Did Gautama Buddha really intend to create a new religion?

Was it because he was disillusioned with the prevalent religious practices, rituals and teachings of his time?

  • 3
    This seems likely to generate opinions, rather than factual answers. Jul 2, 2014 at 9:49
  • This question was edited by a moderator to remove language that can be construed as offensive. Please do not revert back to the original version.
    – ruben2020
    Jul 6, 2021 at 6:36

6 Answers 6


As Ven. Yuttadhammo said, this question definitely generates more opinions then answers. I will attempt to show what the Buddha himself talks about the goals of his creation.

Maha-parinibbana Sutta: Last Days of the Buddha

"For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until my bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen, have come to be true disciples — wise, well disciplined, apt and learned, preservers of the Dhamma, living according to the Dhamma, abiding by the appropriate conduct, and having learned the Master's word, are able to expound it, preach it, proclaim it, establish it, reveal it, explain it in detail, and make it clear; until, when adverse opinions arise, they shall be able to refute them thoroughly and well, and to preach this convincing and liberating Dhamma.'

"For the Blessed One, O Lord, spoke these words to me: 'I shall not come to my final passing away, Evil One, until this holy life taught by me has become successful, prosperous, far-renowned, popular, and widespread, until it is well proclaimed among gods and men.' And this too has come to pass in just this way. So, O Lord, let the Blessed One come to his final passing away, let the Happy One utterly pass away! The time has come for the Parinibbana of the Lord."

As we can see the concept of a thriving fourfold assembly (Bhikkhus, Bhikkhunis, Lay disciples of both genders) was an important goal of the Buddha's wandering for 40+ years. In this section above Mara is trying to get the Buddha to renounce his final body and exit stage left, years before the Buddha told him he would not do this until the holy life and the fourfold assembly are prosperous and now towards the very end they are.

Now did the Buddha want to create the "ism" that is Buddhism? That is where personal debate comes in and goes beyond the scope of this question. Personally I think much of the "ism" today is far from the original teachings and vision of the Buddha, other's may think differently. I personally don't think of my dhamma practice as "Buddhism".. I like to use what the Buddha himself called his practice:

The name the Buddha gave to the spiritual path he taught was "Dhamma-vinaya" — the Doctrine (Dhamma) and Discipline (Vinaya).


Gautama Buddha wanted to understand the ultimate truth and he understood it. He tried to find it through other religions but couldn't. So by meditation he was able to find it by himself.


Yes, creating a Sasana is one of the main occupations of a fully awakened Buddha. If he didn't want to introduce a religion to the world which people can follow and attain enlightenment, he wouldn't have preached the Vinaya pitaka.


On a more historical note, thinking about this religion or that religion is a very modern view. Brahmanism of that area was part of law, medical science, culture etc. So the only thing one can say with confidence was that he challenged the status-quo and provided an alternative.


Buddha never started a new religion. He just taught what he found. Buddha himself a Hindu and surrounding him were Hindus. Buddha understood concept of God is not solution for man's problems/sufferings and only man can solve man's problems/sufferings. Buddha realized there are cure for many problems and some doesnt, however suffering can be removed in both cases. So he identified causes of suffering (The Four Noble Truths) and solution {The Noble Eight-fold Path) to eliminate suffering. Buddha emphasized not to look for external help (either from God or from other human beings). One has to do himself.

Buddha never like unrealistic things like heaven, gods kingdom, saving from sin etc.

  • 2
    Isn't it rather, that -what we call "Hinduism"- is a historically much later concept? As I understood things, the main "religion" was this Brahmanism (derived from the Vedic) and there was a concurring movement of "samanism" (which was around the Buddha's time and later collected and formalized as "Upanishad"). I've recently found an article (don't have the ref. at hand) where it was suggested, that that samanism was a relict from the native religiosity (which was replaced by the indo-aryan "invasion"(?better term?)) and partially even contrary to Brahmanism in ethics and spiritual goals. May 2, 2016 at 8:17
  • For something historic about "Hinduism" see perhaps en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism#Periodisation May 2, 2016 at 9:14

Buddhas do not start a religion. Disciples who have not attained Truth, and consequently who do not have identity create one. Organized religion is a set of individuals/organizations who market Truth. Truth does not need religion but its the other way round.

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