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Thread: What is a Buddhist?

  1. #1

    What is a Buddhist?

    Is it someone who proclaims to be one? Or someone who reads about it, or sits on cushion from time to time, someone who has Buddha statues, someone who tries to do good, a combination of the above, etc?

    If a Buddhist, how does someone answer questions in a predominantly Christian society such as why isn't your Dad/Mom going to church with you? Why does does your Mom/Dad spend all that time meditating? Aren't you worried that they are going to hell?

    Humbly,

    JC
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  2. #2
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    A buddhist?...somebody sitting.

    As to church and hell and heaven...Other toys.

    What people think of you? Bullshit. What you think about yourself? Bullshit.

    I d rather go to hell than to Church ( much more fun and more...)

    Final word.

    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  3. #3
    A buddhist is someone who is practicing buddhism. What is practice? Who defines what buddhism is? I wouldn't worry too much about that. You want to practice buddhism? Find yourself a buddhist teacher (you already did!). On the other hand, if you were to wrap yourself in a bed sheet and stand on your head, calling that buddhist practice, it could be. You could be actualizing Buddha perfectly, while someone who sits in a beautiful cross legged pose may do so out of pure greed, aversion and delusion. To me, a buddhist is someone showing compassion for the suffering of all sentient beings. Someone who cultivates Bodhi mind, Buddha's mind. Someone who believes in the Buddha's four noble truths: Dukkha, the causes of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. Zen is the direct pointing path, but not the only path. Buddhism is the way of wisdom and compassion, but not the only way. Ultimately, there's no way, no truth, no buddhism. Just this.

    As to your questions, I'm afraid there's no clear cut answer. A start would be to look at where these questions are coming from. You? Who is this You? Sit, and explore, by just letting yourself be, without trying. Be who You are. 100% Buddha.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Last edited by Omoi Otoshi; 11-12-2012 at 01:56 PM.
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Thank you for this thread Taigu, Pontus, and John.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  5. #5
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I started thinking of my self as a buddhist after reading my first book on zen. Now here I am a couple of years later, studying the precepts, sewing a rakusu, and sitting regularly and I can say I have no clue what a "Buddhist" is. It's OK though. It is what it is.

    Usually, I tell Christians that Buddhist practice to end the suffering of all beings and that we have rules and practices similar to theirs. I also tell them that we have magical powers so they should watch out. OK not the last part, but yeah finding common ground works well.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  6. #6
    Hi John,

    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    Is it someone who proclaims to be one? Or someone who reads about it, or sits on cushion from time to time, someone who has Buddha statues, someone who tries to do good, a combination of the above, etc?
    Buddhist is just another label, another drawer where to put people in.

    A few days ago someone asked me out of the blue "Are you a Zen Buddhist now?" and I was caught by surprise, I must admit.
    Spontaneously I said "Yes" - just to simplify things. I know that people like to have their drawers.
    Even if I said something like "Well, actually I am an agnostic atheistic Zen Buddhist who also draws on philosophical Taoism and the Greek philosopher Epicurus" this would not be comprehensive.
    Nothing I could say would be comprehensive...
    I am not a label - I am a sum of my genes and all my experiences (whether good or bad).
    I try to avoid labels nowadays.

    What is Buddhism? I guess even Buddhists won't agree on this point.
    There are Buddhists saying it is a religion, some say it is a practice, a philosophy, etc.
    There are people who say Zen can be "separated" from Buddhism.
    I know people whose home is full with Buddha statues, but in their daily life they are the incarnation of the motto "eye for an eye"...

    IMHO:
    If you agree on the 4 Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path and try to incorporate these in your daily life. That's a Buddhist for me
    If you sit - you are a Zen Buddhist.
    Of course - another oversimplification by me.



    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    If a Buddhist, how does someone answer questions in a predominantly Christian society such as why isn't your Dad/Mom going to church with you? Why does does your Mom/Dad spend all that time meditating? Aren't you worried that they are going to hell?
    I don't care anymore what other people think of me. My friends and family know who I am, and if someone thinks I'll go to hell, so be it.
    When someone asks me why I don't go to church, I keep it short and just I say I am not a Christian and thus don't go to church. Simple.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  7. #7
    Thank you everyone, I totally agree!

