How do others see your buddhist toughts?

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

Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jul 03, 2012 2:29 am

Perhaps usually it's better not to say we're buddhists, at least until we can act as such from the heart in a consistent fashion and let others with interest find out we are. The circumstances leading to such discovery play an important role in the process, I guess.

There's also another thing... if you're like me, people eventually will get to know you better, find your flaws and they may end up thinking Buddhists like the Dalai Lama and other great teachers are also like that. When they meet a novice Buddhist practitioner, not a Buddhist master, they will judge your faults harsher than if they didn't know you're a Buddhist and, even worse, may end up committing the fallacy of thinking all Buddhists are alike, great practitioners included. This has also something to do with how social dynamics work, considering that the moment you identify as a Buddhist you'll be seen as part of an exogroup. Anyway, a lot of bad scenarios can happen when compared to the few good ones possible.

If appropriate one may comment about it. There's no need to deliberately hide it in most occasions. Knowing when it is appropriate is an art, I guess.
In any case, if you mess up, get criticized and so on, just learn from it, put it behind your back and move on. That's life and these things are not so important. The best thing you can do is being a decent human being. If you are, it's likely that when others find out you're a Buddhist it raises them some interest. But don't sweat about it. Karma and circumstances play a major role here, so let things happen naturally and don't think too much about it. Being a Buddhist is not that special after all. I met some pretty screwed up Buddhists in my life, so... it's not a big deal.
Practicing Dharma is what really matters. I guess if you do that and don't worry about the rest, all will work out fine. ;)
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby KeithBC » Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:04 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Perhaps usually it's better not to say we're buddhists
...
Knowing when it is appropriate is an art
...
Practicing Dharma is what really matters.

This is my approach. It is seldom relevant for someone to know that I am a Buddhist, so there is no need for me to raise the subject. Sometimes others will raise it, but not from a deliberate effort on my part.

For example, if I blow away a mosquito instead of squashing it, someone may ask me why I did so. Even at that point, telling them that I am a Buddhist is a bit like clubbing them over the head: TMI. I answer that I don't believe in unnecessary killing. Typically, that is the answer they are loooking for, and it satisfies their curiosity. Sometimes, it plants a seed for further inquiry. That is when they ask, "Why not?" And that is the point at which, IMO, it is appropriate to tell them that I am a Buddhist.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Wed Jul 04, 2012 12:22 am

:thumbsup:
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Nosta » Wed Jul 04, 2012 5:42 pm

Denchen Norbu, thanks for you answer.

KeithBC wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Perhaps usually it's better not to say we're buddhists
...
Knowing when it is appropriate is an art
...
Practicing Dharma is what really matters.

This is my approach. It is seldom relevant for someone to know that I am a Buddhist, so there is no need for me to raise the subject. Sometimes others will raise it, but not from a deliberate effort on my part.

For example, if I blow away a mosquito instead of squashing it, someone may ask me why I did so. Even at that point, telling them that I am a Buddhist is a bit like clubbing them over the head: TMI. I answer that I don't believe in unnecessary killing. Typically, that is the answer they are loooking for, and it satisfies their curiosity. Sometimes, it plants a seed for further inquiry. That is when they ask, "Why not?" And that is the point at which, IMO, it is appropriate to tell them that I am a Buddhist.

Om mani padme hum
Keith



Thats what happen with me :). If i dont kill a bug and people ask why, i wont say that i am a buddhist. Instead i explain that there is no need to kill them, they suffer too, why kill them? Some people will look with curiosity to me (while others may mock on me).
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Thu Jul 05, 2012 1:57 am

I was never in a similar situation. Usually people don't notice that kind of stuff around here... :shrug:
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby GarcherLancelot » Wed Jul 18, 2012 5:58 pm

Nosta wrote:Denchen Norbu, thanks for you answer.

KeithBC wrote:
Dechen Norbu wrote:Perhaps usually it's better not to say we're buddhists
...
Knowing when it is appropriate is an art
...
Practicing Dharma is what really matters.

