Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby KeithBC » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:50 am

Right Speech generally (there could be the odd exception) excludes telling lies. When I took Refuge, my teacher explained that taking Refuge in the Dharma implied an additional committment to avoid telling untruths in matters of religion.

I don't go around preaching to those unwilling to listen. But if someone asks me if I am a Buddhist, I must not give them a false answer. I don't have to go into a lot of unwanted or un-understandable detail, but I do have to say "yes". To me, it would be a sign of profound disrespect for the Dharma not to do so.

Om mani padme hum
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby seeker242 » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:36 am

padma norbu wrote:I have occasionally in the past few years started just saying "I'm not really a Buddhist, though" to friends and extended family whenever they ask me about all my books and thangkas and statues...


Do they believe you? I probably wouldn't if you had Buddha statues and Buddha pictures all over the place. :lol: Does it really matter that friends and family understand the technical differences of Dzogchen vs Buddhism? That sound like a long, complicated conversation, one they probably would not understand. :smile:
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby padma norbu » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:39 am

seeker242 wrote:
padma norbu wrote:I have occasionally in the past few years started just saying "I'm not really a Buddhist, though" to friends and extended family whenever they ask me about all my books and thangkas and statues...


Do they believe you? I probably wouldn't if you had Buddha statues and Buddha pictures all over the place. :lol: Does it really matter that friends and family understand the technical differences of Dzogchen vs Buddhism? That sound like a long, complicated conversation, one they probably would not understand. :smile:


They probably think I'm weird and full of crap like a new age hippy or something. I think this is better than them thinking I'm really a buddhist because I think the professional buddhists who wear robes and stuff do a much better job setting an example than I do. Yes, I could try to set a better example, but it's just not natural for me to be a teacher. If I ever found myself in that position, I'd probably abuse the power more and more with each passing year.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:15 am

padma norbu wrote:
seeker242 wrote:
padma norbu wrote:I have occasionally in the past few years started just saying "I'm not really a Buddhist, though" to friends and extended family whenever they ask me about all my books and thangkas and statues...


Do they believe you? I probably wouldn't if you had Buddha statues and Buddha pictures all over the place. :lol: Does it really matter that friends and family understand the technical differences of Dzogchen vs Buddhism? That sound like a long, complicated conversation, one they probably would not understand. :smile:


They probably think I'm weird and full of crap like a new age hippy or something. I think this is better than them thinking I'm really a buddhist because I think the professional buddhists who wear robes and stuff do a much better job setting an example than I do. Yes, I could try to set a better example, but it's just not natural for me to be a teacher. If I ever found myself in that position, I'd probably abuse the power more and more with each passing year.


To nonbuddhists I say freely I am Buddhist. But I am not really a "buddhist". I am a practitioner of Dharma, not a follower of a school.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:35 am

Malcolm wrote:To nonbuddhists I say freely I am Buddhist. But I am not really a "buddhist". I am a practitioner of Dharma,
not a follower of a school.

Maybe you could say you're a Dharmist.
Through Dzogchen we can really understand what God is and we don’t have to worry if there is a God or not. God always exists as our real nature, the base, for everybody. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby padma norbu » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:59 am

Malcolm wrote:To nonbuddhists I say freely I am Buddhist. But I am not really a "buddhist". I am a practitioner of Dharma, not a follower of a school.


Yeah, that's also kind of how I look at it. I have a natural wariness toward identifying as a group and have a tough time with dogma. So, it may be I was lucky that I couldn't find a sangha that would have me and finally discovered Dzogchen through the old E-sangha forums. Learning about dzogchen has helped me to understand Buddhism more than I dreamed possible (I originally wanted to join a sangha to learn all this stuff in the books that seemed incomprehensible). Now that I understand it better, I would probably be happy to be Buddhist, but I think if I joined a sangha and had to do all this preparation work and regular group interaction, it would have felt too much like a church to me and I would have probably got annoyed, felt disillusioned and quit and who knows, maybe I'd even be anti-Buddhist now. I think I'm rather lucky that all the places I contacted wouldn't have me at that time.

Now, it seems like anytime I call or show up to some teaching, people invite me, so it's very interesting that for a time nobody would welcome me as I was inquiring. I feel like that's unusual, actually. I only got up the nerve to contact these different groups because of a friend in college who said he just walked into a zen monastery and was allowed to live there for a month or so and they accepted him without much speaking, even. I'm not sure if there was a vow of silence going on or what, but I remember he said they didn't even say a word, they just accepted him. He was cleaning dishes and sweeping and stuff, I remember he said someone just smiled and handed him a broom.
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby reddust » Wed Dec 11, 2013 6:26 am

padma norbu wrote:
Malcolm wrote:To nonbuddhists I say freely I am Buddhist. But I am not really a "buddhist". I am a practitioner of Dharma, not a follower of a school.

