[Buddha-l] Bourgeous Buddhism: 'Buddhist' Identity

Mahinda Deegalle dmahinda at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 7 15:25:27 MDT 2011

This discussion on the 'Buddhist' identity is an interesting one. But it is also frustrating. 

'Buddhist' identity itself is just another label; a useful label to creat narrow boxes. However, it is worth enquiring whether there is any space within what we identify as 'Buddhism' for holding exclusive views. 

In addition, do we have rights to exclude one person or a group and deny their existence labelling them as non-Buddhists or not 'real-Buddhists'? 

Does anybody have monopoly over 'Buddhist' identity? Is it not the case that Buddhism and the Buddha allow anyone to practice the Buddha's teaching in various degrees according their capacities and enthusiasm? Is not it the openness one of the key characteristics of being Buddhist?

Is not the whole point of Buddhism is being open and enabling anyone to enter the practice of it? Who has rights to pass judgments on other's practice?

Should we be fanatical about our own practice against some others? Is it a Buddhist thing to do?

Mahinda Deegalle


From: David Living <aryacitta at hotmail.com>
To: BuddhaL <buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>
Sent: Friday, October 7, 2011 8:26 PM
Subject: [Buddha-l] Bourgeous Buddhism

> F wrote

> Ok, but it is a fact that Nichiren are buddhists? Or the concept of
> buddhism is not contradictory with, say, their reading of the Lotus
> Sutra? If not, what does happen to them?

I don't think they're real Buddhists - after all they just chant mantras and promise their disciples sports cars.
The Buddha didn't do that in fact he seemed to renounce consumerist values. Some basic Buddhist values I'd suggest are - ethical values based on right motive, an understanding of the importance of impermanence in the world we live in, avoidance of extreme views like eternalism or nihilism .... and compassion. The Buddha himself seems to have recommended that people avoided teachers and Buddhists who were unethical, manipulative and attached to worldly possessions. Anyone who calls themselves a Buddhist but doesn't practice Buddhist values is not a Buddhist. A Buddhist is as a Buddhist does - simple. Can't see what the fuss is about.

Aryacitta - Dave Living
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