What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby Nothing » Sun Sep 02, 2012 11:58 am

Buddhist is just a word, a label, remove the word and you have nothing!
User avatar
Nothing
 
Posts: 92
Joined: Sun Aug 19, 2012 5:39 pm

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby Bhavana » Thu Sep 06, 2012 6:14 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Dave The Seeker wrote:I was wondering about this.
Does one have to formally take Refuge to be considered a Buddhist?
Does one have to follow a school or sect if you prefer?


Opinions vary; imo, Refuge is not necessary, following a particular school is also not necessary. There are many who follow "Buddhayana" or some mixture of different traditions / general Buddhism. Just calling yourself a Buddhist, following the Path as best as possible is enough.


I must say, I have wondered about this myself. Trying to live a better life by following the Path is what I do - I don't always succeed, but I am trying - and I know I will never be perfect. That's ok, because now it is more about the journey than the end destination. I was also wondering if being a Buddhist means one has to be able to both comprehend and join in all of the heavy duty discussions here, with all the philosophical speculations about life and everything else....because frankly, I can't follow most of you or understand what the heck you are talking about. Nor do I want to. I pick up a lot of books on Buddhism, and my eyes glaze over after one or two chapters. So for a while, I thought that my lack of understanding - or interest - in the discussions here on this site was a problem, that it meant that I didn't understand Buddhism. Now I am not so sure. I understand the basics, and I understand that I feel at "home" with Buddhism - and I do want to learn more, just not at the level that others seem to be at.
User avatar
Bhavana
 
Posts: 37
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:18 pm
Location: east coast US

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Thu Sep 06, 2012 8:47 pm

Bhavana wrote:
I must say, I have wondered about this myself. Trying to live a better life by following the Path is what I do - I don't always succeed, but I am trying - and I know I will never be perfect. That's ok, because now it is more about the journey than the end destination.


:twothumbsup:

I was also wondering if being a Buddhist means one has to be able to both comprehend and join in all of the heavy duty discussions here, with all the philosophical speculations about life and everything else....because frankly, I can't follow most of you or understand what the heck you are talking about. Nor do I want to. I pick up a lot of books on Buddhism, and my eyes glaze over after one or two chapters. So for a while, I thought that my lack of understanding - or interest - in the discussions here on this site was a problem, that it meant that I didn't understand Buddhism. Now I am not so sure. I understand the basics, and I understand that I feel at "home" with Buddhism - and I do want to learn more, just not at the level that others seem to be at.


You aren't alone there. There is a lot that goes on here on this board.
Take what helps you and don't worry about the rest, it may come in time.
Do what you feel comfortable with and learn what you can. You never know where you'll be farther along your path. :namaste:
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
User avatar
Dave The Seeker
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:02 pm
Location: Reading MI USA

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby lobster » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:57 am

Bonsai Doug wrote:Old joke: What's the difference between a Buddhist and a non-Buddhist?
The non-Buddhist thinks there's a difference.


:twothumbsup:
spot on

I would not consider myself a Buddhist . . . except temporarily . . .
I would certainly call myself Buddhist but rarely live up to even basic precepts
. . . maybe we are all 'wannabe Buddhas' . . .

Christ be with us :oops:
There goes the label . . :toilet:
User avatar
lobster
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 9:06 pm

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby catmoon » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:44 am

Is there a Buddhist nature? I don't think so. A person cannot be intrinsically Buddhist.

The reason is, that if you were intrinsically Buddhist, you would have to be Buddhist from the day of birth all the way to the grave, and this "Buddhist Nature" would have to remain unchanged the whole time. It would have to be completely unrelated to things like practice and belief. So your practices and beliefs coud go completely ga-ga and still you would have this "Buddhist Nature" and you would still be a Buddhist. The concept doesn't work.

So I think it comes down to this: if a sufficiently large number of people agree you are a Buddhist, then you are. Whether or not the label applies is purely a social convention.

So I would suggest that you follow the Middle Path, seek enlightenment, study learn and meditate, and don't bother yourself about what people call you.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
User avatar
catmoon
Former staff member
 
Posts: 3006
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 3:20 am
Location: British Columbia

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby Tanmart22 » Fri Sep 21, 2012 5:44 pm

I think- this is a very good topic, as I have been very interested in Buddhism for the past 3 years, and have been reading and trying to walk the path.

But- would not call myself a Buddhist yet

For me, it's one of the refreshing things about the religion. Entry is not based upon a ceremony, or a written exam, or being part of a certain clan, etc.

You have bought a puzzle, because you want to put it together. So you are a Buddhist when you realize what the image is, what you are looking at.

Then the work of the actualized Buddhist is putting it together (the graceful ascent). :rolleye:
OK
User avatar
Tanmart22
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:16 pm

Re: What actually makes someone a Buddhist?

Postby Dave The Seeker » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:19 pm

[quote="catmoon"
So I would suggest that you follow the Middle Path, seek enlightenment, study learn and meditate, and don't bother yourself about what people call you.[/quote]

Thanks cat :thumbsup:
And people usually call me Dave, so it really doesn't bother me :rolling:

Also, thanks David for your response, makes a lot of sense
Everyday problems teach us to have a realistic attitude.
They teach us that life is what life is; flawed.
Yet with tremendous potential for joy and fulfillment.
~Lama Surya Das~

If your path teaches you to act and exert yourself correctly and leads to spiritual realizations such as love, compassion and wisdom then obviously it's worthwhile.
~Lama Thubten Yeshe~

One whose mind is freed does not argue with anyone, he does not dispute with anyone. He makes use of the conventional terms of the world without clinging to them
~The Buddha~
User avatar
Dave The Seeker
 
Posts: 409
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:02 pm
Location: Reading MI USA

Previous

Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>