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Change of Name

Many people, it seems, feel compelled to change their names upon taking up a new religion. Indeed I believe that some organizations insist upon it at certain levels.

Am I alone in finding this practice at best pointless, and in my case irritating and off putting? When I go to an event and an obviously western speaker is introduced as Chukamuka or Dingdongbhaji, the urge to loudly sigh and roll my eyes is almost overwhelming.

Thoughts anybody?

And yes I did wake up in a bad mood today.

johnathanShoshinFoibleFull

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Hahaha you certainly did!

    Well the upside is that you won’t be attending any events for some time so perhaps by then you’ll have let it go.

    Take care mate

    rocalaShoshinFoibleFull
  • 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 March 27

    @rocala said:
    Many people, it seems, feel compelled to change their names upon taking up a new religion. Indeed I believe that some organizations insist upon it at certain levels.

    Am I alone in finding this practice at best pointless, and in my case irritating and off putting? When I go to an event and an obviously western speaker is introduced as Chukamuka or Dingdongbhaji, the urge to loudly sigh and roll my eyes is almost overwhelming.

    Thoughts anybody?

    And yes I did wake up in a bad mood today.

    Sometimes the name change is an imposition, not a voluntary request.
    Names are changed to permit the "wearer" to conform anonymously and blend into the culture of the movement. A western name would stand out in a Thai monastery, and attract unwanted attention.
    If you go to live in a foreign country, you need to register, and apply by its laws, rules and regulations. It's the same with joining ANY order or Religious institution.
    The Nuns I used to be taught by - Sister Alice, Sister Katherine, Sister Maria - all had given titles. Alice, Katherine and Maria were not their birth names...
    It's not always the person's choice to name-change.

    Go and have a lie-down and come back when you're feeling better.... ;)

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I went by another name for a while in my youth, it wasn’t so bad. As a teenager it was all rather colourful, to have swami this, ma that running around. After a while you got used to it...

    But there is also a spiritual dimension to it, that you are leaving your old life and your old name behind.

    BunksSuraShine
  • rocalarocala Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    >

    But there is also a spiritual dimension to it, that you are leaving your old life and your old name behind.

    Yes Kerome I have heard this from both Buddhists and Muslims. It is not, for me, a convincing stance. Why should the new name reflect a certain ethnicity or language? I also feel that it was the 'old me' that chose that path and that is important too.

    Ren_in_blackAlexFosdick
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    To be devils advocate... it does seem to play to the ego a little bit... somehow the "new" name would give one a sense of being more than they were before. Possibly a mechanism used by those imparting the name on people to play on their egos. The opposite of what should be imparted on people.

    rocalaAlex
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    What sort of ridiculous name is rocala ... or lobster come to that ... :p

    On the whole I use lobster on the internet, I do have a Buddhist name which I rarely use, I also have a Sufi name and a few others. 🙏🏽💗🦞

    Ideally I would prefer to be a nonny mouse (My Scots name) ...😶

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran
    edited March 27

    There is a slight difference between picking an online gaming name (mines Balthazar) that keeps anonymity or being giving a nickname by friends and family (some people call me Cooper) or a sign name given by a deaf person (mine is a J for Johnathan that's put over your heart) to being given a special accepted member of the named members club.

    I think if anyone who has been given a Buddhist name or other religious group name actually observed themselves they would have noticed a huge activation of their ego and their sense of "specialness" to that organization and their being on a higher rung than others not named. If one said they didn't I doubt I would believe them.

    rocalaAlex
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 27

    @johnathan said:
    I think if anyone who has been given a Buddhist name or other religious group name actually observed themselves they would have noticed a huge activation of their ego and their sense of "specialness" to that organization and their being on a higher rung than others not named. If one said they didn't I doubt I would believe them.

    Perhaps that is so in elitist organisations where names are only handed out to those on certain rungs. But in the Osho communes new names were handed out to everyone, and conversations about what they meant were common, it was just a thing, if someone’s name meant ‘Divine Awareness’ then that was something they paid attention to.

    @rocala said:
    Why should the new name reflect a certain ethnicity or language? I also feel that it was the 'old me' that chose that path and that is important too.

    It could be interpreted as a signal that you are now part of a new stream of thought. There are various western Ajahns in the Thai Forest tradition, Ajahn Amaro is English, Ajahn Sumedho is American. It can at first sound a little strange, and then you get used to it.

