About Buddha and Buddhism in Burma (Myanmar) by- Myoma Myint Kywe

About Buddha and Buddhism in Burma (Myanmar)

by- Myoma Myint Kywe
ၿမိဳ ႔မ ျမင့္ၾကြယ္

The Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in southern Nepal. Lord Buddha attained Enlightenment and became Buddha at the age of 35 (588 BC).

In 543 BC, the Buddha passed into Maha-parinibbana, (the passing away into Nibbana). It is Nibbana that the Buddha declared to be the final goal of the spiritual journey. Nibbna (also known as Nirvana ) is identified as the goal of the Buddhist path. In literally means "blowing out" or "extinguishing".

Of the three roots of ignorance, greed (lobha), anger or hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha), delusion is common to all ignorance. It clouds an object and blinds the mind, and when you have greed and anger the mind is also under the haze of delusion. These words have several English equivalents but lobha basically means attachment that is pleasing, dosa, attachment that is not pleasing, and delusion means not seeing things as they really are, being stupefied by what is experienced.

Within the Buddhist tradition, this term is defined as the event or process of the extinction of the fires of attachment or desire (raga), aversion or hatred (dosa) and ignorance (moha). In the Buddhist view, when these fires are extinguished, one is released from the cycle of rebirth (samsara) and suffering (dukkha) comes to an end.

The Maha-parinibbana Sutta is Sutta 16 within the Digha Nikaya, a scripture belonging the Sutta Pitaka of Theravada Buddhism. It concerns the end of Gautama Buddha`s life and is the longest sutta of the Pāli Canon. Because of its attention to detail, it has been resorted to as the principal source of reference in most standard accounts of the Buddha's death. Buddhism has been around for over 2,600 years… one of the oldest religions in the world.

All religious people recognise the imperfection or human weakness of man. In the Pali language these human weaknesses are called kilesa — defilements of the mind. The three main defilements are greed (lobha), hatred (dosa) and delusion (moha).

The characteristic of lobha is the tendency of the mind to stick to an object. There are various aspects of lobha — greed, lust, craving, attachment, covetousness, envy, etc. There are other less obvious aspects of lobha like conceit and bigotry; in general, holding on to one’s own opinions as, ‘This alone is the truth, all else is falsehood’. Lobha is common to all unenlightened men and women of whatever religious persuasion.

The characteristic of dosa is the tendency of the mind to repel an object. The aspects of dosa like hatred, anger, ill-will and jealousy are obvious enough. Contempt, disrespect and stubbornness are also aspects of dosa.

Moha means delusion or ignorance. We are deceived by our own false perceptions of the world around us. The mind is extremely rapid, subtle and difficult to perceive, it runs after objects according to one’s own particular likes and dislikes and is rarely quiet enough to see things objectively. The initial aim of Buddhist meditation must, therefore, be to calm the mind and thus achieve a more objective and accurate perception of reality.

To achieve success in meditation, one’s moral conduct should be much better than average. Moral transgressions always occur because of the mental defilements, which meditation aims to remove. For intensive retreats it is essential for meditators to observe chastity and to abstain from sensual enjoyments like music and entertainment. The beginner should at least abstain from immoral behaviour and indulgence in intoxicating drinks and drugs.

The Practice of Mindfulness
The meditation method taught by the Buddha is called Satipatthana or mindfulness meditation. This simple but profound technique removes greed, hatred and delusion by the application of systematic and sustained mindfulness to one’s own mental and physical processes. 

Sati consistently watches only at the tip of the จมูก / nose.
Sati is a key term in Buddhist meditation. It means "recall, recollection, awareness, attention, mindfulness." In the tradition of Japanese, hana refers to the nose.

While inhaling or while exhaling, know it every time. This is called "watching the gate." There's a feeling as the breathing passes in or out; the rest of the way is left void or quiet. If you have firm awareness at the nose tip, the breathing becomes increasingly calm and quiet. Thus you can't feel movements other than at the nose tip. In the spaces when it's empty or quiet, when you can't feel anything, the mind doesn't run away to home or elsewhere. 

The ability to do this well is success in the "waiting in ambush at one point" level of preparation. Observe the movement of breath at the tip of your nose. This mindfulness meditation is very useful to calm the mind and soothe (calm and pacify) the emotions. Concentration on the tip of the nose is recommended in the Buddhism.

