the Buddha setting up a system of teaching, relaying the teachings in certain manners, the useage of followers to establish a sanga, the establishment of orders of monks and nuns....all these are the characteristics of a leader who wanted to establish not a philosophy, a psychology but yes...
What about a school with it's system of teaching, relaying the teachings in certain manners, the usage of learners to establish a student body, the establishment of a faculty of educators....
Simply having these characteristics doesn't decide the nature of the study content.
Religions, whether theistic or non-theistic, start off with a creed, a statement of belief, the truth as they profess it.
None of this is present in Buddhism, even though many use Buddhist concepts as beliefs and create their alternative religious identities around them. For the same reason we have Philosophical Daoism and Religious Daoism.
Go to Sri Lankia, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, Tibet and many other countries that have Buddhists as a large constituant belief and tell them Buddhism is not a religion....you I suspect will be laughed right out the door.....
....Did anyone anywhere on the entire earth ever pick up a book written upon the subject of the great religions and find Buddhism....not in it? I suspect not. There is a American show now on the subject of....Are you as smart as a fifth grader. I supect any fifth grader would probably list Buddhism as a religion if so quaried.
The understanding of the vast majority and the labels they ascribe to certain things does not make it so. Just take a look at how widespread the Samsaric view of life is and has been and will be.
So a fifth grader is taught that Buddhism is a religion, so of course they will say so.
A practitioner of Buddhism who was brought up in such a culture might see Buddhism as a religion and might hold certain concepts as their belief, because that's what they were raised to do in that culture. In such a case, it becomes
But from an objective point of view, where is the creed, the dogma, the ideology in Buddhism? What makes Buddhism a religion, besides a large number of people saying so? Why
is Buddhism a religion?
What is a Buddhist belief that is not in fact just an observation of nature?
As I said in my previous post, the collection of Buddhist teachings should help you to open your eyes and look, it should not tell you what you see.
Those with "Buddhist beliefs" are letting Buddhism tell them something. They are being turned around by the Sutras, rather than turning the Sutras themselves. My Dharma master's master was a very highly venerated monk of the Chan school in China, and is quoted with saying; "Buddhism, strictly speaking, is not a religion, but an educational doorway established by earlier generations."
In other words, the Buddha never told people what to believe and what not to believe. In fact he said to his disciples, don't believe everything I've said just because I said it. You find out. If your experience shows that what I taught you was truth, then I taught you the truth. If your experience shows that what I taught you was a lie, then I taught you a lie. You find out.
What religion does that?
"Subhuti, I remember the infinitely remote past before Dipankara Buddha. There were 84,000 myriads of multimillions of Buddhas and to all these I made offerings; yes, all these I served without the least trace of fault. Nevertheless, if anyone is able to receive, retain, study and recite this Discourse at the end of the last [500-year] period, he will gain such a merit that mine in the service of all the Buddhas could not be reckoned as one-hundredth part of it, not even one thousand myriad multimillionth part of it - indeed, no such comparison is possible." - Shakyamuni Buddha, Diamond Sutra
"Chapter 16" excerpt
What religion talks like that? Imagine...; "Better than serving God is.... understanding your true self."