Buddhism's Erroneous Beliefs
The erroneous beliefs of Buddhism vary greatly from country to country, because over the past 2500 years, this religion has mingled with the various local religions, customs, and established cultures of countries into which it has spread. Today, the varieties of Buddhism practiced in Japan, China, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and America are all quite different from one another.
As historical sources show, Buddha always chose to speak about his basic tenets and deliver his way of worship orally; centuries of research has determined that he left behind no written texts. Buddhists maintain that his sermons were passed down orally from generation to generation for 400 years, until they were finally compiled in the Pali canon. However, most scholars believe that the great majority of these words are not Buddha's at all, but were added to in the course of centuries until they attained their present form. Therefore Buddhism, not relying on any written texts, underwent many changes and distortions over the course of time, being considerably reshaped by additions and omissions.
Today, Buddhism's holy book, written in the Pali language, is called the Tipitaka, which means "triple basket." It is not known for sure when the Tipitaka was written down, but it is thought to have attained its present shape in Sri Lanka sometime in the first century B.C. Its texts are divided into the following chapters:
1. Vinaya Pitaka: This chapter, meaning "Basket of Discipline," contains rules relevant to priests and nuns and how they should be followed. There are also some matters of relevance to those lay readers who are not priests or nuns.
2. Sutta Pitaka: Most of this volume is composed of talks in which Buddha explained his ideas. For this reason, this chapter is called the "Basket of Discourse." These words of his were passed down through the centuries, becoming mixed with other legends and false beliefs.
3. Abhidhamma Pitaka: This volume contains Buddhist philosophy and interpretations of Buddha's sermons.
Today's Buddhist priests regard these texts as holy; they worship and organize their lives according to them. They portray Buddha as an actual god (God is surely beyond that!), and for this reason, modern Buddhists bow before his statues, place before them offerings of food and flowers, and expect help from them. This is a completely illogical practice, however, and anyone who believes that stone or bronze statues can hear or help is greatly deceived. Later in this book, we examine these basically pagan practices in more detail, and see how Buddhism has become a secret doctrine concentrating on human beings without accounting for questions of how this world's flawless systems function, much less how the entire universe came to be.
An Atheistic Religion
Buddhist philosophy denies the existence of God, but bases itself on a few aspects of human morality and on escaping from sufferings of this world. Without any intellectual or scientific support, it rests upon the twin concepts of karma and reincarnation—the idea that human beings are continually reborn into this world, that their subsequent lives are shaped by their behavior in their previous ones. No Buddhist scripture considers the existence of a Creator, much less how the universe, the world and living things came to be. No Buddhist text describes how the universe was created from nothing; or how living things came into being; or how to explain the evidence, to be seen everywhere in this world, of an incomparable creation. According to the Buddhist deception, it is not even necessary to think about these things! The only important thing in life, Buddhist texts claim, is suppressing desires, revering Buddha, and escaping from suffering.
As a religion, therefore, Buddhism suffers from a very narrow vision that keeps its believers from considering such basic questions as where they came from, or how the universe and all living things came to be. Indeed, it deters them from even thinking about these things and presses them into the narrow mold of their present earthly life.
An Oppressive, Enslaving Religion
Buddhism's attempt to nullify all human desires is another aspect of its narrow philosophy. God created the blessings of this world for human beings' benefit and pleasure, and so that they would give Him thanks in return. For this reason, Islam does not command people to suppress their desires or to endure pain and suffering. On the contrary, it enjoins them to take advantage of the beautiful aspects in the world (apart from base and unlawful behavior), not to restrain themselves needlessly, nor to inflict pain upon themselves. For this reason, God revealed (Qur'an, 7: 157) that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had "relieved his followers of their chains":
Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, making good things lawful for them and bad things unlawful for them, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains which were around them. Those who believe in him and honor him and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful.
