I have been trying to think about Buddhism, Scientology and Gaia religions. They do not focus on a God but rather the eternal inner spirit and reincarnation. The best so far I have come up with is “Spiritual” or “Letsism” . Letsism is an unspecified belief in an undetermined transcended reality. Or even “Dianetics” a Set of ideals and practices regarding the relationship between mind and body. Not sure yet.
This is a quote from a Quora answer to What is the term for those who believe in God, but not in religion? and it got me curious.
I know this has been asked before in a couple of different ways, but what is Buddhism?
What is Buddhism? tells us that
Buddhism is a nontheistic religion or philosophy (Sanskrit: dharma; Pali: dhamma) that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on teachings attributed to Gautama Buddha, commonly known as the Buddha ("the awakened one").
The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels:
The Buddha – One who attains enlightenment by oneself, then teaches others to become enlightened;
The Dharma – the theory and practice taught by a self-enlightened Buddha; and
The Sangha – the community who attained enlightenment following the teachings of Buddha.
The answer also points out that Buddhist traditions can incorporate
Devotional practices – non-theistic objects of devotion include the Buddha, past enlightened followers of the Buddha, Bodhisatvas, angels, gods, and living spiritual teachers.
This seems to contradict the Quora quote when it said that Buddhism does not focus on a God.
Is Buddhism a religion? points out through the answers that Buddhism can be seen as a religion, but...
The Buddha did not ask for anyone to take his word with respect to Dhamma - things as they are. He asked people to not blindly obey, to not follow ritual, to not ignore or go against what they directly observe. In this respect, Buddhism is at its core a scientific method.
Most major religions accept testimony of the wise, seers, prophets etc as truths, as well as others from the above link [pramanas]. Buddhism does not.
So, going back to the Quora quote, is Buddhism
- a form of Letsism — an unspecified belief in an undetermined transcended reality?
- a form of Dianetics — a set of ideals and practices regarding the relationship between mind and body? Or,
- aside from "new age Buddhism", is it just purely a spiritual teaching based on a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects?