Nosta wrote:... They just think that probably i am not a religious person, and thats because most of them would see me as somewhat crazy.
Ogyen wrote:When I first encountered the dharma, I had no one to talk to IRL. My interactions with others are still limited, as where I live there are primarily Catholics or Jehovah's Witness. The country I'm in has a TINY Buddhist population.
Like you, most of my friends here don't really know I'm Buddhist, I don't advertise it. I remember when I asked about if I should tell people about the dharma, the instruction was to let someone ask. That is, if they want to know, they will ask you. If not, offering can incur hostility from monotheistic mindsets that have the conversion-path. Buddhism is not about conversion really, so there is no need to put it on people who don't ask.
That being said, I talk about the dharma to everyone. I just don't use Buddhist terminology. I use language that includes simple words and I talk about things as basic human kindness, compassion for the other. They may not assume I'm particularly religious, but they know I really care about the state of my world, which is perhaps more important in demonstrating than just talking about the 4 noble truths. You can demonstrate the 4 noble truths in your interactions with friends without ever using the words of dharma that might sound religious to a non-buddhist. I also do what I say, which helps your credibility immensely.
I did a television interview here on Buddhism, and I knew my audience was NOT Buddhist at all but Catholic. There is no need to get 'technical' about rebirth or any of that. Most Catholic people aren't looking for a different version of what happens after death, but introducing basic elements of dharma is not harmful... I talked about caring for those who are around you, and practicing staying responsible for the actions you take. Everyone likes to breathe, I incorporated the idea of being relaxed in how you live your life as the basic of joy of living, so when discussing this with a Catholic audience, it did not clash with their Catholic beliefs, it simply gave some basic additional insight on how they could be more present in their own lives, living every day. This was very well received and not perceived as 'Buddhist.' But I spoke only of dharma. So really I got my point across without making a big fuss about it being another religion/philosophy because I talked about it at a practical human level.
Keep going, make what connections you find online, and conditions will come together where you will encounter someone on the same path in real life. That's been my experience.
Nosta wrote:Thank you both for your kind answers and for sharing your experiences.
Ogyen, even when i am speaking about Dharma teachings without giving any hint that i am talking about buddhist/eastern ways of life, they will reject.
Also, i never try to make conversion, sometimes it just happens that we are speaking about such matters; sometimes it may be me raising the themes (rebirth for instance, or others) trying to create some nice conversation, but even so, things go wrong (so to say). They have their minds closed to such ways of life.
I decided that i will never speak again of such matters, unless needed or requested.
Buddhism is not for everybody. If people dont want a diamond but prefer a rusty piece of iron, i wont give them the diamonds..
seeker242 wrote:I think it's possible to speak about Buddhism without actually speaking about Buddhism. For example, when you speak of love, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, you're speaking about Buddhism. When you speak about letting go of longing, anger, hatred and coming to acceptance, you're speaking about Buddhism. Of course some people will always reject these things, but many can see that they are appropriate things.
Nosta wrote:Once again, thank you everybody for sharing your experiences.
Buddhism is a very different path. If we look to Western way of life, we can see why people reject Buddhism, since its very different from what people is used to see. Even when they think that they are sympathetique towards Buddhism, they are not.
Jikan wrote:At first I had a lot of friction. This is because, at first, I wasn't very good at walking the walk... and even though I was talking a lot of talk, I wasn't getting much of that right either.
Time passed and I stuck with it. I'm a slow learner, but I've noticed that I get along with people better. I make new friends more easily. I get in fewer arguments and just generally struggle less. Everyone I know knows I'm a Buddhist and no one bothers me about it; the ones who were bothered about it are no longer in contact with me anyway. Some people respect me for it, and one or two have gotten interested in practice because they've seen the changes in me.
When I lived in Idaho, it was a bit weirder, as the religious culture there is much more homogenous. I endured some ugly jokes. But I never had difficulty in the workplace or in any public institution, even there.
On the whole, the US is a pretty good place to be a Buddhist.
Nosta wrote:If you live in a country where buddhism is the religion of a very small minority of population, how do others look at you OR how do they look to your toughts regarding buddhism?
dharmagoat wrote:Only those that know me well know that I am buddhist, otherwise there is no way to tell. When I discuss the things that I consider important, such as mindfulness, equanimity and compassion, I never find the need to use terms or concepts that are exclusively buddhist. Family members will sometimes chide me for being too "buddhist" about some issue being discussed, and occasionally criticise me for not being buddhist enough, along the lines of "I thought you buddhists always..." My parents are generally very pleased that I follow buddhism, and other than having the concern that I might start shaving my head, feel that I am on a healthy path.
Nosta wrote:dharmagoat wrote:Only those that know me well know that I am buddhist, otherwise there is no way to tell. When I discuss the things that I consider important, such as mindfulness, equanimity and compassion, I never find the need to use terms or concepts that are exclusively buddhist. Family members will sometimes chide me for being too "buddhist" about some issue being discussed, and occasionally criticise me for not being buddhist enough, along the lines of "I thought you buddhists always..." My parents are generally very pleased that I follow buddhism, and other than having the concern that I might start shaving my head, feel that I am on a healthy path.
I really like to protect bugs from being killed. For instance, if a friend is ready to kill a spider i will protect the spider. On such occasions people will ask me if iam a buddhist, otherwise they will not notice.
KeithBC wrote:I live in an unusual community (lots of old hippies) where "non-traditional" (i.e. non-Christian) religions are considered normal. At least in terms of public perception, Wiccans are the majority, followed by Buddhists, then atheists, then Christians. So revealing that I am a Buddhist draws no particular reaction at all. It is pretty much considered mainstream.
Om mani padme hum