We sit, watching the air going in and out of our noses.
Now breathe naturally and peacefully, keeping your awareness on the tip of your nose, feeling the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils. (Some people become more aware of the half-inch or so at the tip of the nose, and others remain more aware of the nostrils. Whichever happens naturally is the best for you. So whenever almost Buddhist monks say “nose-tip” it applies equally to these three areas.) Do not follow the breath in and out of your body, but just be aware of the breath movement sensation at the tip of your nose.

Keeping your awareness on the tip of your nose, breathe naturally and calmly, easefully observing the sensation of the breath moving there throughout all your inhalations and exhalations.

Let the breath be as it will. If the breath is naturally long, let it be so. If it is short, let it be so. If the inhalations and exhalations are of unequal length, that is just fine. Let the breath be natural and unforced, and just observe and experience it.

Keep in mind that breath Meditation basically consists of being aware in a relaxed and peaceful manner of your breath as it moves in and out at the tip of your nose.

To begin the practice of Satipatthana one must focus the mind first on the body. One method widely used is to contemplate the rising and falling of the abdomen as one breathes in and out. This method is suitable for a beginner because the abdominal movement is always present and easily located (by placing the hand on the belly if necessary). The movement of the abdomen should be noticed continuously from beginning to end. Though beginners will not succeed at once, they should try their best to concentrate on the movement.

Sitting Meditation
The traditional posture for sitting meditation is that seen in many images of the Buddha — cross-legged with a straight back, the eyes half-closed and the hands resting in the lap. Long experience has shown this to be the most suitable posture. However, you may also meditate sitting on a chair if you support your back and keep it straight. In either case it is important not to change the position frequently, if at all, since every movement will interrupt concentration.
After sitting for some time you may feel some stiffness or pain in the body, or your legs may become numb. This feeling should be noted as ‘stiffness’, ‘pain’, or ‘numbness’. After noting it two or three times you should return to noting the primary object — the rising and falling of the abdomen. This noting of feelings is the second aspect of mindfulness meditation.

Although you have been asked to concentrate on the rising and falling of the abdomen, you will probably find that the mind often wanders to other things. You may start to think about something you did yesterday or something you plan to do tomorrow. Whatever thought arises should be noted as ‘thinking’, ‘planning’, or ‘remembering’, whichever is appropriate. Mindfulness does not mean to think about something; the correct technique for a meditator is to note whatever mental or physical process arises, the instant that it occurs. When no other object is distinct, one should return to noting the primary object. One should try to note every mental or physical event without fail. Noting of thoughts is the third aspect of mindfulness meditation.

To do Concentration
It is not at all easy for a beginner to focus the mind on the meditation object. Even quite experienced meditators experience plenty of mental distractions and aches and pains. Concentration must be developed gradually and, depending on how strong the mental defilements are, this may be a slow and painful process. In particular five things will hinder the development of concentration.

The first is sensual desire. Thoughts of lust or other sensual enjoyments may invade the mind and distract it from the task in hand. This desire should be noted as ‘desire’.

The second is ill-will or aversion. It may be memories of some quarrel, aversion to noise or to some pain or discomfort in the body. Such aversion should simply be noted as ‘aversion’ or ‘anger’.

The third is sloth or laziness. For whatever reason, one may become bored or sleepy, one may think that one is too tired to meditate and wish to postpone it. This should be noted as ‘laziness’ or ‘dullness’.
Alternatively, one may become restless and frustrated with one’s inability to keep the mind concentrated on the primary object of the rising and falling movements, however hard one tries. This fourth hindrance should be noted as ‘restlessness’.

Fifthly, one may have doubts about the value of practising this technique of meditation or about one’s own ability to do so. These thoughts should just be noted as ‘doubting’.

If one notes these mental hindrances patiently, they can be overcome, then one can continue noting as described before. If one fails to note these hindrances, one may give up the practice without achieving the benefit that is to be expected. If one notes systematically and persistently in the way I have outlined, the mind would certainly become calm and concentrated and one would at least gain some superficial benefits. This noting of mental hindrances and other mental states is the fourth aspect of mindfulness meditation.

