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 Definition Spiritual tradition founded on the teachings of the Buddha. [d] [e]
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Would an administrator please take out the "content from wikipedia" warning? It's no longer true. Shanya Almafeta 09:43, 30 January 2007 (CST)

Western lay terms


I'm thinking of explicating Buddhism further, in Western lay terms. I don't want to pollute the the intro, but I think it would benefit from revisions. How to proceed? Revisions? Forks?

Also, is there a better way to plan/collaborate than this "Edits" wiki?

Thanks in advance,

Lee Rodgers 10:58, 15 August 2007 (CDT)

Lee, that's an interesting idea, although I'm not entirely sure that I know what "Western lay terms" will entail. I'm curious to see what you come up with.—Nat Krause 01:37, 29 August 2007 (CDT)


I made some changes to the intro. The phrase "kshatriya or nobleman of the Brahmin class" seemed a bit odd, since "kṣatriya" and "brāhman" are normally mutually exclusive. I decided that the entire mention of caste is unnecessary in the opening sentence, especially since Andrew Skilton argues that caste may not have been firmly established among the Budda's people. I also removed the mention of the Buddha's age at the time of enlightenment, since this is also irrelevant to the history of Buddhism and it is not a matter of historical fact, either.—Nat Krause 22:19, 12 November 2007 (CST)

Sally forth, Nat. The entire article is a bit of a horror, so whatever help we can lend it would be a grace. Blessings... --Michael J. Formica 11:19, 13 November 2007 (CST)

Expansion of Siddhartha Gautama, Eightfold Path, Four Noble Truths

I added stubs for the above three topics, and moved and expanded upon the biographical content on Siddhartha Gautama currently on this page into the stub on the same topic. Simon Overduin 09:38, 26 December 2007 (CST)

Per the CZ:Naming conventions policy, the page Siddhartha Gautama has been redirected to a new page, Buddha. --Michael J. Formica 13:00, 26 December 2007 (CST)

Reworking article

Hello all-- I was going to start stubbing some of the other Buddhist (and religion) topics, until I reread this article. It needs a lot of work! I am going to start overhauling and fleshing out this article; if there are any claims I remove or rephrase that folks would prefer I left in, let me know and we can work something out. Thanks, Brian P. Long 10:06, 11 April 2008 (CDT)

Reversion to the "original context of Buddhism" section

I reverted some edits made by Suva Shrestha to the "original context of Buddhism" section. These edits were based on a faulty premise, that "Islam and Hinduism were the two religions widespread in South Asia" during the early phase of Buddhism. Buddhism was established roughly ca. 500 - 400 BCE, while Islam was established nearly a thousand years later.—Nat Krause 23:39, 17 July 2008 (CDT)


I think the 1st thing we need to do is decide on a structure for the article. Possibilities:

  1. historical: this seems to be the most popular among scholars; maybe we should follow it for just that reason, as this is supposed to be a scholarly encyclopaedia; advantage is that it puts the present state of Buddhism in context; disadvantage is that it's longer, covering past as well as present;
  2. by schools: Olson, The Different Paths of Buddhism, does this;
  3. topical: Lopez, (The Story of) Buddhism, does this; his arrangement is interpretative, representing a particular point of view, eg including Pure Land in the chapter on enlightenment; a different topical arrangement is what we've been trying on Wikipedia recently; frankly, quite a mess
  4. hybrid: some books do this, but I suspect it wouldn't work too well in a short account
  5. any others?

Peter Jackson 10:54, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Peter, as a reader, I would first want to know about Buddhism today, what it is, the beliefs, practices, rituals, "denominations" or "sects", etc, with a hint of history. Subsequent paragraphs could then explain history and the splintering off of sects through the ages. Just my opinion, I won't be working on the article at all except reading for typos later. David E. Volk 16:28, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

OK, people have had plenty of time to comment. I'm now going to start rewriting the article in accordance with option 2 above, which concentrates on present-day Buddhism as recommended by David above & Brian Long on my talk page. This is also probably the simplest way. Peter Jackson 10:25, 3 November 2008 (UTC)

No True Scotsman fallacy

The part about 'Real Buddhism' strikes me as a big No True Scotsman fallacy, where anyone who is not fully tolerant is defined out of being Buddhist. The article says, for instance, that no wars have ever been fought in the name of Buddhism. I can't think up a counter-example to this statement, but other religious groups could quite easily argue the same thing by adding the 'real' prefix. Real Christians have never started a war in the name of Christianity - depending on the value of real. I've removed it. Feel free to restore it, but I'd certainly be interested in seeing a footnote appended. --Tom Morris 20:57, 29 October 2008 (UTC)

