Isn't 'being a Buddhist' often just another ego-trip? It sometimes seems to me that It's often just a way of comforting yourself through a belief system. You can see that even for tradtional Buddhism where belief revolves around the promise of a favourable re-birth. It is hardly any different to Christian belief in that regard.
When I set out to explore Buddhism, I believed it was critical of this kind of thinking. I was trying to find the 'real thing'. Before starting a specifically 'Buddhist' style of meditation I had been an enthusiastic reader of Krishnamurti who was famously sceptical about any kind of method when it comes to meditation, and likewise rejected all kinds of religious movements, gurus and the rest. He had a big influence on my approach.
But as time passed, I realised that 'reading Krishnamurti' wasn't actually efficacious, it didn't bring about the radical change that I was seeking. That was why I realised the Buddhist emphasis on application and some elements of 'method' were necessary, so have been trying to implement that since.
As to whether I am really
Buddhist or not, I think of it as like a working title, or a work-in-progress. I have studied it seriously through an academic perspective, combined with sitting zazen
and contemplating the teachings. I have been meeting with a Sangha group since 2007 who are more like a peer group than a teacher, but through these activities I feel I have brought myself into conformity with the dharma in some small degree and have 'internalised' the meaning to some extent.
Andrew108 wrote: Other people who are experts tell me that I have a wrong view. Personally I don't feel that I am struggling. You know that the buddhist tradition is heterodox. Take a look at the lives of the 84 mahasiddhas.
You see non-fixation as the way things are, experiences are embedded in natural awareness, equality is how it is. When you deepen refuge naturally then call yourself a buddhist.
I think you have defined it very much in your own way. Tantric Buddhism is a deep subject. The idea of 'naturalness' that is found in teachings such as Dzog'chen is not simply 'being yourself' or 'being relaxed about your life' but the result of a profound transformation of mind.
Alfredo wrote:Of course, religion is not purely a matter of belief, but also a social institution.
I would say dharma is also a matter of the transformation of perception. It is a radical change in the way you see things. That is a constant theme in Buddhism, not so much so in mainstream Western religion, which does indeed emphasise belief and membership of the Church as primary. It is where the 'dharmic' and 'semitic' religions are very different.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas