Comparing Wicca and Buddhism

MM,

I’m a member of various Yahoo message boards and while I cannot keep up with them ALL all the time, occasionally I find an interesting discussion. Most recently, I was on the Buddhism 101 message board. Following a discussion about comparing religions (why it’s beneficial to compare religions and different spiritual paths), someone asked me about the similarities between Wicca and Buddhism.

The following is my response:

Hm… similarites between Wicca and Buddhism. Well, hadn’t really sat
down and thought through ALL the similarities and differences yet.
I’m still learning and I don’t quite have as much experience with
Buddhism as I do with Wicca.

The first thing that comes to mind is tolerance. It seemed to me that
the philosophy of Buddhism inherently provides tolerance for all
systems of belief. In my experience, the Wiccans and Pagans I know
are tolerant of other beliefs (even Christianity, though of course the
biggest complaint we have about Christianity is that we just want
to be left alone and please don’t proselytize to us, we don’t need to
be saved!) Both Buddhism and Wicca say that all paths lead to the
same. In Wicca, it is phrased, “All goddesses are one goddesses; all
gods are one god.” Many Wiccans can be eclectic Wiccans which means
that they adopt beliefs (and practices) from other sources and mix and
blend what they find suitable for them. Both Wicca and Buddhism
accept that others may choose to follow another belief or faith if
s/he chooses. Both do not proselytize.

The rest of this is coming off the top of my head as I think through a
comparison… and I may be wrong about some points on Buddhism, but
this comparison is based on my impressions of Buddhism so far based on
what I’ve read and researched.

Both Wicca and Buddhism place an emphasis on experience. Buddhists
emphasize connection to the divine through meditation and mindfulness.
Wiccans also uses meditation (and mindfulness, though that term has
not been used in Wiccan teachings) to connect to divinity. The major
form of experience for Wicca is through ritual. Rituals can be very
simple (e.g., meditation) or very complex (e.g., a re-enactment of a
myth in order to learn – very fun!). Regardless of the type of
experience, both Wicca and Buddhism emphasize experience with the
divine.

The ideas of immanence and animism are present in Wicca and Buddhism.
Immanence refers to the idea that deity can exist here and now not
just “out there somewhere” (transcendence). The Christian deity is
transcendent, Wiccan deities are immanent. Buddhism thought that we
can achieve divine status is an immanent idea. (Definition of
immanent,
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Diction
ary&va=immanent&x=0&y=0
;
definition of transcendent,
http://www.m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?book=Diction
ary&va=transcendent&x=0&y=0
)
Animism is the belief that everything in nature has a soul or
consciousness. Both Wiccans and Buddhists believe this about things
in nature. Examples would be stones and plants
having a soul or consciousness. I once read somewhere that a man was
so mindful about deity being in everything that even his human waste
caused him to become ecstatic. (I think that was a Buddhist
story, have to find that source somewhere…)

I hope that’s a starting point of comparison for you. As I said, I’m
still learning and the above is just off the top of my head.

Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
http://www.brigidsflame.com/

One Response to “Comparing Wicca and Buddhism”

  1. Ecstatic Spirituality » Blog Archive » Quiz Time Again - Which Religion is Right for You? Says:

    […] I grew up with subtle forms of Buddhism. I still like it. It’s peaceful and tolerant, much like Wicca and paganism. I think for me, Buddhism and Wicca work well together. Buddhism states that “all life is suffering” whereas Wicca tries to appreciate life as much as possible and just accepts the suffering as part of learning, growing and enlightenment. If I were to practice only Buddhism, I think I’d get depressed, but Wicca helps to balance that. (Related blog: Comparing Wicca and Buddhism) […]

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