the difficulties in estimating the % for China. See also the many discussions above about how to estimate. Beeswaxcandle (talk) 07:29, 23 January 2011 (UTC)
The article doesn't give any reliable source that China is 80% Buddhist, the dhamma link site is not reliable and doesn't link to any reliable sources. If wikipedia is serious encyclopedia then why is it listed as 80% for? This entire time you haven't answered the question as to why the dhamma web site is used as source and why 80% is listed for? The number 8% appears referencing to the CIA World Factbook, yet the CIA World Factbook says 3-4%. So can you answer the question as to why 80% Buddhist is listed for China?--96.255.71.164 (talk) 03:45, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Just to add a bit more detail here..

For China, the article currently says: 8% - 21% - 80% (approx)

The 8% figure is supported by two cited sources:

  • the CIA Factbook, which says: Daoist (Taoist), Buddhist, Christian 3%-4%, Muslim 1%-2%; note: officially atheist (2002 est.)
  • The State Dept 2006 IRF report, which estimates 8% (the 2010 IRF report says "... It is difficult to estimate the number of Buddhists and Taoists, because they do not have congregational memberships, and many practice exclusively at home. A 2007 Chinese public opinion polling firm found that 11 to 16 percent of adults identify themselves as Buddhists, and less than 1 percent of adults identify themselves as Taoists. The Xinhua news agency estimated there are 100 million Buddhists in the country.")

The 21% figure is supported by two cited sources:

  • A 2007 BBC News article, which says, "About 200 million believers 'are Buddhists, Taoists or worshippers of legendary figures such as the Dragon King and God of Fortune', the China Daily reported." Using the unsupported figure given by the article as the estimated 2007 population, 200,000,000/1,321,851,888 is about 15.13%
  • This 2007 China Daily article cited by the BBC article above, which says the same thing.

The 80% figure is supported by two cited sources:

  • This dharma.com article dated 2008, which says that encyclopedias and almanacs place the number of Buddhists at approximately 500 million (roughly 37.83% using the WP article's 2007 population figure), and also says, "Surveys ([...]) have found that about 8% to 91% identify with Buddhism as one of their religions. If we use a percent near the upper end of this estimate, of about 80% ..."
  • This BBC/Vietnamese article, in Vietnamese, which, translated into English, doesn't seem to contain an estimate.

Wtmitchell (talk) (earlier Boracay Bill) 02:03, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

The numbers aren't supported, and the user has been POV pushing this nonsense into multiple articles. There is no reliable secondary source that supports these numbers. They are simply based on anecdotal observations made by several religious and political leaders and should be removed. Viriditas (talk) 06:19, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Anecdotally, being a Chinese from Mainland China currently living among the diaspora, I would have to say that maybe 10-15% of people are Buddhist. Maybe around 30% of people - mostly in the older generation - worship Guanyin or venerate an image of Buddha, but they do not practice actual Buddhism. Their worldviews are more in line with folk Taoism.

Village grandmothers view the image of Guanyin on the altar like Latin American Santeros view the image of St. Barbara on their altar - as an indigenous deity in a polytheistic tradition. Urban people often identify with Buddhism because they want to seem 'modern' by identifying with a world, rather than indigenous, religion. Nonreligious Chinese (the majority) often also say they are Buddhist because they do not want to attract Christian proselytes.

The term for Chinese spirituality is folk Taoism or Traditional Chinese Religion; an indigenous spirituality cognate to Shinto and Hinduism, similar to the Paganism of the ancient Mediterranean. Please do not impose biased viewpoints or interpretatio indica. The Dragon King and the God of Fortune do not originate from the Pali canon or other Buddhist sources.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.250.181.192 (talk) 16:39, 20 April 2013 (UTC) 


I believe its difficult to determine the actual number of Buddhists in the world. In countries dominated by Christianity and Islam, Government/Demographers in those countries state people belong only to one religion. There is hardly any leeway for people who believe/follow multiple religions/philosophies or no religion, thus the actual "believers" are overstated and minorities such as Buddhists are understated, especially in less tolerant Muslim dominated countries.

