Mentioning Buddhism in public

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Animamia » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:25 pm

pung S wrote:saving our planet: I have a friend who speaks a lot about sustainability and even works for a not-for-profit devoted to this idea. I was tempted to say, "Sustainability? You mean Buddhadhamma right?" :)

Still, I am wondering if this person you encountered on the other board may have heard and misinterpreted something that I also heard once. This is that Buddhists are not supposed to "advertise" stuff that happens to them during meditation. Deeper states or higher states of being are not supposed to be a source of pride and therefore confusion. I do not know if my source is reliable since I cannot seem to recall exactly what I heard or where I heard it (best to let it go then). Still, maybe there was a misunderstanding that this kind of thing applied to the entire experience of being a follower of the Buddha.

with metta,
pung


Yes this sounds exactly what the lady was accusing me of. She must have misunderstood as you say. Either way I'll not argue, she can have her views and I shall have mine and we need not discuss them :)
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Animamia » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:34 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:
Animamia wrote:I read somewhere that Buddhism is the way we can save our planet from the damage we have done and are still doing. As a biology undergraduate I fully agree with this. Of course I would never preach to anyone, but I will definitely encourage and help friends that are looking for it. If only I could get to grips with the meditation now! :)

Regards, Jo x

Hi, Jo,
This is off-topic (sorry) but worth telling you about: Eco-Buddhism http://www.ecobuddhism.org/
:focus:

:namaste:
Kim


Oh thank you thank you! I am just going to bed now and have had to tear myself away from that website, it's fascinating. I may even be able to use this for my ecology class assessment, I will have a proper look through tomorrow. Once again, thank you! x
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Kim OHara » Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:14 am

Animamia wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Hi, Jo,
This is off-topic (sorry) but worth telling you about: Eco-Buddhism http://www.ecobuddhism.org/
:focus:

:namaste:
Kim


Oh thank you thank you! I am just going to bed now and have had to tear myself away from that website, it's fascinating. I may even be able to use this for my ecology class assessment, I will have a proper look through tomorrow. Once again, thank you! x

:namaste:
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:18 pm

Kim, Fede, et al, what will happen if you started to wear white robes in Australia, or UK? (In public places?) I think that by looking at it in this way will bring up the actual issue to surface.
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Fede » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:36 pm

How do I post a picture from my album....?
I wear Indian style clothes all the time.
In fact, I was married in an Indian chemise and authentic pajama trousers....



mostly, I receive compliments, if anyone says anything...
Never had a raised eyebrow....
The thing is, the UK is such an ethnically-diverse country, Moslems and Hindus wear their traditional clothing all the time, so most people are used to seeing them....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby beeblebrox » Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:42 pm

OK, I'll believe you. :spy:

:anjali:
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Fede » Tue Jan 24, 2012 6:16 pm

[img][IMG=http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/8983/p1000357u.th.jpg][/img]

Sorry if this is incorrect, but it's the best I could do.....
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


http://www.armchairadvice.co.uk/relationships/forum/
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Ytrog » Tue Jan 24, 2012 8:54 pm

I've told a number of colleagues on different that I stayed in a monastery for a week (5 days) last year and they all responded positive, some curious some even enthusiastic ("I wish i could!"). So from my experience there is no need to stay in the closet about being a Buddhist.

I hope this helps the OP and any other who has doubts about telling others who they are. Just remember: don't be too eager to tell people. Don't force it down their throats. :anjali:
Suffering is asking from life what it can never give you.


mindfulness, bliss and beyond (page 8) wrote:Do not linger on the past. Do not keep carrying around coffins full of dead moments


If you see any unskillful speech (or other action) from me let me know, so I can learn from it.
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:12 pm

beeblebrox wrote:Kim, Fede, et al, what will happen if you started to wear white robes in Australia, or UK? (In public places?) I think that by looking at it in this way will bring up the actual issue to surface.


I used to!
some people looked at me funny, but no problem!
mainly it was curiosity!
you can see me in my Anagarika wrap here http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set= ... 679&type=3 or http://manapa.multiply.com/profile

there are other photoes of how I used to dress on Uposatha or group nights a few years ago before my Anagarika days
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
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Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Goofaholix » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:23 pm

Cittasanto wrote:I used to!
some people looked at me funny, but no problem!
mainly it was curiosity!


