Kimberly (kimberly_a) wrote,
Kimberly
kimberly_a

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What Makes You Not a Buddhist

So, apparently, according to someone named Dzongsar Khyentse, I am not a Buddhist.

I got a book for Christmas called The Best Buddhist Writing 2007, the first essay in which is titled "What Makes You Not a Buddhist." According to its author, Dzongsar Khyentse:

If you cannot accept that all compounded or fabricated things are impermanent, if you believe that there is some essential substance or concept that is permanent, then you are not a Buddhist.

If you cannot accept that all emotions are pain, if you believe that actually some emotions are purely pleasurable, then you are not a Buddhist.

If you cannot accept that all phenomena are illusory and empty, if you believe that certain things do exist inherently, then you are not a Buddhist.

And if you think that enlightenment exists within the spheres of time, space, and power, then you are not a Buddhist.


Now, I'm fine with numbers 1 and 4. Number 2 is iffy for me, but I'm willing to postulate that all happiness bears within it a fear of the loss of that happiness. But number 3, well, number 3 I have a problem with. I am quite certain that my body exists, for example. I'm quite certain that Shannon exists. I'm quite certain that this book exists.

So I guess I'm not a Buddhist. According to this guy, anyway. But I find the whole concept of the essay troubling, because it seems very un-Buddhist to be dividing the world into Buddhist and not-Buddhist, into us and them. I've never seen it before in the other Buddhist reading I've done.

So I think I'm writing this guy off. I may not be his kind of Buddhist, but I'm my own kind of Buddhist and it doesn't really matter if I fit his definition. Maybe I'll read some Thich Nhat Hanh to cleanse my brain. I like the way he looks at the world much more than this guy.
Tags: buddhism
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  • 11 comments

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