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  8. #8
    Hah! We don't even believe really in a "Buddha" (the so-called "Buddha" that can be named is not really Buddha! ), so how could we even be "Buddhist"? Heck, there ain't even a "we" to be so!!!

    But that being said (and not), I suppose a "Buddhist" is anyone who seeks to learn from the Buddha's Teachings and put them into Practice. I would not limit that to "sitting", as Taigu certainly does not mean to either, because there are many fine Buddhists of other stripes, chanters and such.

    I also have no problem to go to church, a Jewish temple or (recently) a mosque for Ramadan feast. Where is "Buddha" not found?

    I don't worry too much what people think, nor about going to hell. I just try to get on in life.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-12-2012 at 03:16 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Normally, if for some odd reason I find a reason to declare "I am a Buddhist" The conversation doesn't go much further. Most people don't really want to hear about it,. The ones that do seem to be more fascinated than anything, and they're usually disappointed when they find out I don't have any deep insight to offer them. About anything. I have heard "well, that's not really a religion." That doesn't bother me.

  10. #10
    Thank you all for your insightful answers,

    JC
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  11. #11
    I'm with Timo here, buddhist is a label, you can label yourself, others may label you, it doesnt matter. Labels doesnt matter. Well, they do to some extend in this dream, labels have some effects, but really, give a shit on a label, it matters what you do, not how its labeled. But if you ask me, yep, I'm buddhist ;-)
    Gassho
    Myoku
    ps: DISCLAIMER: No insights in this post, just opinions.
    Last edited by Myoku; 11-12-2012 at 06:04 PM. Reason: PS ADDED

  12. #12
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi View Post
    A buddhist is someone who is practicing buddhism. What is practice? Who defines what buddhism is? I wouldn't worry too much about that. You want to practice buddhism? Find yourself a buddhist teacher (you already did!). On the other hand, if you were to wrap yourself in a bed sheet and stand on your head, calling that buddhist practice, it could be. You could be actualizing Buddha perfectly, while someone who sits in a beautiful cross legged pose may do so out of pure greed, aversion and delusion. To me, a buddhist is someone showing compassion for the suffering of all sentient beings. Someone who cultivates Bodhi mind, Buddha's mind. Someone who believes in the Buddha's four noble truths: Dukkha, the causes of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha, the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. Zen is the direct pointing path, but not the only path. Buddhism is the way of wisdom and compassion, but not the only way. Ultimately, there's no way, no truth, no buddhism. Just this.

    As to your questions, I'm afraid there's no clear cut answer. A start would be to look at where these questions are coming from. You? Who is this You? Sit, and explore, by just letting yourself be, without trying. Be who You are. 100% Buddha.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Deep

    Lisa

  13. #13
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    I'm with my first Theravadan teacher on this, that a Buddhist is someone who embraces the 4 noble truths, keeps the 5 basic precepts and has taken refuge to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. However, I also agree that to be a Buddhist, some sort of practice has to be established, otherwise it's really just a nice label.

    why isn't your Dad/Mom going to church with you? Why does does your Mom/Dad spend all that time meditating? Aren't you worried that they are going to hell?
    Is this what your kid(s) get asked??
    Easy: Because they are Buddhist. Because that's what Buddhists do. No, because Buddhists don't go to hell
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  14. #14
    If you think you are a Buddhist, if you want to be a Buddhist, you are. I don't go to church because I am not a Christian, except that I occasionally go to church because my wife is. Going to hell depends both on your definition and, perhaps, your state of mind when you die. And I don't worry about other peoples opinions of me, except when I do.

    Yes, I am a Buddhist. I practice Zen. Don't go to Church. Do go to Buddhist centers. There is no hell. So I can't go there. And society isn't Christian, it's just composed of a bunch of people who claim to be.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  15. #15
    Thanks for everyone's input.

    Nindo,

    Your answer regarding the kids is very helpful.

