Help With Judgmental Family

Help required with personal difficulties.
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AnotherBuddhistGuy19
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Help With Judgmental Family

Post by AnotherBuddhistGuy19 » Thu May 12, 2016 2:13 am

Hi everyone!

I have been practicing Buddhism for almost 2 years now and for the most part have kept it private. One side if my family is Lutheran and very strict, while the other is atheist and also very strict.

Family members on both sides have noticed that I own a meditation cushion, mala beads, books about Buddhism and that I meditate every day and are basically interrogating me.

I was wondering, if anyone else has/had similar issues, how they go/went about confronting their family or discussing that they follow a different religion.

As it says in the topic my family is extremely judgmental (about different religious and political beliefs of anyone) and I always work my way around the questions and feel guilty that I won't just speak my mind, or that I may be ashamed of my beliefs (which I'm not at ALL, just afraid of what they will say.)

Thank you!
Dom

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Mkoll
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Mkoll » Thu May 12, 2016 2:37 am

Patiently explain your perspective when asked. Don't get into heated arguments—you don't always have to speak your mind, especially when there's a high likelihood of it leading to tussles. Don't proselytize. It sounds like they just found out so give it time: they should get used to it. It's not like you're robbing banks or shooting up crank.

I've never been in such a situation, but that's my 2 cents.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

AlexMcLeod
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by AlexMcLeod » Thu May 12, 2016 2:47 am

Just skillfully avoid getting into such discussions until you can point to improvements your practice has made in your life and personality. Then, just say, "I practice to improve myself. See what I've done already?"
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

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Ayu
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Ayu » Thu May 12, 2016 7:49 am

There are several questions about How to deal with the non-buddhist family or partner. Most of them you can find in the subforum "Personal Experience", I suppose.
I found some of the most recent ones here:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=22274
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=21380
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 34#p319816
I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. -

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Wayfarer
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Wayfarer » Thu May 12, 2016 11:23 am

Try and divert the questioning so the strict atheists argue with the strict Lutherans. Then, carry on.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

AlexMcLeod
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by AlexMcLeod » Thu May 12, 2016 11:59 am

Purposefully causing an argument would be against the precept of avoiding wrong use of speech.
Relax! Smile From The Heart!
There is a difference between the Mundane and the Transcendental. If you purposefully confuse them, I will ignore you, you nihilist.
There is no Emotion, there is Peace. There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge. There is no Passion, there is Serenity. There is no Death, there is the Force.

AnotherBuddhistGuy19
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:31 am

Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by AnotherBuddhistGuy19 » Thu May 12, 2016 1:16 pm

Thanks to everyone for the replies and the great advice!
Mkoll wrote:Patiently explain your perspective when asked. Don't get into heated arguments—you don't always have to speak your mind, especially when there's a high likelihood of it leading to tussles.
AlexMcLeod wrote:Purposefully causing an argument would be against the precept of avoiding wrong use of speech.
I definitely don't start the arguments, but sometimes I get carried away and snap at them, and I should work on that.
AlexMcLeod wrote:Just skillfully avoid getting into such discussions until you can point to improvements your practice has made in your life and personality. Then, just say, "I practice to improve myself. See what I've done already?"
Thanks Alex for this advice, too. When I read it I had a "V8" moment! I'll definitely do this, I think it'll help my family to understand why I practice Buddhism.
Ayu wrote:There are several questions about How to deal with the non-buddhist family or partner. Most of them you can find in the subforum "Personal Experience", I suppose.
I found some of the most recent ones here:
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=22274
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=21380
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 34#p319816
Thank you Ayu for the links! I read them and I understand that all three sides will have to come to a consensus that we have to respect each other's beliefs, as it seems to have worked for the others.
Wayfarer wrote:Try and divert the questioning so the strict atheists argue with the strict Lutherans. Then, carry on.
Haha, that is more difficult than it sounds. Sometimes they can become a united front!

I think what I really need to do is find a way to discuss (without losing my head) that I follow my beliefs and I respect my family's beliefs, and hope that we can agree to disagree. Even if it is never brought up again, just clearing the air feels like it will help so much.

Thanks again for all the advice!
Dom

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu May 12, 2016 4:15 pm

Honestly just try to get along, avoid conflict, and keep up your practice, you ain't changing them. On the other hand, what they think really isn't your problem at all. My rule now is only talking to people about Dharma who are interested, I don't do it with people whose agenda is just to argue, or who desperately want to know 'how can you believe in x'.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Wayfarer » Fri May 13, 2016 11:06 am

Sometimes they can become a united front!
That's because belief and unbelief are two sides of a coin. That is something that Buddhists understand and neither Christians nor atheists do. If you understand why, then you will have a good talking point for both!
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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tiagolps
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by tiagolps » Fri May 13, 2016 5:47 pm

In what ways do they judge you?
Homage to you, blissful, virtuous and peaceful,
Enjoy the domain of the tranquil nirvana.
Fully possessing the om and the soha,
You overcome even the greatest of evils.

