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Friday, October 09, 2015

WHO IS A BUDDHIST?

I regularly get articles from mainstream Buddhist magazines. The latest one showed the lamentable state of Dharma dialogue in the West. Supposedly reputable senior teachers describing what qualifies Dharma practitioners as Buddhists. It took the form of "if you accept this...and if you don't accept this..." then you are either in the club or out.

The dharma was taught to free us from the dukkha which characterizes our lives, not to invite us to sign up from some specialness. Surely our Shakyamuni did not "launch" a religious movement with membership and screening processes. The dharma does not have any Platinum Memberships.

I understand that our traditions describe certain people/actions which will have terrible consequences - trying to murder a Buddha, for example.  Nonetheless, how many sutras proclaim the potency of calling out to various Buddhas or Bodhisattvas, no matter what or when, and they assure our future Buddhahood.

It is sad when we are more concerned about being "Buddhists" than realizing the Dharma through our thoughts and actions.  

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