Until they notice you've got no eyebrows ;), then they'll think you're an escaped mental patient who has recently had a labotomy.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:32 pm

Goofaholix wrote:
Cittasanto wrote:I used to!
some people looked at me funny, but no problem!
mainly it was curiosity!


Until they notice you've got no eyebrows ;), then they'll think you're an escaped mental patient who has recently had a labotomy.



I essentially wore a bed sheet around me, and the answer is still the same, no, they would ask, if they were curious.

I didn't just wear white, and have a completely bald head.

and so everyone is aware the shaving of eyebrows is a Thai Sangha practice not a universal Theravadin Practice.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Tyler » Sun Jan 29, 2012 11:26 pm

I might be wrong but it seems to me that dhamma is oftentimes best conveyed without mentioning Buddhism or using any overwhelming terminology that may turn people off regardless of where we are in the world. Everyone is experiencing dhamma on some level. Buddha had followers that we call Buddhists now but at the end of the day he was just offering a path to helping others realize the truth in their experience. As Theravada Buddhists we want to give our homages to the Buddha and show our membership in the group but we can't forget that our fundamental tenants (The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path) speak dhamma without even mentioning Buddhism. I don't think the Buddha or the Sangha would be upset by us skillfully introducing others to the practice without their initial mention. I've met some really wise people that seemed like Buddhists that had never directly been exposed to the teachings of the Buddha at all. Samyaksambuddha,Pratyekabuddha, & those on their way to those states are out there and they are going to feel us regardless of our affiliations.
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby SDC » Mon Jan 30, 2012 11:44 pm

Tyler wrote:I might be wrong but it seems to me that dhamma is oftentimes best conveyed without mentioning Buddhism or using any overwhelming terminology that may turn people off regardless of where we are in the world. Everyone is experiencing dhamma on some level. Buddha had followers that we call Buddhists now but at the end of the day he was just offering a path to helping others realize the truth in their experience. As Theravada Buddhists we want to give our homages to the Buddha and show our membership in the group but we can't forget that our fundamental tenants (The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path) speak dhamma without even mentioning Buddhism. I don't think the Buddha or the Sangha would be upset by us skillfully introducing others to the practice without their initial mention. I've met some really wise people that seemed like Buddhists that had never directly been exposed to the teachings of the Buddha at all. Samyaksambuddha,Pratyekabuddha, & those on their way to those states are out there and they are going to feel us regardless of our affiliations.


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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Ferox » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:09 am

I agree with Tyler, very few people "know" I'm a Buddhist, but many see me sitting on a bench at work during break with my eyes closed, some have thought I was sleeping haha, most don't really know what meditation is or Buddhism, I am the only Buddhist I know in my daily life but people notice my practice and they do ask questions, when they do I do my best to answer them.

the best way to spread the dhamma is to LIVE the dhamma.. to become dhamma(to steal one of Ajahn Chah's books :P)
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Monkey Mind » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:29 am

I often reframe discussions in terms of developing ethics and striving to be an ethical person, sharpening my concentration, and developing a better understanding of how the world really works; all with the purpose of being a more content person. I can usually explain my lifestyle choices as a function of these three categories, rather than "I do that because I am Buddhist." If play the Buddhist card, I am often faced with stereotypes that are hard to explain. "You're Buddhist? Whose your rimpache?" "Do you practice martial arts?" "Oh, can you explain this koan to me?" On gift-giving occasions I would receive the latest book from the Dalai Lama, or incense, or a laughing Buddha figurine. I also find that the moment I frame something in religious terms, people assume I'm trying to convert them or that I am being preachy.

Besides, I am not at all very skilled at explaining Buddhism to non-practitioners, I am more likely to confuse people than offer a useful/favorable explanation. :tongue:
"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.

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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Yessu » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:11 am

I was working a new job at a call center and would meditate on breaks. I thought i was choosing a spot where no one else would go as i didnt want anyone to get the wrong idea. One day i was meditating and felt eyes on me. I didnt stop. when i got back in from my break i heard a rumor was going around that i was outside sitting in a strange position and talking to myself. It went around that i was some type of Muslim or pagan and people were increasingly more uncomfortable around me. I thought it would make things a little better to reveal myself as a buddhist. It made things a little better but i got teased a lot. I was called a hippie and a pothead amongst other things that didnt bode to well in this apparently professional enviornment. It wasnt a surprise to me when i was let go upon my first and very minor customer complaint.

