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Buddha-cassanova!

Speaking with a friend earlier and the idea came up that one can be "on again, off again" with Buddhism, or any other faith, like when you're seeing a person romantically, but you only date them once a month or so, and you both see other people on the side.

Is it really possible to do this? Can you really be both into a faith or religion, and also not, depending on the day or week? I tend to see it as either you're committed to your relationship (faith) or you're not. It's certainly okay either way as long as everyone is honest. For example... if I was dating someone and they didn't want to see me unless they "needed" me, fair-weather style, I wouldn't call that a relationship, I'd call that Friends-with-Benefits. Correspondingly, if I have a friend who goes to Church/ Temple/ other Services only when she's having a time of sorrow or has a question, but then never thinks about her faith otherwise, not even on her own, is she really a Christian/ Muslim/ Jew/ Buddhist, etc ? I'd argue no... but that person can certainly gather good information in those times when she is participating.

Thoughts?

ShoshinKerome

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    What you can do with people is different to what you can do with a religious/spiritual calling.

    With people, you either enter into a mutually accepted mode of behaviour, where you both agree on a specific pattern and level of commitment, or you cheat and deprive the other person of the respect and consideration they deserve. (Or of course, they do that to you....)

    A personal calling to a particular path is your own personal commitment to something that would work for you all the time, if you dedicated yourself wholeheartedly to it.
    "It" - does not change. It is always there, always with its resounding message, never varying, unswerving and rock-solid.

    If you only commit 25% of your dedication, that's all you'll get out of it.

    RuddyDuck9
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    What?! :confounded:

    silverRuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Is Buddhism a love/hate relationship? A good mind fu$@? Tee hee.
    Personally I find it as a potential. I already have a relationship, a history.

    When I go into a Church it is from a Buddhist perspective. Does my heart belong to Dharma Mama? Am I a Buddha babe? Sure. These words will do.

    What about non-attachment, is it an open relationship? As @dhammachick says, it is about conscious commitment rather than escapism.

    RuddyDuck9
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    Buddha-with-benefits? :p

    I think like most things, what you get out is proportional to what you put in.

    Steve_BRuddyDuck9lobster
  • Lonely_TravellerLonely_Traveller East Midlands UK Veteran

    @Bunks Its Ajahn Chah.

    RuddyDuck9Bunks
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Some people are flirts and some are not....Flirting with Buddhism can go on for many years, the ego , always on the look out for more spiritual eye candy to "try"...fearing commitment for fear of losing one 'self' :)

    RuddyDuck9Bunkslobster
  • Steve_BSteve_B Far southwest corner of Indiana, USA Veteran

    In a romantic relationship with a person, there are definite expectations of me.

    If I belong to a religion, there are expectations of me.

    In Buddhism there are no expectations of me. It is a set of perspectives, practices, teachings, methods, etc. I can use them or not. Always or never. Or anywhere in between. But it needn't be a place I go, or promises I make, or responsibilities or actions or loyalties I owe to anyone.

    It is all within.

    lobsterRuddyDuck9silverherberto
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I find religion is a process that evolves you, it shouldn't be a label that defines you. I feel a need inside to move me, a pull that draws me, and at the moment it is dragging me at speed through Buddhism.

    Honestly I don't think it can be done one day a month, as an open relationship. You either do, commit wholeheartedly for however long it takes you, or you don't. It's a question of absorbing the teachings, if you do it drop by drop what's in your cup will evaporate before you get to drink. You end up getting the merest taste, rather than a transformative flood.

