The longer I practice, the more turned off I am by the things I attach and cling to within the -ism of Buddhism. Most days, I don't even claim to be a buddhist. I keep feeling a dissatisfaction with the desire I notice within myself that reaches out for labels like tiny rafters of self trying to affirm their existence (yes, yes I know, typical doesn't even have Ngondro empowerment newbie...). I guess, I've been on these boards long enough to see the dialectic 'battles', the diatribes, the fine and the subtle, sometimes wonderful, sometimes confusing exchanges and banter - some of it great, some of it less so. But I get tired of the Buddhist rhetoric just like any other politic and religion because it seems to keep missing the point. WHAT is the point? the question keeps returning. Perhaps a lifelong journey in itself that's simply realized in the walking.
Someone wrote something in the Dzogchen -the two stages thread that struck me, I'm paraphrasing loosely here, so bear with - Nature cannot be explained, it's non-duality is experienced directly, or not. Recently Dzogchen has fallen into my sphere of awareness like a door creaking open. I honestly admit, I know next to nothing of it. Come to think of it, I know next to nothing of Buddhism. I know sutras, and some practices, and I know what people tell me, and what I'm told about this or that reality. But in truth, it's easiest let it all go and just be 'human.' At least I know what that means and how it connects me to the rest of the world... Maybe this is just a selfish question, maybe it's valid, maybe both... but it comes back to me frequently - What is this Buddhist thing but a set of labels and identity to compound even more upon the pile of BS I've told myself over the years of what I am or am not. Reify less, rest more in stillness. This is the answer that keeps coming back to me. Maybe why Dzogchen is suddenly knocking on my mental doors? Time will tell.
One thing that strikes me every time I read our many colorful discussions is all the things we invest in what "WE" believe is or isn't Buddhist, from our inward experience, sometimes from the interpretation of something a teacher taught. So a question posed to you dharma wheel... what do you think? What would Buddhism look like without the -ism?
Or is that a blasphemous question that is completely revealing of my extensive ignorance?