If I say I’m a physicist, you won’t think I want you to be one, too. It just means that’s how I explore the way things work, physically. You’ll probably have some idea how I go about it, that experiments are involved. You might ask what kind of physics and I might say quantum mechanics. At that point your mind might fog over. You might smile politely and ask if I have children. But maybe you would be curious and ask about quantum physics.
In fact, I’m not a physicist but it does interest me and I do think it would be good if everyone had some understanding of what physicists have discovered. But that’s a topic for another time.
What I’m asking now is, when I say I’m a Buddhist, please don’t think I want you to be one, too. It is a way of discovery for me, but just as there are many other sciences in addition to physics, there are many other disciplines in addition to Buddhism. It’s just that I’ve found Buddhism an effective discipline for me.
I say it is a discipline not a religion because Buddhism has no equivalent of the Abrahamic god or anything that must be taken on faith, no dogma. It is practical, an enormous set of time-tested training programs that help people become more kind. One of those methods seems to help me.
If you ask what kind of Buddhism, I will say Tantric Buddhism. Yes I do have children, but for those of you who want to know what is Tantric Buddhism, I will say it is the form that developed in Tibet. And if you want to know more, I will begin posting a few notes from my learning experiences.
These notes will not be an introduction to Buddhist philosophy. That’s partly because I still misunderstand far more than I understand. More importantly, it’s because my aim is not to understand the philosophy, although that is necessary, but to attain what I can of the results of the practice.
It is said there are two paths toward better behavior, one for the scholar, the other for the simple meditator. The scholar’s path is one I have always followed. In this case I am drawn to the other.
Martin, I too have found that Buddhist philosophy seems to be a very sensible way to live one’s life. You said you have children in your post, which caused me to connect Buddhism and children together. I know you didn’t mean it that way, but for me Buddhism is epitomized by how I treat a grandchild, with a great deal of caring and kindness. Now for some reason as people grow older we stop treating them like we would treat our young grandchildren. Understanding why that happens might bring greater understanding why we have so much conflict in the world.