Walking Meditation
When people talk about meditation they often have a mental picture of a yogi sitting in the lotus position, perhaps in a cave or under a tree. However, the Buddha’s discourse on mindfulness — the Satipatthana Sutta — also includes mindfulness during all activities. Insight or enlightenment can equally well arise in other positions. The Buddha’s personal attendant, Venerable Ananda, achieved enlightenment during the process of lying down, after practising walking meditation for the whole night.

The way to practise walking meditation is to walk back and forth between two points — 16ft or so is sufficient. A meditator should walk extremely slowly, noting each part of the step: lifting the foot, moving forward, dropping the foot, pressing the foot down. Do not look at the feet or look around here and there. Fixed look at a point about 6ft in front of the feet, keeping the head erect but the eyes downcast. Let the hands hang together in front of or behind the body. On reaching the end of the walking path note as: stopping, turning, turning, standing, intending to walk. Then continue noting lifting, moving, dropping, pressing as before. Do not make any movement without mindfulness.

If, while walking, you hear a sound, do not look up. Stop walking, note ‘hearing’, ‘hearing’, then resume walking. If you see something or someone out of the corner of your eye, do not look up. Stop walking, note ‘seeing’, ‘seeing’, then resume walking. If your mind wanders, stop walking, note ‘wandering’ or ‘thinking’ then resume walking.
When you have finished walking and want to sit for meditation, do not just go and sit down at once. Note every action involved in going and sitting down, bending the legs, etc. If you practise continuously like this, the mindfulness developed in walking will be carried over to sitting, and so concentration will develop more steadily.

Walking meditation has many benefits and is in no way inferior to sitting meditation. Sitting may be better for tranquillity, but excessive calm is a fertile ground for sloth and torpor. Walking arouses energy and keen mindfulness. The best policy is to alternate the two — one hour walking, one hour sitting, or half-an-hour of each.

Mindfulness in Daily Activities
We cannot spend our whole time in walking and sitting meditation, not even on a meditation retreat. We have to eat, wash, clean our teeth, use the bathroom, etc. These activities should not be regarded as a break from meditation. To maintain the momentum of mindfulness developed in walking and sitting it is vital to note in detail all movements and actions involved in daily activities. For example, in eating, the meditator should note: lifting the food, opening the mouth, putting in the food, chewing, tasting, swallowing, lowering the hand, reaching for more food, etc. Every morsel of food should be taken mindfully in this way.

The meditator should slow down all activities as much as possible and note them in detail. However, if it is necessary to do something somewhat quickly (for example, if there is only one bathroom shared by many meditators, or if shopping must be bought) it should be done quickly with general mindfulness, not with precise and detailed noting.

Basic etiquette
It is also advised in the Satipatthana Sutta to be mindful in speaking and in remaining silent. When engaged in intensive meditation, one should avoid talking altogether. Five minutes’ chat can spoil a whole day’s effort in meditation. A single word spoken in anger can do even more harm. Even when it is time to report to the teacher, the meditator should speak briefly and straight to the point.

Buddhism is the education of learning the Buddha's spirit. The Buddhist spirit emphasizes the mind. Disciples of Buddha refer to themselves as people who are learning Buddha's spirit and behavior. To put it simply, to be Buddhist is to "refrain from doing all bad things, diligently do all good deeds, and purify the mind.
What are the Four Noble Mannerisms? Walk like the wind, stand like a pine tree, sit like a temple bell, and lie down like a bow.

A Brief Introduction to Buddhist Thought

One should visit a Buddhist temple with a proper and pious mind. Temples are places where one engages in spiritual practice. Temples are also places where Buddhists can cultivate more merit:
  • Always be respectful of others,
  • Try to be aware of stereotypes
  • Reflect on the Buddha’s teachings
  • Remain quiet when visiting temples

Basic Guidelines for Temple Visits

  • When entering the shrine room, a Buddhist practitioner may do three prostrations facing the shrine, or make a short bow with hands folded. This is done as a symbol of the surrender of oneself and the desire to benefit all beings.
  • Revealing clothing, such as tank tops, short skirts, shorts and the like may be inappropriate attire in some temple or shrine room settings.
  • Shoes are removed before entering the shrine room and hats are not worn.

