Within certain forms of later Buddhism, people are encouraged to ‘pray’ to an image of the Buddha and recite various mantras as if he were
Buddhism was not designed to be a theistic religion, but rather an alternative to the belief that gods and goddesses existed ‘unseen’ in the material
‘..the recluse Gotama is a Materialist, who teaches a doctrine of Materialism and trains his disciples in it.’
The Buddha defined the tiniest specks of matter (paramanu) [synonymous with ‘atoms’] to be occupying (and moving about within) time and space, whilst flickering in and out of existence. This is how the Buddha redefines matter (rupa) as being both ‘existant’, and ‘insubstantial’ (or non-existant).
Of course, Emperor Ashoka could not simply expect to take all the credit for his new approach to defining reality, but instead created a set of ‘religious-like’ texts, the content of which was anything but ‘religious’ in the old sense, and ascribing their creation to a ‘mythical’ being who lived sometime in the distant past.
The problem with theistic religion is that it grants its adherents a one-sided ‘specialness’ that is not present in nature. The Buddha rejected this one-sidedness, whilst it constituted the entire point of Jesus’s alleged existence.