When I tell people I’m Buddhist the first reaction is “Really?”. I often wonder why that is – is it because you don’t think I’m religious? Is it because I’m a young person of faith? Is it this or that? There many be many reasons. You may of heard of Buddha. Yes, he’s the “fat person who sits cross legged.” He is well known and some people ask me if I am a Buddha. I’m a Buddhist – not a Buddha. I want to explore some of the reasons why I think people may be surprised.
Is it because I’m a young person?
YouGov sampled young people on religion in 2013. In their sample they found most of those were not religious. The place of religion in some young people’s lives does not exist – and that’s okay. But there are religious young people. I have always been a religious person. I was a Christian but now I am a Buddhist so it’s always had a place in my life. Maybe people assume I’m not religious because I’m young?
Is it because there isn’t anything that points to me being a Buddhist?
I don’t really have anything that identifies me as a Buddhist – I don’t need to have anything. I don’t walk around with a Buddha in my pocket or any of the Dhamma scriptures. I’m open about doing meditation, but many non-religious people meditate. If you know me well then you may be able to tell it from my clothes. I wrote an article on this on Fashion North so take a look. That will give you an inkling but not everyone is aware.
Is it because Buddhism is an eastern religion?
Buddhism is an Eastern religion but it has spread to the Western world and has been adapted to some extent to fit in with Western life. I believe in Theravarda Buddhism, but there are many types within this and in the other sect of Buddhism called Mahayana. Some Buddhists believe there is three sects – the third being Vajrayana. Some people may not expect me to be Buddhist because of that?
Is it because people don’t know enough about the religion?
Some people may not know enough about the religion so may be surprised when they hear I’m a Buddhist because I know about it (since it’s part of my life). Is it simply that?
Or is it that people just don’t expect it?
What do you think? Are you religious and do you get the same reaction? Let me know in the comments section or on my social media accounts.