Is The Buddha a god?

The Buddha was born a prince. His mother died soon after giving birth to him. So there is no claim of divinity of any kind. He was an ordinary man with ordinary problems just like you and me. And therefore he is not a god. Nor should he be worshipped as such.

Buddhist iconography was something which arose after his death. And temples are not places of worship. Both of these are created to help us understand his teaching, the dharma, which is we alone can liberate ourselves from unhappiness through attention to the nature of one’s body and mind.

This then means that Buddhism is not about faith but practice. The practice espoused was to look after the mind as much as we look after our body. This Buddhists do through meditation. Meditation does not have any special powers as such but only allows one to focus the mind to see clearly what the mind and body are. Some kind of basic understanding is necessary of course, but essentially it is that everything is impermanent, without self and suffering. Nothing including Buddhism lasts forever. That includes the self which many people cling on to. The self is an illusion. And that is perhaps the greatest of all roots of our suffering. Understand that this is what existence is then we can proceed to find the happiness which does not diminish.

Longevity and Wellbeing

It continues to baffle me why so much emphasis is put on a long life.

Japan’s life expectancy fell to second place behind Hong Kong. The above BBC linked article is typical of this rhetoric.

Words and phrases like “fallen behind” and “topped the rankings” make longevity out as some kind of race and the those living longest are runners.


Is this also why Westerners love to run, because they feel they will live longer by doing so?

Living longer does not make you happier. There are plenty of people who live to a ripe old age but miserably. Equally there are others who live shorter lives but happily.

The previous Dalai Lama quote should remind you of where you will find happiness, and it isn’t in a long life.