    It doesn’t bother me, I have to say. After all a name is just a label, and if anything your birth name means less, because it doesn’t say anything about you. A name you take upon entering a new religion can be meaningful for you.

    adamcrossley
  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Hmmm... my name is Johnathan... which in Hebrew means "gift of god"... irony is that I am an Atheist... >:)

    rocala
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    My name is a short form of hieronymous, which is Latin for “he who bears the holy name”.

  • johnathanjohnathan ICBI Canada Veteran

    Maybe if I used "Tao" as a definition of "god" I could view "Gift of the Tao" as meaning "He who is one with the Tao"

    rocala
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    Heh
    My first name's meaning is the rhetorical question 'who is like God?'

    My middle name means 'supplanter'

    I always thought it was an interesting combination!

  • AlexAlex UK Veteran

    The Triratna folks do the name change upon ordination. They’re operating primarily in the uk. Like you, I see it as a bit ego-driven. Personally, I’m not a fan, I see it as unnecessary and an outward trapping.

    rocala
  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    OP, what exactly do you mean by "name change"? Do you mean an actual legal name change, or simply the adoption and use of a ritual name in the context of one's spiritual practice? People do a legal name change for a variety of reasons unrelated to anything spiritual.

    If you're talking about name changes imposed in a cultic environment, yes, that would be a serious concern.

  • rocalarocala Explorer
    edited March 27

    @Dakini As stated I am talking only in the religious sense. It could be cultish or perhaps personal, legal or otherwise either way it is pointless to me. I can accept it more easily if an individual does it for a specific reason but as in the case mentioned by @Alex all have to do it, then I am uneasy to say the least.
    Also, as previously mentioned, would be very unwilling to change my name simply because it is European.

    Alex
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Change of Name

    I'm reminded of Shakespeare
    "”What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”"

    lobsterBunksadamcrossleyKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Well said @Shoshin (not your real name? tsk, tsk ;) )

    Yours in the Dhrama
    Crusty Dingdongbhaji Lobster (allegedly)

    BunksShoshin
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran UK Veteran
    edited March 28

    Edited: Didn’t meant to get in the middle of anything, sorry.

  • 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

    @adamcrossley said:... I have to echo @Vimalajāti's sentiment, however. Whatever arises in us when we hear someone's name, be it admiration or ridicule, says more about us than about them. The arising is what demands our attention.

    I think @Vimalajāti was referring more to the fact that the titles given as examples sound somewhat derogatory and racist.
    Something which, on reflection, I would echo and agree with.
    Which seems to denote @rocala that it's not the name change that concerns you necessarily, it's the embracing of a different culture, by someone who doesn't belong to that culture, which you apparently find offensive enough to mock and ridicule...

    lobsterWalker
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @lobster said:
    I also have a Sufi name and a few others. 🙏🏽💗🦞

    I can think of a few other names for you too @lobster ;);)o:)

    lobsterAlexSuraShine
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited March 29

    @Shoshin said:

    @lobster said:
    I also have a Sufi name and a few others. 🙏🏽💗🦞

    I can think of a few other names for you too @lobster ;);)o:)

    Like "Glorious Crustacean," "Splendid Malacostraca," "Worthy Forager," and "Teacher of Fish and Corals?"

    ShoshinlobsterKerome
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited March 29

    @federica said:

    @adamcrossley said:... I have to echo @Vimalajāti's sentiment, however. Whatever arises in us when we hear someone's name, be it admiration or ridicule, says more about us than about them. The arising is what demands our attention.

    I think @Vimalajāti was referring more to the fact that the titles given as examples sound somewhat derogatory and racist.
    Something which, on reflection, I would echo and agree with.

    Well, they sound racist, but one cannot be too careful with reading tone into text. Right? It's likely, IMO, that the OP meant to complain about "performing" white people of a shallow Buddhism taking on Easterly names to seem deeper, and only accidently came off racist because of the choice of "silly" Easterly names like Dingdongbhaji for the "silly" Westerly people. Still, IMO that's a faux pas in an international setting like the internet.

    I don't know how to correct people and point these things out without seeming like a priggish snot, so generally I don't, because I know how I come across. It's a tricky business.

    lobsterAlexrocalafederica
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    It is tricky.

