Buddhism Is

Buddhism is Buddhism

TLDR: You mostly only know a part of Buddhism. Buddhism in the West is often not "authentic" Buddhism. Buddhism is best understood as multiple religions with vast, complex, diverse and (seemingly, maybe) contradictory practices.

Buddhism is "The Current Thing"

In the West Buddhism has been hijacked by different groups and altered to fit their narrative. While many things may be true, others are simply not or specific aspects are emphasized to fit their narrative. Inherently Buddhism longterm resists such hijacking as the most important aspect is if the method leads to awakening or not.

Buddhism is the "Left"

Just like Christianity or other religions you may have encountered Buddhism doesn't fit well into the Right Left modality and holds beliefs from both sides.

Buddhism is Fair and Compatible With Social Justice

The circumstances you are born in and experience are a direct result of karma. The actions you've taken in the past and in previous lifetimes are the direct cause of your circumstances now and help forge your subsequent rebirths. "Engaged Buddhism" ie social justice Buddhism is largely a recent phenomena and not widespread within Buddhism. It's validity is debated as a big teaching within Buddhism is that you mostly are incapable of helping others until you yourself have achieved enlightenment.

Buddhists Can't Kill

Mahayana Buddhism contains what are called vehicles or Yana or different paths/methods to attain awakening. In renunciation Buddhism one is prohibited from killing absolutely. In some other types of Buddhism one may take specific vows to kill under the proper circumstances along with violating other lower vehicle prohibitions.

Buddhism is Vegetarian

Some forms of Buddhism prohibit eating meat in others it is allowed as long as you don't kill the animal yourself. There is a prohibition on taking life as mentioned above, but it's more complicated when someone else is taking that life. Human life is generally regarded as more important than other beings.

Buddhism is Pro Abortion

A fetus is a human life and taking or being involved in the taking of a human life is one of the worst things you can do as a Buddhist. Buddhism is strongly anti abortion. As mentioned above exceptions may occur, but for an innocent human there will be very few. It should be noted that Buddhism in general avoids pushing it's views on to the world. Buddhism is a personal technique to achieve awakening not a King from the sky giving orders.

Buddhism is Meditation

This idea deemphasizes the deep philosophical, argumentative traditions, the rituals and rules used to change the character of the person and also deemphasizes the idea that "meditation" is just a method. Buddhism is more fundamentally about the view or wisdom of how reality really is. Awakening can theoretically be achieved without meditation as long as you realize the truth nature of reality.

Buddhism is not Intellectual

A Tibetan monastery in southern Indian offers a masters in philosophy degree that takes 19 years to complete. There is a version of the Prajna Paramita Sutra which is 100,000 lines of text. You can reach enlightenment by studying alone.

Buddhist Meditation is Mindfulness

There are countless types and styles of meditation. Summing up meditation as following your breathing detracts from the variety and depth of the practices.

The Buddha is like Jesus

While the Buddha is arguably the founder of Buddhism, Buddhism is very much alive in certain parts of the world with new, divine revelations still being revealed. See the Terton tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Depending on the type of Buddhism, the Buddha is not different from yourself.

Buddhism is Moderation

Ideas such as sex in a loving relationship, drinking alcohol as long as nobody is harmed and other moderate positions are the antithesis of Renunciation Buddhism. All sex is prohibited. All alcohol consumption is prohibited etc. Of course lay people can and do practice differently, but they will not attain awakening through these means*. (see Varjrayana)

Buddhism is Idolatry

It's complicated but common people may practice forms of idolatry, idolatry may be used as a method. At higher levels statues, gods, entities, gurus etc are all seen as being an aspect of yourself and your Buddha potential. There are famous Zen stories of monks burning statues.

Buddhism is World Renouncing

The highest calling in Mahayana Buddhism is helping other beings escape suffering. Renunciation Buddhism calls for renouncing the world until one is strong enough to confront it without viewing it and interacting with it incorrectly. There are other types of Buddhism that encourage interacting with the world and even embracing the things monks renounce.

Buddhism Believes in Karma

Mostly yes, but some versions of Buddhism purport that you're already awakened which means there is no positive or negative accumulation of karma happening, no rebirth, no nothing. This is a controversial idea within Buddhism.

This site was highly influenced by https://vividness.live/ which provides more in depth information and is great for getting a broader perspective about Buddhism.