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Just to remind you, with the gift season coming up:
Once a learned friend of a skeptical turn of mind with a penchant turn for discussion said with magisterial emphasis:
Excuse me Ariyadhamma, your Buddhism is not a religion at all, it is only a system of philosophy.
A.D.: Thank you for the small mercy my friend; but pray: How do you define the word religion?
Friend: My definition in terms of the derivation of the word is: A binding or an abiding relationship between man and his God.
A.D.: I am free to admit that according to your definition, Buddhism is not a religion, as it has been put together without the concepts of God and Soul. On the contrary, I claim this very reason as Buddhism's chief merit.
Friend: Well then on your part, what is your definition of religion?
A.D.: As for myself, I define religion simply as a mode of salvation from the ills of life.
Friend: That in all conscience is wide enough to include all religions of all time, and covers even Mathew Arnold's famous definition of religion as: "Morality touched with emotion". I must now admit that in terms of your definition Buddhism is a religion par excellence.
A.D.: Bear with me my friend; Why do you say Buddhism is only a philosophy?
Friend: For the simple reason that you Buddhists are experts in philosophizing.
A.D.: That may be a good ground for calling Buddhists mere philosophists, but not for saying that Buddhism is only a philosophy.
Friend: Surely you can give the reason yourself better than I can hope to do. Do oblige without more ado.
A.D.: The Four Noble Truths form the basis on which, as you know, is founded the whole system. The first Three Truths formulate the Philosophy and the Fourth Truth supplies the ethic or morality. So that all the Four Truths taken together make Buddhism a perfect system of religion.
Friend: I am afraid you are all too brief. Do you mind expatiating a little more?
A.D.: The crowning glory of the Buddha's supreme Enlightenment is without doubt the unique doctrine of Paticcasamuppada or Dependent Genesis, with its mind-staggering corollary of The Patthana, containing Twenty-four Modes of Correlation, which are elaborated with an infinitude of detail - The Paticca-Samuppada taken in regular order is an exposition of the philosophy of the First and Second Noble Truths of Sorrow and the cause of Sorrow. So it is aptly called Vatta-Kata or description of the wheel of life. Paticcasamuppada, viewed in reverse order explains the Third Noble Truth of the Cessation of Sorrow -
Now my friend, you will find more than enough of philosophy in Buddhism.
Friend: I have a surfeit of it already. The difficulty is to digest it all.
A.D.: Nil desperandum, my friend. Remember that if a thing is easy, it is certainly not worthwhile. The converse is equally true.
Friend: I prefer a thing, he who runs may lead - something less high-brow.
A.D.: I wish you better luck next time, but seek it elsewhere. You seem to be in a hurry. I will not detain you. Au revoir!
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