Inside the Shrine Hall

  • Guests should always move along the right side in temples, since this action represents deep reverence for the Buddha.
  • When many visitors have entered the Hall at once, visitors should move away from the doors to avoid disturbing the traffic flow.
  • When other members of the laity are prostrating, one should avoid walking in front of them.
  • Dharma materials, puja texts & Dharma books should be kept off the floor and places where people sit, but on a table or cushion, and not be stepped over.
  • Dharma items used by the Sanghas are private and for their use. It is good to obtain permission before using their items.
  • Conversation should be kept to a minimum in and around the shrine room, as people often do silent sitting and practice there.


Greeting the Buddha's Statue

From a simple bow to a full prostration, Buddhists of different countries pay homage to the Buddha in a variety of ways. Bowing to Buddha’s statue is a sign of respect for the Buddha. Lowering oneself before the Buddha is also an act of genuine humility.

Full prostrations
Three prostrations infer deep respect for Buddha’s teachings. By performing three full prostrations, one expresses his/her intention to adhere to The Three Jewels - the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Likewise, the act symbolizes the discarding of the Three Poisons - hatred, ignorance and excess.

Practioners will press the elbows, knees and forehead to the ground when prostrating. In Tibet, however, prostrations involve touching all five body parts (head, legs, arms, chest and abdomen) to the ground. The posture is intended to symbolically release the ego and respect the Buddha and other sentient beings:
  • Put the palms of your hands together with the thumbs aligned and tucked into the center of your palms. Your folded thumbs represent offering a wish-fulfilling jewel to the Buddhas.
  • Touch your folded hands, with thumbs tucked inside the palms, to your crown, forehead (optional), neck, and heart as above.
  • Bend forward, place your hands flat upon the ground, lower your knees to the ground, and touch your forehead to the ground.
  • When standing up, first the head leaves the ground, then the knees, and finally the hands.
  • Begin the next prostration by immediately placing your folded hands on the crown of your head.

Please arrive early, so as not to disturb the class once it has started. This consideration also shows that you value the teachings and the teacher.

Students are welcome to bring items to offer on the altar, such as flowers, fruit, or food for our teacher or the food bank. Items should be clean, and fruit should be washed and set in a container so it isn't directly on the altar.

Avoid loud talking or laughing around the area of the teaching. It is best to sit quietly, placing yourself in a calm, receptive state of mind.
Stand when a teacher enters or leaves a room. It is also typical to bow slightly towards the teacher with hands in prostration at the heart.


The Benefits of Meditation
Long before enlightenment is reached, mindfulness will give its results. Like a bank account, the more you put into it the more interest you will get. When the mind becomes interested in the meditation object, you can achieve some insight into the true nature of the mental and physical process.
If mindfulness is sustained and concentration is deep enough, the mental defilements, which prevent one from experiencing real happiness, will be removed, at least temporarily. At such times, one can enjoy subtle bliss never experienced before. Many doubts and conflicts can be resolved by this kind of experience, which is direct and empirical.

Do's & Don'ts in Myanmar

Myanmar is the Buddhism country and it is famous as the Golden Land. Otherwise, it is also called the Land of Pagodas. 90% of Myanmar people are Buddhists. They know the rules of Buddhism. They obey the teachings of Buddha. Buddhism in Burma (also known as Myanmar) is predominantly of the Theravada tradition, practised by 90% of the country's population.
Now, Myanmar is one of the tourist attractions, foreigners should know the behaviors in Religious monuments like Pagoda and Temple. Myanmar people avoid foot-wearing in the compound of Pagoda. It is likely the similar rule of Christians to put off the hats in the church.

Myanmar people avoid their legs towards the Pagoda. It is a rude manner and means insulting the holy place. Myanmar ladies should not wear shorts in the pagoda compound. It is also an improper manner. When people go to pagoda, they should give priority to the elders, disables and monks, etc.

