Do I qualify as a Buddhist?

Below is my diagram of basic Buddhists beliefs from my previous post, but now I have labeled my present Spectrum of Belief as relates to each item in the diagram.

Question to Readers: Do I embrace enough doctrines, and the correct doctrines to qualify as a Buddhist?

Below is the keys to the spectrum of beliefs laid out in my previous post:   (astute readers will recognize I added two categories at the extremes).

Decreasing Degrees of:
Disbelief / Skepticism Belief / Embrace
Reject Embrace
Strong Strong
Moderate Moderate
Mild Mild

It would be fun to do a similar picture for any liberal Christians out there with their spectrum of beliefs for Christianity. Anyone think a diagram would be helpful? Any ideas?


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

47 responses to “Do I qualify as a Buddhist?

  1. NFQ

    Wow, how would you even make a diagram for Christianity? Would you include the opposite beliefs held by different flavors of Christian? Maybe you’d have to make very specific diagrams for individual denominations.

  2. @ NFQ — some ideas and images are starting to form in my mind. I am hopeful of some tool crystallizing. Then after this mind generates it, “I” will work on it. [ *sabio brings it back to Buddhist notions –😉 ]

  3. Laurance

    Well, yes, I do find you pretty close to Buddhism. I call myself a “Renegade Buddhist”, since I’ve dumped most of the hoop-la and folderol and maintain only the very core proposition: Sunyata; and the Dependent Originations which is another way of talking about Sunyata. Stephen Batchelor wrote “Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist” in which he says, frankly, he’s dumped a good bit of Buddhist doctrine, too, including rebirth/reincarnation. I, too, do not believe in reincarnation.

  4. Laurance

    As for other religions, particularly christianity, it seems to me that “christian” (and “Buddhist”) is an umbrella term, covering all sorts of beliefs and practices.

    Is there a core proposition? I always thought that the core proposition of christianity is that we are inherently sinful and must have Jesus as our savior if we don’t want to burn horribly in Hell forever and ever. But now along comes Bishop Spong, who appears close enough to an atheist as makes no never mind. Yet he considers himself a christian, not an atheist, and has tweaked Jesus into christ only knows what.

  5. Ed

    Sabio… Amazing! Your expression of Buddhist belief on your own chart is a very good summary of Stephan Batchelor’s book “Buddhism Without Beliefs”. In this, his best book, he strips away the “religious” and superstitious components of Buddhism and presents what is left over. My studies of Buddha’s teachings from as close to original writings as I could find, have led me to a Buddhism that doesn’t need that label.
    As you know, Steve Hagen has been my teacher since the late 70’s. In recent years he has dropped the words Zen and Buddha from his center as well as all statues and religious garb and words like reincarnation, karma and spirit. His only teaching is “direct seeing”… what he calls “awakeness” in this present moment.
    By these criteria, you are a fine Buddhist indeed!

  6. Thanks for this addendum. I love it.

    It’s utterly baffling how it seems so important to label and identify as such and such. That even Stephen Batchelor must say “Buddhist agnostic” and then revise to “Buddhist atheist”, that some feel the need to say secular humanist while others are happy to say “Christian Buddhist”.

    Why is it that so many forget that the finger pointing is not the moon itself?

  7. Ed

    @ Sharanam… I understand your feelings regarding all the unnecessary labels… I think they are brought into play because they allow us to talk about something. This, I think, is what Batchelor is doing. He earns his living writing, so he has to label. Although often, but not always, the finger is confused with what it points to. To “get” what it points to is experiential and difficult to attain. To engage the pointing finger is easy and intellectual.
    In the Tao Te Ching it is written; “Ever desirous one sees the manifestations. Ever desire-less one sees the mystery”…..

  8. Wow, this is pretty cool.

    Personally, I wouldn’t call someone “Buddhist” who completely rejects karma, since karma is claimed to be a “fundamental doctrine” of any form of Buddhism I’ve studied (even “*the* fundamental doctrine” by some accounts). Same for reincarnation; especially since reincarnation is easy to reinterpret into something acceptable. Just out of curiosity, have you ever written about your reasons for rejecting karma/reincarnation?