This is my approach. It is seldom relevant for someone to know that I am a Buddhist, so there is no need for me to raise the subject. Sometimes others will raise it, but not from a deliberate effort on my part.

For example, if I blow away a mosquito instead of squashing it, someone may ask me why I did so. Even at that point, telling them that I am a Buddhist is a bit like clubbing them over the head: TMI. I answer that I don't believe in unnecessary killing. Typically, that is the answer they are loooking for, and it satisfies their curiosity. Sometimes, it plants a seed for further inquiry. That is when they ask, "Why not?" And that is the point at which, IMO, it is appropriate to tell them that I am a Buddhist.

Om mani padme hum
Keith



Thats what happen with me :). If i dont kill a bug and people ask why, i wont say that i am a buddhist. Instead i explain that there is no need to kill them, they suffer too, why kill them? Some people will look with curiosity to me (while others may mock on me).


IMO there is no need to go out of the way just to not kill them(bugs),they reborn anyway you know.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby KeithBC » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:33 pm

GarcherLancelot wrote:IMO there is no need to go out of the way just to not kill them(bugs),they reborn anyway you know.
You are entitled to your opinion. The Precepts say otherwise.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby catmoon » Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:49 pm

I get reactions as varied as people. Some have taken to calling me the Wise One, which is distressing because they are not being ironic. I think there are plenty of people around here who understand the reasons for my distress. Others view my Buddhist philosophy as lacking morals and filled with unjustified assumptions. Still others dismiss the whole thing with a snort and a shake of the head, and return to their newspapers.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Punya » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:27 pm

The board seemed to crash while I was editing the above post so I'll start again. CAN ONE OF THE ADMINISTRATORS PLEASE DELETE THE FIRST ONE.

Hi Nosta. I can very much relate to your experience. What I find especially strange is that in Australia (and I assume most other western countries) religion seems to be the last taboo. I live and work in an area where conservative Christian groups have a strong presence yet no-one seems to acknowledge that religion is an important part of their life. It's seems like we are living in a secular society but not one that is tolerant of religious diversity. I feel like a foreigner in my own country.

A day that stands out for me was during a workshop. It was part of a program to discuss my organisation's values which include "diversity" and "communication". At this time I was naive about attitudes to Buddhism and I made a comment about His Holiness the Dalai Lama's approach to communication on the assumption that everyone thought he was, at least, an all round good guy. There was a palpable silence. Fortunately one brave person had the courage to move the conversation on. Ever since I've been guarded about who I tell about my "interest" in buddhism and even then I've come to recognise the panicked look that says "Please don't tell me any more!"

Amongst my immediate family, close friends and small work group there is a begrudging acceptance of my weird “interest” although I think privately my mother believes I have joined a strange sect. My teacher’s main base is in India and his students are scattered across the world so this gives me very limited opportunities to talk about dharma – hence my arrival here.
Last edited by Punya on Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Ayu » Mon Dec 31, 2012 11:44 pm

What the people think of me is one thing. But how i feel by hiding my "religion" is on the other hand. Therefore i try to find my way in the middle of these contrasts.
I don't tell anybody who is not interested about my thoughts. But if somebody asks i don't hide. This is very important for my health.
Wether people know or don't know that i'm a buddhist, they find out quickly that i'm a fantast. So there's no need to hide. Either they like me anyhow or they dislike me - however they want.
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: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:14 am

Almost all my friends and family are militant Atheists or agnostics...I was in this category once myself. A few are interested in Dharma but find belief in things like rebirth insane..though they seem fine with "energy" stuff lol - go figure. My wife doesn't get it as she is Jewish, but is very respectful and interested.

Usually if family or friends ask about meditation I am glad to provide info, and of course to answer questions if they have them (they usually don't) and that's as far as I go.

I think most people just think it's a phase, or something I do more when i'm depressed (which is actually true - it is medicine after all), and that's ok so I just don't talk about it with non-Buddhists that much in anything but an academic or general way.

