Creed

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A creed is a statement of beliefs, usually religious beliefs, which someone must subscribe to in order to be considered a member of a particular religion. The word creed comes from the Latin credo meaning ‘I believe.’ The idea of having a creed is alien to Buddhism because it has always emphasised behaviour more than belief.

All the creeds of Christianity - the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Athanasian Creed, etc - lay down theological ideas that must be accepted (even if they are not understood) in order to be a Christian and to be saved. Significantly, none of these creeds say anything at all about how to behave. If there was an equivalent to a creed in Buddhism or at least a succinct summery of it, it would be the Buddha’s statement: ‘One thing and one thing only do I teach - suffering and the transcending of suffering’ (M.I,140). Better still would be his famous words from the Dhammapada: 'Avoiding everything evil, develop the good and purify the mind; this is the teaching of the Buddhas' (Dhp.183). According to Buddhism, believing a set of ideas, even if believed with great fervor, cannot liberate one. Only understanding and a profound change of heart can do that.

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