_______________________________________________
"Buddhahood really is like an infection and it goes from one person to another. You can fight it off, but it's a pity if you do that..."
-Rigdzin Shikpo

frank123
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by frank123 » Fri May 13, 2016 9:05 pm

AnotherBuddhistGuy19 wrote:Hi everyone!

I have been practicing Buddhism for almost 2 years now and for the most part have kept it private. One side if my family is Lutheran and very strict, while the other is atheist and also very strict.

Family members on both sides have noticed that I own a meditation cushion, mala beads, books about Buddhism and that I meditate every day and are basically interrogating me.

I was wondering, if anyone else has/had similar issues, how they go/went about confronting their family or discussing that they follow a different religion.

As it says in the topic my family is extremely judgmental (about different religious and political beliefs of anyone) and I always work my way around the questions and feel guilty that I won't just speak my mind, or that I may be ashamed of my beliefs (which I'm not at ALL, just afraid of what they will say.)

Thank you!
Dom
Go the practical route.Tell them you are trying to be more awake and appreciate the wonder of existence.That you are trying to learn about yourself and as a result not create problems for others.Explain to them that you want to cherish life and others and that stablizing your mind helps you to do this.I dont know a person on earth who could argue with you about that.

Good luck on your journey.

AnotherBuddhistGuy19
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Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:31 am

Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by AnotherBuddhistGuy19 » Sat May 14, 2016 1:44 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Honestly just try to get along, avoid conflict, and keep up your practice, you ain't changing them.
I still do practice, I won't let them stop me, but it is just that the religious side (mom's side) will always "pray for me" or tell me that I have to repent; the atheists (brothers and dad's side) just tell me I'm stupid. It is more aggravating than hurtful.
frank123 wrote:Go the practical route.Tell them you are trying to be more awake and appreciate the wonder of existence.That you are trying to learn about yourself and as a result not create problems for others.Explain to them that you want to cherish life and others and that stablizing your mind helps you to do this.I dont know a person on earth who could argue with you about that.

Good luck on your journey.
I really appreciate this post, thanks for the advice. I don't see how they could argue with it either and more or less I just want everyone to get over it. When it comes up again I will tell them this, it really hits the nail on the head as to why I practice. Good luck on your journey as well.
tiagolps wrote:In what ways do they judge you?
Really it is the comments they make. My grandma says things like " you boys should have been raised in the church" and specifically to me "you shouldn't worship false idols," and my favorite, "I'll pray for you." My mom just thinks it is foolish to follow a religion without a creator god, and tells me it isn't really a religion because of that.

My other family members say that I am wasting my time, that I have lost it, "where's the proof," etc. because I was an atheist before a Buddhist. Again, it's really just annoying and I want everyone to leave me be since I keep my opinions to myself.

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Virgo
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by Virgo » Sat May 14, 2016 2:49 am

Next time they bring it up in any context just tell them "It's my business. Don't worry about it" firmly but not aggressively.

Kevin

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tiagolps
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by tiagolps » Sat May 14, 2016 9:07 am

AnotherBuddhistGuy19 wrote:Really it is the comments they make. My grandma says things like " you boys should have been raised in the church" and specifically to me "you shouldn't worship false idols," and my favorite, "I'll pray for you." My mom just thinks it is foolish to follow a religion without a creator god, and tells me it isn't really a religion because of that.

My other family members say that I am wasting my time, that I have lost it, "where's the proof," etc. because I was an atheist before a Buddhist. Again, it's really just annoying and I want everyone to leave me be since I keep my opinions to myself.
You should appreciate people who drive you crazy, how else would you fall from your high horse? :tongue:
Homage to you, blissful, virtuous and peaceful,
Enjoy the domain of the tranquil nirvana.
Fully possessing the om and the soha,
You overcome even the greatest of evils.

_______________________________________________
"Buddhahood really is like an infection and it goes from one person to another. You can fight it off, but it's a pity if you do that..."
-Rigdzin Shikpo

boda
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Re: Help With Judgmental Family

Post by boda » Sat May 14, 2016 11:25 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Sometimes they can become a united front!
That's because belief and unbelief are two sides of a coin. That is something that Buddhists understand and neither Christians nor atheists do. If you understand why, then you will have a good talking point for both!
Unbelief is defined as merely a lack of religious belief. A person without religious beliefs may have secular beliefs, like white supremacy for example. I don't see how a belief like white supremacy is fundementally different, or not the same 'side of a coin', as you say.

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