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What is Buddhism?
Latter Day Buddhism

Buddhism is a spiritual quest into the Here and Now; Nothing Special. It is not a belief system. It is about testing, and knowing the actual, immediate, direct experience of this moment. Understanding the Illusion of Self is essential to this quest. The trick is not in understanding who you are, but who you are not.

-- Brian William Drisko, 27-Dec-2007 1414 (incorporating some modified quotes from Steve Hagen)


Our journey must be to awaken here and now, to awaken "to" here and now.
To be fully alive, we must be fully present.

The question is: how do we do it?
First: You must truly realize that life is fleeting.
Second: You must understand that you are already complete, worthy, whole.
Third: You must see that you are your own refuge, your own sanctuary, your own salvation.

-- See: Buddhism Plain and Simple
by Steve Hagen, 1997 Printing, pg 19, paragraphs 5 - 7.


Buddhism is not a belief system. It's not about accepting certain tenets or believing a set of claims or principles. In fact, it's quite the opposite. It's about examining the world clearly and carefully, about testing everything and every idea. Buddhism is about seeing. It's about knowing rather than believing or hoping or wishing. It's also about not being afraid to examine anything and everything, including our own personal agendas.

-- See: Buddhism Plain and Simple
by Steve Hagen, 1997 Printing, pg 8, paragraph 4.


The buddha-dharma does not promise to make our lives problem-free. Rather, it urges us to examine the nature of our problems, what they are and where they come from. The buddha-dharma is not an armchair philosophy. It isn't pipe dreaming. It's about getting down to basics and acting on them.

-- See: Buddhism Plain and Simple
by Steve Hagen, 1997 Printing, pg 16, paragraph 5.


Buddhism doesn't require a belief in God or in a holy scripture to be taken on faith. In fact, Buddha-dharma is not about believing things at all. It's a religious tradition that dates back twenty-five hundred years, but it's not a belief system.

Indeed, any teaching or practice or tradition designed to draw our attention to Truth cannot be based in belief. It can't be about buying into concepts. It can only be about examining, testing, and knowing the actual, immediate, direct experience of this moment.

-- See: Buddhism Is Not What You Think: Finding Freedom Beyon Beliefs
by Steve Hagen, 2003 Printing, Ch 36, p 196, paragraphs 1 & 2.


Buddhism is sometimes called a non-historical religion. In other words, it doesn't tell a story of creation, or speculate that we're heading toward a heaven or afterlife of some kind. Indeed, the buddha-dharma does not speak of beginnings or ends at all. It's more a religion of middles; in fact, it is often called the middle way.

The buddha-dharma would have you start with what is given in your direct experience. It will not ask you to accept a belief, or to attempt to account for some presumed or imagined thing. The buddha-dharma does not ask you to accept particular explanations of how things are. Truth does not need any explanation. It only needs to be seen.

-- See: Buddhism Plain and Simple
by Steve Hagen, 1997 Printing, pg 10, paragraph 5 and Pg 11, paragraph 1.


Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse in his book "What Makes You Not a Buddhist" expresses the essence of Buddhism in four simple points. He presents these to the reader as a set of challenges:

    Can you accept that:

  • all things are impermanent and that there is no essential substance or concept that is permanent?

  • all emotions bring pain and suffering and that there is no emotion that is purely pleasurable?

  • all phenomena are illusory and empty?

  • enlightenment is beyond concepts; that it's not a perfect blissful heaven, but instead a release from delusion?

According to Khyentse, only when you can answer these questions with an unequivocal "yes," can you truly consider yourself a Buddhist.
























Intro  Consider  Initial Q&A  In A Nutshell  Observations  Comments  Reflections  Quotes  Notes  Facebook 
The Aim of Inquiry  Inadequacy of Words  Suffering  What Am I?  The Illusion  Purpose  Seeking  Awakening  Acceptance  Other Quotes 


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