I found your post especially interesting due to similar past experience, Whilst I don’t consider myself to be a Buddhist, I found myself in a situation years ago where I ended up living in a Buddhist community (One of my parents practices Tibetan Buddhism) and some of the ideas and morals such as Karma (very similar to the rule of 3/Wiccan Rede) seem to have influenced me. I have been interested in the pagan spirituality for a good couple of decades, but only recently started to practice magic(k) properly as a necessary self defense tool.
It is Interesting to hear from someone who also lived in buddhist temples but identifies as a witch instead of a buddhist. My question to you is how you integrate these 2 systems into your practice (or not)?
Blockquote My personal practice and beliefs have been influenced a lot by my time living at Buddhist temples . In my personal magickal and spiritual beliefs, I choose to never use Dark/Black Magick. This is because I strongly believe that what you give to the world, you will get back- whether that’s in this life or the next. I think that wishing harm onto others is just as harmful to the caster as to the person the spell is directed at- not always through a karmic hand, but rather that the caster willing chose violence, hatred, and/or fear over other options. It’s just my personal belief, but I think that harmful actions cause a cycle - a chain of action and re-action, curse and retirubtion, that is then very hard for those captured inside to break out of.
It’s never too late for a good chat- I would be delighted to talk with you about this! As we are wandering away from the topic of Black Magick a bit, I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and rehomed this into a new discussion of its own. We’ll have plenty of space here to talk about the fascinating ways the Craft and Buddhism can intertwine
This is a great question! I have to admit that my practice is very eclectic- if I were to try to step back and visualize it like one would a collage or painting, I think it would look pretty abstract Over the years and throughout my travels, I’ve adopted or been inspired by so many different spiritualities, philosophies, cultures, religions, and paths, many of which (just like you mentioned about the Rule of Three and karma) have similarities or overlap.
When it comes to Buddhism and the Craft, I found that they fit together really really well- although I should note that I spent most of my time in Zen Buddhist temples (particularly one that follows the Rinzai Zen tradition)- I know Zen can be quite different from other Buddhist traditions, such as Tibetan Buddhism.
Zen Buddhism, in my experience, is less of a religion and more of a spirituality or philosophy- a way to live in the here and now as opposed to explaining what happens after death. My Zen studies were focused on mindfulness, gratitude, and respect (especially for nature, ourselves, and to others). I think these are all qualities that many witches spend time cultivating as well. While Zen doesn’t work with “magick”, the world of witchcraft and the mindset of Zen fit like puzzle pieces in my mind- together, I feel they make a well-rounded practice that is still open to the unique needs of the practicioner
Apologies that I don’t know too much about Tibetan Buddhism- I would love to hear how you have been combining/working with what you resonate from your studies in Buddhism with your studies in the Craft, Marcus (if you’re comfortable doing so!)
(I hope that any others with experience/an interest in combing any traditions of Buddhism with their Craft feel free to jump in here as well- would love to hear your thoughts too!)
Protective magick helps me feel safe and sleep easy at night- I’m a huge fan of protective spellwork and talismans!
Wishing you all the best with your self-defense spell, Marcus- stay safe and blessed be!
Hi Bry @THeTravelWitch_Bry ,
Firstly thanks for setting up this post as a separate topic and answering my question. I’m totally stoked that you have set this up as a separate discussion, as this allows room for greater exploration.
I would also like to apologize for my late and brief response, as I am a bit overwhelmed with emails and paperwork from my work, so I plan to follow up in a couple of days in potentially more detail.
In some ways Tibetan Buddhism is quite “pagan” in its polytheistic approach to Buddhism, it has multiple deities who are different aspects of enlightenment, such as Buddha Shakyamuni (AKA Lord Buddha in Hindu and Prince Siddhartha before attaining enlightenment), or Tara, the female Buddha of compassion. You may be familiar with Green Tara who is also worshiped outside of Buddhism in other traditions.
Pretty much all of the morals I agree with, but I am perhaps too much of an individualist to consider myself a proper Buddhist, At the same time I am just getting starting with this spell casting stuff so I won’t be calling myself a w*tch for a good 10 - 12 months at least.
I wasnt raised Buddhist, but i was raised Pentacostal. But i was also born a witch. But i had to suppress the witch side. Now i dont. But how do i incorporate all that i learned over my life into my witchy life and not feel like im betraying all of myself.