    " Is this what your kid(s) get asked??
    Easy: Because they are Buddhist. Because that's what Buddhists do. No, because Buddhists don't go to hell "

    Humbly,

    JC
    Last edited by Jishin; 11-12-2012 at 08:10 PM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  16. #16
    ..For me a "Buddhist" is someone who learns and practices the Buddha's innovative solution to our problem. The human predicament of perceived spiritual exile. The pervasive sense of incompleteness, of constantly trying to fill up, searching for lost wholeness. The haunted intuition of lost Grace in a perpetual struggle with doubt. Being fearful. Want. The Buddha looked at all this, looked at the solutions on offer, and did an about face. He suggested not chasing the ultimate mental productions of that want ...God, Brahman, Ain Soph, The Self, The Absolute, Truth, Reality, ....and instead looking directly into, and completely experiencing, the want itself. Experiencing it formlessly, dropping all conceptual qualification. He is, as far as I know, the only great teacher who took this direct route, and by doing so he removed the great religious trap of Absolutism, of grasping mental productions as absolute truth, and making more misery... like telling people they are going to Hell for not seeing the One True God.

    IMHO

    .. Gassho, kojip.
    Last edited by Daizan; 11-13-2012 at 03:32 AM.
    大山

  17. #17
    disastermouse
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    Being a Buddhist is really just a friendly tag to the world, so they can have some sort of idea how to begin to orient to you, should they want to do that. It's a favor to others, really. If we grasp to this identity or tag too hard as some sort of legitimate identity, it becomes a very dead thing. We might even try to be 'more' Buddhist or a 'good Buddhist', but I don't think that sort hide-and-seek works for very long. In fact, I think it's exactly this sort of behavior that disillusions many people on the Buddhist path. They look for something and, not finding it, they look elsewhere. But what they're looking for does not really exist the way they think it does. This moment DOES exist though, but how does it exist? Asking this question is 'to be a Buddhist', essentially.

    Chet

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    If a Buddhist, how does someone answer questions in a predominantly Christian society such as why isn't your Dad/Mom going to church with you? Why does does your Mom/Dad spend all that time meditating? Aren't you worried that they are going to hell?

    Humbly,

    JC
    I always went to church with my kids. also been to synagogue and mosque on occasion. Actually like churches, some are so beautiful.

    Meditating is just the way chosen to live. Maybe that's why they call it the way.

    You make heaven and hell. and I'm grateful for THIS because you don't have to worry about it.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  19. #19
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Most times I'm a Buddhist/Hindu/Other, because that's usually the closest option on the form. Outside of that there's not usually much reason to go around declaring what type of ism I'm practicing.

  20. #20
    Who is a Buddhist?
    Don't really know!
    Going to heaven or hell?!
    we're already here
    going to church or mosque or synagogue?
    "all of life is our temple"

  21. #21
    Junior Member George's Avatar
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    This question bothered me for many years a while back. It doesn't worry me at all anymore because as Myoku states above, labels do not matter. The closest to an answer I can think of is:

    Buddhists are fish.


    By that I draw a comparison with the claim, reportly from Stephen Jay Gould, that in essence 'fish' as a group do not exist due to the lack of any common features that make a definition of "What is a fish?" possible.

    "After a lifetime of studying fish, Stephen Jay Gould decided that there was no such thing as fish. The terminology of fish tells nothing about its biology. Biologically speaking, a salmon is more related to a camel than a hagfish. Just because they are sea-dwelling creatures, doesn't mean they are more or less related to each other."

    - We do however instinctively know what fish are, would usually recognise one if we saw one and the label is useful to others.

    I am sure the majority of Buddhists may be able to come up with definitions that include most Buddhists, but having been a part of a few Buddhist groups over the years I have seen great diversity and found accepted practices and views that are contrary to my personal understanding of what Buddhism is, yet we all accept each other for the most part as Buddhists even though we are very different. Some are more related to Taoists, some to Hindus and some to Shintoists. Some sit, some study koans, some prostrate themselves, some work for the enlightnement of all, some just for themselves, etc.

    - We do however instinctively know what Buddhists are, would usually recognise one if we saw one and the label is useful to others.


    Note: this is meant to be light hearted analogy not to be taken too literally and is probably the result of too much work on a tired brain.


    And as for heaven and hell. They are the same place.