Buddhism, is generally practiced along with other beliefs either in parallel or combined. For example, in China its combined with Taoism and Confucianism. In Japan its combined with Shinto. In India its combined with Hinduism. Etc. Recently, in Western countries we are seeing more and more people practicing Buddhism along with Christianity or Judaism. Over time this will be acknowledged. In China, I believe all three faiths: Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism are undercounted.

Generally, Muslim and Christian organizations will undercount number of Buddhists. If we take the Western or Islamic view of determining number of Buddhists worldwide ... the range is between 300 - 500 million. However, if we take the traditional approach of Buddhism being practiced with other beliefs, the numbers would be much higher: Well over a Billion does not seem off the mark. I am betting on the latter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.95.237.178 (talk) 19:43, 4 May 2014 (UTC)

Buddhism By Country Chart[edit]

If you rearrange the chart by percentage, it is very much out of order. I'm not sure how to fix this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.21.109.65 (talk) 19:29, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

Wildly exaggerated figures[edit]

I can't believe that 2 years later, this article is still such a trainwreck. All the same faulty and misquoted references remain intact. The article even references a website written by the very user whose been violently inserting his POV in articles related to Buddhist demographics. I think it's high time this article had a revamp. Here's my old summary of the sources used in this article (from 2009) which as far as I can see remains relevant today.

I looked at all 4 of the references for the 1.5 billion figure, and here is what I found:

1. Is exactly the same as number 2 2. Is the "Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism", and I found no "1.5 billion" stat in it 3. Was written by the Vipassana foundation, which has been found to be an unreliable source in above discussions 4. Is in Vietnamese, and I can't understand it, but since the other 3 sources were fault, I think it might be as well.

In addition,

  • Hong Kong: Neither of the Hong Kong numbers are for Buddhism as a whole. The 10% number is for practicing Buddhists and Taoists, whereas the 90% number is "an electic mix of local religions". They're both somewhat generalizing, but they also say different things.
  • Japan: One of the Japan sources is the same page written by Vipassana Foundation. The other two are accurate. I think we should, however, use the academic reference used on the Japan page, as well as add a note that "Higher estimates are for both Buddhism and Shinto. x source argues that these numbers are for the number of people registered at a temple, rather than self-identifying Buddhists or Taoists".
  • North Korea: Neither state.gov nor the CIA World Factbook give a 60+% number for North Korean Buddhists. The everyculture.com references does not give any statistics, either. For some strange reason, both the CIA World Factbook and state.gov are sourced twice for the same statistic(s).
  • South Korea: State.gov does give around 20% (10 million out of almost 50 million). State.gov is sourced a second time, for the 50% number, but this version of the state.gov data has no statistics on religion, just a list of major religions present in S Korea. Everyculture.com is sourced twice, but neither source gives any actual statistics. Then Korea.net is sourced, but it does not give 50%. It says that half of the population practice any religion, and 43% of those who practice religion are Buddhists.
  • Laos: There is only one source given, state.gov, and it does not give a 90+% number. In fact, it gives more of a 50-60+% number. It says that most ethnic Lao are Theravadin Buddhists, but only 40-50% of Laotians are ethnic Lao. The rest are from a large number of ethnic groups, most of which practice animism.
  • Macau: State.gov is sourced three times this time. The first state.gov source does indeed say "17%". The second source gives no where near 80+%, as the source says that only 43% of the population practice any religion. The third state.gov source does give a high number, but it is 79.3%, not 85%. The CIA World Factbook does indeed give a 50% number for Macanese Buddhists.
  • Malaysia: The state.gov source referenced gives a 19% statistic, not 22%.
  • Mongolia: The CIA source does indeed say "50% Lamaist", but the other two sources say "93% of ethnic Mongolians" and "90%", not 94%.
  • Singapore': The CIA source does say "42.5%" for Buddhists. However, the state.gov source gives 51% for "Buddhism, Taoism, ancestor worship or other faiths traditionally associated with the ethnic Chinese population", not Buddhism as a whole. The virginia.edu source gives a 14.5% statistic, not anywhere near 60%.
  • Taiwan: The 35% figure is legitimate, but the 75% figure from state.gov says "Budhists OR Taoists". The 93% number also says "mixture of Buddhist and Taoist".
  • Vietnam: The VN embassy does give a low number (10 million), the state.gov source is correct (50% of pop). However, the second state.gov source says 14.3%, not anywhere near 90%, and the last source does not give any statistics.