    But you are clearly very influenced by Buddhism, and you are welcome to call yourself Buddhist as far as I’m concerned🙂

  9. @ Laurance :
    I like “Renegade Buddhist”! I’ve been told about Batchelor’s book many times in the last year. i will have to read it. Though it sounds like I will only be reading something I agree with.🙂
    I don’t think there is a core position to any term — they are just terms. Instead, my illustration is to show how complex it is to really tell each other what we believe. And to show how over simplified a single term is.

    @ Ed :

    “…from as close to original writings as I could find”

    I kind of laughed at that. Sounds like Christians going back to the autographs which they feel must be inspired. If the Buddha himself or Jesus himself had been wrong about something but a disciple or later follower created something right out of it, I would still use it. Something being ancient or original holds no inherent value to me.
    You probably did not mean that, but I had to say it.
    You mention Steve Hagen all the time, his method sound very attractive.

    @ Sharanam :
    You are absolutely right. The point of the post is to illustrate that silliness and the complexity of terms. People use them as flags to identify their tribe. I think the finger-pointing at the moon analogy has an ironic twist in that the light of the moon comes from the sun.

  10. @ JS Allen :

    Thanx, JS! (sorry, the following reply will be long)

    My point of this post is to again illustrate, as I have written in other comments, the complex variety of the terms behind those who embrace them. The terms are human tools to communicate and need to be scrapped when we discover that our agreement on meaning is acting as an obstacle to communication. Fights over what is a Buddhist or what is a Christian appear largely silly to me except in that they help the folk who are fighting to understand each other. After such a battle, new qualified terms are often invented — such is the evolution of language.

    This doctrine is not supported by many Buddhists who also claim it was not taught by Gautama. Thus, it matters not if you would call them a Buddhist or not. It just shows us your preferences, but nothing about how the word is used. We have had a similar conversation about Christianity.

    Karma (kamma – in Pali)
    Two notions of that:
    (1) The simple cause and effect one — bad thinking can lead to further bad thinking, build a habit and result in bad action. Gee, that is common sense. (well, for most of us) All Buddhists — including those not worried about reincarnation — use this obvious doctrine to explain why Correct Action and Thought (the Three trainings) are so important. But more importantly, they tell you WHAT the consequence of each action or thought is —> that is the key. They feel the karma then creates your mind day by day and thus remind us to take care in the way they prescribe. Heck, Christians believe in this sort of Karma. They just have a different prescription for what to do with thoughts and actions.

    (2) Many Buddhists (as you point out) feel that the momentum karma (habits) built up during a lifetime determine a rebirth which is simply viewed as the next chain in events. But not all Buddhists believe this level of the meaning.

    BTW, I have never written about my reasons for rejecting reincarnation. I may do that because it will be interesting from several perspectives:
    (a) to show how simple and uninformed the decision is
    (b) to show how I make decision and expose the “why”
    (c) to illustrate again, how I view “beliefs”
    (d) to assist when I dialogue with Buddhists and Hindus or others who ask.

    Finally, thanks for the permission to call myself a Buddhist. 🙂 But actually, it is very unimportant what I call myself — I have a long history of not being attached to titles & names (which I will have to post on someday). These posts are not about the need to be called a Buddhist but ironically about the silliness of getting stuck on terms. Instead they are meant to help us see the it is more important to reach behind terms and try to understand, explore, feel and empathize with each other — an endeavor I know you value.

  11. Ed

    @Sabio… correct, I did not mean to imply hanging my hat on anything because of it’s age or supposed originality. I simply made the statement implying that as far back as I could find… Of course this means absolutely nothing! My brand of what others call Buddhism (but I do not) hangs completely on immediate, personal experience and exists, if at all, in a space that words, documents and such can not go. From reading somewhere, I remember a phrase something like this: “Beyond words and letters, a direct pointing to the heart of man”… At the risk of setting off my patented “Writers Bark Collar”…(c)
    Sidhartha Gotama, Hui Neng, Steve Hagen and many others had some complete seeing into This. It is the rest of us… the asleep, that turn it into Buddhism. I view Buddhism and all other organized religions as elaborate postponements of the inevitable “just seeing This”… as it is… now.