  22. #22
    Thank you all for your input.

    If I had sat on the question longer the answer would have been apparent.

    There is no question nor answer as the one inquiring and the one answering are one.

    Humbly,

    JC
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  23. #23
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=John C.;89493]Is it someone who proclaims to be one? Or someone who reads about it, or sits on cushion from time to time, someone who has Buddha statues, someone who tries to do good, a combination of the above, etc?

    >>It seems it could be all of the above and none of it, at once. The catch is not to have ideas of, proclaim, attach or cling to anything.

    If a Buddhist, how does someone answer questions in a predominantly Christian society such as why isn't your Dad/Mom going to church with you? Why does does your Mom/Dad spend all that time meditating? Aren't you worried that they are going to hell?

    >>Meditating can be the most comfortable church type setting. In that, sitting with an innumerable amount of every`thing. No where to go, no meeting to make, only convenience of now; nowhere to be, yet everywhere at once. Hell is for worriers, karma takes care of the rest.

    Good questions, JC.



    Gassho
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-14-2012 at 12:30 AM.
    Nothing Special

  24. #24
    This question used to be very important to me. My Ego's interaction with my family, job, and community had to draw a very clear line because "I'm not one of them". This line is less important now. I have my practice if someone asks I tell them, if no one asks I do not. I try less to tell people about the dharma and work to be the dharma.

    I often find the dharma in teachings from other faiths. I listen to a lot of Preaching Students and smile because it's all Zen.
    --Washu
    和 Harmony
    秀 Excellence

    "Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body" George Carlin Roshi

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    ... a Buddhist is someone who embraces the 4 noble truths, keeps the 5 basic precepts and has taken refuge to Buddha, Dharma, Sangha. However, I also agree that to be a Buddhist, some sort of practice has to be established, otherwise it's really just a nice label.
    This is exactly what I think too.

    Far from using labels, I think you are a practitioner when you sit daily, live by the dharma and put it to the test.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  26. #26
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    This is exactly what I think too.

    Far from using labels, I think you are a practitioner when you sit daily, live by the dharma and put it to the test.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    And use a french press for coffee!
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    And use a french press for coffee!
    You, kind sir, just made my night.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  28. #28
    We have had a few threads on how to speak of one's beliefs and practices to family, spouses and friends who may not fully approve. My typical response is the following. But I would go further ... join in all the family holidays, sing the Christmas songs, have the baby Baptised ... just nod and say "maybe so" ... if it makes your poor mom or dad happy. Why not? Buddha is everywhere and, if there is a God, She's everywhere too.

    I often say that we don't prosthelytize and rarely need to try to convince anyone of the worth of these things.

    Rather, just be a good son/daughter/husband/wife/parent/friend ... perhaps let the peace and gentleness show itself in our ordinary behavior and interactions with others as the years pass ... and many folks will slowly come to understand, even if they do not fully understand.
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post80019
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post47526

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-14-2012 at 03:09 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  29. #29
    Sometimes I tell people that it's time for me to stare at the wall. I just get to the heart of it. If they want to know more, I'd tell them something.

    Recently my 4-year old niece didn't understand and thought I was nuts. She reminded me of those stories of Zen masters beating their students with sticks. Thankfully she left me and wall to do our thing, eventually.

    There's so much to buddhism I don't know. I think, lately, I just need to simplify. I take comfort in that. I think it's right. I don't want to complicate things by advertising what I don't understand; to call myself a "buddhist".


    BTW - I'm back after a long time away. I recently started sitting again full-bore, not quite a month ago. So here I am again... for the first time. I'll look for a picture.

    Cam

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    This question bothered me for many years a while back. It doesn't worry me at all anymore because as Myoku states above, labels do not matter. The closest to an answer I can think of is:

    Buddhists are fish.
    Which of course begs the question, what kind of fish would you be? My first thought is shark, but I have a nagging suspicion that might be decidedly un-Buddhist.

