Labeling Oneself As Buddhist

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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twelph
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Labeling Oneself As Buddhist

Post by twelph » Tue Jul 24, 2012 10:32 pm

As my meditation grows deeper, I find the labels that I used to apply to myself no longer feel useful. First it was words like liberal, atheist, agnostic, skeptic, ADHD, anxious, intelligent, etc. . My question is: is holding on to the sense of "I am Buddhist" beneficial? If I were to try and drop that label out of my thinking, would it be useful? I have the utmost respect for the three jewels, they mean everything to me. As I walk around all day with the Dhamma having an influence on what I hope to eventually be my every thought and action, it somehow feels weird to be referring to myself in this way. Is this an aspect of becoming, or are my thoughts taking things to the extreme somehow?

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LonesomeYogurt
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:24 pm
Location: America

Re: Labeling Oneself As Buddhist

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:05 pm

Clinging to any view is dangerous. The Dhamma is a tool that leads to freedom from suffering; it's not an identity or a title or a club to identify with. I'm proud to call myself a Buddhist but on the ultimate reality, of course, there is no Buddhism nor a 'me' to follow it!
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.

Caldorian
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon May 21, 2012 9:22 am
Location: Germany

Re: Labeling Oneself As Buddhist

Post by Caldorian » Tue Jul 24, 2012 11:06 pm

twelph wrote:As my meditation grows deeper, I find the labels that I used to apply to myself no longer feel useful. First it was words like liberal, atheist, agnostic, skeptic, ADHD, anxious, intelligent, etc. . My question is: is holding on to the sense of "I am Buddhist" beneficial? If I were to try and drop that label out of my thinking, would it be useful? I have the utmost respect for the three jewels, they mean everything to me. As I walk around all day with the Dhamma having an influence on what I hope to eventually be my every thought and action, it somehow feels weird to be referring to myself in this way. Is this an aspect of becoming, or are my thoughts taking things to the extreme somehow?
Even an awakened person sees the need for language as a means to communicate with the unawakened, despite or rather because of its conventional nature. I find that "Buddhist" can be a somewhat useful shorthand in daily life. It's a signifier that is easily interpreted by other people and thus makes communication easier. Still, I prefer to say that I "practice Buddhism/the Buddha-Dhamma/the Buddha's teachings/etc.". This way, the focus lies on actions at least instead of on personal labels.

twelph
Posts: 112
Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:03 pm

Re: Labeling Oneself As Buddhist

Post by twelph » Wed Jul 25, 2012 12:15 am

Thanks for the replies, makes sense. I'm guessing it has nothing to do with saddha/faith.

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