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Out Of The Closet

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran
edited May 19 in General Banter

Normally when we hear or read about someone "Coming out" it's more often than not about ones sexuality or gender identity...And in many cases it's a very brave move on their part, sadly they may face physical and or verbal abuse and there's also the possibility of them losing everything that they hold dear, eg, family, friends etc etc ....

However it would seem that some people also stay in the closet when it comes to their spiritual beliefs, for fear of being ostracised, ridiculed, and so forth...

One of the first online forums I was on was a Buddhist one which closed down shortly after I joined (Nothing to do with me joining I swear :wink: :lol: )...There was one guy who hailed from one of the bible belt states in the US (it was a US forum) he was deep in the closet about his Zen practice, fearing hostility & rejection if any of his mostly Baptist Christian neighbours in the apartment block found out...

Have any members experienced any hostility when coming out of the closet with their spiritual beliefs? Or their bispiritual beliefs perhaps :)

Bearing in mind there's nothing in the rule book that says one "has to be" an out & proud Buddhist... :)

lobsterDhammaDragonHozanherbertoyagr

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Thanks @Shoshin <3

    I live in the diversity of religions that is London and can happily dissuade Jehovahs Witnesses by assurances I am 'a Satanist'. I am within easy reach of my closet which contains imaginary space for Buddhas, deceased rainbow bodies, gods of no fixed allegiance, a healthy dose of Tao and any loose astral entities needing a Buddhists closet ...

    However I too am horrified by the intolerance of fundamental Christians (usually in America) closed Islamic societies and other totalitarian communities that require closets.

    The Jehovahs Witnesses never called again. Result!

    Hail Satan. ;)

    DhammaDragonShoshinherberto
  • WalkerWalker Veteran

    Heh. A couple of would-be converters from the Church of God came to the door a couple of years ago. I told them I was a Secular Buddhist, the gave me a strange look and one of them said something like, 'Oh, OK. Have a nice day, then.'

    Are Satanists and Secular Buddhists lost causes? ;)

    DhammaDragonShoshinlobster
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I have told many times how I simply sprouted an Orientalist cuckoo in a Catholic/Jew household.

    To this day, my mother finds no reasonable explanation, given the fact that I was educated in a Catholic school and both my parents are staunch Catholics (though my Mom is half-Jew and has many of the Jewish mamele traits) =)

    I never met with any hostility at home for my beliefs, which went from Taoism and Vedanta to full-blown Buddhism.
    Even at school, they put up with my refusal to attend Mass.

    I do seem to have some petty feud with the many Jehovah witnesses that live nearby, though.
    I have to agree with @Walker, not so much that Buddhists could be lost causes to fundamentalist Christians, but rather that they are simply stumped at the label.
    They do not have us completely figured out, I guess 😅🐉

    Shoshinlobsterherberto
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    I have had a somewhat different experience with Jehovah's Witnesses. I am very respectful but also very firm that I am not interested in changing religions. I tell others that I believe that should we have a clean heart/mind we can encourage others to walk the high road. Its seems to impact upon them deeply when I tell them about JW's being inmates of the concentration camps during the Third Reich.

    Shoshinlobster
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited May 20

    @DhammaDragon said:
    both my parents are staunch Catholics (though my Mom is half-Jew and has many of the Jewish mamele traits) =)

    :awesome:

    @person said:
    I kind of stay in the closet about my Buddhism. My family know I'm a Buddhist but I don't talk about it unless rarely asked. All I give them of my Buddhism is whatever kindness and wisdom come from it.

    Yeah my Mum much prefers me to identify as a Buddhist than a Jew, given the shit going on lately in the world. In fact, I put Buddhist on the census last year. My family and friends know about my beliefs and practises, and are fine with it on the whole. Professionally I don't disclose any of my beliefs or background. I've had experiences in the past that have convinced me to be super covert for my own benefit.

    Shoshin
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Very interesting comments.

    With the current climate of polarisation, I like to keep my affiliations open. However on an official form I could presently best be described as 'Secular Jedhi' or 'Muggle'. Is 'Heathen' or 'Heretic' a religion? I am a lapsed Dudeist priest - only sort there is. Mmm ... maybe 'cultist' would be apt?

    Might have to spend some quality closet time, working out if I need the right label ... o:)

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 20

    I've really never had occasion to talk about my spiritual interests. The topic has simply never arisen. Does that mean I'm in the closet? In order to not be closeted, does one have to wear one's spiritual path on one's sleeve? Does anyone outside of the US bible belt even care? (Well, besides the JW's, that is)

    Oh, actually, it did come up once, in conversation, haha! I took a taxi once to the Tibetan monastery in town, which would have required two or three buses for me to reach, and on Sundays, the buses run sparsely. The driver was Near Eastern. I explained where my destination was (didn't have the address), and that it was a Buddhist monastery; -- "you can't miss it", I chirped.
    He asked (almost demanding), rather seriously, "What is this Buddhism?!" So I explained some basic aspects of it, and he was very interested. He took it all in, and said it made sense, it was a good thing. "You work on yourself, then you help others", he summed it up. Fascinating exchange. Peeking out of the closet can be a fascinating and rewarding experience. :)

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

    I've actually turned out more respectable than my parents, who as followers of Osho ended up totally beyond the pale from the point of view of a few older members of the extended family. But the Netherlands is very tolerant of all forms of religion and creed... my ex-girlfriend follows a crazy-ass American spiritual group called the Melchizedek Cloister Emerald Order, remotely by DVD subscription.

    https://www.arhayas.com

    Being a Buddhist on that scale is at least oriented towards a major world religion, safe from being a sect, and I have the added benefit that one of my uncles is also into Buddhism, though I'm not sure he'd actually identify himself as Buddhist. Perhaps now that my last grandparent is deceased he will come out with it.

