Buddhism is a far more complex religion than many who do not know it give it credit. Here are a few facts to better your understanding of the Buddhist faith.

We often think that we understand a religion or faith system, but when we scratch below the surface, we are often surprised to find that we really know very little. Here are some facts about Buddhism which you may not have known:

Young Tibetan Buddhist nun handing out initiation nectar for nuns to drink, traditional red blindfolds, maroon robes, malas, front porch, monks in background, Sakya Lamdre, Tharlam Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism, Boudha, Kathmandu, Nepal

1. There is no one “Buddhism.”

Although millions of people practice Buddhism as their faith, there is no official standard of Buddhist belief, and there are huge differences between many different Buddhist practices. Some include deities, some don’t; some centre on monastic life, and some don’t. Here is a comparison of 2 different schools of Buddhist thought from Religion Facts.

Buddhist Temple

2. Buddhist temples aren’t temples.

They are certainly a centre of holy life, but the main focus is generally not on worship as much as education. There will often be a lecture hall and a library alongside a meditation room.

Empty Hands

3. Monks generally have no possessions.

Not even the shoes on their feet or the robes around their shoulders. They do not work but are instead completely dependent on the generosity of others to eat. Other Buddhists make these donations in order to show compassion and to reach Nirvana.

Empty Box

4. Buddhism isn’t about owning nothing.

That is one of the major misconceptions that people have about Buddhism. They see Buddhist monks, and assume that the goal of a Buddhist is to get rid of all that they care about, renounce their family, and give away their possessions. Although this is an acceptable progression of life, a Buddhist’s true goal is to remove the suffering caused by refusing to let go of things. A Buddhist should not, therefore, grieve at a funeral, bemoan the loss of a job, or expect riches.

Laughing Buddha

5. Buddha isn’t actually a god.

Although many people assume that he is considered to be one by Buddhists, he was only a man who achieved understanding of the world.


Follow the conversation on Twitter