What is a Buddhist? Does anyone have a clue?
Yes, I can do the lock-step "Well, a Buddhist is someone who embraces the observations of the Four Noble Truths and exercises the suggestions of the Eightfold Path," but once those aspects are more or less in place, does this insure that someone is now a "Buddhist?"
I think it was Christmas Humphreys who once observed, "begin and continue" as regards to a Buddhist practice. Certainly that's sensible, but does it bring us any closer to what a "Buddhist" might be?
Shall we then surrender in frustration and say simply that it's a tentative description of students and teachers who ... well, who what? Who say so? Who have a wardrobe? Who write or read books about Buddhism? Who defend or attack Buddhism? Who can perform marvelous rituals? Who are "enlightened?" Who are "not enlightened?" Who pretend they can attain a good understanding without being beholden to any name or form? Whose serene demeanor reeks of serenity? Who make it up as they go along? Who ... who ... who what?
Don't you just love it when people can answer the most abstruse questions with the most ornate answers and yet have serious difficulty tying their shoes ... or addressing the assured words that issue from their mouths. Yessir, I am a Buddhist.
But what is a Buddhist and, if you knew, would you really be better off? Alternatively, if you didn't know, would that have some hidden usefulness?
I mean no disrespect. I don't want to take anyone's toys. But I figure a little curiosity never hurt anyone.
What is a Buddhist?