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Do the trappings make you a Buddhist

December 11, 2008

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I was reading this on the Buddhist Channel. It talked of monks traveling far and wide and the things they collected as they traveled. In the article the Gentle Hearted Zen group has no lineage chart. In my own life I have seen this to, many times. I need this to be a Buddhist or that.

Many times when I tell people that I am a Buddhist or studying Buddhism they give me a second glance. I am not sure what they think a Buddhist is or should look like, but I guess I don’t fit their impression.

Yes my head is shaved, and I have a tattoo or two. I have snakes and own a pistol. Many times we get to caught up in stereotypes. He has a tattoo he can’t be a whatever whether it is a Christian or Buddhist. He is a Buddhist he should wear Saffron robe. Or they think of the Celebrity Buddhists and think we all know Richard Gere. Or maybe that is just my impression. I still struggle from day to day. I make mistakes and sometimes. I do think of the past or worry about the future. Me becoming a Buddhist has helped, but I have a way to go.

While the changes are not outwardly apparent. It is the internal changes that seem to be the most noticeable to the people that know me. I have become more caring, I try to follow right speech in a way that would not hurt people. I think of my effects on not only the local arena, but the world as well. I am not that interested in the latest MP3 player. I try to put others first. And I think I have a right Livelihood. But I still have a ways to go. I am working on quitting smoking. And I have looked into becoming a vegan. But I am not sure if that is the right path for me. But I know I should do no Harm. I have cut back on eating meat, but still have a ways to go down that path.

Even though I work each day to be a little better than I was the day before, I will never probably wear a robe.

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