1.   Respect the Myanmar people and their Buddhist traditions.

2.   Let the oldest be served first.
3.   Show respect to monks, novices and nuns.
4.   Speak politely, slowly and clearly.
5.   Respect the elders and monks: Let the oldest be served first, and bend a bit when crossing close in front of the elders.
6.   Wear decent clothes when visiting religious sites: Please cover your chest, shoulders and knees, and take off your shoes and socks when entering pagoda areas.
7.   Don’t offer to shake hands with monks and women. Women should not touch a monk.  
8.   Don’t sit with back against Buddha Image. Don’t handle Buddha Images or sacred object with disrespect. Your legs should not be stretched out and your feet should never face the Buddha. Don’t keep Buddha Images or sacred objects in inappropriate places.
9.   Pointing with your feet means disrespect.
10.   Don’t touch anybody on the head: The head is the most esteemed part of the body.
11.      Don’t touch a woman on any part of her body.
12.       Don’t disturb the people and insult monks and Buddhism.
Respect the local religious customs. Almost Burmese are devout Buddhists, and while they will not impose their beliefs on visitors, they will expect you to pay due respect to their Buddhist traditional practices. Wear appropriate clothes when visiting religious sites, and don't violate their space: avoid touching a monk's robes, and don't disturb praying or meditating people in temples. Visitors must remove their shoes before the first step at any of the entrances in Pagodas. Burmese walk around the stupa (pagoda) clockwise (let ya yit).

What not to wear: For appropriate clothing in temples and other important tips, read about Do's and Don'ts for Buddhist Temples.

Mind your body language. The Burmese, like their religious compatriots around Southeast Asia, have strong feelings about the head and feet. The head is considered holy, while the feet are considered impure.

So keep your hands off people's heads; touching other people's heads is considered the height of disrespect, something to avoid doing even to children.

Watch what you do with your feet, too: you shouldn't point to or touch objects with them, and you should tuck them under yourself when sitting on the ground or floor. Don't sit with your feet pointing away from your body - or worse - pointing at a person or a pagoda.

Don’t show affection in public. Myanmar is still a conservative country, and the locals may be offended by public displays of affection. So when traveling with a loved one, no hugs and kisses in public, please! Following the Law in Myanmar

Take care when buying arts and crafts, particularly antiques. Authorized antique stores provide certificates of authenticity with every purchase, protecting you from counterfeit items. Remember that antiques of a religious nature cannot be taken out of Myanmar.

Visiting a Thai Buddhist monastery can be an educational and worthwhile experience, whether you are a new convert to Buddhism, a tourist, or a Burmese unfamiliar with monastery etiquette. Knowing a few general guidelines can show respect, prevent embarrassment and help you to make the most of your visit.

Wear modest clothing. In general, everywhere between the elbows and ankles should be covered at a minimum, with a modest neckline.

Showy clothing is not appropriate. In Myanmar culture, black is a funeral colour, so dressing in all black is not advised. Long shirts and long skirts or long trousers in plain colour are recommended, especially in higher-ranking or stricter temples.

Do not climb on, touch, or pose to take pictures with Buddha-images, no matter how old, broken or well-cared for. Take off your shoes before entering any building. Don't be surprised if your shoes are 'borrowed' at a larger monastery with many entrances...just wait patiently and they will be returned.

Do not point your feet at the Buddha-image, or at anyone else. Greet monks by pressing your palms together, bowing your head, and moving them to your forehead. Do not kill any insect, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Do not bring alcohol into the monastery grounds. Be quiet and respectful. Don't make a lot of noise or run about.

What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is different things to different people. To some, Buddhism is the religion founded by Gotama Buddha 2,600 years ago, which is now practised in many countries of the world, such as Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tibet, Japan, China, etc. However, to someone from a non-Buddhist culture, it is obvious that the interpretation and practice of Buddhism in these various countries differs significantly.
If one sincerely wishes to know what Buddhism is, therefore, one must take the trouble to find out what the Buddha taught. 

The Buddha advised people not to believe something just because it is held to be true by many people, or because it is handed down by tradition, or because it is the teaching of a renowned teacher. He advised that one should consider whether it is for one’s own benefit and the benefit of others, and if so, one should accept it and follow it.

The Buddha was not a God, nor a prophet sent by God. He was born a human being, but one of extraordinary wisdom and compassion. He perceived the universal suffering of humanity and resolved to find a cure. To find it he renounced his comfortable life as a prince and lived the life of an ascetic recluse. By deep meditation or introspection he discovered the root cause of unhappiness within the mind and simultaneously realised how to remove this cause and hence to find perfect peace.

He found craving to be the root cause. He taught that to remove it one must follow the path of insight meditation founded on a firm foundation of blameless moral conduct.

