Buddha himself was not born. Who was born was Siddartha Gautama. The Buddha was someone who was made, through countless hours of deep thinking, meditation, insightful learning, keen observation, startling awareness and sheer hardwork.
Similarly the Buddhists are also someone who are not born, they are MADE. Saying that you are a Buddhist by birth is a massive understatement to the tremondous effort made by someone like the Buddha to become a Buddha. You have to earn it yourself by practice and wisdom. Not otherwise.
Lesson 2: Saying Buddhist prayers, performing some rituals and ceremonies does not make one a Buddhist
The Buddhist religion is not just a way of life. It is a way of getting to the absolute Truth. Saying prayers, doing idol worship, performing some kind of traditional Buddhist rituals or ceremonies does NOT make one a Buddhist. Why?
Because if you do not practice the core teachings of the Buddha in your daily life which is the PanchaSheel (The 5 Precepts of Morality) and the Eight fold Path (Ashtangamarga) but you perform all the former then you are not a true Buddhist. You are just under a delusion that you are one.
The Buddha gave the prayer for the people to say, so that they learn and remember the core teachings of the Dhamma. Do an analysis of the Buddhist prayer “Namo tassa Bhagvato Arahato”- and you will find that it is nothing but conforming that you will follow the Panchasheel, the first step without which you can never be a Buddhist.
The Panchasheel is- not to kill, not to steal, not to lie, not to consume intoxicants or drugs and not to perform any sexual misconduct.
Lesson 3: A Buddhist questions everything
The Buddha never said to blindly trust him or his teachings. He always encouraged people to question him or his teachings. A Buddhist always questions the reality that he experiences until he gets a good clarity as to the nature and truth about this so called reality.
Once he does, any doubt or question in his mind automatically gets shattered away. Unless and until he reaches a point where he realizes the Dhamma (the Truth) himself and becomes a Sotapanna (The first stage of Enlightenment). Thus a true Buddhist always questions everything.
Lesson 4: Vipassana makes one a true Buddhist
I am not a monk. But I practice Vipassana daily. It is the most practical way to practice the teachings of the Buddha in daily life and the most practical way to understand the Dhamma (the truth as experienced my Buddha and taught by him).
If one does not know any tradition of the Buddhists and does not know any Buddhist prayer but one practices Vipassana properly and daily, then he is more of a Buddhist than any Buddhist who claims to know all the teachings, prayers and traditions. And not just me, this is what the Buddha would have said himself if he would have been alive.
Because Vipassana meditation is nothing but the practice of Morality, Concentration and Wisdom. It was this technique by which the Buddha actually went to the unknown depths of the mind and became a Buddha.
One doesn’t need to believe what the Buddha says. One can just practice Vipassana and then verify whether what the Buddha is saying is actually true or not.
Lesson 5: A true Buddhist is full of Positivity
A true Buddhist is brimming of positive values of
- Generosity (dāna)
- Morality (sīla)
- Renunciation (nekhamma)
- Wisdom (pañña)
- Energy (viriya)
- Patience (khanti)
- Truthfulness (sacca)
- Resolution (adhiṭṭhāna)
- Loving-kindness (metta), and
- Equanimity (upekkhā)
He is not someone who just sulks all day about suffering in this world. He knows the reality about suffering. And that’s why he decides to inculcate all the positive values so that not just he himself comes out of his suffering but also help others come out of it.
He is full of positivity. He is full of happiness. He is full of one could have imagined how the Buddha himself was.