fbpx
48.4 F
Spokane
Saturday, February 24, 2024
HomeCommentaryAskAsk A Buddhist: How do I know if I'm Buddhist?

Ask A Buddhist: How do I know if I’m Buddhist?

Date:

Related stories

Ask a Baha’i: Would a Christian need to pray to Bahá’u’lláh, not Jesus, if converting to the Baha’i faith?

If I followed the teaching of Baha’i would I need to change my lifelong relationship with Jesus? I wonder how can I, as a lifelong Christian, focus my prayers from Jesus to Bahá’u’lláh?

Muslims Calling for Peace in Gaza Have Been Answered with Rampant Islamophobia

Islamophobia, in other words, does not operate in a vacuum. It creates repercussions far beyond the Muslim community. It’s time our leaders took action. 

Nex Benedict Is Another Matthew Shepard 

On Feb. 7, Nex Benedict, a non-binary Owasso, Oklahoma, teen, was beaten to death in a girl’s restroom at Owasso High School by three older female students. So far, there is no sign the girls responsible have been arrested or even interviewed by police. 

We Have Traditions, Therefore We Are We

During the penultimate week of the month, the staff at the Hearth discusses the next month’s calendar. Staff goes over what events are forthcoming and which classes are going to be taught.

Yes, Contradictions Exist in the Bible, for They Exist in Ourselves

I know that many conservative Christians believe that the Bible tells one big saving story and work hard to harmonize all its smaller stories and its testimonies. I think a harmonized Bible does not do justice to what it has to offer.

What do you want to ask a Buddhist? Fill out the form below or submit your question online.

By Ven. Thubten Chonyi

How do I know if I’m a Buddhist?

The decision to take Buddhism as your spiritual path is a personal one, and only you can make that decision.

Many people resonate with certain aspects of Buddha’s teachings and adopt Buddhist practices without abandoning their previous religious or spiritual identifications or declaring themselves to be Buddhist.

It’s not necessary to “become a Buddhist” to learn from Buddhist ideas or assume Buddhist practices. The purpose of Buddha’s teaching is to benefit living beings. If the ideas and practices are helpful, by all means use them!

In fact, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, when he speaks to Western audiences, regularly states his view that in general, it is better for people to stay with their religion of origin. He happily invites people to take on the Buddhist principles of non-harming and developing love and compassion, pointing out that these values are shared across all religions and philosophies.

However, His Holiness eventually says that if, upon deep examination, someone feels a stronger affinity with Buddhist teachings and wishes to study and adopt a Buddhist view, he or she is certainly welcome. Although I have heard His Holiness teach this many times, I always feel relieved when he gets to this last part. Hearing it gives me an opportunity to examine and re-commit to my chosen Buddhist path.

Buddhism emphasizes inner development and personal responsibility. It is a path based in reasoning and validated by experience. Consequently, it’s important to investigate the teachings critically to see if they make sense for you. While Buddhism speaks of faith, it is a certitude that comes from close examination.

In essence, Buddhism teaches us to avoid harming others and to help them as much possible. Buddhist teachings outline detailed methods to realize these aims. All Buddhist traditions also rely on the foundational teaching generally known as the Four Noble Truths: that ordinary existence is unsatisfactory by nature, that there are identifiable causes for this state, that these causes can be eliminated, and there are methods to do so. After studying these basic ideas, if you become inclined towards the Buddhist worldview, you are on your way to becoming a Buddhist.

When, through learning and practicing the Buddha’s teachings, you feel certain that these teachings make sense and this is the path you want to follow, you may want to participate in a refuge ceremony. In the ceremony, you will repeat a short verse saying that you take refuge in the Buddha as your teacher, the Dharma as the teachings you will follow, and the Sangha as the realized practitioners who help to guide you. Together, these Three Jewels will show you the path to liberation and support you as you practice it. During the ceremony, you may also take one, some, or all of the five lay precepts—to refrain from taking life (killing), taking what hasn’t been freely given (stealing), unwise or unkind sexual behavior (principally adultery), lying, and taking intoxicants—as your personal ethical guidelines.

My teacher, Venerable Thubten Chodron, gives a thorough explanation of this in her book “Open Heart, Clear Mind.” You can read the chapter on taking refuge on her website.  There’s a wealth of teachings on other topics as well, including a section called New to Buddhism, that can help you determine if you are, indeed, a Buddhist.

Sending best wishes for your spiritual journey!

Ven. Thubten Chonyi
Ven. Thubten Chonyi
Ven. Thubten Chonyi is a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. She has studied with Sravasti Abbey founder and abbess Ven. Thubten Chodron since 1996. She received novice ordination at the Abbey in 2008 and full ordination in 2011 in Taiwan. Ven. Chonyi regularly teaches Buddhism and meditation at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane and other local locations.

Ad

spot_img
spot_img
spot_img
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
spot_img
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x