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What makes one a Buddhist? - Page 3 - Dhamma Wheel

What makes one a Buddhist?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:30 pm

This thread seems to more concerned with denigrating famous people who call themselves Buddhists, than with protecting the true teachings. Denigrating others is not the same as pointing out what is Dhamma and what is not Dhamma, or pointing out what is Vinaya (following the precepts), or what is not Vinaya (selling marijuana etc.)

Those who have followed Buddhism for a while know about some of the wacky comments made by some famous Buddhists, or the dubious practices of some well-known monks and Buddhist teachers, but I don't see how discussing this dubious behaviour is helping to protect the genuine teachings.

IMO the essential quality of a Buddhist is right view. If one holds the right view that all beings are the owners of their kamma and that the Buddha was Fully Enlightened, then one can rightly profess to be a Buddhist. Along with that goes the obligation to follow the precepts, but all who are not Noble Ones are liable to fail sometimes, so failing to fully observe the five, eight, ten, or 227 precepts does not mean that one is no longer a Buddhist.

In Buddhist countries, there are Buddhist fishermen and Buddhist farmers who raise pigs and chickens, or who kills snakes and vermin, etc. There are Buddhist soldiers, actors, and comedians. Just like Buddhist doctors, Buddhist monks, or Buddhist meditation teachers, they have varying degrees of faith and wisdom.

Let's leave it to others to decide if they wish to be known as Buddhists or not. If you want to protect and promote the real Buddhism, lead by example.
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Kamran
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Kamran » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:53 pm

Buddhism is like a sport, where you develop skills by practicing.

The first step to being a Buddhist is to understand that people cause themselves to suffer.

Then you must practice using the tools, like meditation and mindfulness, to develop and refine your skills - the skills needed to end suffering from anger, anxiety, lust, etc.

The cosmology and even whether the Buddha existed or not are beside the point; you don't have to believe in any of that if its not useful for you.
"Silence gives answers"

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi

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Dan74
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:07 pm

_/|\_

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LonesomeYogurt
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Location: America

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Sep 02, 2012 12:08 am

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


Gazelle
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:08 am

According to the Alagagaddupama Sutta (MN22) it didn't seem Buddha held back with anyone who misrepresented his teachings. And yet as soon as I question a teachers conduct which seems so in contrast to the current teachings we have at our disposal, I seem to get mild hostility? :shrug:


Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu and said, "Come bhikkhu, in my name, call the bhikkhu Arittha, tell him the Teacher wants him." That bhikkhu consented and approached the bhikkhu Arittha and told him, "Friend, the Teacher wants you." The bhikkhu Arittha said "Yes, friend" and approached the Blessed One, paid homage and sat to one side. Then the Blessed One said, "Arittha, is it true, that such a view has arisen in you: 'As I understand the Teaching of the Blessed One, those things declared as obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them'?" Then he said, "Yes, venerable sir, as I understand the Teaching of the Blessed One, those things declared as obstructions by the Blessed One are not able to obstruct one who engages in them."

"Foolish man, to whom do you know I have taught this? Haven't I in many ways taught that obstructive things are obstructions; indeed to one who pursues them they are obstructions. I have taught that sensuality brings little satisfaction, much suffering and trouble; the dangers here are many. I have taught that sensuality is comparable to a skeleton, a tendon of flesh, a burning grass torch, a pit of burning charcoal, a dream, something borrowed, a tree full of fruits, the blade of a weapon, the head of a snake, I have told it has much suffering, much trouble and the dangers there are many. Yet you foolish man, on account of your wrong view, you misrepresent me as well as destroy yourself and accumulate much demerit, for which you suffering for a long time."


:shock:

Gazelle
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:25 am

Can't verify the accuracy of this story, however reading it is a sad tale for Trungpa and his followers in his final days.

Extract from here -

Two months later, Rinpoche finally died of acute late stage alcoholism. I saw a picture of him taken a few days before his death. He was bone-thin; his eyes had the haunted look of a madman. "I will never have another teacher in this lifetime," I swore to the silent red rocks at sunset. The ravens circled the valley, and I felt as though I had wasted every ounce of my practice and training with this maniacal Tibetan.

