What makes one a Buddhist?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:00 am

Gazelle wrote:
That may be so about the poor porn guys. That aside, so according to you (?) we must perfectly follow the precepts to be true Buddhists. Anything less, we are not Buddhists. You might want to clarify your position, and maybe you might want to clarify why you are focusing on poor dead Trungpa who was referenced in passing for a humorous remark he made.


I'm not saying that you have to follow the training precepts perfectly but my definition of the 1st step of calling yourself a 'Buddhist' is certainly a sincere effort to practice the 5 precepts as best you can. I use Trungpa as an example because you mentioned him and it doesn't seem like he made a sincere effort to follow the 5 precepts.

:coffee:
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This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:28 am

Trungpa was certainly not an exemplar of moral purity, but he actively discouraged this kind of behavior in his students and also worked very hard to spread the Dharma.

From what I've read of his writings, his teachings are a valuable application of the Buddha's teachings to the challenges facing a modern Western practitioner. I'd go so far as to say that he's done more to further the Buddha's cause than any of us here. Maybe this goes some way towards "making him a Buddhist" albeit a very imperfect one?
Last edited by Dan74 on Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby plwk » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:29 am

Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:29 am

Thank you for sharing your opinion.


:thanks:
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:34 am

plwk wrote:


Yes! I won! :woohoo:
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:37 am

Dan74 wrote:Trungpa was certainly not an exemplar of moral purity, but he actively discouraged this kind of behavior in his students and also worked very hard to spread the Dharma.


So he actively discouraged this kind of behaviour while still doing it himself? :rofl:

C'mon people.... let's get real!
Last edited by Gazelle on Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Alobha » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:19 am

Gazelle wrote:
Dan74 wrote:Trungpa was certainly not an exemplar of moral purity, but he actively discouraged this kind of behavior in his students and also worked very hard to spread the Dharma.


So he actively discouraged this kind of behaviour while still doing it himself? :rofl:

C'mon people.... let's get real!


Just like a doctor who is sick, can still prescribe medicine and tell patients how to get healthy again, so can an unawakened person encourage the practice that leads towards awakening.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:26 am

Just like a doctor who is sick, can still prescribe medicine and tell patients how to get healthy again, so can an unawakened person encourage the practice that leads towards awakening.


The doctor is sick with the same 'dis-ease', yet does not take their own recommended prescribed medicine....that's :rolleye:
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:51 am

I think, what makes one a Buddhist is seeing danger in saṃsāra, and aspiring to something better than endless dispute.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Ben » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:57 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think, what makes one a Buddhist is seeing danger in saṃsāra, and aspiring to something better than endless dispute.


I agree, Bhante.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:05 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:I think, what makes one a Buddhist is seeing danger in saṃsāra, and aspiring to something better than endless dispute.


Yep...and I'm following your advice Bhante by, "taking an active role in protecting the Buddha’s Dispensation from further decline."


http://www.aimwell.org/Books/Pesala/pesala.html
"Bhikkhu Pesala has had to endure all kinds of difficulties over the years due to his wish to adhere strictly to the Vinaya rules, as practised by his most venerable preceptor. Many monks nowadays do not observe even the basic training rules for bhikkhus; they regard the monastic training as impractical in the modern world. Bhikkhu Pesala has opposed this lax and negative attitude throughout his life as a monk, and urges lay supporters to take a more active role in protecting the Buddha’s Dispensation from further decline."

:bow:
Last edited by Gazelle on Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Ben » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:10 pm

Gazelle wrote:Yep...and I'm following your advice Bhante by, "taking an active role in protecting the Buddha’s Dispensation from further decline."


Well, that is interesting.
Perhaps you can tell us how you are protecting the Buddha's Dispensation from further decline.
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


Compassionate Hands Foundation (Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • Buddhist Global ReliefUNHCR
Buddhist Life Stories of Australia

e: ben.dhammawheel@gmail.com
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:20 pm

Ben wrote:Well, that is interesting.
Perhaps you can tell us how you are protecting the Buddha's Dispensation from further decline.


By practicing the noble eightfold path according to the Pali Canon.

:meditate:
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:12 pm

Gazelle wrote:
Just like a doctor who is sick, can still prescribe medicine and tell patients how to get healthy again, so can an unawakened person encourage the practice that leads towards awakening.