In short, Islam is a liberating religion that saves people from useless customs and prohibitions, social pressures and worries about what other people may think. It calls them to lead calm, peaceful lives with the purpose of gaining God's approval. So it is that our Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace), in many of his sayings, advises us to make religion simple and easy.
"Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them)."1
"You have been sent to make things easy (for the people) and you have not been sent to make things difficult for them."2
Buddhism enslaves its devotees in misty monasteries and forces them into a life of suffering and poverty. Strangely, it discourages good food, cleanliness, comfort—the blessings that God has created for human beings—accepts suffering as a virtue and advises its devotees to lead a miserable life.
For Buddhist monks and nuns, life is full of all kinds of difficulties. They are forbidden to work or own property, obliged to feed themselves by going from door to door and begging among the people, with their bowls in their hands. For this reason, Buddhist priests are even called bhikkhus (beggars) by the people. Buddhist priests are forbidden to marry or have any kind of family life; they may own only one robe, which must be of poor quality yellow or red cloth.
Besides this robe, their only other possessions include a hard bed to sleep on, a razor to shave their heads with, a needle case for their own use, a water bottle and a bowl to beg with. They eat only one meal a day, generally consisting of bread and rice flavored with spices, and drink either water or rice milk. They must finish this food before noon and are not allowed to eat anything until the next day. Other foods, even medicines, are regarded as forbidden luxuries. A priest may eat meat, fish or vegetables only if he is sick and then, only with the permission of a higher-ranking priest. In short, Buddhist strictures are a form of self-torture.
This situation is a manifestation of the truth of the verse in the Qur'an (10: 44) that reads, "God does not wrong people in any way; rather it is people who wrong themselves." But to those who believe in Him and submit themselves to Him, God promises a very good life, both in this world and the world to come. To them belong both the blessings of this world and those of the afterlife. According to the Qur'an (7: 32):
Say: "Who has forbidden the fine clothing God has produced for His servants and the good kinds of provision?" Say: "On the Day of Rising, such things will be exclusively for those who believed during their life in this world." In this way, We make the Signs clear for people who know.
Another dark aspect of Buddhism is its pessimism. The "nirvana" it promises to its believers is nothing less than a schizophrenic breaking of all connections with life by a melancholic mind that takes a dim view of the world. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes this aspect of Buddhism in these words:
Another fatal defect of Buddhism is its false pessimism. A strong and healthy mind revolts against the morbid view that life is not worth living, that every form of conscious existence is an evil. Buddhism stands condemned by the voice of nature the dominant tone of which is hope and joy. It is a protest against nature for possessing the perfection of rational life. The highest ambition of Buddhism is to destroy that perfection by bringing all living beings to the unconscious repose of Nirvana. Buddhism is thus guilty of a capital crime against nature, and in consequence does injustice to the individual. All legitimate desires must be repressed. Innocent recreations are condemned. The cultivation of music is forbidden. Researches in natural science are discountenanced. The development of the mind is limited to the memorizing of Buddhist texts and the study of Buddhist metaphysics, only a minimum of which is of any value. The Buddhist ideal on earth is a state of passive indifference to everything.3
Islam does not make its adherents indifferent; on the contrary, it calls them to liveliness, activity, and joy. All those who adopt the teachings of Islam are very sensitive to what goes on around them. They do not regard the world as Buddhism does, as chaos to avert the eyes from, but as a testing place—an arena in which they can put the high moral teachings of the Qur'an into practice. For this reason, Islamic history is full of just and successful leaders who ensured comfortable and happy lives for their people. In sharp contrast, Buddhism produces only wretched adherents who cause themselves suffering, drag themselves and others into passivity and poverty, and whose only solution to the problems they encounter is to immolate themselves. This is one of the biggest games that Satan plays with people.
A Pagan Religion
Buddhism is a pagan religion, inasmuch as it worships idols. It is said that today's Buddhism has been divided into different schools, and that worship of Buddha characterizes only some of them. But even to accept Buddhism as an infallible guide—an error that all schools of Buddhism fall into—is an indication that this religion views Buddha as a god.
