Buddhist scholars Robert E. Buswell Jr. and Donald S. Lopez Jr. review these common misconceptions for Tricycle Magazine. Here are the first three.
- All Buddhists meditate. No! The majority of Buddhists do not meditate. Meditation has been a monastic practice for most of history.
- Buddhists are pacifists. Wrong again! Buddhists have fought against each other at different times in history and against others. For example, Tibetan Buddhist continue to fight against China and fundamental Buddhists are fighting against Muslims today in Burma.
- Buddhism is not a religion. That depends! If you believe that religion must have a creator god, then Buddhism is not religion. On every other count, Buddhism is a religion. As Braswell and Lopez note, "the great majority of Buddhist practice over history, for both monks and laypeople, has been focused on a good rebirth in the next lifetime, whether for oneself, for one’s family, or for all beings in the universe."
You can read about the other misconceptions here at Tricycle Magazine.