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How does someone know that they should be a Buddhist?

I know this question is vague and its answers varies, but what are your thoughts on this question?


  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I can't tell you how you would know. But I can tell you how I knew. I did some basic reading of the foundations of Buddhism and I found them to be true. And so I read some more, and then I started to meditate, and found more truth being revealed. And that process keeps happening, so I decided that it was the right path for me. That doesn't mean there are never doubts or questions. In fact, there are often doubts and questions. But it's all good, because questioning is encouraged. It makes sense to me more than anything else I've come across.

  • msac123msac123 Explorer

    I agree with you too. I'm just curious as to what other people think/how they became a Buddhist. :D

  • Aspiring_BuddhistAspiring_Buddhist Seeker of the Buddha Within WA Veteran

    For me, I actually got into Buddhism by looking into the Tao - being bipolar and low of funding, (otherwise, pills and therapy would have been my preferred choice) I thought that maybe religion might have something to help me: less depressive episodes, less rage-filled fits, more contentment in my life - SOMETHING. But I had too much baggage with Christianity - took me years to actually think of looking at another religion. (Not kidding)

    So then I remembered that the Yin-Yang (or Yan-Yin if you prefer) was supposed to be about balance - that REALLY appealed(s) to me. So I was like "okay...balance is great, but what I'd really like is contentment." So I looked up (for some reason, this is how I went about it) Zen quotes online.

    Of the quotes I came across, the ones that were most interesting to me were from Alan Watts - Putting his name into Google, I found some videos of him that were on YouTube. Namely his "Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life" TV show.

    So I watched some of his videos and what he talked about, relating to Buddhism ( which I didn't start out to research in the first place!) really appealed to me - it just...felt so right. I never felt faith or belief or anything about Christianity - I tend to judge the value of religion not only on what their message/philosophy/credo is but also how its practitioners behave - after 8 years of President Bush, and some historical research, I knew Christianity wouldn't fit me.

    Ah - but some research into Buddhism...I just felt, without words or thinking about it...that I knew KNEW I could find a place within Buddhism.

    BUT - I wanted to be sure - so I kept researching and digging, and reading - and that feeling was still there. Its still here now.

    This was actually back in January of this year - I've got much more reading to do. Its why I'm an "Aspiring Buddhist."

    I just...I knew and still know now that Buddhism is right for me. The Dhammapada, reading/walking (as best as I can) the Eight-fold path, reading the Four Noble Truths...sigh*

    Buddhism feels right to me. I've yet to read anything that made me go "Oh, thats BS!"

    But then - I haven't read everything yet! lol

    I hope this helps to answer your question.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    How does anyone know they should be anything other than what they are?

  • Aspiring_BuddhistAspiring_Buddhist Seeker of the Buddha Within WA Veteran
    edited March 2014

    @how said:
    How does anyone know they should be anything other than what they are?

    Well, being humans we've always got the option of not knowing. A raccoon will behave as it is supposed to no matter what setting you put it in. As will an ant, a lion, a worm, etc.

    We've got the mixed blessing of being intelligent and able to make decisions in our lives that are not limited to instinctual behavior. This is balanced out, sort of, with our ability to acquire knowledge.

    Before I looked into Buddhism, I wouldn't have known I could be Buddhist.

    Of course we can always abuse knowledge, that's why I said knowledge "sort of" balances things.

    Sentience, conscious thought, intelligence - with these things, every human being has enough rope to hang themselves - or pull themselves out of a hole.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited March 2014


    I was actually asking the op "How do they know they should or shouldn't be a Buddhist, since that information was missing."
    I meant to address it to them but blundered.

  • anatamananataman Who needs a title? Where am I? Veteran
    edited March 2014

    Simple answer: When labelling becomes an addiction, and one knows they should stop the behaviour taking over their life.


  • Aspiring_BuddhistAspiring_Buddhist Seeker of the Buddha Within WA Veteran
    edited March 2014

    POST EDIT: I see you @how changed your post, but I'll leave this one up because I like it and I think it answers your question.

    I covered that in an earlier post under this topic.

    I know that I should be a Buddhist because, after researching the philosophy, principles, and goals of Buddhism, I knew that Buddhism is something I wanted to be a part of.

    My point, was that if you're not exposed to the knowledge how could you become something you haven't read about?

    Pope Francis is a great Pope, but what if he were raised and grew into adult-hood in Nepal? or Ancient India - would he still be a Pope? Odds are low.

    Thanks to the Internet and Democracy, you and I could practically find any information we want! Not everyone has that kind of access to the pool of human knowledge, but also as important: not everyone has the drive or desire to look into that pool. So their options in what they should or should not be is limited.

  • JohnGJohnG Veteran

    It's were I felt at peace with myself and the world, no guilt, no shame, just me.

  • I have no intention of being anything, let alone 'a Buddhist' (whatever that is).
    I might try 'being kind'. I think Buddhists and others do that. Hope I am on the right track . . .

    Mr Cushion says most of his family are Buddhist. Gonna sit on his face (he is that kind of cushion) :)

  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    I can confidently take refuge in the Three Jewels.

  • Open hearted to meditation and teachings. To a certain extent look up 'Pascal's Wager'.

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @lobster - you bad bad crustacean. I belly laughed at my desk and scared three co workers :D

    But it WAS an epic reply hehehehe

  • @dhammachick, @lobster is always epic hehe

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @Jeffrey‌ indeed :)

  • msac123msac123 Explorer

    @Jeffrey said:
    Open hearted to meditation and teachings. To a certain extent look up 'Pascal's Wager'.

    I looked up Pascal's Wager, but I think that is more of an argument that God or the afterlife or the next life exists, then becoming a Buddhist, lol.

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