The doctor is sick with the same 'dis-ease', yet does not take their own recommended prescribed medicine....that's :rolleye:


I think if we all took the medicine, we would not be here.
Perhaps there is more subtlety to the human condition that you seem to be seeing, Gazelle. A person can be a sage in some respects and deluded in others. He could be capable of sublime acts of selfless compassion and yet wallow in the cesspit of self-destruction. Sometimes the most extreme contradictions coexist. Uncomfortable to conceive of, yes. Hard to get a grasp on, yes. But then again, reality rarely fits neatly into any conceptual straight-jacket.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby equilibrium » Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:55 pm

What makes one a buddhist depends on ones point of view.

One will say one is a buddhist because one is on the path as one relies on the path but when one reaches at a certain level, one does not see the path as there are no paths to be found. As there are no paths to be found, there cannot be a buddhist as there are no such things in the first place.

Words are like signposts and are there to direct one along the path.....don't cling to them.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby matais » Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:08 pm

A Buddhist is one who has taken the 3 refuges.
In other words, a Buddhist is anyone who believes the Buddha to have been enlightened, the Dhamma to be well-expounded and accessible in the here-and-now for anyone who searches for it, and the Sangha to have preserved these teachings, practicing accordingly, being a great benefit for the world.

Even if one doesn't follow the noble eight-fold path perfectly, doesn't keep the 5 precepts perfectly, if they have taken the 3 refuges they'll know where to look for happiness (Buddha, Dhamma Sangha) when they wish to change their life for the better.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 01, 2012 4:47 pm

Very simple (imho):

Buddhist = anyone who wants to call themselves a Buddhist is one (who are we to be the moral police and decide who is following what precepts? Do all Jews and Christians follow the Ten Commandments, all the time? They are still Jewish and Christian when they sometimes slip up and covet, for example.)

Noble One = one who has eradicated at least the first three hindrances to enlightenment, has a perfect or near perfect sila (morality); adherence to precepts.

Buddha = the rare being who appears after several thousands of years after the Dhamma has died out and then rediscovers the Dhamma.

Buddhist should not be confused with the last two.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby m0rl0ck » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:21 pm

Yeah im in agreement with the self identification camp. One would hope for some understanding of what it means to call oneself a buddhist. In any case it has nothing to do with judgement of others. If one goes around comparing oneself to others on how "buddhist" they are, it seems to me that one has missed the point
"When you meditate, don't send your mind outside. Don't fasten onto any knowledge at all. Whatever knowledge you've gained from books or teachers, don't bring it in to complicate things. Cut away all preoccupations, and then as you meditate let all your knowledge come from what's going on in the mind. When the mind is quiet, you'll know it for yourself. But you have to keep meditating a lot. When the time comes for things to develop, they'll develop on their own. Whatever you know, have it come from your own mind.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:09 pm

Alobha wrote:Just like a doctor who is sick, can still prescribe medicine and tell patients how to get healthy again, so can an unawakened person encourage the practice that leads towards awakening.

There's a huge difference between being unawakened and being actively, unabashedly preoccupied with activities that make awakening impossible. I agree that we should not be the moral police, handing out decrees on who is or isn't Buddhist. However, we also cannot risk letting Buddhism become a social club with no restrictions, no requirements, and no ultimate goal. What is the point of Buddhism, especially in the West, when you can ascribe to the path with one breath and drink, smoke, lie, cheat, kill, and otherwise muddle the mind in the next? No one should be "disqualified" by anyone for slipping up in their practice, but there is quite the difference between occasionally faltering on the path and accepting with open arms thoughts, words, and deeds that are completely opposed in every way to the Buddha's teachings.

I think Western Buddhism has lost quite a bit of moral authority when we can't make a judgement about an alcoholic philanderer who passes his teachings to a man who sexually solicits students despite having AIDS. If we as a community cannot point at that trail of actions and say, "You know, that person is not following the Buddha's path," then we're no longer just non-judgmental and tolerant - we're descending into total spiritual anarchy, so to speak. The Buddha's teachings need to be protected, and while we can't achieve that with witch hunts or needless criticism, we absolutely can have high standards for those in power who claim to be teaching the Buddha's Dhamma.

Just my two cents.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:26 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I think Western Buddhism has lost quite a bit of moral authority when we can't make a judgement about an alcoholic philanderer


You can make that judgment. What I and I think others have posted is just that it is not our place to say he is not a Buddhist. You can call him a bad Buddhist if you like, but having litmus tests for Buddhists is not appropriate. There can be bad Buddhists just as there are bad Christians, Jews, Taoists, etc. (and good ones too).
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