Are you a Buddhist?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
SarathW
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Are you a Buddhist?

Postby SarathW » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:10 am

If someone ask me above question I may give a conventional answer “Yes”.
But in realistic sense that question does not make any sense to me.

One of my so called Buddhist friend who was 45 years old told me that he understood the meaning of the first precept only recently.
He said he just repeat the Pali words without knowing the meaning of that!
I gave up my social drinking habit only ten months ago.
About 98% of my Buddhist male friends drink alcohol!

Who do you considered to be a Buddhist?

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Reductor
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Reductor » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:32 am

Anyone can call themselves Buddhist, as it's only a way to identify themselves as belonging to a group. In this sense the word "Buddhist" refers only to the actual common quality of that group, whether it be racial or national or whatever (or, rarely, the pursuit of Dhamma).

To practice dhamma is something else altogether, and for that reason I don't tell others I'm a Buddhist; instead I do my best to live a dhammic life (hard though it is).
Michael

The thoughts I've expressed in the above post are carefully considered and offered in good faith.

And friendliness towards the world is happiness for him who is forbearing with living beings. -- Ud. 2:1
To his own ruin the fool gains knowledge, for it cleaves his head and destroys his innate goodness. -- Dhp 72


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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 18, 2013 4:54 am

There are many types of Buddhists, with a wide range of faith and skill in the practice of the Buddha's teachings.

The Venerable Ledi Sayādaw describes Four Types of Buddhists in his "Manual of the Excellent Man."
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danieLion
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby danieLion » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:17 am

No. I'm a practitioner of the Buddha-Dhamma. Being a Buddhist is craving-for-becoming and clinging-to-identity-view.
Kindly,
dL

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Sep 18, 2013 6:58 am

danieLion wrote:No. I'm a practitioner of the Buddha-Dhamma. Being a Buddhist is craving-for-becoming and clinging-to-identity-view.
If so, then being a "Dhamma Practitioner" is also craving for becoming and clinging to identity view.

One should understand labels such as "Buddhist," "Daniel," "Bhikkhu Pesala," or "Dhamma Practitioner" for what they are — conventional truths.
Last edited by Bhikkhu Pesala on Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Spiny Norman
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 9:05 am

SarathW wrote:Who do you consider to be a Buddhist?


Anyone who does Buddhist practice.
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

arijitmitter
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby arijitmitter » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:31 pm

Depends on the level of the question - if you are a census worker and asked my religion I would reply, I am a Buddhist. But many may not. The ethical, moral view of many atheists are same as a Buddhist.

If you take the " supernatural " elements like rebirth, kamma, Nibbana out of the equation then many educated and humanist atheists will fall into the framework that Buddha laid down.

There is a movement roughly called Buddhism 2.0 ( not that I subscribe to it ). I am just a curious member of Secular Buddhism Forum. My sister who is an atheist one day after discussion with me found that without knowing she is a Secular Buddhist.

Yes I am a Buddhist who follows 8 precepts for short bursts and 5 precepts always. But most do not. However most good people follow Dhamma with or without knowing it. And as Buddha said Dhamma is the essence.

:namaste: Arijit

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Spiny Norman
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:37 pm

arijitmitter wrote:If you take the " supernatural " elements like rebirth, kamma, Nibbana out of the equation...


Is Nibbana "supernatural"?
"I ride tandem with the random, Things don't run the way I planned them, In the humdrum."
Peter Gabriel lyric

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kirk5a
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby kirk5a » Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:55 pm

Jivaka Sutta: To Jivaka
(On Being a Lay Follower)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

arijitmitter
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby arijitmitter » Wed Sep 18, 2013 1:13 pm

Spiny Norman wrote:
arijitmitter wrote:If you take the " supernatural " elements like rebirth, kamma, Nibbana out of the equation...


Is Nibbana "supernatural"?


Supernatural - Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature. I guess for most people it means Nibbana is supernatural.

To a believing Buddhist like me Nibbana is an acceptable truth I strive towards in this life and all following lives, but I will have a hard time convincing the man sitting next to me in a bus that it is " natural ". So yes to most of human race it is supernatural just as rapture is supernatural / mythical to me but not to a believing Christian. I have hard time believing every one lying in a grave will rise up and be transported to heaven before Armageddon ( from my understanding of Christian soteriology, which may be mistaken ). I have no doubt Christians and atheists or other faiths view Nibbana with same feeling of ludicrousness.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Sep 18, 2013 5:07 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
danieLion wrote:No. I'm a practitioner of the Buddha-Dhamma. Being a Buddhist is craving-for-becoming and clinging-to-identity-view.
If so, then being a "Dhamma Practitioner" is also craving for becoming and clinging to identity view.

One should understand labels such as "Buddhist," "Daniel," "Bhikkhu Pesala," or "Dhamma Practitioner" for what they are — conventional truths.


I agree. There seems to be a modern tendency especially among some New Agers to say that they "have no labels" that way they have no ego-clinging. But they actually do have a label, the label of "one with no labels" :tongue: And they could even have ego-clinging in the spiritual-materialist label of "one who is superior to those with labels"

We all need some labels in this conventional world. It is no biggie, nothing to be obsessed about, just helps identify our roles in society, not something that has to be an ego-clinging. The Buddha was ahead of his time and brilliantly (in my opinion) explained it with the Raft Simile. We can get rid of all our labels and attachment to the Dhamma when we reach the other shore.

