How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

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

Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 26, 2010 5:48 pm

Buddhism is still young and largely unknown in western countries. It is unusual for many people to hear a westerner identify as Buddhist.

Things, however, are changing...

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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Fri Mar 26, 2010 8:21 pm

muni wrote:Once I was looking for a street and had no map. I came on traffic lights when four people came to me. "Are you seeking?" Happely I said yes and showed my paper with the name of the street. They looked like not understanding me, and so did I. Meanwhile the light was red again! Oh yes, seeking God.
People told me that only God can help and Buddha is not God. I said: Yes. Buddha is not God.

I tell nothing. By the way, I found that street which I was seeking. :smile:


Good story muni. A Venerable once asked me, "In what do you take refuge on a regular basis?" The question was meant as a prompt for me to investigate where my thoughts and energies were truly being directed. Likewise the question, "What are you seeking?" is a good prompt, it's very similar. You were focused on what was in front of you and seeking simple directions to navigate streets while the kind strangers were concerned with salvation and spreading their faith. Definitely two different streams of thought!

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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby Luke » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:30 am

I just found that Shantideva had encountered similar problems with people:

(12) They're envious of superiors, competitive with equals,
Arrogant toward inferiors, conceited when praised,
And hateful when told what they don't want to hear:
When is there benefit from infantile beings?

(13) If I associate with infantile people,
Then destructive behavior inevitably arises
among infantile folk,
Such as praising myself and belittling others,
And prattling on about the pleasures of samsara.

(14) From entrusting myself to others in this way,
Nothing but loss comes about in the end,
For they'll be, in fact, no-good for me
And I'll be, in fact, no-good for them.

(15) So let me flee far away from infantile folk;
But if encountered, I'll please them with pleasantries,
And without becoming overly familiar,
I'll conduct myself nicely, merely as an ordinary person would.


http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... va_08.html
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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby msmedusa » Sun Mar 28, 2010 9:37 pm

In my experience it goes one of these ways..

'Oh you are Buddhist, how interesting!' followed by nervous foot shuffling and a sudden need to refresh their drink.
or

'Oh you are Buddhist, how interesting !' followed by sniggers and jokes about my robes being in the wash.

or

'Oh you are Buddhist , how interesting!' followed by expressions of horror that I am in a pub/club/ party at all and noticeable attempts to avoid bad behaviour (as if their mother had just walked in the room). :smile:

Occasionally and refreshingly sometimes it goes ..'Oh you are Buddhist , how interesting!' followed by a respectful exchange of questions and answers, and a geniune curiosity to find out more.

I find that the reaction from people who knew me before I became Buddhist falls into two distinct camps. The first is an almost irritated discomfort that I am going through a 'phase' and a complete reluctance to discuss it with me, presumably waiting for me to 'get over it'. :smile: The other is to notice the subtle changes in my behaviour and demeanour and become interested in finding out more if Buddhism has anything to offer them.
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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby Karma Sonam » Fri Apr 09, 2010 1:12 am

Bizarrely, some people become embarrassed. Mostly, I don't broadcast it unless someone asks (I wear my mala to work and very few people have commented on it)

The devout christian I work with is very accepting but is uncomfortable with any images of the deities.

I haven't told my Dad (I'm 40 btw!). My Mum would have been completely cool with it.

My husband mostly takes the pi** with comments like "never take life advice from a bloke who weighs 700 pounds" and "Buddha will be angry" he says he sees his role as to not let me get too smug. :D
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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby ball-of-string » Fri Apr 09, 2010 6:00 am

I'm a large bloke. Friends often make comments like "Can I rub the Buddha's belly?" :tongue:
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Re: How do people react when you tell them you're Buddhist?

Postby Karma Sonam » Fri Apr 09, 2010 8:42 am

lol!
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and the monkey pushed the button.[/color]
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