The Gyalwang Karmapa recently met with a private group of 300 advanced Mahamudra students and explored what it means to be an authentic Buddhist. He began his teaching by observing that it's difficult if we merely call ourselves dharma practitioners or Buddhist followers in name, without really understanding the essence of being a true Buddhist.
"Sometimes the most important thing is to be a good person, a good human being. This is very important," he began. The Gyalwang Karmapa continued: "For example, in terms of me myself, sometimes I think I'm a real Buddhist follower or a real Buddhist student, because I was born in a Buddhist family and raised in a Buddhist environment, in a monastery. I think I'm the real sort of Buddhist practitioner or follower. But if you really think carefully about it and discover, 'Oh, maybe I'm a Buddhist practitioner or follower, but I'm not sure if I'm a good human being or not,' then that is a little bit funny.
"So maybe the point is to confront ourselves with the question: am I really a good person, a good human being? Because that is what characterizes being an authentic Buddhist."
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