I've never had any religion throughout my childhood and adolescence, and at the age of 18 I had my first contacts with buddhism; It seemed fascinating, and I kept reading about all the things I could find about it. Everything just seemed right, because I was truly convinced by this idea that the truth lies within, and I just saw the buddha as someone who had found it. It seemed to be the "no trust-my-words religion".

Recently I bought a buddhism book. It was an interesting reading, but somethings were discussed that I haddn't seen with this emphasis: karma and rebirth in other worlds.

The thing is that, after that, I became VERY skeptical when I learned that those things come from hinduism. It seems to be the religion that existed before buddhism, and it has karma, it has the samsara, the liberation (which is a little different), the worlds, the gods... And it's just seems as though the current culture at the time and location buddhism took place influenced buddhism itself, poisoning it with the same kind of dogmas other religions have - man-made dogmas, made up truths.

In short, my problem is that following buddhism started to seem like following christianity, or islam - just another religion that it's followers think they are right and everyone else is wrong. Why is buddhism any different? It seemed right, now it feels overwhelming and almost crazy. I want to follow buddhism, but those hindu concepts make it become yet another trust-my-word religion. I'm seriously disappointed.

  • 1
    (1) the law of karma in buddhism is not only original, but very different from the law of karma of other religions (such as the vedic traditions) -- they almost only share the same word: "karma". (2) Buddhism does not ask for your faith, not like other religions; if you have reservation about rebirth and karma, then it invites you to scrutinize it and see if they are true (or put it aside, as in secular buddhism). (3) until you read the suttas and study buddhism, it will be something you see from other people's opinions and you will have to believe instead of know
    – user382
    Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 17:21
  • 3
    Question is reopened.
    – user2424
    Commented Feb 12, 2016 at 3:49
  • if you can't apply buddha's teaching to your life then faith will not do you any good. there's nothing of faith involved. you have to really want what he achieved. and in order to for you to achieve that, you have to understand the instructions. if you think you understand the instructions and still can't achieve what you think it is he achieved then you might as well forget it...
    – blue_ego
    Commented Aug 19, 2022 at 15:32

11 Answers 11


Everything just seemed right, because I was truly convinced by this idea that the truth lies within, and I just saw the buddha as someone who had found it.

Buddhism is about the psychology of suffering in life and the way to overcome it.

karma and rebirth in other worlds

Karma is that each action will have a reaction in a the future. E.g. if you seek a life of crime then jail time may follow though many who do not expect to be caught.

We have to at least believe in this world. There is the human realm and the animal realm which we can directly see. The possibility of other worlds seam illogical just for some time leave them aside. As you see many and verify much of what the Buddha though through pratice then you can start believing them and also perhaps which might be beyond your experience and you might not be able to experience everything the Buddha experience himself. If the belief does not come, belive what is logical and what you experienced. One of the main ways to experience there aspects of the teaching beyond the normal sphere of comprehension is through mediation.

It seems to be the religion that existed before buddhism, and it has karma, it has the samsara, the liberation (which is a little different), the worlds, the gods

Hinduism had these aspects but Buddhism is completely different. A lot of things which are at the core of Hinduism was rejected by the Buddha. He accepted what was true.

Leave aside that may not be logical for the time being and pratice until you have verified facts through your experience. Experiencing the teaching will reinforce your belief.

  • Cause and effect isn't linear so one shouldn't consider it so to be. There are many variables that determine an outcome the laws you describe are a construct of humanity not natural law.
    – Motivated
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 6:35
  • The cause in Buddhism is the root condition (greed, hatred, delusion, non greed, non hatred, non delusion). What you can understand is the past cause giving results now to which you react creating new cause for future results. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 6:46
  • The challenge though is the contextual use of the terms and often words being homonymic. What is greed to you, may be selfless to others, etc. Who bears the responsibility is defining what is greed and what isn't?
    – Motivated
    Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 6:56
  • It is the sensations or what is feld define them. If you receive something and you feel happy and unhappy when you part with it then there is greed. If the feeling is unpleasant when you receive something and happy when you part then hatred and if it is neutral then it is ignorance. Commented Feb 16, 2016 at 7:13

One of the beauty about Buddhism is "Don't just believe, but find the truth by yourself" (as I paste below).

The Kalama Sutta states (Pali expression in parentheses):

  • Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing (anussava),
  • nor upon tradition (paramparā),
  • nor upon rumor (itikirā),
  • nor upon what is in a scripture (piṭaka-sampadāna)
  • nor upon surmise (takka-hetu),
  • nor upon an axiom (naya-hetu),
  • nor upon specious reasoning (ākāra-parivitakka),
  • nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over (diṭṭhi-nijjhān-akkh-antiyā),
  • nor upon another's seeming ability (bhabba-rūpatāya),
  • nor upon the consideration, The monk is our teacher (samaṇo no garū)
  • Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness," enter on and abide in them.'

