“That’s Not Very Buddhist of You.” Have you ever had that accusation thrown in your face? Brad Warner has, and it’s made him think about what it really means to act like a Buddhist. It’s not as simple as right and wrong.
The other day, someone who attends the zazen classes I lead told me about an argument she’d had with her boyfriend. At one point in the argument, her boyfriend pointed out something she’d done and said, “That’s not very Buddhist!”
How often have all of us heard that one? These days the average person has been bombarded with enough media images of what the folks in Hollywood think Buddhism might be for pretty much anyone to start believing they know exactly what it means to follow in Gautama’s footsteps. Whether it’s Yoda from Star Wars, or Kwai Chang Caine from Kung Fu, or that supposedly Buddhist guy in the tissue commercials who gets horrified at the thought that his medicated hankies are killing poor innocent germs, it all filters into the generalized idea of how Buddhists ought to look, sound, and behave. And when we don’t live up to these idealized images, look out!