I think of Buddhism as existing, and being able to be followed, without beliefs. The Eightfold Path can be followed even if one believes in a creator god who will save him after death. Buddhism can help one now, and it certainly can’t hurt after death. Even if a person didn’t believe in an afterlife at all, being a better person by practicing the Eightfold Path won’t cause any additional suffering, and at best, can lead to a happier life now. Perhaps the only belief necessary is that the Eightfold Path can lead to the end of suffering. But even that isn’t absolutely necessary, because the Buddha himself taught to try the Dharma for oneself. Don’t accept what anyone else taught or wrote – even him. Try reproducing the Buddha’s path and see if you can replicate his results. Viewing Buddhism as a grand experiment, then, no belief is required.
Ven. Dr. Myodo Jabo (Sandy Gougis) is a Zen Master and Priest in the Five Mountain Zen Order. She began studying Theravâdin Buddhism in 1998, adding Zen in 2003, and Vajrayana Buddhism in 2008. She currently practices in both the Zen and Tibetan traditions. Her Zen teacher is Most Ven. Wonji Dharma of the Five Mountain Zen Order, and her Tibetan guru is Lama Tsultrim Allione of Tara Mandala. In her free time, Myodo enjoys painting, jewelry making, and other creative endeavors. View All Posts