people's reactions

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Re: people's reactions

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue May 14, 2013 12:38 pm

I mean, he died having been poisoned via ingesting tainted pork offered to him on his alms round.


I'm not trying to be a smarty pants by commenting on this part of your post, but I did read an interesting article from a medical doctor who diagnosed the Buddha's last illness. It is thought that the Buddha accepted his last meal of tainted pork, and became ill, and had the food buried as it was believed the food was bad. Turns out, it appears the Buddha was suffering from mesenteric infarction. The symptoms described in the suttas line up with this diagnosis, and it was the large meal that triggered the last illness, not caused it. My understanding through the article is that the sutta describes the symptoms, including the bleeding and the chills and the thirst, such that the description is so detailed as to give it enormous credibility. I sometimes feel that with this rather mundane description of the Buddha's last illness, it gives strength to the belief that these observer monks were reasonably accurate in their oral recording of the Buddha's talks and acts.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Jikan » Tue May 14, 2013 4:36 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I'm curious to hear stories (positive and negative) about how people in your life reacted whenever you consider yourself to have visibly "gotten serious" about Dharma practice.


My parents didn't get it. My dad's still not sure what to think of it almost twenty years on.

My wife (who was my girlfriend at the time) wasn't at all impressed. She tried to dissuade me. It took some years for her to come around to the point of view that this matters very much to me, and has made me a better person. Now, she's quite supportive, for which I am thankful.

I've had a few weird comments from bosses and co-workers, but nothing that causes lasting harm. Mostly it's been boring.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Salomon » Tue May 14, 2013 6:53 pm

First thing to know, choosing well to whom what to talk about. Of course sometimes it is impossible to avoid to make them informed for some people.
Most people are not sensitive enough to understand this kind of spiritual choice and only misunderstanding and negativity can come about from these people.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby corrine » Thu May 16, 2013 7:00 pm

I truly do not think it that it matters at all, what people think of your beliefs. Most of my colleagues and friends are aware that I follow Buddhist practices and most, I think, assume this is an aberration and that one day I will realize my mistake and return to Christianity. Actually, I was raised Roman Catholic, but have been questioning its precepts since I was a teenager. I used to get in trouble regularly for stating my opinions to the priests who taught religion classes. And, when I reached adulthood, I went my own way.

It took me a very long life to understand that no matter what I do, what I say, what I believe in, I will be criticized. I believe that it is paramount for each of us to do what we believe to be right because we will be criticized anyway and it is far better to be criticized for what we believe to be the correct thing to do. It does not matter what others think. What matters is that our personal belief system makes us the best that we can be - that we personally are comfortable with our beliefs.

I really do not understand why we care what others think. I do not pick fights over beliefs, I do not get into arguments. When asked, I explain my beliefs. I neither defend them nor do I attack the beliefs of others.

What I would suggest is simply avoiding these discussions to the extent possible and when necessary to tell others that while you understand their concerns, your beliefs are very personal and not subject to public debate. If you are adult enough to know your own mind, then you are adult enough to choose your own path, and it is no one's business what path that is.

corrine :namaste:
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Re: people's reactions

Postby jikai » Fri May 17, 2013 1:06 am

Honestly, I have in the past, received quite a lot of criticism. I have had certain relativs view it Buddhism as some what 'cult-like', others who have told me that Buddhism amounts to selfish reclusivism. have had friends who now avoid me because they see serious practice as equavalent to religious fanaticism. I have had a Uni Professor tell me that Buddhist practice, particularly meditation, is not only useless, but dangerous- he didnt elaborate on how specifically...to give some ackground, he was a strict Christian and a Continental Philospher.

On the other hand, I have watched my mother (who has her entire life been a strict Catholic), embrace Buddhism of her own choosing and now practice-We have private classes here and there. It was certainly a pleasant suprise to come home one day and find that my mother had purchased a statue of Shakyamuni Budha and set up a simpe Butsudan- this was a woman who originally tol me that I as engaging in idle worship and that it would mean my eternal suffering. She told me that after over a year and a half of watching meprogress, asking me questions, and seeing the positive influence Buddha Dharma has on my life, thashe whole-hertedly believes that Buddhism is for her :) truly this is what it must be to 'light up a corner' :namaste:

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Re: people's reactions

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Fri May 17, 2013 1:49 am

I mean, he died having been poisoned via ingesting tainted pork offered to him on his alms round.