I suppose it depends on what one means by "in the name of," but the so-called "Great Fifth" Dalai Lama, Ngakwang Lozang Gyatsho (1617-82), certainly waged war, against Muslims as well as against Buddhists of sects other than his own, e.g. through his surrogate commander Güüshi Taiji, and committed all sorts of other violence, in his successful quest to conquer Tibet and establish a Buddhist (and specifically Gelugpa) theocracy there. It would be interesting to watch an argument to the effect that someone with the title "Dalai Lama" was not a "real" Buddhist! Here's a nice example of his orders on how to treat his enemies, quoted in an article by Indiana University Tibetan historian Elliot Sperling:
Make the male lines like trees that have had their roots cut;
Make the female lines like brooks that have dried up in winter;
Make the children and grandchildren like eggs smashed against rocks;
Make the servants and followers like heaps of grass consumed by fire;
Make their dominion like a lamp whose oil has been exhausted;
In short, annihilate any traces of them, even their names.
(One might almost think the Great Fifth plagiarized it from the scriptures of a completely different religious tradition -- specifically, from the 58th Psalm.)
Then there are the Buddhist connections of important elements of the imperial Japanese military in World War 2, which were the subject of an important scholarly book a few years back (I can't recall the title at the moment but will try to find it).
This is not to say that certain (large, important) parts of the Buddhist tradition haven't been pacifist, nor that the living Dalai Lama holds the same views as his 17th-century Fifth incarnation. But yeah, Buddhism (like the Abrahamic religions and others) has been around for a long time, among diverse peoples, and has been put to many different uses, not all of which have been remotely pacifistic. Bruce M.Tindall 04:37, 30 October 2008 (UTC)
Absolutely right, both of you. I might add
  1. wars between Japanese sects
  2. war by King Dutthagamani of Ceylon against the Tamils
  3. war by King Anuruddha of Burma against the Mon after their king refused to supply him with scriptures & images (if that isn't a religious war what is?)
More generally, we need to avoid imposing a Western idea of Buddhism that dismisses the beliefs & practices of most real live Buddhists as not "real" Buddhism, just "ignorant peasant superstition", a "corruption of the true message of the Buddha" & similar categories. All this sort of thing violates neutrality policy. Peter Jackson 10:54, 30 October 2008 (UTC)


OK, I've made a 1st rough attempt. See #Structure for rationale. Note also that this arrangement can avoid bias between schools simply by allocating them space roughly in proportion to their numbers of followers. That of course doesn't prevent biased descriptions of schools.

I've deleted most of the doctrine section as it's just a particular point of view.

I hope this revision will stimulate discussion. Peter Jackson 11:25, 3 November 2008 (UTC)


I'm restructuring the article using Baha'i Faith as a model, since that article was largely written by an editor, so can be provisionally assumed to be the way such articles should be written. OF course it may be that different religions should be treated differently but there's nobody to give a ruling on that. So far I've made only minimal changes to the pattern, but there's a lot of writing to do. Peter Jackson 17:41, 16 December 2010 (UTC)


Would it be appropriate to use CE/BCE for this rather than AD/BC?Gareth Leng 11:37, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

I don't know. Is there a policy on this? If not, that's something the EC might want to think about. I tend to use the traditional forms simply because they'll be more familiar to the readership. Peter Jackson 11:46, 21 December 2010 (UTC)
No fast policy, but secular articles mainly use CE/BCE, while BC/AD is retained for articles relating to Christianity. There's been extensive discussion on this in the past, but I think the general feeling then was that the religion workgroup especially should be free to make decisions on an article by article basis, noting and respecting authors views. There's been no wish to be dogmatic about this; I just thought I'd mention it, and it's something that you could certainly put to the EC.Gareth Leng 14:31, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Pure Land

I was recently at a talk on Buddhism given by someone who identified himself as a Pureland/Pure Land Buddhist. The account he gave (and he did seem well-read) of this strand seemed very different from the brief description here, more like a reductionist or semi-secularised version. I realise it is difficult to say anything remotely definitive, but I wonder whether something could be said about how Pure Land Buddhism has developed in the West. --Martin Wyatt (talk) 15:30, 2 July 2022 (CDT)

See the edit I just made. A general article on Buddhism really can't cope with that sort of thing. It's actually unsurprising if you think about it. Much the same is happening with Christianity.
More specifically, there's not much PLB among Westerners (as distinct from immigrants and their descendants). Most of them have probably never even heard of it. The (Western-biased) WP article on Buddhism has sections on Theravada, Zen and Vajrayana, which they treat as synonymous with Tibetan Buddhism, which is only one of its meanings. No section on PLB, though it seems to be the most popular form of Buddhism. Peter Jackson (talk) 04:57, 4 July 2022 (CDT)
"Overwhelming diversity" indeed matches my experience of Buddhism in the U. S. I think that the sentence you added is accurate, based on my personal experience with a half dozen different groups operating within driving range of my home in NJ. Pat Palmer (talk) 15:54, 4 July 2022 (CDT)