It was interesting how the stigma on who i was and what i was doing changed based on peoples stereotypes. I went from a good skilled employee to a dangerous Muslim to a stupid hippie in the matter of a few days. I was so much better off when they had just felt the dhamma thru my character instead of clouding their opinions with stereotypes.


Last year I joined the Marines and when I was at boot camp I would meditate in the night. I was sleeping in a room with 80 other guys in it, so it was impossible not to be seen. People thought it was pretty weird, but nobody gave me a hard time about it at all. Sometimes I would meditate before I went to sleep and again when I woke up before reveille. One guy told me he saw me meditating when he went to sleep and when he woke up I was still there, he thought I had been meditating all night and never slept. It made me laugh. I also meditated during the free time we had each day and some people were actually interested and meditated with me a few times. My senior drill instructor found me once meditating, he just walked up to me and was staring at me while I sat there. He didn't do anything, except tell me he thought it was weird.

Later during combat training one of my instructors asked me about it, and I showed him the 'double lotus' position. He thought it was funny and sometimes he would call me out of formation so I could show it to his friends.

I think the most common question people asked is if I could levitate off the ground while meditating. I told them, 'not yet, but I am working on it'

I never thought the Marine Corps would be a bastion of religious tolerance, and I was really surprised by the reaction I got compared to the one you reported.
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Virgo » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:42 am

Yessu wrote:Sometimes I would meditate before I went to sleep and again when I woke up before reveille. One guy told me he saw me meditating when he went to sleep and when he woke up I was still there, he thought I had been meditating all night and never slept.


Dang, before reveille?! That is early. I remember my recruit division commander had us standing at attention in front of our racks (beds) with running shoes on withing 30 seconds of the bell sounding-- stop-watched. I needed all the sleep I could get before that (not that I meditate anyway)

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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Aloka » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:53 am

Tyler wrote:Its hard for me to believe that there is no religious intolerance in the UK. While we may not always see explicit forms of prejudice there are always implicit ones that happen institutionally. We may not always feel them if we follow a religion or have other more salient aspects of identity that are more normative.


I'm a UK schoolteacher and I taught in a Catholic school for quite a number of years. Everyone on the staff knew I was a Buddhist and none of the other teachers showed any intolerance towards me - in fact some were interested and wanted to know more about it.

I also had many interesting, friendly discussions with the priest who was the school chaplain.

.
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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Virgo » Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:40 am

Yessu wrote:
Last year I joined the Marines and when I was at boot camp I would meditate in the night. would be a bastion of religious tolerance, and I was really surprised by the reaction I got compared to the one you reported.

Hi Yessu,

Being that marine basic is heavily combat oriented, I am surprised your DI didn't go ape sh*t on you over meditation. But they want you to stay calm under stress, so perhaps he thought it might be a good thing for you. I know breathing techniques are taught during weapons, and some other kinds of training.

Naval boot camp simply is not as combat oriented so I do not have that kind of experience. It is all about following orders, working as a unit, a team with your shipmates, and being perfect and precise as hell, and pushing yourself to the point you never thought possible, so you feel like you have no limits afterwards and can accomplish anything, which you can.

Always be proud of yourself. Marines are some of the best trained, most highly motivated, and most highly dedicated men and women on earth. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force -- no one can stop us. HOO YA!!

Sailor's Creed:

I am a United States Sailor.
I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and I will obey the orders of those appointed over me.
I represent the fighting spirit of the Navy and those who have gone before me to defend freedom and democracy around the world.
I proudly serve my country's Navy combat team with Honor, Courage and Commitment.
I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

I will always be proud of my days as a US Sailor.

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Re: Mentioning Buddhism in public

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Mar 25, 2012 5:04 am

Aloka wrote: I'm a UK schoolteacher and I taught in a Catholic school for quite a number of years. Everyone on the staff knew I was a Buddhist and none of the other teachers showed any intolerance towards me - in fact some were interested and wanted to know more about it.

I also had many interesting, friendly discussions with the priest who was the school chaplain.

My experience in Catholic schools in Australia has been similar. I don't go around talking about Buddhism but I don't hide it either, so many of my fellow-teachers know of my interest and some share it.
On the other hand, I try to keep my beliefs out of the public eye to avoid embarrassment to the school by, e.g., parents thinking that I am some kind of heathen unbeliever corrupting their children :rolleye: That just means not identifying as Buddhist on FB, for instance, or acting as convener of a meditation workshop - nothing that really affects my life, just something to be mindful of.

:namaste:
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