  12. Ed

    Disclaimer: I forgot the mention that anything one says about this so-called seeing, is wrong, inaccurate and misses the mark. As soon as you talk about it you move away from it. Because it is Totality, any attempt to isolate a distinct or separate part is impossible. All labels and discussions, no matter how sublime and intelligent… even your blog… will miss the mark in the ultimate sense. But it is great fun. My favorite activity really…..
    In the Tao Te Ching (which may have blended with the teachings of Bodhidharma to produce Chuan Buddhism) something like this was written: “Ever desiring one sees the manifestations; ever desireless one sees the mystery”. (Same as my statement above, stated differently).

  13. Wow I’m really glad to find such like-minded people here. It’s small in comparison to the more fundamentalist interpretations I seem to be running into more and more (or the other totally secular, anti-religious extreme).

    @Ed, the conceptual indeed is just a matter of convenience. I’ve always thought religions should be viewed more like different languages (i.e., a means of communication) than as truths in and of themselves. I certainly gravitate toward Buddhism as a deeply religious though non-religious person (in the vain of K and Vimala Thakar) because of all it provides in encouraging deep questioning and realizing “just seeing”, “just this”, yes!

    @Sabio, I like it, the moon too is an illusion. Appreciate so much your comments on seeing through the images and labels to the truth that lies beneath. Please do post on your position on reincarnation.

  14. Cool, reincarnation is really interesting for me, since I’ve known of a few great thinkers from the Christian tradition to arrive at belief in transmigration after a lifetime of study: Rudolf Steiner and Owen Barfield are two that come to mind. Since I’ve known thoughtful Christians to believe in reincarnation, I am intrigued by a thoughtful Buddhist who doesn’t.

    Your followup comments about Karma seem fairly standard Buddhist to me; so I guess you’re just rejecting a certain set of interpretations of Karma?

    Regarding definitions, we commonly use definitions based on the most common usage, and we deviate from common usage when we want to make a point. Indeed, if we insist on our definitions always being inclusive of every variation, we lose the power to violate those definitions for dramatic effect.

    Take the example of the “Black Republican”. There are way more black Republicans than Buddhists who reject Karma, but when people think “Republican”, they normally think “white”. This has become a very frustrating problem for the Republicans.

    That’s what made this Jay-Z/NAS collaboration so effective, and the followup from Juelz/Weezy so awesome.

    Both videos undoubtedly offended some Republicans, who protest that “Republicans can be black; some of my best friends … or at least someone I met once … is black!” But where’s the fun in that?

    Jay-Z and Juelz both know that there are Republicans who are black, and they know that neither of them is actually a Republican. So they’re technically pissing on two different definitions. But it totally works, and precisely because there is such a thing as common usage.

  15. @ Ed
    I get the whole “Beyond All Words” mime. I don’t play the tape as often and in the same situations as you. Sometimes it seems just a conversation killer. It stops exploration when things get tough. Kind of like Christians saying “God’s thoughts are greater than ours”. You mention it several times in many different forms — maybe you could just put it as a parenthetic: (BAW) to keep comments trim. 😛

  16. @ JS Allen :

    Good, I look forward to your participation on reincarnation since you have some investment. I have three readers interested — I am motivated.

    Re: Definitions. Common usage varies. Language evolves. I am not a Platonist. The Black Republican stuff was sort of funny but I did not have the time to pay attention to all the lyrics and try to get their points — especially since it was cluttered with stuff repulsive to me.
    But some terms are much more fluid than others –> they have more variants, larger diverse populations of users etc. Christian and Buddhist and Muslim and Patriot and Terrorist are some examples.