According to historical sources, Buddhist priests began to deify Buddha shortly after his death. Statues of him were erected everywhere, and the perverse belief gained strength that Nirvana had actually taken shape in his body and was embodied in these statues. The excessive respect that Buddhist priests paid to Buddha later turned into outright worship. Today, giant statues of him adorn every country where Buddhism is the dominant religion. In many countries from Asia to America, you can see statues and temples with Buddha's eyes painted on them—again, suggesting the message that Buddha sees everything and watches people constantly, and that they should be thinking of him every minute of their lives. Clearly, it's a completely untenable belief that someone who died thousands of years ago can still see those who believe in him, protect them, and listen to their prayers. The basic truth that Buddhists are unable to grasp is that God, Lord of all the Worlds, Who encompasses everything and knows the deepest hidden secrets of all things, created Buddha, like all human beings.
Belief in Karma
The doctrine of karma supposes that everything a person does will have its effect on him sooner or later, and will have a bearing on his so-called next incarnation. According to this belief, people are continually reborn into this world, where they must bear the consequences in that later life of what they did in a former one. Buddhism denies the existence of God and believes that karma is the unique power that governs everything.
Karma is a Sanskrit word that means "act," and refers to the law of cause and effect. According to those who believe in it, a person will experience in the future what he has done in the past, for good or ill. The past is one's former life; the future is supposed to be a new life they will begin after death. According to this belief, anyone who is poor in this life is paying with his poverty the price for evil that he committed in some former life. This superstitious belief also claims that in a later life, an evil person may be "demoted" to rebirth as an animal or even a plant.
One harmful result of believing in karma is that it teaches that present helplessness, poverty and weakness are punishments for a person's moral evils. According to this belief system, if a person is disabled, it's because he has inflicted a similar injury on someone else in a former life and therefore deserves it. This superstitious belief is the main reason why the unjust social structure of the caste system dominated India for so many centuries. (It must be remembered that karma is a Hindu idea, and Buddhism actually arose from Hinduism.) Because the caste system was based on karma, the poor, sick and disabled within India were despised and oppressed. The wealthy high-caste ruling class regarded their own privileges as natural and just.
In Islam, however, being weak is not a retribution; it is accepted as a test from God. Furthermore, other people have the very important duty of helping those who are in need. For this reason, Islam—like Judaism and Christianity, other religions based on divine revelation but that were later altered—has a very strong sense of social justice. But karma-based religions like Buddhism and Hinduism tolerate inequality and pose a great obstacle to social progress.
Karma is based on the belief in reincarnation: the idea that people come back into the world with the same spirit but in a different body. This idea of a "wheel of rebirth" supposes that every life influences a subsequent one. But this belief fails with one single question: how does this karma operate? If Buddhism doesn't accept the existence of God, then who judges a person's former life and sends him back into the world in a new body? This question has no answer! Buddhists believe that karma is a "natural law" that functions by itself, spontaneously, like gravity or thermodynamics. However, it is God Who created all natural laws. No natural law observes what people do throughout their lives, keeps an account, and judges them after death on that basis. No natural law determines, as a result of this judgment, what kind of new life a person will have and re-creates him accordingly; and no natural law imposes this process flawlessly on billions of people, much less animals. Clearly no such natural law exists, and so, neither can such a process exist.
So many people throughout the world believe in reincarnation, even though it has no logical basis, because they have no religious faith. Denying the existence of an infinite afterlife, they fear death and cling to the idea of reincarnation as a way to escape their fear. Belief in reincarnation—like belief in karma—is based in the false consolation that death is nothing to be feared, and that anyone will be able to attain his goals in a new birth.
