Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Impression from what? TV? Movies? If you've not spent time with Buddhists or learned/read any teachings, what gives you your impression of it?
Not being facetious, it's a serious question.
i have read some buddhist various teachings and i listened to lectures. it is true that buddhism got no strict rules. it is true it noway near to the strictness of western religons as christianity and judaism. yet, it had a feeling like when you are following Buddhism, giving you less free of act and free of own decision. I could be mixing with monks lifestyle and those who don't. but then again, religion who suggest you to be monk, is a bit problematic for me. i have learned more seriously taoist philosophy than buddhist, i admit it.
Hmm, maybe I understand a little better what you are getting at.
There are lots of forms of Buddhism suitable to householders, can you point to a particular teaching or teacher that you feel is restrictive? It's true that like any religion it has it's fundamentalists, and suffers from the same failings that any human endeavor is bound too, but that is sort of the point. There really are authentic teachers and practitioners who aspire to live the teachings though, and who manage to not be obnoxious, stuffy, doctrinaire or unpleasant while doing so. This is why I recommend seeking out actual people, when you meet people who really do walk the walk to some degree (and they are out there), it answers some of your questions.
Everyone is always free to their own decisions and beliefs, and always have been. Uur decisions and beliefs can be a kind of prison themselves though, if that doesn't strike a chord, then maybe Buddhism is not the thing for you, or maybe (and this seems more likely to me) you haven't found the right teacher or practice.