    And yet, the shark has Buddha-nature...
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  31. #31
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    A French press is good.
    迎 Geika

  32. #32
    Junior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ... join in all the family holidays, sing the Christmas songs, have the baby Baptised ... just nod and say "maybe so" ... if it makes your poor mom or dad happy. Why not? ...
    I find Jundo's suggestion of that approach very reassuring, I turned down being a godparent twice but did end up taking an active part in the christening of my own son mainly as I felt it could be misinterprepted if I did not take part - he is not biologically mine but I have raised him as my own since he was six months old.

    I felt a little uncomfortable having to make promises to raise him as a Christian, as with such a central role I couldn't do my usual trick in these situations of skipping the words I do not agree with.
    Last edited by George; 11-19-2012 at 11:28 AM.

  33. #33
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Nobody really knows...

    Gassho

    Dokan

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    ~Anas Nin

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    I felt a little uncomfortable having to make promises to raise him as a Christian, as with such a central role I couldn't do my usual trick in these situations of skipping the words I do not agree with.
    Hi.

    I would make an promise to raise him as an dad/person who cares, and it looks like you're already doing that.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  35. #35
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Good evening, my name is Shawn, and I'm a Zen Buddhist. It really does not really come up very often for me.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  36. #36
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Hinton View Post
    Good evening, my name is Shawn, and I'm a Zen Buddhist. It really does not really come up very often for me.

    Shawn... what makes you say this?



    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  37. #37
    If Shawn is talking about practicing Buddhism being a non-issue. I can relate. It seems to depend on local culture. In a more cosmopolitan setting or culture being Buddhist is not strange, any more than taking yoga classes. It may be different in the midst of a religious mono-culture.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  38. #38
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    If Shawn is talking about practicing Buddhism being a non-issue. I can relate. It seems to depend on local culture. In a more cosmopolitan setting or culture being Buddhist is not strange, any more than taking yoga classes. It may be different in the midst of a religious mono-culture.

    Gassho, kojip


    Thats why I posted my wonderment, where speculation has no ground. That would end the ifs and its.

    Just wondering where he was coming from, as one could even speculate a touch of sarcasm or irony.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Hi all,

    I used to spend time thinking about the answer to the questions posed above. And now? This may sound rather dismissive and I don't mean it to be...I just really don't care.

    If someone asks, I would say I am a buddhist. The one time I brought it up the people I was speaking to thought I was joking.

    Practice, precepts, patience.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  40. #40
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Hi all,

    I used to spend time thinking about the answer to the questions posed above. And now? This may sound rather dismissive and I don't mean it to be...I just really don't care.

    If someone asks, I would say I am a buddhist. The one time I brought it up the people I was speaking to thought I was joking.

    Practice, precepts, patience.

    Gassho,
    Dosho


    Well done.

    When I am in a discussion that leads to this type of philosophical discussion, I usually say I enjoy very much reading and intellectualizing (if you can call it that ) this type of philosophy.

    After all, what the hell is a Buddhist!?



    Gashho
    Nothing Special

  41. #41

    What is a Buddist?

    On a lighter note, once when discussing Buddhism in a Christian Country with a Muslin friend, he coined the term Jew-ddhist to describe me. My mother is Jewish.

    We laughed hysterically.

    Gassho,

    JC

  42. #42
    Ju-Bu is often said too.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  43. #43
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    For me i think it's anyone who believes that which the Dharma offers. There's more devout and more lazy ..even some that don't try at all. but i think it's a matter of what they believe that makes them that way.

    I have often heard the term "true christian", meaning someone who is truly following the ways of christianity as opposed to those that sit back telling everyone else they are wrong, engaging in all kinds of "non-christian" activities.

    I think a christian is one who believes int he teachings of Jesus and accepts him as their savior. Whether they ever step into a church or not is irrelevant.

    Same goes for any form of religion or spirituality.IT's not about how you act , or what you do. It's about what you think is the truth of the universe(which of course especially in buddhism can get rather complicated).

    Just my two cents worth.

    _/\_ Dave

  44. #44
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shonin View Post
    For me i think it's anyone who believes that which the Dharma offers. There's more devout and more lazy ..even some that don't try at all. but i think it's a matter of what they believe that makes them that way.

    I have often heard the term "true christian", meaning someone who is truly following the ways of christianity as opposed to those that sit back telling everyone else they are wrong, engaging in all kinds of "non-christian" activities.

