What does it mean to be Buddhist?

First I’d like to say, Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment Day!

Onward to the actual post. I’ve been reading some people’s blogs and blogs on Tumblr about people discovering Buddhism and calling themselves Buddhists. Then I think to myself, “Do they even know what Buddhism really is?”

I hear/see a lot of people say “I’ve read almost every book on Buddhism, I’m Buddhist!” Umm… No, no you’re not. Unlike many other major religions, Buddhism is a very practical, practicing, and doing path. You can read all the books in the world about Buddhism, you can know everything about anything, but until you APPLY that knowledge into your everyday life – until you DO the things a Buddhist is supposed to do, you are not Buddhist.

I have been learning and researching Buddhism for five, almost six, years. During those years I never called myself a Buddhist. I didn’t start calling myself a Buddhist until I officially took refuge. But does that still make me a Buddhist? No. What MAKES me a Buddhist is my practice of meditation, mindfulness, and compassion.

So you’ve taken refuge, taken the precepts vows, and called yourself a Buddhist for many years. So what? Are you really? Have you truly been practicing the Dharma, mastering meditation and mindfulness, and removing all traces of greed, anger, hatred, anxiety, jealousy, and violence? Until you have, you are not Buddhist – unless you are applying these practices into your daily life!

All the books in the world won’t replace the personal experience, knowledge, and awareness you’d get from personally applying the teachings and practices daily.


Smile and be well!


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