Be a Buddha, Not a Buddhist: Introduction to Weekly Practice

| January 24, 2012 | 13 Comments

Be a Buddha, not a Buddhist is an important concept to me because the real value, as I see it, in Buddhism is not the ism but the practice itself. I’ve realized recently that I’d like to take my understanding of Buddhism into deeper territory. One of the best ways to do this is to revisit everything I’ve learned in the past, to start my practice from scratch, or with the beginner’s mind, so to speak.

I’d like to invite you to practice along with me, to explore the teachings of the Buddha, not through long readings of the suttas, though that is certainly good to do on your own, but through some good ol’ meditation time, and rolling what we learn into daily practice, the living experience.

Each week I’ll post a Weekly Practice that focuses on a concept from Buddha’s teachings: The Three Marks of Existence; The Four Noble Truths; The Eightfold Path. Often concepts will overlap, and you’ll find as weeks go by that the practice is cumulative, meaning we don’t leave behind the previous weeks, but instead build on what we discover.

Each Weekly Practice will have the following format:

  • Introduction from me
  • What the Buddha taught: This may be in the form of a quote, a passage from a sutta, or paragraph from a book
  • Sitting Mediation and a Moving Meditation: Do one or the other, or both
  • Daily Practice: Suggestions for taking what you discover in meditation into your daily living experiences

We’ll benefit and learn the most if we set aside time each day for the meditation part, and make a concerted effort, Right Effort, each day to practice as opportunity arises. From my past experiences, opportunities for practice present themselves often in daily life. Overtime, you’ll find life IS practice.

At the end of every Weekly Practice there is a Comment area. As we are a virtual sangha (community), please don’t hesitate to post questions, concerns, and opinions. Additionally, feel free to share insights you discover in your own practice, and share advice or suggestions you feel would be helpful to others.

So, no matter what your experience level, whether you are new to Buddhism, or have been practicing for decades, I hope you’ll join us in these Weekly Practices to Be a Buddha, Not a Buddhist.

Note: I’m not implying you should or can not call yourself a Buddhist;-) Additionally, I am not an expert in Buddhism. This is simply an invitation to practice with me, and all others in our sangha who participate, in the manner I am exploring Buddha’s teachings.

Without further delay:

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Category: Weekly Practice


About the Author ()

Dana is Technical Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. She learned Buddhism through a DVD course on Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, followed by a two-year course in person. She then studied Theravada Buddhism through the Insight Meditation South Bay with teacher Shaila Catherine. She has been a practitioner now for over a decade. Dana has been working in the internet industry since 1992, has held the positions of web developer, technical writer, and online community manager. She is a geek girl with a passion for science and computing.

Comments (13)

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  1. Miyo Wratten MiyoWratten says:

    Thank you for this Dana! I’ve been finding it really difficult to find, energy and motivation to actively practice or meditate lately. I think this sounds like a perfect platform for me to get things moving again. Very much appreciate your energy.

  2. fishdrivingcars says:

    Yes this is a great idea, thanks!

  3. Iskander says:

    Very nice initiative. I’ll do my best to join the practice.

  4. lca473 says:

    This is so great!!

  5. Bunks Bunks says:

    Thanks a lot Dana! Hoping this will help me with my practice too……

  6. Pete strawdog56 says:

    Maybe this will kick start my practice. Thank You. -^-

  7. Paul in Canada says:

    Fantastic – just new to the site and feel like I’ve found a great source and community. Thanks!

  8. Paul in Canada says:

    Fantastic. Thanks.

  9. Paul Mc Paul says:

    Starting this week, at the beginning! I’m thrilled to add this practice/exercise as an additional support for my personal ongoing recovery. Looks like a great opportunity. I will stay in touch…. ;->

  10. Paul Mc Paul Mc says:

    Well, 7 days in and all. Some issues with time and internal resistance to changing habits but managing to sit some 2x each day, developing a bit of morning discipline & routine, up earlier and such. Familiar mind chatter “thinking” and nodding off occasionally during sitting. Nothing huge to report, just a sense that I’m “watching and looking” at existence somehow differently as I walk thru the world. Impermanence suggests a uniqueness to each experience, each situation, each interaction. Paying attention, mentally looking, at how “things” come and go and change. But however superficial the perspective is refreshing and attractive “pulling”. Lack of discipline and time management are my biggest obstacles starting out BUT I’m confident new patterns can be developed “progress not perfection”.

  11. Candol says:

    Paul, you’ve reminded me i must go and do my sit for today also. Familiar mind chatter is normal and nothing to worry about. All you have to do is keep patiently pulling your mind back to the object of observation. And notice what it was you were thinking about or doing with your mind. Gradually the insights will come.

    Do you know that last week i had a new insight about how stress feels. I think its something i’ve only been vaguely aware of before but last week, it was clearly aware of how stress feels throughout my body. tension and muscle tightness was not one of the sensations that i felt, which is somewhat surprising isn’t it.

  12. Paul Mc Paul Mc says:

    Hi Candol, Nice,and yes that’s a bit surprising. But I don’t suppose there will be a time without at least some new insights or surprises?

    My first “meditation experience” was in High School early 70″s Joliet, Ill. Somehow the math instructor got permission to offer a relaxation/stress class elective. He played soft music dimmed the lights and had the class lie on floor of this huge classroom. He essentially guided us through body scans, tightening and loosening body parts. We progressively learned about what muscle tightness/relaxation feels like. Seems like wherever we start is fine…. benefits on many levels.

  13. banana says:

    Yes I often wonder about using the term buddhist. Isn’t just another thing to identify with which kind of goes against the whole idea of practicing in the first place.

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