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Buddhist Worldview


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The Umbrella of Buddhism
The never-ending debate amongst scholars on whether Buddhism is a religion or a philosophy is not a debate on Buddhism – it is an artificial debate on our biases and heuristics regarding religion and philosophy. The fastidious dichotomy between religion and philosophy that we insist on today did not exist in western civilization until the around the eighteenth century, and there never existed such a dichotomy in eastern civilization [CITE]. To insist that Buddhism must be clearly defined as one thing and not the other amounts to forcing an ancient product into modern packaging. In fundamental Buddhist philosophy, this sort of conceptual categorizing is considered avidyā (state of ignorance or delusion), which is considered one of the causes of all suffering and a barrier to enlightenment (Keown and Prebish 269). Without realizing it, we use preconceived notions about ourselves and about the world around us in order to divide up and break down everything we learn and experience. The first step in the Eightfold Path, one of the most principal teachings of the Buddha, is to cast aside these divisions in our minds so that we may see the true nature of the world (Keown and Prebish 338). In the same way, we must cast aside all of our definitions, labels, and classifications surrounding Buddhism in order to see its true nature. It goes beyond being just a religion or a philosophy. It is a personal, authentic way of being in the world and it encompasses everything we do. It begins with how we understand the true nature of the world and of ourselves; that vision establishes the values that influence the thoughts we think, the choices we make, the words we speak, and the work we do. Buddhism provides the ethical ground for mindful and focused awareness, which in turn further deepens our understanding of the kind of reality we inhabit and the kind of

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