Actually, there are varying views about what the Buddha ate, Sukara-maddava and this is summed up nicely in a reference from the accesstoinsight.org website:

Sukara-maddava: a controversial term ... Sukara = pig; maddava = soft, tender, delicate.
Hence two alternative renderings of the compound are possible:
(1) the tender parts of a pig or boar;
(2) what is enjoyed by pigs and boars.
In the latter meaning, the term has been thought to refer to a mushroom or truffle, or a yam or tuber. K.E. Neumann, in the preface to his German translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, quotes from an Indian compendium of medicinal plants, the Rajanigantu, several plants beginning with sukara.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:15 pm

I've had a lot of reactions from people with stereotypes in mind when they heard, that hurt my ego a little because they didn't have a clear understanding of how special I am LOL.

I've had a few reactions from people more egotistical than me. Clash of the egos about what's correct.

I've had a few unsolicited reactions involving Middle Eastern books and stories about people that made deals with creators.

I've had several reactions of reverence that caused me to try harder to live up to their expectations and also feel a lot of guilt for not being better for their sake.

I've had a few instances of people criticizing Buddhism because I did acted in a way they did not like. I've been spoken badly about for being clean, charitable, pleasant, etc. in some instance.

I've had people cut me out of their lives the moment they found out.

I've had people in my family spit on Buddha images, destroy or abscond with offerings.

I've had the reaction of someone giving me a large $ bill because I was wearing robes at the time, this also makes me want to become better for their sake. So their generosity isn't wasted.

I've had a few reactions where a person exclaimed in a good way that they KNEW IT!

I have a fairly thorough memory right now, but this post is getting very long.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Motova » Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:22 pm

My mom would label herself as an Anglican, my dad would label himself as an Eastern Orthodox sort of Christian, and my brother would label himself as a Gnostic scholar. However they (mom and dad) don't go to church, read spiritual materials, or pray (I might be wrong on this point). However they are very patient and compassionate people, and are supportive of anything I want to do with my life (which is getting a degree in Buddhist Studies). My dad loves art, so I showed him and my mom the bits from the Tibetan Book of the Dead (the one with the intro from the Dalai Lama) and they seemed to have an interest in that. Some friends don't care, some friends have really taken to some books and topics I've suggested reading, and one thinks I'm a complete religious idiot (He's studying to be a nano-engineer). My relatives probably think I am really weird but they are also supportive. So I guess I have some really good karma. :twothumbsup: However I naturally know I will eventually run into some assholes, but what can ya do? :shrug:
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Malcolm » Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:18 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I'm curious to hear stories (positive and negative) about how people in your life reacted whenever you consider yourself to have visibly "gotten serious" about Dharma practice.



MY family, atheists, never showed interest in Dharma, but were always supportive of my choice to be involved in Dharma, even when I thought I was a Buddhist.
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http://atikosha.org
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Re: people's reactions

Postby flavio81 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 5:27 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I'm curious to hear stories (positive and negative) about how people in your life reacted whenever you consider yourself to have visibly "gotten serious" about Dharma practice. (...) Still, I can't help but feel some of these people in my life think i'm crazy, and it creates a bit of tension I think (...) For years I didn't do anything that labeled me as "Buddhist", just went to a Zendo on weekends, I still don't talk about practice (other than on here of course) or go around telling people what I believe, but I notice that since I quit drinking, and doing a daily practice, it feels like some people have an odd reaction to it - even to the not drinking part, not like I went around proclaiming I was following the 5th precept mind you.


Hi Johnny,

I feel i didn't really have this problem, since i never used a spiritual name (not even here) or worn anything on me (or on my facebook profile) that would give an obvious sign that i was a buddhist. I think to be unnoticed is the best. As for my family, they are buddhists, so i'd guess i was lucky. I drink alcohol and eat meat, so i'd guess that for me it's easy to be in stealth mode...