  17. OK, if you’re not a fan of hip-hop then those links are probably too opaque. I guess not all atheists are fans🙂

    I’ll look forward to the reincarnation discussion. I’ve been planning to re-read Steiner’s stuff on reincarnation, and this will give me an incentive.

  18. Ed

    @ Sabio…. ahhh… a real conversation! I like it. From my personal, unprovable, experiential opinion, anything can can be defined, described and debated is not the big “It”. (BAW). I therefore concede that this is a conversation killer… inappropriate in forums that want to discuss things, define them or figure it all out. I remember that the 1st chapter of the Tao Te Ching says, regarding this, that “the Tao that can be told (defined) is not the eternal (real) Tao.” BAW Henceforth I will allow that this is my jumping off point and then comment anyway, for the same reason a person would listen to good music… fun.

  19. @ JS Allen
    Your crack alluding to the possibility that most Atheists like Hip-Hop got a loud laugh out of me. Gee, that would be a great survey!!

    @ Ed
    Yes, you’ve quoted TTC Chapt 1 before. BAW would have sufficed.
    I won’t pretend I understood your last sentence!😉

  20. Pingback: Am I A Buddhist? « Digital Dharma

  21. Ed

    If BAW is BAW… if I see All This as BAW… but personal and experiential, then the only reason to comment on your blog, talk it all over with friends or debate various points would be for fun… no point. The same reason we jump in the lake, look at a beautiful sunset or listen to music is why we talk about all this stuff on your blog… We like to! However, to me, the understood subtext is that as the eye will never see itself, we will never be able to articulate what this is. Were you kidding about not understanding my last sentence?

  22. Nah, I was serious — I ain’t to bright.

    I also think we talk about stuff to keep discernment sharp and wisdom deeper.
    I don’t know about you, but I have met precious few people that live in BAW. Ignorance, confusion, fear, slothfulness, anger and many more mental poisons cloud our perception and cognition. Discernment (for which words can serve as a useful friend) help to disarm these poisons. Words help with Right Understanding.

    I am allergic to jumping right into Sunyata, claiming all dialogue is unimportant because it is all empty and words don’t capture truth. This ploy is one of my least favorite and found commonly among armchair mystics. Maybe there is medicine for my Allergy. Maybe I just need more mind numbing bliss.🙂

  23. It is good that you reject rebirth/reincarnation, one might argue that the decisive factor in creating rebirth is belief in it itself. The truth of things is supposed to be truth independent of belief, but conditioned things are affected by belief IMO.

    I on the other hand have difficulty letting go of the concept of rebirth, i’m a quasi-believer in it, it’s just my metaphysical outlook, once having entertained it’s potential – its basis being my own personal thirst for becoming, i find it nigh impossible to let go.

    And after all, buddhism is supposed to be about letting go of beliefs rather than acquiring them. In my understanding there are only two types of existence, continually-episodic(the one we’re living now), and eternal, may your beliefs send you to the latter.

    Thankyou for entertaining my incoherent logic

    Shanti, Shalom, Salaam.

  24. @KrisB
    (1) Welcome ! Hope you cont. to visit
    (2) I love your first paragraph
    (3) The belief reincarnation can be used in very good ways. It is also used in bad ways. The intent makes a huge difference. It can be an excellent Skillful Means.

  25. Slightly off-topic, regarding hip-hop culture, this is a great example: “World’s Greatest Angry Scientist

    The reactions to Tyrone Hayes are very revealing. Reactions of people I’ve talked to are completely polarized. People who are fans of hip-hop “get it” instantly and regard him as a hero; everyone else thinks he’s reprehensible and supports the ethics complaints. IMO, we need a guy like this who is fearless *and* creative/playful at the cabinet level. In my wife’s opinion, he is insane and should be fired.

  26. @ JS — yeah, way off topic. But it was interesting. Hey, why not start your own post on it.

  27. This is quite a diagram and discussion! Nice to see all the activity here.

    Someone mentioned the main idea of Christianity being that man is sinful and needs to be saved. Have any of you read The Gospel of Thomas? It contains the more mystical, dare I say ‘Buddhist’ teachings of Jesus.
    My feeling is that Jesus was a true enlightened teacher who taught freedom from suffering.