saɪm duʃan Talk|Contribs 00:14, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Buddhism in Western Europe[edit]

Is it true that there are more than 20.000.000 buddhists in Western Europe ? I have recount and the highest number is > 2.000.000 people only. -- Si Gam (talk) 07:47, 3 June 2012 (UTC)

United States numbers are highly under counted[edit]

I think it is hard to measure, so I don't blame the authors, but, among young people especially, buddhism is rapidly overtaking christianity as the default religion in North America. This is happening not only on the trendy east and west coast, but in middle america as well. Heads up, Authors.

Buddhism in Vietnam[edit]

I've been in Vietnam and I haven't seen any clear evidence that the government discourages the practice of religion. The figure of 10% seems to me to be too low. They mix it a lot with folk religion, but it seems clear to me that most Vietnamese people consider themselves as Buddhist and respect the Buddhist traditions (Mahayana). Talk|Mondolkiri1 21:08, 27 April 2014 (UTC)

Angelo De La Paz's original research and synthesis[edit]

I move here the discussion that the user Angelo De La Paz has started on my talkpage, accusing me of vandalism and original research:

Information icon Hello, I'm Angelo De La Paz. I wanted to let you know that I undid one or more of your recent contributions to Buddhism by country because it did not appear constructive. If you would like to experiment, please use the sandbox. If you think I made a mistake, or if you have any questions, you can leave me a message on my talk page. Thanks! Angelo De La Paz (talk) 16:43, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

My edits aren't an experiment, but a revision of the article with the aim or removing all the original research, synthesis, and unreliable sources used to support the claim of "1 billion Buddhists in the world", that you have contributed to construct, for which the article has been tagged for months.--79.54.84.104 (talk) 17:04, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Information icon Please do not add commentary or your own personal analysis to Wikipedia articles, as you did to Buddhism by country. Doing so violates Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy and breaches the formal tone expected in an encyclopedia. Thank you. Angelo De La Paz (talk) 17:11, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Please don't use tags to deceive people, thanks. The original research in question is your version of the article.--79.54.84.104 (talk) 17:16, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
I think the use of these warning templates (Vandalism + WP:NPOV) was not appropriate. JimRenge (talk) 18:48, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

Chart created mixing the statistics of Buddhism with those of other religions (Shinto, Chinese religion, Dao Mau, Tengrism, etc.). Fixed.--Xyxyo (talk) 14:17, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Inflated numbers: according to surveys China and Vietnam should be in the 10-20 tonality, Taiwan and Japan in the 30-40, Mongolia in the 50%. Fixed.--Xyxyo (talk) 14:17, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

I have started to cleanse the article from all the unreliable sources (web posts like this, press articles like this, data from touristic websites like this or this, maps like this which don't say anything specific about Buddhism), original research and synthesis, through which Angelo De La Paz has constructed it over the years, with the aim of inflating the number of Buddhists to "1 billion and over". This number is calculated summing Buddhists with the followers of other, totally unrelated, religions. In additon, Angelo De La Paz has written sections with unsourced, invented, figures about "cultural Buddhists" by country.

The article has been in this poor, messy and unfactual state for years, and unfortunately it has been copied in other languages. It has also been criticised for this state by different users (just read posts above), and tagged for the same reasons.--79.54.84.104 (talk) 17:26, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

P.S.: I already tried to expose the problems of this article in the past (for example read here, where I discussed the problems further in detail), but I received little or no attention at all, and all remained the same.--79.54.84.104 (talk) 18:15, 8 November 2014 (UTC)

