Buddhism as a religion, philosophy,psychology
and a science
- Piyadassi Thera
Buddhism as a Religion
To all Buddhists the question of religion and its origin, is not a metaphysical one. But a philosophical and an intellectual one. Religion is no real creed or a code of revelation or fear of the unknown fear of a supernatural being who rewards and punishes his good deeds and ill deeds. In other words it is not a theological concern. But rather a philosophical and an intellectual concern resulting from the experience of suffering, conflicts, unsatisfactoriness of the empirical existence of the nature of life. The Buddhist way of life is an intensed process of cleansing one's speech action and thought. It is self development and self-purification resulting in self-realization. The emphasis is on practical results and not on mere philosophical speculation or logical abstraction or even mere cogitation.
Buddhism as a Philosophy
From the point of view of philosophy, Buddha was not concerned with the problems that have worried philosophers both of the East and West from the beginning of history. He was not concerned with metaphysical problems which only confused man and upset his mental equilibrium. Their solution he knew will not free mankind from suffering from the unsatisfactory nature of life. That was why the Buddha hesitated to answer such questions as "Is the world eternal or not ?" "Has the world an end or not?" What is the origin of the world?" So on and so forth.
Buddhism as a Psychology
Buddhism also is the most psychological of religions. It is significant that the intricate workings of the human mind are more fully dealt with in Buddhism rather than in any other religion and therefore psychology works hand in hand with Buddhism than with any other religion. Is Buddhism related to modern psychology ? one may ask. Yes, but with some differences.
Buddhism is more concerned with the curative rather than the analysis. Psychology helps us to understand life intellectualy. Meditation goes beyond the intellect to the actual experience of life itself. Through Meditation the Buddha had discovered the deeper universal melodies of the human heart and mind.
Buddhism as a Science
The remarkable insight into the workings of the mind derived through investigation makes the Buddha the supreme psychologist cum scientist.
Admittedly, his way of arriving at these truths of mental life is not that of a experimentalist. Yet, what the Buddha had discovered remains true and infact has been corroborated by the experimentalists. But the purpose of engaging in these inquiries is quite different from that of the scientist. The statement of the Buddha about nature of the mind and matter are directed towards specific ends. They are simply the deliverance of man, supreme security from bondage of suffering.