    For me, freedom from suffering is the main focus, so I start by noticing where and how and when I am dissatisfied, stressed, angry, afraid, etc.

    I really like the work of Adyashanti, and other teachers like him. Adyashanti was a Zen practitioner and now teaches independent of any religion. Is anyone here familiar with his work?

    I’m really new to the blogosphere🙂 please come visit me anytime at

  28. p.s. The tagline of your site is really great!

  29. @ alywaibel
    Thank you kindly — I have changed the tag-line several times as I find my voice here. But it has always tried to say that — thus “Triangulations”.

    Glad you liked the diagram.
    I have visited your eclectic site. I was very familiar with Da Free John many years ago and will have to post on him sometime.

    Hope you stick around.

  30. marin


    I am not very familiar with Buddhism , I wanted to ask a question to the more experienced self declared Buddhists(or not),

    Is it possible to live life without ego? I read somewhere – treat your ego as if it were your enemy, i.e. hurt it whenever you have a chance.

    Isn’t believing in Buddhism still a sort of clinging on to something?

    thank you for your time.

  31. From my understanding, it is possible to live life without ego and there are several living teachers who are doing it. I have linked to them on my blog:

    In my experience, I notice that believing any thought is a form of suffering, because it causes attachment, opinion and separation from others. It doesn’t matter if it’s a religious or philosophical thought. The real question for me is: is this thought useful? The idea that life is suffering and there is a way out is the basic Buddhist belief. I find this to be a useful way of looking at things, and it is also not a place to rest. Every thought breaks down under inquiry. What lies beyond the thought is un-speakable.
    The Work of Byron Katie is a very good way to inquire into thoughts and see how believing thoughts creates tension, stress and pain. The questions as she presents them are very useful. If you’re interested, I recommend watching videos of Byron Katie guiding people through the 4 questions. There are videos on her site:

    Thanks again for the discussion here🙂

  32. @Marin
    I’m certainly no expert and I’m hardly qualified to comment, but I will anyway!
    I must say that one need not live without ego, and certainly there’s no need to hurt it! Rather the self should be trained and the mind tamed on the path to betterment and fulfillment. How you train your self is up to you, but a good place to start is by reading some Buddhist teachings.

    I would recommend the Dhammapada to begin with.

    The Dhammapada tells us:

    35. Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift, and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.
    – Ch. 3, Cittavagga: The Mind

    159. One should do what one teaches others to do; if one would train others, one should be well controlled oneself. Difficult, indeed, is self-control.

    160. One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.

    166. Let one not neglect one’s own welfare for the sake of another, however great. Clearly understanding one’s own welfare, let one be intent upon the good.
    – Ch. 12, Attavagga: The Self

    Buddhism has a truly vast collection of teachings ready for your perusal and edification. But (like anything) there are also some pitfalls along the way. But a great and safe place to start is at the website Access to Insight.
    It has a fantastic database of Buddhist scripture and a good guide on what to read to get you started.

  33. Sorry, but I just had to add these 6 gems form the first chapter of the Dhammapada:

    1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

    2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.

    3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

    4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

    5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

    6. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.

  34. marin


    thanks for responding so swiftly. I think you hit the nail right on the head. but it seems having thte freedom of choice is the greatest gift to human beings and yet it is the one that harms us the most.


    appreciate your comments. don’t have time to check the site today but will do so soon. And thanks for those wise sayings😀

  35. “Ego” is one of my most least favorite words. It is a recent psychology word but it is assumed to be common sense. Yet when you ask people to define what they mean by it, you can see how slippery it is.

    @ Marvin

    Mahayana Buddhists have a unique catch in their theology — they idealize the desire to see others enlightened. Thus, a Bodhisattva is a person who keeps voluntarily getting re-incarnated because they have that one desire left — to help others reach enlightenment.

    I think is it just a cute theology trick, but it emphasizes that the desire to help others should not be included in the “desires are bad” box.

