What Makes You Not a Buddhist

1325 Words6 Pages
What makes you not a Buddhist The Title of Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse’s book is “What makes you not a Buddhist”, but in reality he addresses those things which make one a Buddhist. He starts off by examining how many people, without even realizing it, accept the beliefs that qualify one to have the name. He boils down Buddhist beliefs to the four seals of Buddhism. Those four seals are: all compounded phenomena are impermanent, all emotions are pain, all things have no inherent existence, and enlightenment is beyond concepts. Throughout the book, Khyentse addresses these four facets necessary for the path to enlightenment, but he is constantly boiling them all down into one single main point, which is that all compounded phenomena are without inherent nature, are interdependent, and impermanent. Khyentse maintains that if one holds to this main principle as well as the broader four in all that one does and more importantly, thinks, one is on the path to enlightenment or Nirvana. The book is very clear in its devotion to the four seals. Khyentse says that “anything that contradicts the four views, including some action that may seem loving and compassionate, is not on the path.”(1621) This quote shows that, in the eyes of Buddhists, even the most heroic of actions are completely useless unless they have the intention of following the four seals behind them. While many Buddhist views tend to stress peace and good deeds, this caveat could possibly discourage people from doing things for others because they may not be completely convinced they are doing them for the ‘right reasons’. “Even if you were to feed all the hungry beings in the world, if you acted in complete absence of these four views, then it would be merely a good deed, not the path to enlightenment. In fact it might be a righteous act designed to feed and support the ego.” (1601) Here, he even implies
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