7 Ways You're Practicing This Religion & Don't Even Know It

Are you a Buddhist? If you are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, or anything in between, you're probably thinking, "Nope! Don't even know what that is! Wait, is that that weird religion where people shave their heads and dress up in orange robes and dance around the airport banging tambourines?" Yes and no. For one, it's Hare Krishnas who dance around the airport -- though I haven't seen them in awhile. And while Buddhist monks do shave their heads and wear orange robes, laypeople do not.

But you might be more Buddhist than you know. In fact, if you've posted something to Facebook like, "In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you," then you're already being a bit Buddhist. (Although Buddha didn't say that, I don't think he'd disagree with it either.) Here are 7 ways you're already totally Buddhist.


1. You say things like, "Karma will get him/her!"

Karma is one of the core Buddhist beliefs. Buddhists believe that what you put into the world is what you get back. The term "karma" has been slightly twisted to mean that if you are a bad person, and something bad happens to you, you deserved it. Buddhism isn't really about "deserving" punishment. But it does posit that good begets good and bad begets bad.

2. You say things like, "I just want to live in the present!"

A core Buddhist tenet is living in the moment. It's called "mindfulness." Buddha, who founded Buddhism about 600 years before Christ founded Christianity, believed that much of our suffering was caused by not paying attention to what was happening around us at any given moment, and instead being preoccupied by regrets of the past or anxiety over the future.

3. You say things like, "You can't take it with you!"

A core belief of Buddhism is that everything is impermanent. The fact is we are all going to grow old, sick, and die. Everything is impermanent, so there's no real reason to get too overly attached to anything.

4. You say things like, "I wish I/he/she wasn't so clingy!"

One of the worst sins of Buddhist practitioners is "clinging." This means you hold very tightly to ideas about what should and shouldn't happen to you, and when anything deviates from those ideals, you lose your shit.

5. You're trying to learn how to "let go."

Letting go, another way of not "clinging," is a fundamental Buddhist practice. Even the most sage monks can't really tell you exactly how to let go, but it's a long journey and process of beginning to realize that you can't bend the world to your specifications. You might be someone who is just now realizing you can't make someone want to get a job; or make someone love you; or make someone stop drinking -- not any more than you can make it stop raining.

6. You say things like, "Money can't buy you love!"

Buddhism is all about looking for happiness within. NOT about expecting it to come from material things, your job, or even your relationships -- all of which can fall apart or take unexpected turns at any time.

7. You grab a vegan breakfast, head to yoga, and then meditate for 20 minutes. Yep, you just might be a Buddhist, which advocates not killing animals, practicing yoga (although many Buddhists do not practice it), and meditation (which used to be just for monks!).

Buddhism is a wonderful religion* that can help anyone of any religion reduce their angst, depression, and suffering -- which is what Buddhism is all about. (It's really not about orange robes.) And unlike most other religions, Buddhism doesn't care if you're another religion already. You can still be Buddhist.

In fact, maybe you already are!

Are you already kinda Buddhist?


* Buddhism has long been classified as a nontheistic religion. However, there is a debate over whether a religion must require worship of a deity or deities, which Buddhism doesn't do.

Image via anantal/Flickr

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