What did the Buddha name his religion? "Buddhism"?

What did the Buddha name the religion that he founded?
What did he call it?
What might be the English equivalent of that name?

1 Like

I believe he called it Dhamma-Vinaya. Which emphasizes the interweaving of wisdom and ethics…


Thank you :pray:t3:

Is this the only name that he used or did he call it by other names as well?

Buddhasāsana as well.


For those who also don’t know Pali, https://suttacentral.net/define/sāsana:




This is a general term. Also Gotama’s two teachers had a dhamma-vinaya.

1 Like

Are you sure?

According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s Buddhist Monastic Code I, “Dhamma-Vinaya was the Buddha’s own name for the religion he founded” (p. 11).

1 Like

That is not the case. In MN26 we find:

Once I had gone forth I set out to discover what is skillful, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace. I approached Āḷāra Kālāma and said to him,
So evaṃ pabbajito samāno kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno yena āḷāro kālāmo tenupasaṅkamiṃ. upasaṅkamitvā āḷāraṃ kālāmaṃ etadavocaṃ:

‘Reverend Kālāma, I wish to live the spiritual life in this teaching and training.
‘icchāmahaṃ, āvuso kālāma, imasmiṃ dhammavinaye brahmacariyaṃ caritun’ti.
MN26 15.2


Did the Buddha use this term to refer to his religion as a whole?

Thank you! Which was most commonly used? Were these used to refer to his religion specifically?

Thank you :pray:t3:

At least the ‘wanderers of other sects’ called it ‘samaṇe gotame brahmacariya’, i.e. the spiritual studentship with the ascetic Gotama. So they didn’t have a special name for it.

A Dharmasutra about 250 years after the Buddha called it madhyamaṃpada (BaudhayanaDS 2.11.26). The Pāli majjhima paṭipada, ‘the middle way of practice’, appears in SN 56.11 and also in SN 42.12, AN 3.156, MN 3, MN 139.

I don’t know if there is an entirely satisfying answer to this as people were not so much into labeling back in the days. People seemed to have followed teachers more than traditions.

There is also Sakyaputtiya, ‘follower of the Sakyan son’ - again Gotama (Buddha) is in the center, not a specific name of his movement. This was used mainly by others but occasionally by the Buddha himself too, as samaṇa sakyaputtiya in SN 42.10, AN 8.19, DN 24, DN 27. See specifically AN 10.96:

He saw Ānanda coming off in the distance and said to him, “Who’s here, reverend?”
“I’m a bhikkhu, reverend.”
“Of which bhikkhus?”
“Of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan.” Samaṇānaṃ, āvuso, sakyaputtiyānan”ti.


In the suttas the three very often occur in the same sentence. When they occur in isolation Saddhamma is the most common.

The Buddha used them only of his teaching. I shouldn’t be surprised if other teachers used them of theirs too, but I haven’t looked into the matter.

On a lighter note, here are eight more, based on how the Buddha describes his teaching in AN 8:11…

Arasarūpadhamma - Tasteless Teaching
Nibbhogadhamma - Unconvivial Teaching
Akiriyavāda - Doctrine of Inaction
Ucchedavāda - Annihilationism
Jegucchīdhamma - Disgusting Teaching
Venayikadhamma - Misleading Teaching
Tapassīdhamma - Tormenting Teaching
Apagabbhadhamma - Abortifacient Teaching

Verañja Sutta



I think you should highlight the fact that the belssed one gave a different definition to each of these in the sutta.

Ayaṃ kho, brāhmaṇa, pariyāyo, yena maṃ pariyāyena sammā vadamāno vadeyya: ‘arasarūpo samaṇo gotamo’ti, no ca kho yaṃ tvaṃ sandhāya vadesī

“It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama lacks taste.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”(AN 8.11)

Perhaps I should have, but by not doing so hopefully I will have spurred one or two mystified readers to click on the link and read the sutta for themselves.


The reading counts for the links are really low, thats why I asked. Most of the readers do not bother reading links I think, Not one or two

Also Ariyavinaya.


Makes sense! :joy:
I didn’t click the link, but I remember what it was a reference to.
Clever word-play by the Buddha to parry off attacks by misguided or hostile accusers.

Thank you for clarifying!

Did he ever call it something like Buddha Dhamma-Vinaya?

We find the expression ‘tathāgatappavedita dhammavinaya’ (the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One) in SN 11.14, SN 56.48, AN 1.338, AN 3.22, AN 3.114, AN 3.131, AN 4.114, AN 5.140, AN 5.143, AN 5.195-196, AN 6.30, AN 6.88, AN 6.96, AN 8.51, AN 10.76, AN 10.84-86, MN 33, MN 40, MN 48, MN 96, DN 12.

It’s clearly an expression of the Anguttara transmission, one can draw one’s conclusion from it.


What do you mean by this?

Is this is most common way that the Buddha refers to his Dhamma-Vinaya?
Is this the closest that we get to “the Buddha’s name for his own religion?”