    I think a christian is one who believes int he teachings of Jesus and accepts him as their savior. Whether they ever step into a church or not is irrelevant.

    Same goes for any form of religion or spirituality.IT's not about how you act , or what you do. It's about what you think is the truth of the universe(which of course especially in buddhism can get rather complicated).

    Just my two cents worth.

    _/\_ Dave


    Thanks Dave... its not about how you act or what you do?



    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  45. #45
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Since taking Jukai, I have told a few people who have asked that I'm Buddhist. I still won't flat out say it in front of my family, though. I think my Mom knows, because she's a lot more interested in Buddha than the rest of my family, however, I still won't say it in front of any of them.

    My family is very open, but also Catholic. I worry that someone might worry about my soul. I remember my grandma asking me one day, hopefully, if I still believe in God. I said yes to her, and it wasn't a lie as far as she's concerned, either. I guess I believe in God in the sense of Big Mind, although I am also open to the idea of a kind of Universal Consciousness. As of now, the question is not my practice because I am taking a break from my three year long obsession with God and what It is.

    I am also a bit hesitant to tell others that I am Buddhist because where I live in Southern California I don't think anyone really knows what that means, even if there are a lot of Buddhists in San Diego. Telling someone you're Buddhist here is met with a nod and an "uh-huh," "really?", or a dismissive, "that's interesting." I don't think anyone I have ever talked to in person knows what Buddhism is in terms of the actual practice. The only question I ever get in response to telling people I'm Buddhist is, "Do you worship Buddha?" Or here's one I got asked by my roommate, "Is there a Church of Buddha?"

    I feel as if telling people I'm Buddhist is met with complete misunderstanding, but I don't try to push the point. It feels a little lonely, though, knowing that most of those who know I'm Buddhist take my Buddhism to mean that I am on some hippie-dippie New Age trip.
    迎 Geika

  46. #46
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    On a lighter note, once when discussing Buddhism in a Christian Country with a Muslin friend, he coined the term Jew-ddhist to describe me. My mother is Jewish.

    We laughed hysterically.

    Gassho,

    JC
    Oh, thanks for this John, I almost peed myself! Galen there was no sarcasm or irony intended. I has a vision of siting in an AA sort of meeting and standing up and saying that.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  47. #47
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Hinton View Post
    Oh, thanks for this John, I almost peed myself! Galen there was no sarcasm or irony intended. I has a vision of siting in an AA sort of meeting and standing up and saying that.

    Well done Shawn .


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  48. #48
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    It feels a little lonely, though, knowing that most of those who know I'm Buddhist take my Buddhism to mean that I am on some hippie-dippie New Age trip.
    One of my main worries when I first went to a zendo, was that it would be full of new age hippies trying to learn how to levitate who would be appalled at my scientific leanings. Fortunately, it turns out that most followers of zen are too busy sitting to worry about crystal power or levitation and seem to have a similar naturalistic outlook even if they are not necessarily into science.

    Of course, the few friends I have told all assume the same thing. They are like; Oh, you worship Buddha, smoke weed, and hang peace signs all over your house now? I'm like, yeah that's pretty much it. I guess they will figure out the quite unexciting truth sooner or later.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  49. #49
    Another classic: "So you believe you will be reborn as a cow or an ant someday?"

    When I performed the Chinese Tea Ceremony (which is unspectacular compared to the Japanese Tea Ceremony and has its roots in Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) for a friend - he started to mock by chanting "Om" all of a sudden. He did it a second time, but when I just said "There is no chanting or anything else required to do by guests, but you can continue if you want", he let it be.
    After some time he pretty much "understood" the sense of it.
    And at the end of the evening - after we watched a movie - he actually said: "Well, I must admit, at the beginning I was not used to all this and I would never have the patience for performing it myself, but actually I liked it somehow. You can invite me again for this if you want."

    Anyway, all this showed me that there are so many prejudices involved, and saying that I am a Zen Buddhist (am I?) would actually mean a lot of questions and explanations - but since I can be quite a lazy bum, I prefer to say nothing.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  50. #50
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    We'll probably all come back as goats
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

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