Anger erupted in both of us toward Rinpoche's henchmen, whom we felt had killed him. In their Emperor's-New-Clothes mentality, his guards had refused to face the reality of Rinpoche's addictions. It wasn't just alcohol. The truth leaked out about his $40,000-a- year coke habit and, the ultimate irony, an addiction to Seconal. Sleeping pills for the guru who advertised himself as a wake-up call to enlightenment. John and I felt duped, cheated, and outraged, especially toward the yes-men, who remained unaccountable for the deception inflicted upon our community. Rinpoche's enablers claimed that supplying him with drugs and alcohol was a measure of their devotion, while sneering at those of us who objected. In their sick denial, they couldn't see he was suiciding right before our eyes. John and I had fantasies about kidnapping Rinpoche and detoxing him ourselves, imagining what thirty days of sobriety would have done to his warped perceptions. In his last year, he'd become so deluded, he would summon his attendants and tell them he wanted to visit the Queen of Bhutan. They would put him in his Mercedes and drive around the block several times. As they led him back to the house, they laughingly asked how his visit went.

"Wonderful," he'd reply. "She was delightful."

And they called that magic. "He's so powerful," they'd whisper. It was pathetic.


:candle:

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tiltbillings
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:30 am

You do seem to have thing about poor dead Trungpa.

Gazelle
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Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:51 am


Gazelle
Posts: 27
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 5:54 am


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tiltbillings
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:21 am


Gazelle
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Sun Sep 02, 2012 6:32 am


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Dan74
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 2:22 pm

Gazelle, is that Bodhinyana in Warburton? Another Victorian!? :thumbsup:

LY, I recall feeling very dismayed when I first heard about Trungpa. How can a supposedly outstanding Dhamma teacher behave like this? I mean, even a deluded slob like me doesn't womanize or drink himself to death. So what kind of a teacher was he?

I have no interest in defending or excusing Trungpa's behaviour nor can I offer you any logically compelling reasons why he shouldn't just be chucked into the bin as another false guru. But from reading his teachings, from some contact with his students, I can say that my view is no longer so black and white.

For myself I do prefer teachers who are perhaps less brilliant but are morally upright and thankfully there are teachers like this in all major traditions. But perhaps the discomfort we experience with the story of Chogyam Trungpa is at least partly due to the notion we hold on to as to how the Dhamma ought to make us better, neater, cleaner and purer human beings. I've come to the conclusion that this fantasy is not particularly helpful for practice.
_/|\_

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:28 pm

Hi Dan74,

No that's 'Bodhivana' Monastery in Warburton.... the name is close... I was living at Bodhinyana in Serpentine with Ajahn Brahm. :smile:

As to Trungpa, it doesn't bother me if he considered himself a Buddhist or not, it's just words....however what was frustrating was when I had a conversation with a good friend a while ago about Trungpa, I couldn't seem to communicate with her that some of Trungpa's actions were in direct contrast with what many people would agree is the closest we have to the Buddha's words in the Pali Canon. Because of teachers like him, I feel many get a warped idea of what the Buddha taught. I got the feeling that my friend thinks that I've become some sort of Buddhist conservative freak because I say, heavens forbid, drinking yourself to an early grave and having sex with married women is against the precepts. Trungpa supporters will say it's some sort of Dhamma teaching.... I find it all a bit of a copout. :shrug:

But whatever.... I can't control others.... I'm off to sleep.... :zzz:

:anjali:
Last edited by Gazelle on Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David N. Snyder
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Sep 03, 2012 5:21 pm

Trungpa was a brilliant teacher, very knowledgeable and versed in the Dharma (knowledge and skill at teaching) and probably very intelligent. He was a Buddhist (Vajrayana-Shambhala).

Knowledge and intelligence is no guarantee of sanity.
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Buckwheat
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Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:51 am

Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

Buckwheat
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Location: California USA

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Buckwheat » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:08 am

Gazelle,
My first "teacher" (I never formally took him as a teacher, but was getting there) was Genpo Roshi, who was disgraced by his drinking and gross sexual misconduct. It was a tough time when the stories broke, and I had many thoughts such as "he should not be a Buddhist teacher" and "he should get some help". But I never, not for a moment, thought he was "not a Buddhist". Then I found out about Brad Warner, a monk who seems to spend a great deal of time ridiculing Genpo Roshi. His obsession seems to me to be a waste of a monk's focus, and I wonder if he is contributing positive energy to the Buddhist discussion. But I have never, not for a moment, thought he was "not a Buddhist".
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.

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Cittasanto
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:48 am

:goodpost:


He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them.
But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion …
...
He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them … he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Super Famous Buddhists

Postby tiltbillings » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:05 am


User avatar
Dan74
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Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Dan74 » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:32 am

_/|\_

Gazelle
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:26 am

Re: What makes one a Buddhist?

Postby Gazelle » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:05 pm

:anjali:

Thank you Dan74

:smile:


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