This method can be followed by anyone, whatever their belief. If one has some confidence in the method and practises it strenuously, the benefits will follow. Buddhism is not a system of belief — though many doctrines can be found in its teachings. Nor is it a religion — if by religion is meant a traditional observance of rituals and ceremonies. Primarily, Buddhism is a method of mental training and self-discipline. Its aim is to gain insight into the mental and physical processes that make up what we call a living being, in order to develop detachment, objectivity and wisdom. Without wisdom one cannot understand the profound teaching of the Buddha. Without the practice of meditation one cannot be wise, and without wisdom one will not be inclined to practise meditation.

Cultivating wisdom can be compared to cultivating crops. One cannot force crops to grow, but one can provide the best possible conditions by removing weeds and by providing plenty of fertiliser, water and sunlight. If one removes the weeds of immoral conduct and unwholesome thoughts, if one studies and listens to teaching on the Dhamma, if one makes strenuous efforts in meditation, if one practises tolerance and loving-kindness, then wisdom will inevitably develop — though its growth may not be easily discernible. Day-by-day, and from moment-to-moment we have to cultivate mindfulness; only this, and no amount of prayer or wishful thinking, can produce the desired result.

The Buddha showed the way that leads to perfect peace, but it is up to each individual to fulfil the conditions that will enable him or her to realise the same peace for himself or herself. Though the way is not easy, each step taken is one step nearer to the goal, and the benefits follow immediately. To attain the perfect peace of nibbäna there is no need to wait for death.

The goal of nibbana is extremely subtle. People are generally obsessed by the pursuit of pleasant feelings, or by avoiding unpleasant ones. So the absence of feeling may be imagined as some kind of annihilation or self-denial. Yet feeling is like a raging inferno, consuming all fuel with which it comes into contact. Satisfaction is impossible to achieve by running after feelings. If you spend a few hours in meditation, you can appreciate the peace that comes from not feeding this fire. Then you could perhaps imagine what it would be like to be totally cool!

Practising meditation is like pouring cold water on the fire. Gradually the heat of craving will be reduced and the mind will become more serene. However, practice must be persistent; if you stop pouring water onto the fire and resume heaping on fuel as before, craving will soon reassert itself. Continuity is the secret of success in meditation. First learn the technique, then work hard to improve it. Once you are on the right track, practise repeatedly until practice makes perfect.
"The mind is difficult to control; swift and fickle, it flits wherever it pleases. To tame the mind is good, for a well-tamed mind brings happiness."
"Not by a shower of gold coins can sensual pleasures be satiated; sensual pleasures give little satisfaction and are fraught with evil consequences. Knowing this, the wise man, the disciple of the Buddha, does not delight even in heavenly pleasures, but rejoices in the cessation of craving (nibbäna)."
(Dhammapada vv 35, 186, 187)

Realistic Religion
Buddhism is hundred times more realistic than other religions. It has entered upon the inheritance of objectively and cooly putting up with problems. It came to life after several hundred years of philosophical development. The notion of God is done away with as soon as it appears. Prayer is out of the question. So is asceticism. No categorical imperative. No coercion at all, not even within the monastic community. Hence it also does not challenge to tight against those of different faiths. Its teaching turns against nothing so impressively as against the feeling of revengefulness. animosity and resentment.(Friedrich Nietzche, A German Philosopher)

The Most Perfect Religion
As a student of comparative religions, I believe that Buddhism is the most perfect one the world has ever seen. The philosophy of the Buddha, the theory of evolution and the law of Karma were far superior to any other creed.(Prof. Karl Gustay Jung, a leading psychologist)

Spirit of Investigation
Among the great founders of religions, it was the Buddha alone, who encouraged the spirit of investigation in his followers and warned them, not to accept his teaching with blind faith. Therefore it is not exaggeration to say that Buddhism is the only world religion that can be called modern. (Madam A. David Neel, a French Buddhist Scholar)

Buddhism Is Not an Enemy of Other Religions
Buddhism is not an enemy of other religions, as atheism is believed to be Buddhism indeed is the enemy of none. A Buddhist will recognize and appreciate whatever ethical, spiritual values have been created by God-belief in its long and checkered history. We cannot, however, close our eyes to the fact that the God-concept has served too often as a cloak for man's will to power and the reckless and cruel use of that power, thus adding considerably to the ample measure of misery in this world supposed to be an all-loving God's creation. For centuries, free thought and free research. and the expression of any dissident views have been obstructed and stifled in the alleged service of God. And alas, these and other negative features are not yet entirely things of the past. (Ven. Nanaponika, A German Buddhist Scholar)