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Viscid
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Viscid » Wed Sep 18, 2013 7:05 pm

Whether or not I identify myself as Buddhist depends on who I am speaking to:

If I were speaking to someone who has gone all-out-- precepts, meditation, temples, shrines-- then no, I am not Buddhist.. or at least, I am not Buddhist in the way they are Buddhist, and I wouldn't want to give the impression my religiosity is equal to theirs.

If I were speaking to a Christian or to a dogmatic atheist I'll identify myself as Buddhist, as it communicates that, while I demonstrate no external expression of it, I confidently harbour philosophical and metaphysical beliefs (and sometimes practices) which potentially contrast with theirs and would best be described as Buddhist in nature.

I also feel Buddhist. When I read Buddhist texts, I have the conviction that what I am reading is an authoritative, reliable exposition of reality, not just some exotic cultural artifact. I accept them as being something I would have severe difficulty arguing with. When I survey my understanding of the world, I find that it is Buddhistic. From my perspective it's not that 'I am a Buddhist' but moreso 'I am convinced Buddhist philosophical beliefs are the best description of the human condition.'
"What holds attention determines action." - William James

danieLion
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:11 am

Hi Pesala,
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
danieLion wrote:No. I'm a practitioner of the Buddha-Dhamma. Being a Buddhist is craving-for-becoming and clinging-to-identity-view.
If so, then being a "Dhamma Practitioner" is also craving for becoming and clinging to identity view.

One should understand labels such as "Buddhist," "Daniel," "Bhikkhu Pesala," or "Dhamma Practitioner" for what they are — conventional truths.

I agree that both are labels, but I also suspect--and, of course, I might be wrong--that the conventional/ultimate "truth" distinction is a false dichotomy. I intentionally avoided using the word "being" (no, my use of "I'm" is not an "is of indentity" conjugation) to distinguish the conventionality of the label from ontological descriptors. I suppose I could've have been more specific and clarified that I view practicing the Buddha-Dhamma not as an identity, but as an activity; not a "thing" but a process.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:18 am

Hi David,
David N. Snyder wrote:We all need some labels in this conventional world.

I agree that labels are very pragmatic, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're the opposite of some pie-in-the-sky "ultimate" truth.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:19 am

Hi Viscid,
Great post.
Kindly,
dL

danieLion
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby danieLion » Thu Sep 19, 2013 3:29 am

Hi kirk5a,
kirk5a wrote:Jivaka Sutta: To Jivaka
(On Being a Lay Follower)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

To my point: this sutta pragmatically describes what disciples do, not what they "are."
Kindly,
dL

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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby dude_different » Thu Sep 19, 2013 8:53 am

I have debated calling myself a "Buddhist" and sometimes i have. But the problem with that, and the reason i have stopped is this: When you mention the word Buddhist in contemporary contexts; that word has all this baggage which i don't want to be identified with. That is; the modern zeitgeist "Buddhist" evokes all these thoughts in people that i feel have nothing to do with what is expounded by Buddha in the Tipitaka. For example, i am no Mahayanist. I am none of the other sects of Modern buddhism... I would never pray to the Buddha.. I absolutely loathe religion and the notion of being a follower(well, i try not to loath but you get my point). Even with the Tipitaka i have qualms. For example like Ajahn Sujato I too feel like the satipatthanasutta and mahasatipatthanasutta are forgeries. And other texts in the canon i doubt too.

Even if i call myself a Theravadin, various incorrect views would surface in people if i say this. I'd like to call myself a "Truthist" but i suppose people would think me arrogant if i said that :P ahh! now i got it. I shall now henceforth be known as experiental determinist :lol: or autoexperientalist "one who experiences the automaticity of everything" :D

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kirk5a
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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby kirk5a » Thu Sep 19, 2013 2:07 pm

dude_different wrote: I shall now henceforth be known as experiental determinist :lol: or autoexperientalist "one who experiences the automaticity of everything" :D

Is that different than an Ajivika?
Ajivikas seem to have been exponents of a philosophy of absolute determinism, in which human actions and choices are unable to overcome the forces of fate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80j%C4 ... _practices
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230

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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby vishuroshan » Fri Jan 24, 2014 12:39 pm

to be a buddhist, you need 7 percepts(3 bodily actions / 4 verbal actions) as minimum qualification.otherwise you cannot call yourself a buddhist. if we go further you need to identify your own thoughts. greediness/anger/desires...etc. you should be able to identify whenever those thoughts occur in your mind. then of course you can proudly say that you are a buddhist.

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Re: Are you a Buddhist?

Postby Babadhari » Fri Jan 24, 2014 1:10 pm

vishuroshan wrote:to be a buddhist, you need 7 percepts(3 bodily actions / 4 verbal actions) as minimum qualification.otherwise you cannot call yourself a buddhist. if we go further you need to identify your own thoughts. greediness/anger/desires...etc. you should be able to identify whenever those thoughts occur in your mind. then of course you can proudly say that you are a buddhist.





Not intoxicated with enticements,
nor given to pride,
he's gentle, quick-witted,
beyond conviction & dispassion.[5]

Not in hopes of material gain
does he take on the training;
when without material gain
he isn't upset.

Unobstructed by craving,
he doesn't through craving[6]
hunger for flavors.

Equanimous — always — mindful,
he doesn't conceive himself as
equal,
superior,

inferior,
in the world.
No swellings of pride
are his.

Sn 4.10
Purabheda Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.4.10.than.html


Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion.
Aflame, with birth, aging & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs ......

Seeing thus, the disciple of the Noble One grows disenchanted. SN 35.28


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