Buddhism teaches wisdom and here is a sweeping statement that may shock you.
There is no bad buddhist in the world.
Buddhist are people who practice the teachings of Buddha. The moment we do not practice, we cease to be Buddhist.
We may identify ourselves as Buddhist after we say a refuge prayer or attend some refuge ceremony.
But that does not make us Buddhist.
To be Buddhist, we need to understand what refuge is and what the Triple Gems mean. Most people do not understand.
Unlike old religion where there is a master god and human slave relationship. The Buddha doesn’t own us. Nor does he desire to have a huge number of followers. We do not subscribe to a spiritual club when we become Buddhist. BUDDHA is also not some sort of gangsta god that punishes people for leaving the Buddhist gang.
This is why we cannot force our children to take refuge. If they do not understand what Buddhism is, the refuge ceremony is a useless ritual. The preferred age of refuge is 16 years old or when that person knows exactly what refuge is.
That is only part 1 of becoming a Buddhist.
The part where we show our intention to follow the Buddha’s teaching.
Again, remind ourselves that Buddhist are people who wish to live according to Buddha’s teaching.
The Buddha teaches non-violence, non hatred, compassion and loving kindness, right view, right understanding, mindfulness etc.
We cannot be Buddhist if we do not follow such teachings.
Can a Buddhist murder people or participate in ethnic violence? The answer is no, it is impossible. Because the moment we commit such an act, we are not buddhist. Remember, Buddhism is not a gang or membership or subscription based spiritual club.
Bowing to Buddha statue or building gigantic buddhist monument doesn’t make us Buddhist.
Buddha taught that our actions determine our person.
In the same light, can a monk engage in sex?
The answer is no. Simply because a person ceased to be a monk, the moment he engages in sex with someone. If he continues to act as a monk after sex, then he is also guilty of posing as a monk. That means he is lying and pretending to be a monk.
Actually, the logic and teaching of Buddha is very simple. People make it complicated because of craving and attachment.
Anyone can be a Buddhist, provided that, they follow the Buddha’s teaching.
If you follow the teaching, you are Buddhist. There is only Good Buddhist in this world.
Unlike other religion, Buddha doesn’t crave for members and followers. If you don’t follow the Dharma, you are not Buddhist. Therefore, it is impossible to find bad buddhist in the world.
Can we become Buddhist after committing crimes and bad actions?
Yes. The moment we follow the teachings of Buddha, we are Buddhist.
In our every day life, how many times do we cease to be Buddhist? Then regret our actions, then become a Buddhist again?
When we are Buddhist, the Dharma is in us.
When we are a perfected buddhist, we become the Sangha.
May all be well and happy.