  36. Yes I know of Bodhisattva and to be honest I find it almost impossible to achieve that myself, I mean after finding elightenment, what if I have this other thought that will tell me, they will someday be enlightened as well , so just give them some time(lifetimes).


  37. @ Marvin
    Personally, I am not concerned with notions of Bodhisattvas, Karma, Reincarnation, God’s Will, Jesus’ Salvation ….
    I see all of these as tools to get at deeper simple common human notions of things like: love, forgiveness, endurance, insight, tolerance, peace, happiness etc…
    It is those which I try to Triangulate towards. Sometime religion jargon and practices can ironically move away from these, that is why it is important to remember what really lies behind the clothing we call our beliefs.

  38. @Sabio, I completely agree that ego is not a very useful word and there is much confusion about it. It could be interesting to hear how we each define it, just for fun🙂

    Thinking in terms of ‘ego’ vs. ‘true nature’ seems to create fear, aversion and therefore more attachment to a negative/defeated sense of self.

    In my understanding, ego is not an entity. When I come across the word, I think of it as: a tendency to identify with thoughts, opinions, beliefs, groups and forms.

  39. @alywaibel

    Agreed !

    “True Nature” is never a word I would use either because it is too packed with assumptions and abstractions.

    When I come across the word “Ego”, I say, “Gee, I wonder what they are thinking about. I wonder what they don’t like and what they think is bad that they have packed into that word.

    I must say, I like the word “dukkha” but even it is packed deeply in Buddhist circles. Some people see even taking a breath as dukkha. It is as if some Buddhist are Jains who feel existence itself is suffering and we must escape its pollution.

  40. Yes, dukkha is a good word. I like dissatisfaction too🙂
    I think a lot of people can relate to a experiencing a low level of dissatisfaction from moment to moment. The question becomes – Who is dissatisfied?

  41. Will Buckingham of thinkbuddha had a post on this too less than one year ago.
    HIs answer to the question, Am I a Buddhist?, was to say I am Buddhish.
    I really liked that answer. I think that it works well for me too. It gives some acknoledgement to the many teachers of these diverse traditons without explicitly endorsing any particular tradition.
    I look forward to oneday seeing or hearing a commercial that goes like this,
    Merryl Wince we are Buddhish on America.

  42. Hi, Sabio. Thank you for pointing me in to this post. I find your diagram helpful and interesting. Your “spectrum of belief” with regard to Buddhism and mine are almost parallel. I would say that if you wish to call yourself a Buddhist you may, or not. Whichever. Doesn’t matter, really. I do, but only because I’ve found parts of the teachings so helpful I want to give credit where due.

    Where you and I differ most would be with regard to Sangha. I find the company of fellow travelers on the path helpful. For me, Sangha, is just a Buddhist word for “interest group” or “club.” If I may use some analogies: if I got interested in ukulele playing, I’d want to get to know people who play ukulele better than I do so I can learn stuff from them and enjoy making music. If I got interested in gardening, I’d want to join a gardening club and glean ideas about what to plant and when. Maybe borrow some seeds they’ve saved. If I wanted to raise chickens and learn to slaughter them and you lived across the street, I’d introduce myself and ask questions. Etc. You get the idea. In my case, I started my own “sangha” so I could keep company with fellow travelers on the path in the hope (well rewarded) that we could learn together better than apart.

    Where you have X’s to mark reject, I would put a colorful “?” to indicate doubt. I’ve come to hold my beliefs and opinions with a lighter hand as I’ve seen so many of them prove not quite right/helpful. An open mind is often the most useful one to have.

  43. @ Dan

    In this post I am using the question of “Do I qualify as a Buddhist” very tongue in cheek. I actually care almost nothing what other people thing, nor what I call myself. I am merely trying to show the various way we can weight things and still apply the same name to ourselves.

    Holding beliefs with a light hand is a luxury and at times, dishonest, I feel. Myriads of beliefs are offered us: Sharia law for example. We have to decide on much. I reject many religious precepts. Heck I reject many US laws. I have to decide which beliefs I reject and accept when I raise my kids, drive my car, choose how to act in relationships.