Precepts Are Not Commandments
The Buddhist precepts are not commandments in the Christian sense. There is no divine law-giver who raises a threatening finger from behind the clouds. Those precepts are self-given rules of conduct, which the individual voluntarily accepts and endeavours to keep; not to please a God, but for bringing himself morally into conformity with the results of his thinking. (Dr. Paul Dahlke)

Man Who Achieved a Great Victory
One of the first scholars to begin the work of translating the Pali Literature into English, was the son of a well-known clergyman. His object in undertaking the work was to prove the superiority of Christianity Over Buddhism. He failed in this task but he achieved a greater victory than he expected. He became a Buddhist. We must never forget the happy chance which prompted him to undertake this work and thereby make the precious Dhamma available to thousands in the West. The name of this great scholar was Dr. Rhys Davids. (Ven. A. Mahinda, "Blue Print of Happiness")

In reality, truly wise scientists do not reject Buddhism. Anyone who has ever dipped their toe in both science and Buddhism knows that there are many common grounds between the two when it comes to seeking worldly truth. But the other-worldly aspects and the deeper Cause-and-Effect of this world, which Buddhism places more emphasis on, are brand new areas to science. This bookDescription: tries to elucidate the above ideas by comparing similarities and differences between Buddhism and science, and by drawing well-known commentaries on Buddhism from various arenas.
Buddhism is a wisdom, not a religion

Wisdom is described as the understanding of the Four Noble Truths, or the understanding of dependent origination and so forth. What is meant by this is that when we speak of the attainment of wisdom, we are concerned with transforming these items of the doctrine from simple intellectual facts to real personal facts.

According to the Webster's Dictionary, the definition of religion is as follows, "An organized system of beliefs, rites, and celebrations centered on a supernatural being power; belief pursued with devotion." Buddhism is not a religion because: First, the Buddha is not a 'supernatural being power'. The Buddha is simply a person who has reached Complete Understanding of the reality of life and the universe. Life refers to ourselves, and universe refers to our living environment.

The Buddha taught that all beings possess the same ability within to reach Complete Understanding of themselves and their environment, and free themselves from all sufferings to attain utmost happiness. All beings can become Buddhas, and all beings and the Buddha are equal by nature.

The Buddha is not a God, BUT a teacher of men and God, who teaches us the way to restore Wisdom and Understanding by conquering the greed, hatred, and ignorance which blind us at the present moment. 

The word 'Buddha' is a Sanskrit word, when translated it means, "Wisdom, Awareness/Understanding". We call the founder of Buddhism Shakyamuni 'Buddha' because He has attained Complete Understanding and Wisdom of life and the universe. Buddhism and teachings of Buddha bring to us. It is His teaching which shines the way to Buddha-hood.
Second, Buddhism is not a religion because 'belief' in the Buddha's teachings is not blind belief, blind faith, and far from superstition. Shakyamuni Buddha taught us not to blindly believe what he tells us, he wants us to try the teachings and prove them for ourselves. The Buddha wants us to know, not merely believe.

The Buddha's teachings flow from his own experience of the way to understand the true face of life and the universe, and show us a path of our own to taste the truth for ourselves. This is much like a good friend telling us of his trip to Europe, the sights he has seen, and the way to go there and see for ourselves. The Buddha uses a perfectly scientific way of showing us reality in its true form.
Third, Buddhism is not a religion because all the 'rites and celebrations' are not centered on a supernatural being, but rather the people attending the assemblies. The ceremonies and celebrations in Buddhism all serve an educational purpose, a reminder of the Buddha's teachings and encouragement to all students who practice it. 

Finally, Buddhism is not a religion because the 'devotion' used in Buddhism is not one based on emotion, but one based on reason. Students of the Buddha are devoted to their practice of maintaining Purity of Mind because this practice brings true happiness. We are devoted to help others and the Society attain Complete Understanding and Wisdom. Only through Complete Understanding and Wisdom can we realize our true selves and living environment. The Buddha's education is truly not a religion but an education, teaching us the way to break through ignorance and arrive at a perfect understanding of ourselves and everything around us.
Our true Buddhist goal is True Happiness.