    Name calling is a big deal in magick/conjuration/Qabalah/mantrayana/Sufi chanting etc

    In new wager mysticism names such as 'indigo child' are used and to control demons we have to name (expose them).

    Yours in the naming/christening/ceremony ...
    https://babynames.extraprepare.com/buddhist-boys.php

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Personal choice. No need here for a name change.
    Be true to yourself and you will be true to others.
    Peace to all.

    Alexlobsterrocala
  • rocalarocala Explorer
    edited March 29

    Thank you @Vimalajāti a fair and accurate description. I fully accept that a faux pas was made by myself and apologise unreservedly for any offence caused. I can assure you that among my Bangladeshi, Nepalese and Pakistani friends my attempt at humour would have been understood and enjoyed. I am guilty of misunderstanding the wider audience.

    I also thought that placing my post in 'General Banter' would have given some indication that I was not being overly serious about this. Obviously I was mistaken once more.

    AlexShoshin
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited March 29

    Well, if you had said it in person, it might've (likely would've) came across different. Ultimately, it's a rip on (frivolous) Europeans and Americans who take on exotic fancy dharma names, not a rip on Asian (dharma) names in general. It's unlikely we're ripping on instances like Venerables Bodhi or Sujāto.

    It's just when one reads "Dingdongbhaji," it's hard not to hear it more like "ching chong, ping pong, language sounds like pans down stairs," with a vaguely Indian morpheme (bhaji) at the end, which you evidently didn't mean.

    I mean, maybe I was the only one who read it that way. Tone is tricky.

    It reminds me of one time I rendered the opening verse of the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā as a limerick for a joke. An alleged Ācārya I am in only-occasional contact with via the Internet saw it and told me that it was unacceptable frivolity for the rendering of a dharma text, that my crime of slander was karmically akin to if I murdered my parents, and that I should do some activities of repentance, to put it mildly. I thought it was a hilarious joke, and still do.

    Neither stopping, nor starting, nor ending.
    Neither endless, nor single, nor many.
    The goodly, I laud, the D.O. he taught,
    for the ending of reification.

    No thing is its own condition.
    Conditioned by other? It isn't.
    Neither in combination nor eschewing causation
    No thing has ever arisen.

    There I go into hell again. Humour is tricky, as everyone knows. Apparently tricky is my favourite word.

    rocala
  • rocalarocala Explorer
    edited March 29

    @Vimalajāti said:

    I mean, maybe I was the only one who read it that way.

    Well obviously not, as shown by, in my opinon, Federica's way over the top and deeply unkind comments.

    Thank you for your response.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I thought it was a good topic... people can get a little serious about new names and how impressively spiritual they are. Making a little fun of them is totally ok.

    rocalajohnathanlobster
  • 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

    @Vimalajāti said:

    @federica said:

    @adamcrossley said:... I have to echo @Vimalajāti's sentiment, however. Whatever arises in us when we hear someone's name, be it admiration or ridicule, says more about us than about them. The arising is what demands our attention.

    I think @Vimalajāti was referring more to the fact that the titles given as examples sound somewhat derogatory and racist.
    Something which, on reflection, I would echo and agree with.

    Well, they sound racist, but one cannot be too careful with reading tone into text. Right? It's likely, IMO, that the OP meant to complain about "performing" white people of a shallow Buddhism taking on Easterly names to seem deeper, and only accidently came off racist because of the choice of "silly" Easterly names like Dingdongbhaji for the "silly" Westerly people. Still, IMO that's a faux pas in an international setting like the internet.

    Exactly.

    I don't know how to correct people and point these things out without seeming like a priggish snot, so generally I don't, because I know how I come across. It's a tricky business.

    You're telling me.

    @rocala said:... Well obviously not, as shown by, in my opinon, Federica's way over the top and deeply unkind comments.

    Moderator comment:

    I'm a Moderator. Can't take a wishy-washy stance, I have to say it like I see it.
    Sorry if you think that's 'over the top and deeply unkind'. It's the way I roll. No-nonsense, and to the point.

    As a Moderator I am obliged to deal with things as they arise. Whether you subjectively see that as over the top or unkind, is sadly not something I can always temper or consider.

    Further discussion, should you wish to pursue it, may be channelled through PMs.
    Further comments on thread will be removed.

    Thank you.

    As you were....

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