I agree with 79.54.84.104: inflated numbers, use of poor and unreliable sources/WP:RS, WP:OR, synthesis, and WP:POV have been criticised by different users on this talk page. The article was tagged accordingly since April/March 2014. I have reverted to the version of 79.54.84.104 because his edit did reduce these policy violations and improved the article. JimRenge (talk) 19:59, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
@Iryna Harpy, NeilN: could you please take a look at this? JimRenge (talk) 02:01, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
Having taken a look at the content developed by Angelo De La Paz, I'm in agreement with 79.54.84.104 and JimRenge on their evaluation of the substance of it being WP:OR, POV WP:SYNTH and generally unencyclopaedic. Sources used are WP:BIASED at best although, in most instances, I'm unconvinced of their being WP:RS in any sense. As it stands, the remaining content is still highly problematic. The "Buddhism by Country" section is still dependent on - again, at best - WP:BIASED sources which would require WP:INTEXT attribution, but are really in need of being scrutinised at the Reliable sources noticeboard before meriting inclusion on such a basis if deemed relevant by consensus. The Pew Research Institute's reports also always need to be looked at in context. Their stats are not universally RS as it depends on where their figures are sourced from and the methodology by which they are analysed. They seldom present much in the way of information, and often use tiny test groups with no indication as to how the interviewees were selected, or what sort of cross section (other than an age range) they represent (urban, rural, social status, etc.). Any Pew statistics would, then, need to be looked at on a case by case basis. --Iryna Harpy (talk) 04:33, 9 November 2014 (UTC)
I am 79.54.84.104, and 87.9.87.170 on 2 November. I have decided to create an account to deal with the situation under suggestion by JimRenge, because my IP is a dynamic one. I agree with Iryna Harpy about the dubious nature of some of the recent statistical tables published by the Pew Research Center (I have noticed that especially in the case of statistics for Christianity in European and North American countries, they have used data that is from ten years ago or even older), although they are very useful for the totals. In the case that statistics collected through censuses or surveys in specific countries are available, they should be preferred over the Pew Research ones.--Xyxyo (talk) 13:59, 9 November 2014 (UTC)

Hello! Today I have emptied the table of "Buddhists by country" so that now it can be re-compiled according to what sources actually say (i.e. not making sums of adherents of different faiths). If someone wants to help, his contribution will be very appreciated!--Xyxyo (talk) 14:32, 29 November 2014 (UTC)

So what's your progress? 178.94.27.183 (talk) 13:25, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Another Opinion[edit]

This article is fatally flawed, in that it fails to acknowledge a fundamental problem of enumeration. In the case of Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhists are a clear enough identity group that they can be meaningfully counted (except in regions where the religion is suppressed). The situation is very different for East Asian Buddhism (China, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam), where small groups of people who actively identify with Buddhism get lumped together with much larger populations for whom Buddhism is but one element of their religious heritage (along with Daoism, Shinto, Confucianism, etc.--many might consider that they have no religion), and whose identities as "Buddhists" are very questionable.

I see no simple way of resolving this problem, due to the inherent complexity of the situation. Unfortunately, the total number of Buddhists in the world would go up or down by several hundred million (i.e. 100 percent or more) depending on how this is interpreted. My recommendation would be to state a range, with a conservative figure for those who clearly identify as Buddhists, and a larger figure to include borderline cases, such as most ethnic Chinese and Japanese.

On the issue of whether Buddhism is a religion, it is true that the meaning of the term "religion" is debated (certainly there are many borderline cases), and that Buddhism lacks some features shared by, say, the Abrahamics. However, since virtually everyone--Asian, Western, or miscellaneous--except a few intellectuals considers Buddhism to be a religion, according to our ordinary use of language, I think we have to be guided by that. The problem with respect to East Asia is not debate over whether Buddhism qualifies as a religion--it is over what one has to do, be, or believe in order to be properly considered a "Buddhist."

In Japan there are temple registries (needed for burial) which encompass most of the population, even though few people admit to being religious. In several countries there are surveys of religious attitudes or practices. In some countries (like Malaysia), religion is printed on one's ID card (and everyone is assumed to have a religion); in others (like China), there are official state-run religious bodies which believers may join (though many do not, either out of fear or disinterest). All of these measure fundamentally different things. This article counts...nothing in particular.

One more thing: The first chart lists ten countries which are claimed to have the largest Buddhist populations, not ten countries with Buddhist majorities. (Several show numbers below 50 percent.) --Dawud — Preceding unsigned comment added by 210.60.58.253 (talk) 08:59, 29 October 2015 (UTC)