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  • Lama Jigme Gyatso

Atheism and Buddhism



Good afternoon G., thank you for asking "Could an atheist be a buddhist?"

It depends who you ask. Ask someone who is rigid, fearful, controlling, and elitist and they'll most likely say "no;" for they tend to treat Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as divinities with whom they strive to curry favor, as if they were great, celestial Santa Clauses.

Ask someone who is flexible, loving, laid-back, and egalitarian (if you can, for they could be scarce in number and difficult to find); but ask one of these and they'll most likely say "yes." For they treat the Buddha as merely an archetype and their view of the teachings is highly pragmatic. Gone is the folly of blindly believing every popularly held notion, only to be replaced with pragmatism.

What is their test of the teachings? They apply a teaching to their lives once every twelve hours for seven consecutive days and then they notice their results. IF a teaching (once applied) exacerbates one's anxiety or aggression then it is set aside, BUT if a teaching increases one's peace, joy, love, or wisdom then it is relied upon.

When you have additional questions you are welcome to reach out to me Reddit chat. Until then, may you and yours be happy and healthy. - L. Jigme



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