Do you keep your buddhism private?

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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Ayu » Thu May 16, 2013 9:07 am

:smile: There are HUMAN BEINGS writing in this forum. Wow!
Because, if our mothers, who have been kind to us
From beginningless time, are suffering,
What can we do with (just) our own happiness?
From 10th of 37 Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby dude » Thu May 16, 2013 9:53 pm

To hear about the Three Treasures and hide them from others is to be a spiritual miser, selfish and wholly without compassion.
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Punya » Thu May 16, 2013 10:36 pm

catlady2112 wrote:Do people ever feel conflicted about people knowing you are a Buddhist?

I'm thinking of situations like joining a Facebook Buddhist Group newsfeed (and facebook doesn't allow you to hide that info). I've actually had people think I'm in a cult because they are uneducated about traditional eastern culture or meditation. And what about if you run a business with customers who are really conservative? I feel like I go out of my way to keep this part of my life private, and yet that restricts me from fully participating in online groups I'd like to be involved in.

Thx


Yeah, the keeping it quiet is difficult. As I have previously said, I live in an area with a strong fundamentalist Christian presence so I'm careful who I reveal my 'interest' in Buddhism to. For quite a while I struggled with this, feeling like I was walking between two worlds and longing to live in a country where Buddhism is the prevailing religion. But having read posts on DW about being a Buddhist westerner in an Asian country it seems like it doesn't necessaily allow to you to be in the mainstream either. Now that I have some Buddhist friends locally and I'm also able to come here (thank you David Snyder) I am better able to cope with having a foot in each camp and have less of a need to talk about dharma with my non-Buddhist friends and colleagues . And yes, on line I'm careful about protecting my Buddhist identity. It's just the way it is.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Punya » Sat May 18, 2013 7:28 pm

Another thought... Why not create a separate FB account, to use as a news feed and/or to share info with buddhist friends. FB does allow you to choose the level of privacy so you could restrict access to this account.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sat May 18, 2013 11:17 pm

dude wrote:To hear about the Three Treasures and hide them from others is to be a spiritual miser, selfish and wholly without compassion.

"keeping your Buddhism private" and "hiding the Three Treasures from others. " are not the same thing.
One can reveal their dharma practice in their deeds and never say a word about the Three Treasures.
But to withhold teachings, or to lie about it if one is asked, that is a different matter.
But generally, Buddhists don't proselytize.
So it's not a matter being selfish at all.

Declarations are empty if not backed up by actions.
So why bring it up if nobody asks?
Yet, if through your actions, you share the dharma with everyone
then very few words are needed.
A person can have a lot of compassion and benefit many beings
without telling them all about what kind of religious trip they are into.

If you go around telling people "I am a Buddhist"
then, by implication, you are telling them, "I am a good Buddhist".
Nobody announces, "I am a Buddhist" meaning "I am a terrible Buddhist".
Isn't this just boasting?

If it's a matter of, say,
wanting to sit in the break room at lunch and chant mantras with prayer beads,
and if, as a result, everybody you work with thinks you are a little loopy
then what you are saying is, "Buddhists are weird, and Buddhism is weird."
Because you can't just be concerned about what happens in your own thoughts.
if you have compassion, then you have to be concerned with what is going on in other peoples heads as well.
If you give everybody the impression that Buddhism is some kind of cult,
isn't this the same as spreading a falsehood?

If you wear a wrist mala,
people might think it's a bracelet
and others may ask you if it is is something else.
In that case, you are leaving the door open to inquiry
and if you are ready to answer everybody's questions, that's fine.
Then tell people about Buddha.
but if you aren't, then what will you do?
This doesn't have anything to do with miserliness.

Look at a rabbit. When a rabbit sees a dog, it doesn't move at all.
He isn't denying that he is a rabbit. He is protecting being a rabbit.
This isn't selfishness.
This is wisdom.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
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: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby mandala » Mon May 20, 2013 4:27 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:If you go around telling people "I am a Buddhist"
then, by implication, you are telling them, "I am a good Buddhist".
Nobody announces, "I am a Buddhist" meaning "I am a terrible Buddhist".
Isn't this just boasting?
...............
If you wear a wrist mala,
people might think it's a bracelet
and others may ask you if it is is something else.
In that case, you are leaving the door open to inquiry
and if you are ready to answer everybody's questions, that's fine.


Actually, I do sometimes tell people I'm a crap Buddhist because I don't want the more impressionable to think I'm a glowing example of what Buddhism can be.
I'm the first to point out that being a Buddhist doesn't mean you're a Buddha - it's a work in progress.

I do wear my mala - it's lovely & silver and not so obviously a mala and people often ask me about it, which is all good.

:smile:
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon May 20, 2013 9:54 pm

"that's not very Buddhist"

Unfortunately, I feel like rightly or wrongly, if I were to regularly remind people I was Buddhist (most of them know on some level, but I don't talk Dharma with non-dharma folks unless they ask) this would the response..which is kind of the point, being Buddhist actually means acknowledging that I DO live in a deluded hallucinatory bubble. I get the impression that many non-Buddhists seem to think it's supposed to mean the opposite.

"A fool who knows he is fool" and all that...
"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: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue May 21, 2013 7:56 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:"that's not very Buddhist"

Unfortunately, I feel like rightly or wrongly, if I were to regularly remind people I was Buddhist (most of them know on some level, but I don't talk Dharma with non-dharma folks unless they ask) this would the response..which is kind of the point, being Buddhist actually means acknowledging that I DO live in a deluded hallucinatory bubble. I get the impression that many non-Buddhists seem to think it's supposed to mean the opposite.

"A fool who knows he is fool" and all that...

