Dear Dr Trinh,
I discovered Buddhism a short time ago and I admit that I sometimes come up against what could appear to be paradoxes. Thus, some people evoke a religion – you yourself speak of “pragmatic religion” – while others refuse this label and stick to a philosophy. Can you tell me how to qualify Buddhism?
Doctor Dinh Hy Trinh: Dear Yuri,
This is a frequently asked question, and one that I also asked myself when approaching Buddhism. Now the answer has become clearer and more obvious to me.
Buddhism was initially a philosophy, a doctrine of life, a path of wisdom taught by a man, a spiritual master, Siddhartha Gautama. A few hundred years later, with the appearance of the Mahayana in particular, it took on the aspect of a religion, with the worship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, the veneration of the sacred Scriptures and the practice of religious rites within Buddhist churches. .
Nevertheless, the two aspects always coexist, and it is up to everyone to apprehend it from the facet that suits them best and that they have chosen.
But what does it matter, after all? As Shakespeare said, “What's in a name? What we call rose by any other name would smell just as good.”