Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Paul LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_89

Buddhism is one of the world’s major religions. It arose in northern India in the sixth century before the current era from the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama (563–483 BCE.). It grew out of Hindu thought and shares a common worldview based on the concepts of dharma, karma, reincarnation, and the manifest world as illusion or “maya.” Dharma, translated often as “law,” “way,” or “path” refers to the immutable structure of the world and its constituent elements. But it differs from the Western concept of law, as it is not promulgated by a personal creator god but rather is simply the structure of reality. “Karma” is likewise an impersonal force through which the fruits of one’s actions come back to enhance or diminish from one’s growth on the spiritual path. This contrasts with the Western view of being subject to judgment by a personal god. Reincarnation refers to the cycle of individual birth, life, death, and rebirth. This is termed the “wheel of life” or “samsara.” The goal of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA