The "Buddhist" label

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The "Buddhist" label

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:15 pm

If a person is said to be a vegetarian, and then one day eats meat,
is that person still considered to be a vegetarian?
If a person is said to be faithful to his or her spouse
and then one day, decides to have an extramarital affair
is that person still considered to be faithful
--even though they are still considered to be married?
If a person is said to be a buddhist
and then kills a group of people,
is that person still considered to be a buddhist?

Consider the difference between
"I am....." and "I do.....".

When people say, "that killer was a devout buddhist"
what is your response?
.
.
.
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby plwk » Tue Sep 17, 2013 1:34 pm

Amitabha!
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby Matt J » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:27 pm

It's hard to consider that "one of us", the in group of Buddhists, could do something terrible, like commit murder. But that doesn't mean it's untrue. There has been a type of Buddhist pride I find that spins a myth that Buddhists aren't capable of murders like those "OTHER" religions, but it isn't true. Buddhists are people. Some of them kill people. It sucks. But their life doesn't represent the teachings any more than a KKK member represents Christianity or Stalin represents atheists.
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby Jikan » Tue Sep 17, 2013 4:37 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
When people say, "that killer was a devout buddhist"
what is your response?
.
.
.


He identified as a Buddhist. His conduct was that of a mentally ill person (in the case of the Navy Yard shooter). He surely had aspirations to lead a nonviolent, pure, wholesome life, and his affiliation with Dharma was part of that. He also heard voices and had violent impulses...

how real are any of our identifications?
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby shaunc » Wed Sep 18, 2013 3:56 am

There's plenty of Buddhist countries/cultures out there, Thailand is one that comes to mind, the cops & the robbers are all buddhist. It's sad about the shooting in the U.S. but would we even be having this conversation if the media had reported he was a catholic, Hindu, Jew or any other religion. In my opinion he was a sick man that hadn't come to terms with his demons.
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby Punya » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:25 am

Buddhists aren't Buddhas.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:11 pm

'Defective implementation'.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:25 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If a person is said to be a vegetarian, and then one day eats meat,
is that person still considered to be a vegetarian?


No, because the definition of vegetarian is one who abstains from all meat. I suppose one could say that they are "mostly vegetarian" but I have heard some vegetarians take issue with that, that calling oneself "mostly" does not apply either.

If a person is said to be faithful to his or her spouse
and then one day, decides to have an extramarital affair
is that person still considered to be faithful
--even though they are still considered to be married?


No, he or she would no longer be a faithful spouse, by definition. However, he or she could still be married, that is up to the couple to work out and decide.

If a person is said to be a buddhist
and then kills a group of people,
is that person still considered to be a buddhist?


Yes, because a Buddhist is not automatically a Buddha or arahant or necessarily any higher level of attainment. It is good to keep the precepts, but how many Buddhists really keep all 5 precepts all the time? I imagine many Buddhists struggle to keep the alcohol abstention precept all the time, violating it for social encounters. And I am sure many Buddhists sometimes tell some white-lies. I am not condoning or approving the breaking of any precepts, just stating the reality.

When people say, "that killer was a devout buddhist"
what is your response?


It was a mental health issue, not about his religion.
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Re: The "Buddhist" label

Postby Jikan » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:14 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:It was a mental health issue, not about his religion.


this is an interesting one. Perhaps one of the dangers around the use of the word "sanity" in contemporary Buddhist discourse (think of "basic sanity" as a cipher for "Buddhanature") is that Buddhism is somehow equated to mental health: "mindfulness" as a wellness technique fits in here as well.

I don't think anyone would ask about his religion if he were, say, Catholic. And of course we'd be having a very different conversation if he were a Muslim.
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