This is what happens when you create too many expectations of something that is only in your mind. Why don't you take whatever you read with a pinch of salt and figure it out for yourself? Buddha advised people to practice for themselves. If buddhism was somehow influenced by other religions, then it cannot be original, and therefore it is not truthful <-- how did you arrive at this conclusion? Buddha himself said that he figured out a few things that was already found with a few differences in understanding and not the original. He explained it more scientifically and simply to regular people with a few practices (and in Pali instead of Sanskrit) so they could practice it. Regular people don't get the flowery language of the Vedas.

And the caste system in India was not stupid. It was meant to create well defined roles for people for all walks of society for all professions. It is the perception of the invaders of India that changed the whole landscape. Sounds like you need more reading to back up your claims.

I came across another answer which said something about learning say, a topic like Calculus. You would go to a textbook and pick up information and build from there. You wouldn't for example, say, HOW did this author know what Calculus is? HOW do they know the proof for something?


It is not that I suggest you to actually negate rebirth (that would be disparaging Buddha Dharma), but you do not have to admit it either. And while not dwelling on the notion of rebirth itself, you might find the space to take a step back and look at your own mind, so as to come to know "Why do I react in this way? How do I relate to rebirth in this way? Why does it make me feel the way it does? why do I see my not accepting rebirth as a problem? Why is accepting rebirth a problem for me?"

You can even try to determine why truth is important to you, why doubt makes you feel restless, and so forth. The descriptions of doubts and its functions that we find in the abhidharma is for us to come to know that.

Karma pushes us to look where we look, and to pay attention to this and not that. So, knowing that, you can approach the notion of karma in this meditative (yogic) way. Check what you look at when you open your eyes... check how you look at things, what kind of world you see, and what do you see when you look at the world.

I would advise you to adopt that practical stand. Ask yourself "where do my dislikes, liking, tendencies come from ? from where do my pleasant and unpleasant feelings come from? how come that I tend to look in that direction and in this way? how come I pay attention to this and that while not paying attention to other things?"

Do your dislkies, your liking, and so forth, arise without a cause? If they manifest in dependence upon causes and conditions, what are theses causes and conditions? Really, karma was taught for us to pay attention to the course our mind takes... the rivers in which it flows (a river which we ourselves dug)... and to help us set a positive, wholesome course for it to take. If Dharma is no antidote, it is not Dharma.


Your question is based on a false premise. Hinduism did not precede Buddhism; it followed it. Hinduism dates from 200 BCE approximately. The Buddha died about 400 BCE. It is the Hindu pretension to antiquity that is "made up." See Wikipedia, "Classical Hinduism," s.v. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism#Origins. Be careful that your disappointment is not with Buddhism, but with your own erroneous beliefs about what Buddhism is.

  • totally wrong, did you studied a little of history before writing? Commented Jul 9, 2020 at 10:19

Dhiego Magalhães: "I just wanted something I can trust, and now I don't see much sense in trusting buddha over jesus"

is there anything in the Dhamma which you can positively and cogently disprove to substantiate your lack of trust?

as for me, i don't over-rationalize about things outside of my range, i gravitate towards the tenets which i can understand and accept easily and that's still more than enough for seeing a sage in the Buddha and putting trust in his Dhamma


From my understanding, the Buddha expounded the Four Noble Truths in a practical way. In the Simsapa Sutta, he uses a simile with a handful of leaves, saying:

"In the same way, monks, those things that I have known with direct knowledge but have not taught are far more numerous [than what I have taught]. And why haven't I taught them? Because they are not connected with the goal, do not relate to the rudiments of the holy life, and do not lead to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding. That is why I have not taught them.

In any religion, the peripheral teachings aim at some direct purpose. In Buddhism, this purpose is either fortunate rebirth or ultimate liberation from karma [Dalai Lama, p.20].

From the point of view of emptiness, a significant Buddhist concept, one might consider the relativity of the situation. Religion isn't 100% synonymous with the teachings of the Buddha himself. Religions are made up of parts, and any singular part cannot be said to embody the religion as a whole: the parts which you view as Hindu aren't necessarily truly Buddhist. Even within the Hindu religion, there are variants and discrepancies.

The distinction made, similarly, between human dogmas and truths might be specious. All these truths and ideas interact in such a way that to clearly delineate them might be somewhat misguided. It might appear this way, but the reality is different.

