Well, I was born a Buddhist...I would say that buddhism are about study of the mind more than spirituality. Taking care of the mind. The spirituality and superstitions part are just later tie in with the Buddha's teaching...it is easier for people to understand his teaching this way. Apply it with tradition that they are already custom to. Some of his teaching may sound absurd and impossible, but that's okay, he never said that he is right or everyone must see his way. That's up to you if you want to believe or not, but you could try and apply his teaching, sees if it work for you or not.
Buddha emphasise observation and analysis: he invites us to think for ourselves whether his teaching makes sense or not, and whether it brings us happiness or not. if yes, then we should follow it, if not, we can leave it. there is no dogma in Buddhism that has to be believed in order to avoid hell. also, Buddhism deals specifically with our suffering and how to alleviate it. it does not put too much emphasise on metaphysical aspects: hell, heaven, god, etc, which we may never understand with our limited time and knowledge. also, Buddhism teaches universal love for all living being (not just humans). Buddhism scriptures contain thousands of pages. You will not find any single verse which advocates violence toward other living beings, misinterpreted or not.
I know Buddhism is probably the only one I have a shred of respect for - but people need to be realistic. It's hard it's fair share of darkness too, if I recall correctly it didn't take to kindly to women being monks at one point.
I didn't say religion was responsible, merely that it was done by "peaceful" Buddhists. There's no real reason to think Buddhists are more "peaceful" than anyone else. Would that be because they preach peacefulness? Well, so does Christianity, and look at what THAT gets us.
Difference would be that rarely does a Buddhist commit violence because of their religion as with Christianity and Islam. Most samurai were Buddhist knowing that killing is a taboo their punishment would was to be reincarnated as samurai. Suicide on the other hand is something that has been most present in extreme Buddhists.
Fine. But that's utterly beside the point. Buddhists aren't more particularly peaceful than anyone else; it's a false stereotype. If they don't tend to use their religion to justify their violence (much more common even in Christianity and Islam than committing violence *because* of religion, which at least with Christianity cannot really be done) then that's to their credit I suppose.
But in the end, violence is violence. It doesn't really matter why.
there is a difference. the ones bombing pearl harbors; do they do it in the name of buddhism? I mean, do they do it because some people in pearl harbor makes impolite picture of Buddha? do they do it to eliminate "the enemy of Buddhism"? do they bomb Pearl Harbor while screaming "Buddha is great"?
I am not denying there are bad buddhists out there. Buddhists murderer, rappist, robber, and so on. but whatever they do, they can't do it based on Buddhism, because there is no verse in buddhism scripture which suggests violence towards other living beings, misinterpreted or otherwise.
besides, I can say the same thing about atheism: Mao Ze Dong and Soviet leaders, they kill millions of people based on atheism. do you think that makes sense?
Their view of suicide was very meaningful to me at a point in my life that I needed a different point-of-view on it. I highly recommend discovering Buddhism for what their philosophy could bring to you.
Keep in mind. An intelligent mind can entertain a thought without believing in it. It's what you find about yourself is what matters with religion in my opinion.