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Buddhism in the News


Saturday, June 09, 2007

Being a Buddhist

Have confidence in your own spiritual potentiality, your ability to find your own unique way. Learn from others certainly and use what you find useful, but also learn to trust your own inner wisdom. Have courage. Be awake and aware. Remember too that Buddhism is not about being a Buddhist; that is, obtaining a new identity tag. Nor is it about collecting head-knowledge, practices and techniques. It is ultimately about letting go of all forms and concepts and becoming free.

--John Snelling, Elements of Buddhism

James: This is some of the best advice for those who are looking into following the Buddhist path and an excellent reminder to long-time practitioners. It is also great advice for those of other faiths and spiritual paths.

~Peace to all beings~

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Café Zen said...

An interesting quotation, but does it mean that practice is not necesary? Or that practice, ultimately, can be dispensed with? Dualistic practice, yes, that eventually must yield to practice-as-enlightenment a la Dogen. But this is the kind of quotation that lumps Buddhism in with feel-good New Agism: just trust yourself and you'll be fine. Everything's God. No sacrifice, no discipline, no training necessary. But look at Buddha's life. Is that how he lived it? Is that how any master lived or lives? He eschewed aseticism but certainly championed the necessity of rigorous, uncompromising training. But I don't know the full text from which this was excerpted--perhaps this is all dealt with?

They call him James Ure said...

Cafe Zen:


Practice is very much necessary and I should have stated that to emphasis that aspect.

I just assumed that people would understand the importance of personal dedication and practice of mindfulness and meditation as being apart of following Buddhism. I shouldn't make that assumption.

I would very much agree with you that sacrifice, discipline and training are very important to realizing liberation.

I posted this mostly for those of us who have those moments where we feel that we have to be just like the Dalai Lama or Thich Nhat Hanh to be a "good Buddhist." To remind us that following our heart is a very important side of following the path of the Buddha.

To remember to have confidence that we are on the way. To remember to be o.k. with where we are and not become discouraged by our setbacks.

I also saw the quote as a great reminder to not just "go through the motions" as can become the case when we practice. To remember the basics of letting go of labels, etc.

It reminds us that we have a framework and foundation for building our own house of realization (the Dharma).

Never-the-less that in the end we all have to build our own house which often looks just slightly different then someone else's Dharma house depending upon our karmic journey.

I hope this clarifies my position in regards to this quote. Thank you so much for visiting and adding your thoughts. May you always realize peace and I hope to see you around here again. :)

I bow to the Buddha within you friend. _/I\_

Café Zen said...

Hey, thanks for clarifiying--I appreciate your response....

cheers mate,


Greenwoman said...

What do you think freedom is for you? Not what you wish for...but how are you free right now?

I think I'm free especially in moments where I've had a lightbulb moment...from my own realizations or from something some one was saying in passing about their own life.

I feel free when I see a sunrise putting rainbows in my walls from the prisms in my bedroom window. I feel free when I giggle with my best girlfriends all day.

I felt freed today when R was talking about being given a gift of Will...this Divine Will that's so much stronger than if its loaned to us...I thought about how, all I have to do to make myself strong is use it...That was such a freeing thought.

Adrienne Parker said...

I really appreciated this quote a lot. Those new identity tags can be deceptive and attractive traps. I didn't perceive it as negating the necessity of practice. Going within, is the practice, yes? And trusting the heart keeps me from engaging in dead ritual.

I'm glad I found your site and look forward to reading more.

Michael said...

Oh, I read something completely different from that quote. Firstly, our faith as buddhists is that inner peace is possible, or rather that we are already buddha. We are already awake. It is said that when Buddha awoke his great realisation was that all beings are already awake. And too remember the Diamond Sutra which tells us that a boddhisattva does not hold to any concept. Ones life is one's practice. There is no concept of life nor a concept of practice. "Though many men have been lead to enlightenment, no man has been lead to enlightenment."

May all beings awaken and be free.

Michael said...

Just thought I'd also add this comment from Dogen.

There is no beginning to practice and end to enlightenment. There is no beginning to enlightenment and end to practice.

May all beings awaken and be free.

They call him James Ure said...


Freedom for me is be able to take deep breaths and those times when I walk in balance. As well as when I am out in nature.


Going within is a very big part of the practice. We must experience things for ourselves to fully understand and realize.

I welcome you to my blog with open arms. :)

I bow to you.


I couldn't agree more that we are already Buddha. AS well as the truth that our life is our practice. That is why I think realization for ourselves is so important. No one can pass on liberation for us.

We must open to that which is already within and often that requires a framework to get there--such as meditation. Upon regular meditation (I've found) it becomes easier to let got of everything and just be. Even the Buddha still meditated after realizing liberation.

Robin said...

Many Westerner have said:

"I am Christian.... but Buddhist"; Or

"I an Jewish.. but Buddhist"

"Je suis atheiste... mais Buddhist"

Buddhism does not worship a God and concerns itself with more human or immediate, practical matters than whether there is a God.

It's worth noting that an acceptance of Buddhism does not necessarily require a rejection of one's personal or earlier religion (unlike many other religions). A Buddhist is respectful of all religions.

In fact, Buddhism does not require anything of those who would practise it. For Buddhism is not dogmatic nor catechistic. It does not preach sin. It does not say there is only one right way.

It offers merely a path to wisdom, to enlightment; the very word Buddha derives from 'buddh' - to be awake, to be enlightened.

The Buddha was a human being, not a divinity, a fully enlightened human being who was above all.. a teacher.

They call him James Ure said...


I couldn't say it better. Great comment. :)

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