When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby alan » Thu Feb 10, 2011 2:55 am

Not sure who you were quoting, Wiz, but it does seem like sensible advice to a newcomer. I guess the question is: was this in context of a "debate" about what it takes to become a Buddhist, or was it a general question asked by an interested person?
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Thu Feb 10, 2011 3:54 am

Just a question by a person interested in practicing Buddhadhamma.
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Feb 10, 2011 8:46 am

What are you seeking refuge from? Why do you think the Triple gem gives you that refuge? I guess you must have some faith or understanding that morality, concentration and wisdom (or atleast the Buddhas teaching in general) is a way to overcome suffering, or a particular suffering. The act of taking refuge is something done by a person, rather than being defined by the monks/Buddha. It has far more value and meaning when it is done that way. It goes beyond a ritualistic act of admission into an organisation. I don't think saying the words out loud is enough, if you don't really mean it. If you really mean it, then the question arises, whether the words are merely communicating the refuge you have already taken, to someone else.

It is interesting to note that it is possible take refuge in only the Buddha and the dhamma, in the absence of the sangha (Buddha's first disciples did this).

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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Annapurna » Thu Feb 10, 2011 11:42 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:They said when I asked them what they meant,
There are lots to learn for a Newbie. Firstly, the 4 Noble Truth, the 8 Foldpath or 6 Paramitas and other basic Teachings must sit well with his/hers understanding. Then the meaning of Refuge of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha has to be well comprehended and the responsibility and what it entails of taking the precepts.
If someone wants to fly a plane, he/she has a lot to learn before he/she even gets to sit in one. It will be unskillful to put that someone in the cockpit and say, "Fly it". He/she will crash even before the plane can take off.
If we want to join some elite club, don't we want to know more about this club before we pay the expensive fee and join?
Feeding a baby a chunk of meat instead of what babies should eat is not knowing what babies are. A Newbie is like a baby.

I think we are talking about common sense here. Good foundation is very important. With good foundation slowly built and secure, the Refuge and Precepts will not easily be shaken.
Without good foundation, it will never last.

What harm?
Practicing the Dharma can be like handling a knife with two sided edge, we can easily cut ourself instead of cutting what we want to cut.
Do not underestimate or take too lightly the karmic result of breaking Precepts and forsaking the Refuge. Many think thats it a 'cool' thing to do, like joining some trendy club, the ' In' thing to do. Will not go into detail on the negative consequences of breaking precepts and forsaking the Refuge but one should know well before embarking and even then we will still break minor precepts everyday.


I got mad, which is totally my fault and said,

There is no fee to practice Dhamma, nor is the precepts or refuge something that we bar people however new from taking. It is a shelter from a storm, what monsters would bar others from entering unless they satisfy someone else's perceptions of ones understanding of how solemnly someone takes the precepts? Buddhism isn't an elitist club, its an all encompassing fact. Such elitist conceptions are disgusting, and reflect your ego,, not Buddha's teachings. You might want to keep others from taking refuge and the precepts unless they satisfy your sense of uncertainty at how ardently they will practice, but making such arrogant assumptions are not in line with the Buddha Dhamma neither in doctrine nor discipline.

Although what I said was true, I am upset that I got mad over another person's hypocrisy. What is some advice you can give about how to handle this anger in line with the Dhamma?


The anger we feel about someone else shows us what we are angry about in ourselves.

So, you got a job to do within yourself. . :anjali:

Will you be angry at me now?

;)
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby PeterB » Thu Feb 10, 2011 12:18 pm

rowyourboat wrote:What are you seeking refuge from? Why do you think the Triple gem gives you that refuge? I guess you must have some faith or understanding that morality, concentration and wisdom (or atleast the Buddhas teaching in general) is a way to overcome suffering, or a particular suffering. The act of taking refuge is something done by a person, rather than being defined by the monks/Buddha. It has far more value and meaning when it is done that way. It goes beyond a ritualistic act of admission into an organisation. I don't think saying the words out loud is enough, if you don't really mean it. If you really mean it, then the question arises, whether the words are merely communicating the refuge you have already taken, to someone else.

It is interesting to note that it is possible take refuge in only the Buddha and the dhamma, in the absence of the sangha (Buddha's first disciples did this).

With metta

Matheesha

I think that overlooks a very important point...that we grow into what we aspire to.
Much of the time we process through Buddha Dhamma by acting "as If " what we aspire to is already the case...which in some deep sense it actualy is.
If we wait until we are perfect in all the positive qualities we wont take refuge at all..
We frequently dont know what we " really mean"..quite often our unconscious knows what we really mean better than our conscious minds, and Taking Refuge is a way to reach beyond our conscious minds.
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby monkey_brain » Thu Feb 10, 2011 5:25 pm

Monkey Mind wrote:I'll state the obvious, if no one else will. And I am not picking fights, just observing. Your friend is a Mahayana Buddhist. They run the risk of burning in a Hell realm or accruing "really bad karma" if they take a precept and fail to uphold it. Likewise if one starts out on the 8fold path, but then quits midway, "really bad karma" results, and disastrous results are expected. If one holds such a belief, it makes sense to practice a lot more caution before proclaiming oneself to be a Buddhist, and one needs to be especially careful around newcomers. ...