    RuddyDuck9lobster
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @dhammachick I also have a friend who says this about herself (fan not a follower). It's an interesting idea, because what she means, I think, is that she's not perfect at her practice. Well, shouldn't that be said of all of us who are not yet awake? I see her as being very committed to her faith. She is generous, kind, and loving. She studies her faith with a knowledgeable teacher, and participates in her community dialogues. Yet, the neighbor down the street who has a rebel flag on their porch is a "follower" and my friend is only a "fan?" I think she follows to the best of her ability, and is always trying to be more true. It's certainly not easy. <3 we all deserve a little credit for trying!

    silverdhammachickherbertolobster
  • ShimShim Veteran

    I'm definitely a on-off Buddhist as I said earlier in the reading thread! (Which is a perfect excuse to make this post all about me! B) ) But I'm not a fan either (one of my problems with Buddhism is that there are many things that I don't like and even some that I kind of disagree with, as much as someone with a limited understanding can disagree). I don't know whether that is just because I'm not good at commitments, or that I haven't yet found a proper path or that I don't understand enough. (One of the things I dislike about Buddhism: if there is something you don't agree it just means you don't understand it.)

    If I could choose, I think would be a happy little liberal Christian. I really like what those people say about God's grace and being imperfect and all that. In general, I like, admire and respect many things in all the world religions and definitely would like to be a committed practioner of a spiritual tradition, but that would require a leap of faith I can't make whereas Buddhist practices are more or less open to anyone. They are the best alternative I've been able to find but in Buddhism I'm definitely an outsider. I'm rather devotional by nature, I'm not particularily interested in how the mind works, I want to be a decent human being rather than a Buddha. Of course these could be and are included in Buddhism but I don't want to call myself a Buddhist and twist some of the basic teachings to fit my worldview better. (Some people do but I assume they know what they're doing and are not just trying to make themselves comfortable with something they don't feel they belong to) And I could never, ever, meet someone who actually is a Buddhist, born-and-bred (or well-trained within a tradition) and tell them 'hey, I'm a Buddhist too' if my actual beliefs or values are something else. But I can always say that I find Buddhism interesting or fascinating.

    And I don't have a clue if that works or not. Probably not. I'm not particularily proud of my inability to commit to any spiritual path. I envy those who come to Buddhism (or any other religion) and feel at home right away. But perhaps we all just have different twists and turns on our paths... I'm currently trying to apply some kind of a 'don't know' attitude to spiritual beliefs. But still flirting with Buddhism!

    I hope this made any sense. :)

    BunksRuddyDuck9dhammachicklobster
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran
    edited July 2016

    In short, a path that strays will not be the most efficient path.

    RuddyDuck9
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    @Shim thank you for opening up here. I don't think there's anything wrong with a little dabbling in several pots when it comes to faith. As you mentioned, some folks have that "aha!" moment when they are researching faiths. This is what happened for me when I began studying Buddhism. Taoism was nice but I disagreed with some things. Christianity was nice in its purest form, and I'm totally down with Jesus, he seems like a nice dude, got his ducks in a row, you know? But I can't reconcile myself with a religion that has so many absolutes. There's no wiggle room with many of the basics of Monotheism, and that rankled with me. I do believe any of these faiths (when practiced responsibly--hmm, religion is it's own type of intoxicant?) in their pure, sweet forms make for a better person and a better world... unfortunately, 80-90% of folks I've met aren't doing it the nice way, they're doing it their way. I guess it's only human.

    Before I found kinship with Buddhism I went through a long period of research and study of all paths. I guess that means I was a Cassanova myself :blush: !

    Shimdhammachick
  • ShimShim Veteran

    @RuddyDuck9 said:
    But I can't reconcile myself with a religion that has so many absolutes.

    Well said! I totally agree.

    Sure there is nothing wrong with some dabbling but after this constant searching I'd like to settle down... at least for a moment! :D

    RuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    There is wiggling in most religions. The highest forms of monotheistic religions end up transcending monochromic beliefs but that is another's story ...

    Flirting is only the prelude to hieros gamos or 'hanky panky' as it is known in Buddhism ... ;)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited July 2016

    @Shim, I'd be interested, simply for the sake of discussion, in what you're referring to when you say,

    one of my problems with Buddhism is that there are many things that I don't like and even some that I kind of disagree with...

    Because there's a difference between disagreeing with something that doesn't make sense or is illogical to you, and disagreeing with something because it proposes a course of action you're reluctant or resistant to take....