If you live among Christians, you could equally say, "That's not very Christian," to many of them. If you pick your time and person carefully, it can lead to some genuine learning for everyone concerned. If not, of course, you are likely to cop some very un-Christian Christian abuse. :oops:

:namaste:
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby shaunc » Tue May 21, 2013 11:33 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:"that's not very Buddhist"

Unfortunately, I feel like rightly or wrongly, if I were to regularly remind people I was Buddhist (most of them know on some level, but I don't talk Dharma with non-dharma folks unless they ask) this would the response..which is kind of the point, being Buddhist actually means acknowledging that I DO live in a deluded hallucinatory bubble. I get the impression that many non-Buddhists seem to think it's supposed to mean the opposite.

"A fool who knows he is fool" and all that...

If you live among Christians, you could equally say, "That's not very Christian," to many of them. If you pick your time and person carefully, it can lead to some genuine learning for everyone concerned. If not, of course, you are likely to cop some very un-Christian Christian abuse. :oops:

:namaste:
Kim


There's plenty of buddhist countries out there, Thailand comes to mind. The cops & the robbers are all buddhist. I could also make a similar comment about catholic countries, or just about any other mainstream religion you care to name. Just because you identify yourself as a buddhist doesn't mean that people automatically expect you to be perfect. If someone identified themselves to me to be catholic, I wouldn't automatically put them in the same category as mother theresa.
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby mindyourmind » Tue May 21, 2013 1:59 pm

As valid as all of these concerns are, we must also start walking the Buddhist walk out there.

How do we expect the Dharma to really flourish in the West if we all act like shy little wallflowers? Maybe we are the generation that will take a bit of heat (also, I believe that our realities will be better than our fears) but that will make it easier for the next lot.

Get out of the closet :lol:
As bad as bad becomes its not a part of you

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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby vixian » Mon Jul 15, 2013 3:39 am

I do not deliberately keep my Buddhist beliefs hidden but given the difficulty with semantics and the meaning of words I try to avoid jargon that is loaded with meaning ...

It doesn't matter what I mean when using a term of art ... if the other person has a pre-conceived notion it will likely be an impediment to sharing.
My wife is a born again Christian and her assumption is that I am worshipping Buddha and a pantheon of gods. As her belief system starts with the notion that all humans are born sinful and that no practice can redeem Buddhism is in jarring counterpoint.
My response is that Buddhism is a way of redicovering your true nature and that a Christian would benefit from practice in that it would clear away unconsciously accepted deceptions that hinder growth.

If I have no time constraints and someone is interested then I try to find out what it is that they really are wanting to know ... to validate their own beliefs, to criticise mine, to simply debate at head level or really interested in what is true, valuable and real.

Just like Buddhism no one size fits all ... but I am not embarrassed in sharing ... whay should I be embarrassed in being honest and real?

In the words of the bible I try to be as harmless as a dove and as wise as a serpent ... Matthew 10:16
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby Quiet Heart » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:45 am

:smile:
Yes, in a way I do.
I don't hide or attempt to hide my involvement with my Buddhist beliefs, but in the other hand I don't go out of may way to explain them either.
The English rock group "Dire Straits" had a song called "Private Investigations".
One of the lines in that song says, "This is a Private Investigation .... not a Public Enquiry".
And so is my Buddhism.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby tucker1 » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:35 pm

I guess you could .. I don't know that much about it since we lack knowledge of the Buddha.

Telling someone about it in a conversation is just the "general idea" of what exactly Buddhism is.

The zealous orthodox Jews would smash idols with a hammer. Hence the practice of "Idol smashing" ...

It doesn't mean they know what it is.
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby steveb1 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:02 am

Personally I do not have a large enough circle of family and friends for it to make a significant difference. In addition, I am retired, so there is no more workplace in which to show, or to conceal, my Buddhism.

I am Jodo Shinshu, a (relatively) recent convert. It's not primarily a teaching-or-missionary sangha; nor is it a "works-oriented" or meditation-oriented sect. Its only two practices are Nembutsu recitation and Deep Listening - two mostly subjective practices that are not likely to impinge on public venues. Of course, if people knew I attended a temple, they would know about my Buddhism, but - I don't attend a temple, as there are none nearby, and anyway, I am by nature a solitary practitioner

The only entanglement I have had so far is with a close friend who is something of a materialist-rationalist, who says Jodo Shinshu is "Magical Thinking". I tried to explain the difference between what seems like magic in this samsaric realm, and the transcendental unfolding of the Dharma, which to most samsaric eyes, would "look like" magic. From that encounter, and from reading "new" atheists online, I have come to the conclusion that their use of the term "magical thinking" is really a misuse. That is, they turn the phrase into an accusation and into a truncheon with which they beat people who, unlike themselves, are not "scientific materialists". It's a buzz-phrase, and unhelpful for real dialogue, and I eschew it and remove myself from it as a general policy.

Be that as it may, I think that in most circumstances, it is best (as well as pragmatically easier) - for me - to simply keep quiet about my involvement in Buddhism ... unless, of course, someone sincerely asks.
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Re: Do you keep your buddhism private?

Postby flavio81 » Tue Jul 16, 2013 7:51 am

Ramon1920 wrote:Keep it secret, even from other Buddhists.
That's my general view.
Not many people have correct understanding of Buddhism, not many people have compunction when they misrepresent the Buddha's teaching: it's a dangerous combination.


At last, you and I agree on something !! A bright day! :heart: :hug:

At least if you are in the vajrayana vehicle, it's better to keep a very low profile. For if you attempt to explain the teachings you follow, you will probably be misunderstood and people can turn against you or against the teachings. This problem can not only occur with Christians or hardcore atheists, but with Theravada Buddhists as well.
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