Even the solidity of your apprehensions, their relation to a self, or their status as views might come into question under the light of contemplation. Contrarily to worldly facts -- such as the existence or non-existence of gods, or the goodness or badness of dogmas -- the investigations proper to Buddhism usually transcend such partial conclusions. With a certain investigation into reality, referential points might change, merge, or alter in ways invalidating previous modes of questioning.

In Buddhism, a reliance on this type of insight into reality itself moves the practitioner forwards, whereby experience with focused mediation (shamatha) and insight meditation (vipassana) continuously familiarizes one with reality, in a tangible rather than metaphysical way. Without such an immediate perception and without such a practice, everything may remain at the conceptual level. It is the experience of Buddhism, not its abstraction, that brings the cessation of suffering.

I will end by saying it is difficult to express skepticism to a phenomenological experience, such as colors, or sounds. With insights of the same nature, the notion of skepticism becomes moot: realities are seen as they are, rather than through categorical and conceptual lens.


If you just do a bit of meditating, stick the the 8 precepts (equivalent to the 10 commandments) and get your head round the whole (not actually) suffering thing, then you are sorted. Secular buddhism is another name for this. No supernatural (rebirth, karma, etc) stuff. Admittedly it reduces it to almost a self help book but that is fine. You are not losing anything really.

In short, be a good boy/girl, meditate and be happy with your lot in life. That is essentially what the bhudda said.

Read some Brad Warner and Stephen Batchelor.



I think I get where you're coming from: you believe that 'karma' is ossified dogma, and not why you had faith in Buddhism.

If you are entirely unconvinced by dependent origination, or rebirth, then I would suggest seeing "karma" as a fictional means to think about good and evil.


India, at the time Buddha was preaching, was teeming with many ideas similar to Buddha's ideas. See Śramaṇa for details on the Śramaṇa movement in India. All of these were competing ideas, and the only ideas that have survived till now among the 6 Śramaṇa schools mentioned in Buddhist texts are Jainism and Buddhism. My short advice to you - forge your own path and be a light to yourself. Why do you need somebody to follow when you can be your own teacher? Look deep and you will find all the answers you need. Many people like Buddha have existed on this earth and will continue to do so far into the future. Be a Buddha yourself. Good Luck.


It's all generally misunderstood.

Birth and death relates to action/withdrawal and stuff like that (yin/yang). Karma is the energy that gets stuck after an action without the proper withdrawal. It's why you see old people with so many issues because it builds up throughout their whole life.

Anyone who thinks karma has something to do with reincarnating into a rodent has absolutely no idea.

  • I'm sorry Cameron, What you have Mentioned about Karma does not belong to any form of Buddhism.
    – Theravada
    Commented Feb 24, 2016 at 23:09
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    As I said, it's generally misunderstood. That is unfortunate. Since there is nothing other than the present moment, then it is clear that karma is generated in the present moment. The question is then how is it generated and how is it released. The idea that you'll reincarnate into an animal is a BELIEF and serves no purpose. The concept of action/withdrawal is a blanket for absolutely everything that happens in creation. You could also say that energy arises and returns. This is not buddhist, taoist, or whatever. It's just how it is. It is observable right now.
    – Cameron
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 7:10
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    The idea of reincarnation is the very reason that we Buddhists follow Lord's words, Because we are afraid of the Samsara that's full of agony and suffering. As Lord Buddha said one must loose the attachments to reach nirvana and if you ask why i should do that the answer is simple, Because to be born is to suffer. Believing in the Reincarnation concept is taught as an essential factor to reach Shraddha. That concept is the very reason that push a being more into the path
    – Theravada
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 17:56
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    It indeed does push people into the path. Those that are posting here are on the path, so now I'm telling you all that it's not necessary to hold on it since you're already on the path. Beliefs and longing for Nirvana in the future generate suffering right now. Resultantly, people tend to lose focus on what's happening presently, and hence the cycle of birth and death continues. I see this all over this stack exchange. Almost nobody is interested in asking questions directly related to the application of fundamental Buddhist concepts. Heads in the clouds, it seems.
    – Cameron
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 23:14
  • Longing for Nirvana is considered a good thing in Buddhism & it is also the only form of longing or suffering that is appreciated in Buddhism. Here in Buddhism SE we talk about a lot of things and it may seem like most of us are talking about worldly things, that's because we are actually helping a lot of new Buddhists here. And i must say that even the people who achieved goals in path took interest in worldly matter when the influences of those matters can effect path of fellow travelers of the path. You can see good examples in "Sutra Pitaka". And that's what we are doing here.
    – Theravada
    Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 18:09

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