    Being open-minded sounds sweet and New Agey, but when I talk to people, I can often show that they are not — and that is a good thing.

  44. Hi, Sabio, I was pretty sure your tongue was in your cheek. When I call myself a Buddhist, I keep in mind that a simple substitution of the first vowel for another might be closer to what people hear or think about me: a Baddhist (satan worshipper), Beddhist (philanderer), Biddhist (day trader), Boddhist (a nudist), Boyddhist (errant priest), Barddhist (a poet), Birddhist (ornithologist), Borddhist (a meditator lost in torpor). Labels are helpful and unhelpful simultaneously, aren’t they?

    I agree with you that there’s New-Agey mistiness floating around the idea of being open minded. Probably a better way to say this idea is: relentlessly skeptical, skeptical even of my own opinions and cherished beliefs.

    With regard to laws, I do drive on the right most of the time here in America, but find myself willing to give up this preference when visiting the UK.

    What, if anything, Sabio, do you hold more dearly than your skepticism?

  45. @ Dan
    Those variant spelling of Buddhist were hilarious — I imagine you have used those before? Did you post those? If not, you should. Did you make that up yourself?

    Your last question was very odd to me:

    What, if anything, Sabio, do you hold more dearly than your skepticism?

    “Holding dearly” is not how I look at skepticism. I hold my children dearly — but that is about it. I like activities (kayak, biking …),blogging, playing music, playing weiqi, math, programming, juggling, sketching .. but I don’t hold any of them “dearly”. I guess it is only my kids that I think of in that way — it is a biological curse (smile).

    Thinking of demons, threats of various hells, apocolyptic nightmares and such are not things I consider myself the least bit open-minded about. So thinking about demons, I may value skepticism more than open-mindedness.

    So you will have to help me with your question more for me to answer. To me, the question kind of sounded like:

    “Sabio, you are so skeptical that is stops you from valuing and holding all sorts of precious things as dear; Your skepticism cripples you emotionally.”

    But I thought I’d ask before jumping to that conclusion.

  46. With regard to the Boodhist (Ghost-oriented religion) spelling variants: yes I made them up right on the spot here, so, no, I haven’t used them before nor posted them anywhere except here at Triangulations. I don’t know… do you really think they deserve a post of their own? Maybe so.

    Thank you for asking about my choice of “hold dearly.” I see what you mean. It was a poor choice of words on my part and I see how it could be taken the way you describe, as suggesting you have excessive skepticism. I did not intend to suggest that. How would I ever know that?

    Is there some deep connection between skepticism and faith? I suspect that there is a connection, but I’m not sure I understand how it works yet. I guess it seems to me that people with the strongest faith (say in some religion) found that faith after a period of intense doubt.

    You’re right: “holding dearly” is what we do for our children (well, hopefully, anyway) even through the teen years. Especially through the teen years. Holding dearly doesn’t apply aptly to our views. I think this word formation arose because I think about holding views lightly as a metaphor for not grasping and and clinging to views. There’s a tactile quality to the way my minds wraps itself around some thought formations. Gripping thoughts: I have them.

    As soon as I hit the “Post Comment” button I regretted it, for I remembered that you have already stated the things you value right there in the subtitle of your blog: “Playfully navigating life with skepticism, freedom, and compassion”

    Now, that sounds just right. Glad the word “playfully” leads off.

  47. Raimundo D'suza

    It is up to you that what you want to be called yourself! Certainly the Triple gems won’t be glorified by your acceptance or dis-glorified by your rejection! However, I do appreciate your beautiful diagram which is meaningless to others! your brilliant reply to JS Allen’s question does not appeal me. In the last, I must say, go to practice and investigate yourself before preaching against Buddhism. If you find something good and concrete then I will be the first person to follow you. For now just shut up your mouth saying against Rebirth and Karma! Remember that many of us are third generation nastiest Buddhists!

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