Identity and Dharma

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Identity and Dharma

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:41 pm

Identity and Dharma.

To what extent do you think affiliations of identity that people usually have or don't have, cling to or avoid, (religious, national, gender, familial, ethnic etc.) conflict with, or are intertwined with their understanding and practice of dharma?

Do they get in the way?
Are they important for preserving cultural uniqueness,
or does the notion of "no self" make them useless labels which should be abandoned?

Do you cling to the label "Buddhist" as a kind of badge of identity for yourself?
:thinking:
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby kirtu » Sun Feb 12, 2012 9:53 pm

Lots of people are attached to identities and conceptualize the world on this basis. People have asked me my religious faith directly and I have told them directly (after hiding it for quite a while) that I am Buddhist. They have often responded "No, you're not" or made similar remarks. They seem to regard this as something illegitimate or unusual, etc. Personally I don''t care. Saying that I am Buddhist after being asked my faith is a description of the faith system that I follow and have followed for quite a while and partly grew up with. However due to these reactions I tend to avoid the question more now.

Lots of people also insist that I am American and they have a particular concept of what that means. I do have US citizenship but wasn't raised as a kid in an exclusively American environment. As a result I have different cultural reactions than a lot of other Americans. People sometimes get angry about stuff like this.

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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:07 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Identity and Dharma.

To what extent do you think affiliations of identity that people usually have or don't have, cling to or avoid, (religious, national, gender, familial, ethnic etc.) conflict with, or are intertwined with their understanding and practice of dharma?


Cultural affiliations are extremely influential in Buddhism.

For example, the only reason Buddhism in Japan still exists is simply because people feel a cultural affinity for it and cling to archaic rituals which, while they don't really believe in or understand anymore, still feel are necessary just because it is tradition.


Do they get in the way?
Are they important for preserving cultural uniqueness,
or does the notion of "no self" make them useless labels which should be abandoned?


Cultures all dissolve under analysis. It is a relative term. Even if the party in question self-identifies as a certain ethic group, there will still be a lot of diversity within and things being impermanent there will be constant changes at hand.



Do you cling to the label "Buddhist" as a kind of badge of identity for yourself?


You make it sound like something negative. There is no shame in taking refuge in the Triple Gem and identifying with it as a Buddhaputra.

Here in Taiwan I would reckon that it is beneficial for people to self-identify as Buddhist. It fosters morality and perhaps a sense of dignity connected to one's sangha. If you're a prominent member in a Buddhist organization and all your colleagues know this, you might otherwise avoid questionable (or dangerous) behaviour as it would reflect poorly on your sangha.
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby Malcolm » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:41 am

Huseng wrote:Here in Taiwan I would reckon that it is beneficial for people to self-identify as Buddhist. It fosters morality and perhaps a sense of dignity connected to one's sangha. If you're a prominent member in a Buddhist organization and all your colleagues know this, you might otherwise avoid questionable (or dangerous) behaviour as it would reflect poorly on your sangha.


It is fine to self-identify as a Buddhist, better to self-identify as a Buddha.
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby Indrajala » Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:44 am

Namdrol wrote:
Huseng wrote:Here in Taiwan I would reckon that it is beneficial for people to self-identify as Buddhist. It fosters morality and perhaps a sense of dignity connected to one's sangha. If you're a prominent member in a Buddhist organization and all your colleagues know this, you might otherwise avoid questionable (or dangerous) behaviour as it would reflect poorly on your sangha.


It is fine to self-identify as a Buddhist, better to self-identify as a Buddha.


Ideally this would be so, but for most of us we're just Buddhaputra, not Buddhas (as of yet).
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby Quiet Heart » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:42 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Identity and Dharma.

To what extent do you think affiliations of identity that people usually have or don't have, cling to or avoid, (religious, national, gender, familial, ethnic etc.) conflict with, or are intertwined with their understanding and practice of dharma?

Do they get in the way?
Are they important for preserving cultural uniqueness,
or does the notion of "no self" make them useless labels which should be abandoned?

Do you cling to the label "Buddhist" as a kind of badge of identity for yourself?
:thinking:

---------------------------------------
Labels are just things....like robes you can put on or take off at will.
Today you may want to wear a robe of that color...tomorrow your robe will be another color.
Just don't become attached to the robes you wear....they are only illusions anyhow.
Even robes with labels like "Buddhist" or "Christian"....or any other such label....they are only robes you wear outside.
Inside, it is still only the same thing....no matter what robe you wear today.
:smile:
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in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby retrofuturist » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:50 am

Greetings,
PadmaVonSamba wrote:To what extent do you think affiliations of identity that people usually have or don't have, cling to or avoid, (religious, national, gender, familial, ethnic etc.) conflict with, or are intertwined with their understanding and practice of dharma?

As examples of jati.

Maitri,
Retro. :)
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Re: Identity and Dharma

Postby muni » Mon Feb 13, 2012 5:57 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:Identity and Dharma.

To what extent do you think affiliations of identity that people usually have or don't have, cling to or avoid, (religious, national, gender, familial, ethnic etc.) conflict with, or are intertwined with their understanding and practice of dharma?

Do they get in the way?
Are they important for preserving cultural uniqueness,
or does the notion of "no self" make them useless labels which should be abandoned?

Do you cling to the label "Buddhist" as a kind of badge of identity for yourself?
:thinking:

There are 4 specific characteristics about suffering: impermanence, dissatisfaction, identitylessness and selflessness. Mind clinging.

Depends on our practice perhaps but, they can be traps (solidifying) while merely avoid labels is certainly another trap.

True, Longchenpa gave the advice "meditate" on unapprehended while Guru Rinpoche called it dream habits. "All naturally dissolve when neither one alter names or attach any labels, leave them in their natural state". As the independent self as well arises from such habits from that in which is nothing to label.

Then by further labeling mind creates separations; those like me and those not like me...in social life by those dream habits and then of course conflicts and wars are not far away.
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