Could you or someone please elaborate more on this. Disastrous results? And I can't tell if this is your view or you are attributing it to the Mahayanist. Why is quitting midway such a bad thing?
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Thu Feb 10, 2011 6:40 pm

Annapurna wrote: the anger we feel about someone else shows us what we are angry about in ourselves.

So, you got a job to do within yourself. . :anjali:

Will you be angry at me now?

;)


Soooo angry! Rwaaawr! :rofl:

No, no, but truly I think I am less angry at myself, more angry at an idea, and I'd be a liar if I didn't say I am angry with this person. I am not the type of person to deny my own culpability, but I also recognize when a person is merely using others to start a fight, and to bully people for helping a n00b and suggesting to take the precepts and refuge to become a Buddhist is ridiculous, and undermines practice and understanding by n00bz.
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Monkey Mind » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:38 pm

monkey_brain wrote:Could you or someone please elaborate more on this. Disastrous results? And I can't tell if this is your view or you are attributing it to the Mahayanist. Why is quitting midway such a bad thing?


This is not my view, these are just beliefs I've heard from other Buddhists, and they are beliefs that are not as prevalent in Theravada circles. I am not in a position to try to explain the beliefs, because I don't want to seem mocking or condescending, and it has been a long time since I read Mahayana sutras. My point was merely that the Mahayana have a different view when it comes to taking refuge and precepts. To argue with them about their views, it would not be productive in my opinion.
"As I am, so are others;
as others are, so am I."
Having thus identified self and others,
harm no one nor have them harmed.

Sutta Nipāta 3.710
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby ground » Fri Feb 11, 2011 4:59 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Although what I said was true, I am upset that I got mad over another person's hypocrisy. What is some advice you can give about how to handle this anger in line with the Dhamma?


What's the use of taking refuge and taking up precepts if there is anger? The fact that there is anger is valid evidence of misconception. If the view would be right in the first place there would not be anger. A view that causes anger definitely is wrong.
As to "another person's hypocrisy" to assess another person's qualities is beyond the reach of most.

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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:46 am

Dear members

Please keep in mind that this is the 'Discovering Theravada' forum.
Please try to keep your responses appropriate to this sub-forum and the perceived degree of understanding of the OP so that their discovery of Theravada is not fraught with confusion. Posts that are deemed inappropriate maybe removed without further notice.
thanks for your cooperation.

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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby rowyourboat » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:46 pm

Hi PeterB,

I found myself taking precepts yesterday before the meditation class and what it was for me was a resolution, to 'give up' trying to be a 'lamp unto myself' and follow the guidance and refuge offered by the triple gem (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha). Thinking more on it, it develops faith (reasoned..) in the triple gem... and to develop such faith in the first place, some degree of understanding of the teachings (dhamma) is required. There is part of the Pali chanting which focuses on the qualities of the triple gem. I find this bit more aspirational and inspirational.

With metta

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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby Annapurna » Fri Feb 11, 2011 5:55 pm

Wizard in the Forest wrote:
Annapurna wrote: the anger we feel about someone else shows us what we are angry about in ourselves.

So, you got a job to do within yourself. . :anjali:

Will you be angry at me now?

;)


Soooo angry! Rwaaawr! :rofl:

No, no, but truly I think I am less angry at myself, more angry at an idea, and I'd be a liar if I didn't say I am angry with this person. I am not the type of person to deny my own culpability, but I also recognize when a person is merely using others to start a fight, and to bully people for helping a n00b and suggesting to take the precepts and refuge to become a Buddhist is ridiculous, and undermines practice and understanding by n00bz.


I understand. :hug:
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby suriyopama » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:47 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:Is it really unskillful to tell the truth? What harm could befall telling others about taking refuge and taking up the precepts?


Hi Wizard,

I´ve been "practicing" for many years, but I've never formally made such a thing as "taking a refugee or the precepts" (I find myself progressively abandoning wrong behaviours that get me closer to the precepts rather than radically following the precepts from one precise moment). And, although I am seriously considering going forth, I have problems to directly answer a clear YES when people ask me "So, have you become a Buddhist?". The answer would depend on what the other person thinks about what is Buddhism (which uses to be a weird concept), and I don´t feel becoming anything new, I just feel releasing and giving away many things.


"The ABC of Buddhism does not begin with the Triple Gems, but rather it begins with learning about how the eyes, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind respond to the contact made upon them by external objects (tangible and abstract) till it gives rise to a sense of consciousness, contact and feeling until finally it leads to the emergence of craving, attachement and suffering. It is only when we are able to restrain the birth of such unwholesome states of mind that we will then be able to estinguish our suffering and only then will the Triple Gems emerge by themselves".

Buddhadasa. "A Consigned Legacy". Legacy no. 67
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Re: When someone asks what it takes to become a Buddhist...

Postby rowyourboat » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:46 am

I personally don't feel taking refuge should be taken too seriously. If you believe there is a problem out there which can be fixed by the triple gem, even though you might not know quite how that happens, I feel you are qualified to take refuge. By taking refuge no particular harm can come- I don't agree at with the idea put forward that it like handing the control of a plane, to someone who doesn't know about flying an airplane. The airplane is already in the air, you are piloting it- taking refuge is the equivalent of suddenly becoming aware that you are the pilot and that you have to fly this thing. It is the start of identifying that there is a problem and that you need to find a solution.

Incidentally going for refuge (with understanding) is far better for you, than giving Dana to the Buddha and his disciplea, according to the Velama sutta.

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