What Makes You Not a Buddhist

Although it is nonreligious and nontheistic, it’s difficult to present Buddhism without sounding theoretical and religious. As

A more appropriate question to ask a Buddhist is simply, “What is life?” From our understanding of impermanence, the answer should be obvious: “Life is a big array of assembled phenomena, and thus life is impermanent.” It is a constant shifting, a collection of transitory experiences. And although myriad life-forms exist, one thing we all have in common is that no living being wishes to suffer. We

Driven by the hunger for fame and originality, we are like these monkeys, thinking that we are so clever in discovering things and convincing our fellow humans to see what we see, think what we think, driven by ambition to be the savior, the clever one, the seer of all. We have all kinds of small ambitions, such as impressing a girl, or big ambitions, such as landing on Mars. And

Every time we make an assumption—for example, that we understand our spouse—we are exposing ourselves like an open wound. Assumptions and expectations that rely on someone or something else leave us vulnerable. At any moment, one of the uncountable possible contradictions can pop up and sprinkle salt on our assumptions, causing us to flinch and howl.

[from the Acknowledgments page] ...and while comments are very welcome, I would suggest it is a waste of your precious time.

However, the path itself must eventually be abandoned, just as you abandon a boat when you reach the other shore. You must disembark once you have arrived. At the point of total realization, you must abandon Buddhism. The spiritual path is a temporary solution, a placebo to be used until emptiness is understood.

If it were not for certain people's greed for wealth, the highways would be filled with cars powered by the sun, and no one would be starving. Such advances are technologically and physically possible, but apparently not emotionally possible.

If you dream that you are flying and continue to believe that you can fly even after you wake up, that becomes a problem.

It is not appropriate to ask a Buddhist, “What is the purpose of life?” because the question suggests that somewhere out there, perhaps in a cave or on a mountaintop, an ultimate purpose exists. The

las razones que explican que uno no sea budista? Uno no es budista si no puede aceptar que todas las cosas compuestas o creadas son transitorias y cree, por el contrario, en la existencia de alguna substancia o concepto esencial que sea permanente. Uno no es budista si no puede aceptar que todas las emociones son dolorosas y cree, por el contrario, que algunas emociones son placenteras. Uno no es budista si no puede aceptar que todos los fenómenos son ilusorios y vacíos y cree, por el contrario, que ciertas cosas poseen una existencia inherente. Si, por último, uno cree que la iluminación existe dentro de las esferas del tiempo, el espacio y el poder, tampoco es budista.

Like a child at the cinema, we get caught up in the illusion. From this comes all of our vanity, ambition, and insecurity. We fall in love with the illusions we have created and develop excessive pride in our appearance, our possessions, and our accomplishments. It’s like wearing a mask and proudly thinking that the mask is really you.

Most of the time we are trying to make the good things last, or we are thinking about replacing them with something even better in the future, or we are sunk in the past, reminiscing about happier times. Ironically, we never truly appreciated the experience for which we are nostalgic because we were too busy clinging to our hopes and fears at the time.

Much of the world is jealous of the United States. Many of the religious and political fanatics who ridicule and criticize the U.S., calling Americans “Satanists” and “imperialists,” would fall head over heels for a green card, if they don’t already have one.

One is a Buddhist if he or she accepts the following four truths: All compounded things are impermanent. All emotions are pain. All things have no inherent existence. Nirvana is beyond concepts.

Proud families spend fortunes on a one-day wedding ceremony for a marriage that may or may not last, while on the same day, in the same village, people are dying of starvation. A tourist makes a show of giving a ten-dollar tip to the doorman for pushing a revolving door, and the next minute he’s bargaining for a five-dollar T-shirt from a vendor who is trying to support her baby and family.

Siddhartha’s priority was to get down to the root of the problem. Buddhism is not culturally bound. Its benefits are not limited to any particular society and have no place in government and politics. Siddhartha

Subconsciously we are lured by the expectation that we will reach a stage where we don’t have to fix anything ever again. One day we will reach “happily ever after.” We are convinced of the notion of “resolution.” It’s as if everything that we’ve experienced up until now, our whole lives to this moment, was a dress rehearsal. We believe our grand performance is yet to come, so we do not live for today.

We are like monkeys who dwell in the forest and shit on the very branches from which we hang.