I only got up the nerve to contact these different groups because of a friend in college who said he just walked into a zen monastery and was allowed to live there for a month or so and they accepted him without much speaking, even. I'm not sure if there was a vow of silence going on or what, but I remember he said they didn't even say a word, they just accepted him. He was cleaning dishes and sweeping and stuff, I remember he said someone just smiled and handed him a broom.


That is the coolest story ever :twothumbsup:
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby lobster » Wed Dec 11, 2013 10:58 am

AlexanderS wrote:I tell people that i'm a horrible buddhist, because that is truly how I feel.


:toilet:

Wish I was up to the status of 'orrible Buddhist' . . .
What do the 'orrible do? Snog Buddhas? Kick monks into the meditation hall? Advise people to nod sagely to the latest platitude? Chant mantras backward? Celebrate Christmas? :shrug:

I'm up for it.

MUH EMEP INAM MO :woohoo:
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Simon E. » Wed Dec 11, 2013 11:08 am

Gosh you are a wag aren't you...
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:32 pm

Rather than: "I am a buddhist"
how about: "I follow (or agree with) the teachings of buddhism"
.
.
.
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: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby KonchokZoepa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 1:37 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Rather than: "I am a buddhist"
how about: "I follow (or agree with) the teachings of buddhism"
.
.
.


:good:
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 2:48 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Rather than: "I am a buddhist"
how about: "I follow (or agree with) the teachings of buddhism"
.
.
.



Which Buddhism?

M
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:24 pm

Malcolm wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Rather than: "I am a buddhist"
how about: "I follow (or agree with) the teachings of buddhism"

Which Buddhism?

whichever buddhism you follow.
.
.
.
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: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:33 pm

KeithBC wrote:Right Speech generally (there could be the odd exception) excludes telling lies. When I took Refuge, my teacher explained that taking Refuge in the Dharma implied an additional committment to avoid telling untruths in matters of religion.


This is an interesting point, because if the person who is asking you
has some incorrect understanding of what Buddhism is,
(for example, a friend of mine said somebody he was talking to thought Buddhists worship cows)
then merely tossing up the label "buddhist",
if it reinforces that misunderstanding,
is treading very close (in my opinion)to wrongful speech, although unintentionally.
My point is, we can't always just rely on labels,
but may also have to add something to the answers we give.

A friend told me that although he is an atheist and doesn't like "all that religious stuff"
he had been reading about buddhism, and was interested in it, philosophically.
I told him, Buddhists, generally, don't proselytize (one group does)
but that if he had any questions, I would be happy to answer to the best of my ability.
.
.
.
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: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby tatpurusa » Wed Dec 11, 2013 3:58 pm

Are most participants here at DW from the US?

I don't really understand all this, because in Europe I have been clearly telling anyone interested, Buddhist or non-Buddhist,
that I am a Buddhist for the last ca. 40 years. I have never encountered any negative reaction to this all these years.
Quite on the contrary.
Is the general climate regarding religions so much more restrictive in the US?

That said, it would be much more difficult for me to explain to outsiders, that I am a Bonpo Dzogchenpa. But this is just because most
people have just no idea at all what this means. Some of those who have some idea, might confuse Bon with shamanism though.
So I just say Buddhist, without going into much more details. For someone really interested though, I would freely explain the whole story.
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:26 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:Rather than: "I am a buddhist"
how about: "I follow (or agree with) the teachings of buddhism"

Which Buddhism?

whichever buddhism you follow.
.
.
.


There is no generic "Buddhism".
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Malcolm » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:27 pm

tatpurusa wrote:Dzogchenpa.


Ditto.
http://www.atikosha.org
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://www.bhaisajya.guru
http://www.sakyapa.net
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

How can you not practice the highest Dharma
at this time of obtaining a perfect human body?

-- Jetsun Dragpa Gyaltsen
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby Virgo » Wed Dec 11, 2013 4:40 pm

I've had a few strange reactions. I have people curse in front of me and then apologize to me. When I ask why they are apologizing, I get a "oh, because you are a Buddhist". That one is pretty funny. But in a certain way, maybe they made some merit, conceptually paying respect to the three jewels (not by paying respect to me), by not wanting to disrespect "religious people".

I've also had people think that I am supposed to be perfect, never get upset, or say anything bad, etc.

But this is mostly a projection of what people think of as "religious behaviour" on to Buddhism by people who do not understand it.

Usually I find people are interested if they find out or I tell them. Sometimes they ask me what it is about and I tell them a little bit. Usually, nothing sinks in.

Kevin
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Re: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Dec 11, 2013 5:50 pm

Malcolm wrote:There is no generic "Buddhism".

that doesn't matter to this concern.
.
.
.
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: Denying you're a Buddhist to outsiders

Postby dude » Wed Dec 11, 2013 8:05 pm

.
.
.[/quote]There is no generic "Buddhism".[/quote]

What does that mean?
Does that mean there is no Buddhism but what somebody says it is?
Does that mean that the Buddha did not teach Buddhism?
Does that mean that there is criterion for determining what is Buddhism and what isn't?
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