For a quick background info for this question, I’m Chinese in heritage but my family lived in Thailand for a long long time so I’m Thai too.

Now in Thailand and China around Buddhist culture there are clear distinction made between a Buddhist and an Atheist. Many Buddhists believe in things like reincarnation, a sort of afterlife, ghosts, spirits, nice/bad souls, minds influenced by magical karma, praying to Buddha almost like a deity, and other things I’ve witnessed firsthand as in being in the temple or ceremony when and where it happened.

Now while yes I agree there is something to be said about Communism at least the atheists in Thailand and China might possibly be more “atheist” than many of the ones in America and know that like all religion the concept of (karmic minds, souls, and spirits) in Buddhism is once again something that science, especially brain researchers have disproven once again.

So why are Buddhists considered atheist? In those countries that actually are significantly if not most “Buddhist” (if religion exists) everyone knows the difference between an Atheist Thai or Chinese and a buddhist Thai or Chinese. Though many of the atheists are literally communists.
I agree that Buddhist meditation and yoga has scientifically proven health benefits, but they can be done without the context of Buddhism.
^ oops i meant to say above just “meditation and yoga” instead of “Buddhist meditation or yoga.” But anyway yes they can be done without the context of any fairy tale beliefs.