On one level I can't really blame them for not taking it seriously, there are plenty of people out there just trying to "be spiritual" without it amounting to much other than self-help, so it's not surprising that people can't tell the difference from the other side of things, and I don't take it personally.
"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: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby catmoon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:26 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Almost all my friends and family are militant Atheists or agnostics...I was in this category once myself. A few are interested in Dharma but find belief in things like rebirth insane..though they seem fine with "energy" stuff lol - go figure. My wife doesn't get it as she is Jewish, but is very respectful and interested.




it's kind of amazing how far you can go with the Dharma while holding a militant atheist position. It doesn't really interfere until you reach a point where any absolute views become a problem.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby songhill » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:39 am

Nosta wrote:
I feel myself as a lonely buddhist, not in a sad-self-pitty-way, but in the sense that i cant speak about buddhism with anyone, only here!

This is my karma for sure, and for sure i dont have the gift of teaching Dharma to others. My path is more like the path of a Pratyeka Buddha.

What about you, how is your buddhist life, about these subjects?


When I went through bootcamp in the Navy in 1967. The brass knew I was a Buddhist - they didn't like it. I would meditate at night on my bunk (the top one) while the leaders of the company would try to stop me. A few days later, the guys who tried to stop me were asking how to meditate. I had about 25% of my bootcamp company meditating. You can really make a difference "lonely Buddhist" by really learning to be alone and reading and studying the discourses of the Buddha. Stick with it. You will do great.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby songhill » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:52 am

catmoon wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:Almost all my friends and family are militant Atheists or agnostics...I was in this category once myself. A few are interested in Dharma but find belief in things like rebirth insane..though they seem fine with "energy" stuff lol - go figure. My wife doesn't get it as she is Jewish, but is very respectful and interested.




it's kind of amazing how far you can go with the Dharma while holding a militant atheist position. It doesn't really interfere until you reach a point where any absolute views become a problem.


I am coming to the conclusion that atheism and agnosticism are just materialism a little disguised. The Buddha was dead set against the materialists of his day. For example, Ajita Kesakambali taught a form materialism which the Buddha rejected. There is no future life or repeated rebirth. Mankind is composed of earth, water, fire, and air which return to their original state after death (obviously there is no self or soul). There is no merit in good actions or demerit in evil actions.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby catmoon » Tue Jan 01, 2013 2:57 am

songhill wrote:
I am coming to the conclusion that atheism and agnosticism are just materialism a little disguised. The Buddha was dead set against the materialists of his day. For example, Ajita Kesakambali taught a form materialism which the Buddha rejected. There is no future life or repeated rebirth. Mankind is composed of earth, water, fire, and air which return to their original state after death (obviously there is no self or soul). There is no merit in good actions or demerit in evil actions.



Please reconsider. Granted there are atheists who hold just the positions you describe, but there are also those who don't hold any of them. Atheism does not inherently require a hardcore materialist position.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Punya » Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:25 am

songhill wrote:
Nosta wrote:
I feel myself as a lonely buddhist, not in a sad-self-pitty-way, but in the sense that i cant speak about buddhism with anyone, only here!

This is my karma for sure, and for sure i dont have the gift of teaching Dharma to others. My path is more like the path of a Pratyeka Buddha.

What about you, how is your buddhist life, about these subjects?


When I went through bootcamp in the Navy in 1967. The brass knew I was a Buddhist - they didn't like it. I would meditate at night on my bunk (the top one) while the leaders of the company would try to stop me. A few days later, the guys who tried to stop me were asking how to meditate. I had about 25% of my bootcamp company meditating. You can really make a difference "lonely Buddhist" by really learning to be alone and reading and studying the discourses of the Buddha. Stick with it. You will do great.