If reincarnation can't occur on its own, as a natural law, then clearly it could exist only through a supernatural act of creation. But a look at the Qur'an tells us that reincarnation is a myth. The Book that God sent down as a guide to humanity openly declares that reincarnation is false.
Reincarnation According to Islam
As in every other matter, the Muslim point of view regarding to the philosophy of karma must be based on what God says in the Qur'an, which states there is only one birth and resurrection. Everyone lives only once on this earth, and then he dies. In verse 62: 8, our Lord gives the following command:
Death, from which you are fleeing, will certainly catch up with you. Then you will be returned to the Knower of the Unseen and the Visible and He will inform you about what you did.
A person is resurrected after death and, according to all the things he has done and the works he has performed, is rewarded with either eternal Paradise or endless Hell. That is to say, that a human being has one life in this world, and then an everlasting afterlife. God says very clearly in the Qur'an (21: 95) that after he has died, no one will return to this life: "It is ordained that no nation We have destroyed shall ever rise again." And similarly:
When death comes to one of them, he says, "My Lord, send me back again so that perhaps I may act rightly regarding the things I failed to do!" No indeed! It is just words he utters. Behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected. (Qur'an, 23: 99-100)
As these verses show, one part of humanity will die in the hopes of being reborn, but at the moment of their death, it will be revealed to them that this is absolutely impossible. In another verse in the Qur'an (2: 28), God says this about the death and resurrection of human beings:
How can you reject God, when you were dead and then He gave you life, then He will make you die and then give you life again, then you will be returned to Him?
God says that every human being is dead to begin with; that is, he is created out of the basic inanimate elements of soil, water and mud. Then, God "formed and proportioned" this lifeless mass (Qur'an, 82: 7) and brought him to life. At a specific time after the individual has been brought to life, life comes to an end, and he dies. He returns to the earth and decays back into the soil, where he awaits the final resurrection. Everyone will be resurrected on the Last Day when, learning that another return to earth is not possible, he will give an account of all the actions he did in his life. In the Qur'an (44: 56-57), God says that after a human being has come into this world, he will experience only one death: "They will not taste any death there—except for the first one. He will safeguard them from the punishment of the Blazing Fire. A favor from your Lord. That is the Great Victory."
These verses make it clear that death occurs only once. No matter how much people want to overcome their fears of death and an everlasting afterlife and console themselves with false beliefs in karma and reincarnation, the reality is that they won't return to this world after they die. Everyone will die only once and, as God has willed, will have an endless life in the world to come. According to the good or the evil that individuals have done, they will either be rewarded with Paradise, or punished with Hell.
Eternally just, merciful and compassionate, God gives the perfect reward for what everyone has done. If a person seeks comfort in false beliefs because he fears death or the possibility of going to Hell, he will experience certain ruin. Anyone who has intelligent awareness, conscience, and fears in this regard must turn to God with a sincere heart if he hopes to escape the pains of Hell and attain Paradise. He must conform his life to the Qur'an, the true guide for humanity.
Never yet has being old or young, beautiful or rich been able to prevent anyone from dying; and so, no one can disregard death's reality. Whether people disregard that reality or not, it is something they can never avoid.
The throes of death come revealing the truth. That is what you were trying to evade! (Qur'an, 50: 19)
Reading these lines, you may be led to consider the closeness of death. Perhaps death is closer to you than to others; and you may die before you finish reading this book. It may come for no apparent reason, with no illness, accident or age-related cause. God will send the Angel of Death to come at the hour of your departure and take
We must always keep this important fact in mind and never postpone making preparations for death. The Qur'an (63: 11) reminds us that "God will not give anyone more time, once their time has come." Here, God tells us that death cannot be postponed, and He speaks of the sorrow of an individual who meets it:
Give from what We have provided for you before death comes to one of you and he says, "My Lord, if only you would give me a little more time so that I would give charity and be among the righteous!" God will not give anyone more time, once their time has come. God is aware of what you do. (Qur'an, 63:10-11)