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Q1. When a religion is defined as relegare, is Buddhism or Jainism a religion? What are the criteria for an organisation to be called a religion? Should there be a transcendental reality in a religion? Discuss.


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  • jaish

    The possibility of ‘religion without God’ is dependent upon the definition of religion and the concept of God. It is very difficult to give a proper definition to religion but western philosopher like Galloway, Martineau, Flint etc. have defined religion and related with the supernatural being. For this reason, western tradition did not accept Buddhism and Jainism as a religion.
    If religion is defined as the ‘relegare’ which literally means ‘to bind’ or ‘to fasten’ etc, then it can be seen to bind as following:
    1)person to person
    2)internal aspects to external aspects
    3)finite to infinite

    If we will accept the meaning of relegare from first two dimensions then it can be said the Buddhism and Jainism are also religion. Buddhism and Jainism have that aspect to bind the people to people and liberation which finally lead to bliss.
    Elements that make the Buddhism and Jainism as a religion are as following:
    Welfare of people, every religion has core philosophy to eliminate the suffering of the people.
    Religion incorporates the liberation, which is the spiritual goal of the human life.
    Every religion has accepted the law of karma to explain the moral life in the world.
    Commitment is necessary for the religion and there is a place of worship. Religion has also distinguished between the sacred and profane objects. There is certain code of conducts which is given by the religion. Religion is generally based on the organisation based on one’s life.
    If we carefully examined then we will find that all essential elements are present in Buddhism and Jainism to be qualified as the religion. On the basis of the definition of ‘religare’, Buddhism and Jainism is also a religion.
    Transcendental reality and religion:
    Transcendental reality is generally accepted as God. Non materialistic conception of atheism like Buddhism and Jainism did not accept any transcendental reality or God yet they have spiritual goal and for that matter, they are also considered as the religion.
    It seems that human being cannot live without object of devotion and to that extent everyone is religious who are committed to some goals in their life