I like your story Songhill although I have to suspect your success rate had something to do with it being 1967. :smile:
Unless the inner forces of negative emotions are conquered
Strife with outer enemies will never end.
~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby greentara » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:39 am

This is interesting and relevant as I've just come home after having lunch with some friends. It seems people have become boastful about atheism as if it is the only possible reality. Feminism looms large in the conversation, followed by gay rights. Religion is given the thumbs down and current affairs is the order of the day. Not much can be said about buddhism or Eastern religion as according to them you cannot see pressing issues and the bigger picture. So finally I'm left smiling, sipping my coffee in silence.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Ukigumo » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:56 am

Right now, I live in an isolated, rural, extremely conservative Christian community. Previously, I have lived in a very cosmopolitan, urban environment with a number of different Buddhist temples and dharma centers. In both cases, I don't really talk about my path with others. I consider the spiritual path to be a personal matter, and in most cases I simply do not bring up the topic of religion with acquaintances and even friends. If someone were genuinely curious about my religious background, or if the subject naturally came up, I would be happy to answer questions but otherwise I see no need to discuss it.
All compound phenomena are like a dream;
a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning
That is how to meditate on them
That is how to observe them
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby xtracorrupt » Tue Jan 01, 2013 4:41 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:Practicing Dharma is what really matters.


A possibility, yet not a necessity.
Existence can be normal.
Ex:a Apple tree is a apple tree
Ex:Michael is Michael, Michael is who Michael is


Existence can be conditioned.
Ex: Apple tree is apple tree if apple tree grows
Ex: Michael is Michael if Michael is a king
Ex: Michael is Michael if Michael is walking
Ex: Michael is Michael if Michael is not walking

Existence can be unconditioned
Ex: Apple is apple tree once apple tree is grown for 50 weeks
Ex: Michael is Michael once Michael is a king
Ex: Michael is content Michael once Michael is walking
Ex: Michael is discontent Michael once Michael is walking.
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Re: How do others see your buddhist toughts?

Postby Jainarayan » Tue Jan 01, 2013 7:44 pm

This is a good thread. I'm reluctant to weigh in, not being really Buddhist, though many of the tenets I hold as a Hindu-cum-Buddhist are not dissimilar. My take on ahimsa towards bugs is a little different; I apologize in advance if some people are offended. So I'll get that out of the way...

I will not kill spiders or waterbugs, (as we call them, they are small beetles); I will not kill wasps or hornets, dangerous as they can be to some people (anaphylactic shock comes to mind), but will attempt to relocate them by removing the nest and placing it somewhere else. Roaches, which I am happy to say I have never experienced in any of my homes, are a different matter, as are the common house centipede and termites. They do carry disease and will foul food stuffs; termites will literally destroy your home. They cannot be lured away. In that case, I'm sorry to say, a call to Terminix is in order, imo.

However, I had a female racoon invade my attic to birth and raise a litter of kits. The damage she did to my ductwork and structure was not to be believed. People told me to set out poison traps, put poison in the attic, etc. I said I most certainly will not! I borrowed my neighbor's Hav-A-Hart trap (took me days to trap the family) and relocated the mother and babies far enough that they wouldn't make this area their home territory (males can range 5 miles, females 1 mile). I actually trapped and relocated a few more who seemed ready to move in.

As to discussing my religious beliefs, I don't, if at all possible. I do have deity pictures on my desk at work, but they are for me, no one else. If someone asks what they are, as two people did, I responded differently. Response #1 was to my boss and friend of 27 years. Suffice to say he said "gee, we could use some more of their help around here". To the other person, who is a busybody and would broadcast all over the company, I said nothing, ignoring the question.

While strangers and acquaintances may not understand my religious "eccentricities", the will respect them. My family is an altogether different matter. Being Roman-Catholic-When-Necessary, all I can look forward to is mockery. This won't be a Buddhist story (well, the word did come up), but as I was relating the story of Narasimha (an avatar of Vishnu) and Hiranyakashipu to my neice's husband, a big (I do mean big) good ol' boy long haul trucker, he sat with his hands in his chin in rapt attention :popcorn: finally saying, "wow, that was cool!"

His wife, my niece, said "wait, are you a Buddhist or something?" I said no, Hindu. :roll: I got a "well, whatever, you're :crazy: anyway". I got the same reaction from the rest of my family.
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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