    But the custom here is not so much to discuss one's religious affiliation. Close friends will know what direction you pursue, but it's seen as a bit of a social faux pas to ask people about their religious convictions on first meeting them. Which is perhaps why membership of the Christian church has been dropping rapidly... about 65% of the country is now non-religious, and of the ones who still say they are Christian, many only visit church at Easter and Christmas.

    Nevertheless I too have had to withstand the Jehovah's Witnesses, taking them on an involved discussion around the scientific impossibilities in the Bible, it's shortcomings as revealed word of God, the nonsensical nature of a creator God in a natural world full of impermanence, and so on. They left shaken but not stirred.

    DhammaDragonShoshinHozan
  • MingleMingle Veteran

    As much as I'd love to shout out I'm a Buddhist unfortunately the conversation of religion never really comes up In surrey.

    Shoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I disagree. I lived in Middlesex and also Surrey. Find the right crowd, and they never shut up....

    lobsterdhammachick
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Some people are completely nuts about anyone who isn't Christian. Of course, they are the most vocal. Most people I know don't care, and if they do they don't talk about it to your face (but probably behind your back). I don't hide my beliefs but I don't broadcast them either. I don't much care if people don't like me for what I believe, I figure it's their problem not mine. If I can't get a job because of it, I wouldn't want to work in that place anyhow. But that's easy for me to say. Living in the south is another world. If I had to live in fear of being ostracized or whatever for my beliefs, I think I'd have to move. I couldn't do it.

    Shoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I find that people who live & lead by examples of unconditional "Metta" regardless of their spiritual beliefs/backgrounds, they really don't need any labels, closets or T-shirts... well apart from the decent caring human being one :)...

    lobsterdhammachickWalkerDhammaDragon
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    As much as I'd love to shout out I'm a Buddhist unfortunately the conversation of religion never really comes up In surrey.

    I will tell the Dairy Lama who might be interested in setting up a group in Surrey. He would probably have to get a job in the Waitrose freezer department as Surrey is a bit posh for Tescos. :p

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @Mingle said:
    As much as I'd love to shout out I'm a Buddhist unfortunately the conversation of religion never really comes up In surrey.

    I will tell the Dairy Lama who might be interested in setting up a group in Surrey. He would probably have to get a job in the Waitrose freezer department as Surrey is a bit posh for Tescos. :p

    Lol we definitely have plenty of Tescos. He can even get a job a lydls.

  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @SpinyNorman wait no that's poundland I'm thinking of.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited May 21

    Farnham, last time I was there, has point-blank repeatedly refused to even consider having a McDonalds within its boundaries, or even vicinity.
    That would simply be too much, and lower the tone. Bad form, you know....

    Now Aldershot, (its close neighbour) is distinctly 'down-market. It's a Military Town, and therefore given the ample suitable clientele, McDonalds has made a killing.

    If you will pardon the expression.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Mingle said:
    @SpinyNorman wait no that's poundland I'm thinking of.

    I wonder if they sell Neapolitan for a pound? :p

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    For me, I don't hide it, it just rarely comes up. I just don't going around wearing "I am a Buddhist" tshirts or something like that, lol. I don't hide who I am or what I believe and talk about it openly. Just no one thinks to ask! Sometimes I have my mala on when I am out and about, and I've had more than one comment that obviously my rosary lost the Christ/cross figurine.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 22

    Working on the design for my new 'affiliation declaration' ... possible t-shirt ...

    Vote 4 Voldemort o:)

    Affiliation is for sheep, wolves and the dharma 'my little pony' club. In other words tribal affiliation. We are in one sense all in samsara, all trying to find our Nirvana, peace or Elder Wand (some seem to have it poking in our 'I' ...

    ... and now back to the closet dharma ...

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I talk about it less than I used to, it often feels like more trouble than it's worth. People either think it's a bit weird, or they proceed to tell me what I believe in.

    Shoshin
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran

    From what I understand, it's not very Buddhist to shout it from the rooftops. We are a reserved bunch who inwardly accept who we are and have no desire to rule or convert the world.

    ShoshinHozanlobster
  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Living in the south is another world. If I had to live in fear of being ostracized or whatever for my beliefs, I think I'd have to move. I couldn't do it.

    Indeed it is another world. I neither broadcast nor mention it in casual conversation. One or two people have caught me meditating, and I've pled guilty to the practice, but even then the topic of religion didn't come up. If you're not a Christian in the South, it's a lonely and secretive path.

    lobsterShoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 23

    @Lee82 said:
    We are a reserved bunch who inwardly accept who we are and have no desire to rule or convert the world.

    Things are not always what they seem.... :p

    lobsterdhammachickWalkerShoshin
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