    I'm not implying the latter is the case. I'm merely interested in what 'many things' you're referring to, taking your further elaboration -

    ...as much as someone with a limited understanding can disagree

    into account....
    If you'd like to think about starting a new thread, we'd all be happy to elaborate on anything you want to bring up, by way of clarification.
    This is after all, "Newbuddhist" and it's all a learning curve.

    Granted, nothing we say may convince you to think otherwise.
    Indeed, we're not here to proselytise, convert or convince.
    But we would certainly elaborate, and maybe help you understand better....?

    Steve_BShim
  • ShimShim Veteran

    @federica said:
    @Shim, I'd be interested, simply for the sake of discussion, in what you're referring to when you say,

    one of my problems with Buddhism is that there are many things that I don't like and even some that I kind of disagree with...

    Because there's a difference between disagreeing with something that doesn't make sense or is illogical to you, and disagreeing with something because it proposes a course of action you're reluctant or resistant to take....

    It's both. Many things don't make sense to me just because there is no way of getting any kind of evidence. (For instance, anything related to death and rebirth or enlightenment. So, it's pretty much everything about the actual core beliefs of Buddhism.) Sure, I don't like those teachings but I can't convince myself that a) they don't make any sense OR b) they are true, because there simply isn't a way to know that. It is the same with all religions so it is really hard for me to "choose the right one" since they all have their pros and cons and I tend to focus on the latter.

    Anyway, I appreciate your willingness to clear things up. It's sure not very polite of me coming to a Buddhist forum to 'preach' non-Buddhism. :)

    RuddyDuck9
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Some might be interested in 'Crazy Cloud' Buddha and part time Buddhist - Ikkyu ..
    http://opcoa.st/0gr8j

    Some of these Buddhists - bit of meditation ... and they are anybodies ...

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited July 2016

    @Shim said:
    It's both. Many things don't make sense to me just because there is no way of getting any kind of evidence. (For instance, anything related to death and rebirth or enlightenment. So, it's pretty much everything about the actual core beliefs of Buddhism.) Sure, I don't like those teachings but I can't convince myself that a) they don't make any sense OR b) they are true, because there simply isn't a way to know that. It is the same with all religions so it is really hard for me to "choose the right one" since they all have their pros and cons and I tend to focus on the latter.

    Anyway, I appreciate your willingness to clear things up. It's sure not very polite of me coming to a Buddhist forum to 'preach' non-Buddhism. :)

    @Shim many of us here, no doubt started out has spiritual tourists, flirting with one spiritual belief then another...
    In order to understand Buddhism one has to be willing to let go of any pre-conceived ideas...and this is no easy task considering that we have been 'conditioned' from the get go...
    However, time spent on the cushion will/should eventually help to overcome this conditioning...

    At the beginning of the Buddhist journey, one is living 'in' ones mind (I'll just borrow a Tibetan Buddhist teacher's quote and slightly tweak it a little) ie, the mind turned outwards, one is more often than not lost in its projection ... With time spent on the cushion ones mind will gradually turn inwards and one will begin to recognise ones true selfless nature... and this is when things begin to fall into place, ie, the moment to moment impermanent nature of this ever changing psycho physical self, death, rebirth, and the path towards enlightenment ...


    This quote from a Zen master sums up the importance of 'determination'...

    "Great Faith and Great Doubt are two ends of a spiritual walking stick. We grip one end with the grasp given to us by our Great Determination. We poke into the underbrush in the dark on our spiritual journey. This act is real spiritual practice -- gripping the Faith end and poking ahead with the Doubt end of the stick. If we have no Faith, we have no Doubt. If we have no Determination, we never pick up the stick in the first place."

    ~Sensei Sevan Ross~

    In a nutshell ...

    Buddhism is a journey of self discovery, however the discovery is when one sees the self as it is ie, just a bundle of energy in motion, and not as it perceives itself to be ie, an unchanging permanent/fixture/entity- (which manifests itself through the clinging and grasping of the aggregates)...

    lobsterShimRuddyDuck9dhammachick
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