What you mention implies that people can notice that you go to do a daily practice. So perhaps you will have to do it more secretly, i would guess? :spy:

Funny enough, when i have chosen to mention i was a buddhist, most Catholics had no problem with it, and were quite genuinely interested. Bless them those kind Catholics. :thumbsup: While the Theravadins were the ones that criticized me the most!! :rolling: (for being into Tibetan buddhism)
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:38 pm

flavio81 wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:I'm curious to hear stories (positive and negative) about how people in your life reacted whenever you consider yourself to have visibly "gotten serious" about Dharma practice. (...) Still, I can't help but feel some of these people in my life think i'm crazy, and it creates a bit of tension I think (...) For years I didn't do anything that labeled me as "Buddhist", just went to a Zendo on weekends, I still don't talk about practice (other than on here of course) or go around telling people what I believe, but I notice that since I quit drinking, and doing a daily practice, it feels like some people have an odd reaction to it - even to the not drinking part, not like I went around proclaiming I was following the 5th precept mind you.


Hi Johnny,

I feel i didn't really have this problem, since i never used a spiritual name (not even here) or worn anything on me (or on my facebook profile) that would give an obvious sign that i was a buddhist. I think to be unnoticed is the best. As for my family, they are buddhists, so i'd guess i was lucky. I drink alcohol and eat meat, so i'd guess that for me it's easy to be in stealth mode...

What you mention implies that people can notice that you go to do a daily practice. So perhaps you will have to do it more secretly, i would guess? :spy:

Funny enough, when i have chosen to mention i was a buddhist, most Catholics had no problem with it, and were quite genuinely interested. Bless them those kind Catholics. :thumbsup: While the Theravadins were the ones that criticized me the most!! :rolling: (for being into Tibetan buddhism)


Naw, it's really not that bad..my wife is completely supportive and accepting, she is an observant Jew and has always been really supportive in spiritual endeavors even though we do not share the same belief system in that area. The main thing I deal with now is "so, are you religious or what" from the rest of my family (mostly atheists), I find that they know so little of what Buddhism actually is that I have a hard time even answering the question or contextualizing it for them, since I could care less whether or not my practice is "religous" or not, II find the question kind of a weird one..but I understand why it gets asked I suppose.

Anyway, it makes me feel weird because now i've taken up the practice of having an altar in the house etc., and I know it will spark some kind of conversation that might not go so well when they come to visit. It's not that they'd disapprove exactly, again it's just difficult to explain practices to people with no context at all, I want to give a good impression of Buddhist practice, or just not talk about it at all, and sometimes it seems like neither one is very likely.

I wonder if people think it's sometimes ok to put away some of your stuff to avoid talks like that, for instance I have a small Chenrezig picture and statue that I use for my practice..I have no desire to try to explain the significance of Chenrezig practice to people who I know will think it's nonsense, what do you guys think?
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:05 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I wonder if people think it's sometimes ok to put away some of your stuff to avoid talks like that, for instance I have a small Chenrezig picture and statue that I use for my practice..I have no desire to try to explain the significance of Chenrezig practice to people who I know will think it's nonsense, what do you guys think?
Most Tibetan altars and Thangkas have doors and covers partly for that reason. But I've heard people like Tsem Rinpoche say Shakyamuni or Tsongkhapa (peaceful and smiling) are fine to display. Seems like it's up to you.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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Re: people's reactions

Postby flavio81 » Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:36 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Anyway, it makes me feel weird because now i've taken up the practice of having an altar in the house etc., and I know it will spark some kind of conversation that might not go so well when they come to visit. It's not that they'd disapprove exactly, again it's just difficult to explain practices to people with no context at all, I want to give a good impression of Buddhist practice, or just not talk about it at all, and sometimes it seems like neither one is very likely.

I wonder if people think it's sometimes ok to put away some of your stuff to avoid talks like that, for instance I have a small Chenrezig picture and statue that I use for my practice..I have no desire to try to explain the significance of Chenrezig practice to people who I know will think it's nonsense, what do you guys think?


If it was my home, i'd have that meditation room closed to strangers; that way there's no conflict potential. My parents, buddhist as well, are the total opposite -- the living room and backyard is full of tibetan buddhism-related stuff. But well, you know, a kid always wants to do the opposite of what the parents do :thumbsup:
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Jainarayan » Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:12 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I'm curious to hear stories (positive and negative) about how people in your life reacted whenever you consider yourself to have visibly "gotten serious" about Dharma practice.


