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by (1.5k points)
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Is it based on faith, feeling, practice, being on the Path? etc

2 Answers

+1 vote
by (310 points)
Identification with a certain label is not necessary and can, potentially, be a hindrance on the path. Just like other labels "Buddhist" is a conceptual idea that arises and passes away. For reasons of convention we may use that label when communicating with others to express our ideas. But as far as the practice goes, eventually, you shed the need to identify with any labels.
by (1.5k points)
Thank you.  Sadhu
+1 vote
by (3.3k points)
edited by

A Buddhist is a person who takes refuge in the Triple Gem: the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha. That means accepting them to be your teachers/guidance in spiritual liberation.

It involves conditioning the mind to give up any belief or view once you learn that it goes against the teaching of the Buddha. Ex: The belief of an almighty God for theists and belief of materialism for atheists. This is usually the case if you are coming from a different belief system/religion.

How the refuge is lost:
If you know that the Buddha has taught something and if thoughts arise in the mind that go against the said teaching, your refuge weakens. Once you go a step further and take up a view based on those thoughts, you break the refuge and can no longer be identified as a Buddhist.

The refuge is based on or sustained by both Saddha(confidence) and Panna(Wisdom) in varying degrees for different people. 

Identifying yourself as a Buddhist is somewhat similar to identifying yourself as  a good citizen publicly. Once you do that, you feel the need to put a decent effort to live up to that standard. On the other hand, If you identify yourself as a criminal, you might be tempted to do bad deeds. 

 

ago by (3.3k points)
No you don't have to convert anyone. But the question is not about converting. It's about what it means to be a Buddhist and the answer matches the question.   There are many people from other religions practicing Buddhist meditation for stress relief. There is nothing wrong with that. But clinging to wrong views can potentially block the way if they want to achieve something more than simple stress relief.

I can't speak of the friends you associate with but I have seen many people who have no issue identifying themselves as Buddhists and also practice meditation on a regular basis.
ago by (1.5k points)
edited ago by
Thanks for that, and I would agree that wrong view would be a hindrance to reach freedom from suffering.
But that’s not really what I was thinking about though.  I learned through life experiences that clinging on to identity and associating that with an idea of perfection, ‘when one isn’t so mindful’ could also lead to defilements.  That’s the only reason :)
ago by (3.3k points)
But I did not say that the definition of the term 'Buddhist' is "The one who clings to an identity of perfection".  I said it simply means taking refuge in the Triple Gem. :)
ago by (1.5k points)
Thank you Sankha
ago by (3.3k points)
Welcome and may the Triple Gem be your refuge!
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