Like anything else, my blood family reacts by saying "You were always weird". :roll: My in-laws family have no cause to say anything... they're as weird gets. :rolling:

My family had a get-together on Father's Day. It was the first time in 19 years that we five siblings were in the same place at the same time. Three of us are in NJ, one in FL and one in AZ. My sister made a huge feast. Being Italian-American, however, what good is it to get together if there are no meatballs, pasta dishes, and meat sauce?

Well, I am gluten intolerant so pasta is right out. I've been trying very hard to become and remain vegetarian. However, I'm also insulin resistant, so a carb-heavy diet of legumes and grains as a staple causes major problems. And then there was the grilled sirloin and "baccala" (Italian-style codfish). Needless to say I couldn't eat any of it.

The pasta they could understand. However, when it got to the animal flesh especially passing on the beef, I got "What? Now you worship cows!?" Image I said "No, I just don't eat them". My sister asked "Well what can you eat?" I said "Not much today". It really wasn't well received. Oh well... :shrug:
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: people's reactions

Postby TaTa » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:09 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
I wonder if people think it's sometimes ok to put away some of your stuff to avoid talks like that, for instance I have a small Chenrezig picture and statue that I use for my practice..I have no desire to try to explain the significance of Chenrezig practice to people who I know will think it's nonsense, what do you guys think?


Sometimes i have the same issue with some people. Im very open about my buddhist practice because i have a lot of friends and they can see what i spend my time doing. But sometimes its really hard to explain philosofical views and meditation to people with no background. I have been thinking about this the last few days, i think ill try the approach of being more evasive to this questions. I dont want to confuse people.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby Konchog1 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:20 am

Jainarayan wrote:The pasta they could understand. However, when it got to the animal flesh especially passing on the beef, I got "What? Now you worship cows!?" Image I said "No, I just don't eat them". My sister asked "Well what can you eat?" I said "Not much today". It really wasn't well received. Oh well... :shrug:
Reminds me of a humorous scene from My Big Fat Greek Wedding:

(making preparations for dinner party)
"My boyfriend is a vegetarian"
"What's that?"
"He doesn't eat meat"
"What do you mean he doesn't eat meat?! . . . It's okay, we'll have lamb."
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: people's reactions

Postby hansen » Thu Jul 11, 2013 9:20 pm

Johnny Dangerous - about that original post! It sounds like an awkward place to be in. Some of the people you describe, it might be said "Misery Loves Company" - and also I'm familiar with the humanists, secularists, and atheists, etc. In fact there is a number of other stances people take that defend the materialist notions. It's mostly impossible that they take another view of things because they don't experience anything other than this. Unfortunately, experiencing love and relationships would have no validity for such a world view. From your perspective, you can, or may, approach such persons with compassion, which means you can afford to play with them a bit. Every now and them you could show them its easy to turn the tables on them, if it can be done in love. They shouldn't expect the understanding of life to be so easy - cut & dry. I'd engage them in something, anyhow.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby nem » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:19 am

I keep my practice and ideas to myself, except when at my local Buddhist center or a monastery.
I know I'll experience discrimination in my job or family life, if I express some views contrary to the cultural dogma. People in the USA, generally don't understand much about Buddhasasana so they jump to some conclusion that people who study Buddhasasana, are worshiping the Buddha like Christians worship, or I'm a fan of the Dali Lama or something like that. None of that is true in my practice.
All of this, is just because Buddhism is really new in the West. Like since a little over a 100 years ago..so I don't even expect the general populace to understand what I might be doing. So I don't speak of it. If I needed to speak of it with 'normal' people, I'd go to Thailand or somewhere.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Thu Jul 18, 2013 12:58 pm

I gave up a long time ago expecting anybody to understand anything about me.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: people's reactions

Postby greentara » Thu Jul 18, 2013 3:23 pm

I think the less said the better to work mates, friends and relatives. It certainly is best not to be openly passionate about yearning for liberation....you'll frighten the daylights out of people around you. You can only share this with a chosen few. Most of the people I know want to talk feminism, politics, celebrities, redecorating houses, the best car on the market etc Yoga's ok as stretching and supple bodies is just fine to talk about, but people look at you with raised eyebrows if you talk about awakening. I learned along time ago to be quiet.
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