Heres how, i dont. I fought that for so long. Then i realized and after talking extensively with an amazing friend and one of the other mods here, @Susurrus that i dont have to lose or give up all of those teachings i just need to incorporate all of my new in with my old.
We also have Christian Witches here. I personally havent seen anyone say they are a Buddhist witch, but that doesnt mean they arent here. As for me no, i dont classify myself as a Christian Witch. But it doesnt change how i was raised or what i believe. Your practice is your own. Make it your own. If u dont like this or that then dont use it. But if u like it then incorporate it somehow. Its all about YOU!!! What do u believe? How does this make u feel? What is your intent with that? And so on. But in the end its all about YOU. DO AS THO WILL!!! There’s a reason witches say this. Bc we can do as we choose, within reason (well if u have a moral compass, unfortunately some of us dont).
Try it see if u like it. Buddhism should have made u really good at grounding, centering, and mediating. Which i know alot of us have struggles with. U might be able to help some. Also remember knowledge is power, and we never stop learning . Many blessings to u brother.
You are very kind and polite, Marcus- there’s no need for an apology! We’re all spread out across various time zones, so folks tend to be very understanding and easy-going when it comes to replying around here. There’s no rush- feel free to pop in whenever you have the time and energy!
This is very interesting! I might not be remembering things very well, but I do recall a lesson about Buddha Shakyamuni and his journey through encountering the Four Noble Truths. There were also some lessons about famous Zen monks, although I really only remember about the monk Kukai from when I visited his grave at Koya-san in Japan.
I was always very interested by the various Buddhist deities from across the Buddhist traditions, but I tend to have a hard time remembering who is who! It is something I ought to improve on more
It sounds to me like you are well on your way to developing your own path- and I agree with Christeena completely! I think it is wonderful to learn from and be inspired by the main paths or others you encounter on your journey, but don’t be afraid to blaze your own trail. This is your sacred practice- make it your own
Hi! I read this then lost it for a few days The brain fog is extensive recently but slowly getting better
I was raised Catholic & know very little about Buddhism I agree with @Mistress_Of_Herbs & have talked to her about making her practice her own. Take with you & incorporate what feels right to you.
We have well, quite a few witches that have incorporated other belief systems into their practice & thats what makes their practices their own & unique & beautiful
I tend to use a lot more protective measures than not in my practice; most of the time. Lately, my practice has come to a stand still & I’m reorganizing & reworking again. (For the who knows how many times this is)
Each time it gets a bit more tuned into my beliefs & who I am though. More recently I’ve been finishing or going through courses specific to my deities & practice. Some of it review & reinforcement. While a large part is further learning & understanding. Which I enjoy quite a bit
It’s a fascinating question! Buddhism isn’t a very common religion / belief system around where I live, but still through tantra and other things I read and practice I’ve adopted quite a few ideas there that resonate with me. Some of tantra is considered Hindu and some Buddhist… some is borrowed from Tao and other parts are completely original. It all comes together beautifully in all of its eclecticism, and works nicely with witchcraft too
This is something I believe in too, and also I believe that ultimately there’s just one of us here, and so any harm we do is to ourselves. And that not realizing this is a major cause of suffering. Another one is our attachment to things and unwillingness to let go when it’s time… hanging on, torturing ourselves and interrupting the natural (Dharmic) flow.
I also believe that by gaining the Self-knowledge and freeing ourselves of our bonds we can find enlightenment and break the cycle of reincarnation, dissolving back into the Absolute, which to me shows as love and bliss
That sounds lovely, and I bet you have many interesting stories from there too
She’s a tantric deity as well, especially Red Tara
I haven’t worked with her that much myself, but my teacher does One way she taught us to do the Tonglen meditation (transmuting pain into healing) was visualizing her standing right behind us, giving us more capacity to take in and process the pain.
Buddhism feels very transcendental to me too, whereas witchcraft is usually firmly rooted in what feels practical right now. I’m purposefully avoiding saying what is practical, feeling that enlightenment and easing the suffering of all beings is about the most practical thing there can be Both have great potential for healing, and that’s what matters to me
If something doesn’t resonate, there’s really no use dwelling on it… if it does, it’ll fit in, now or later, and all of those puzzle pieces form a beautiful and unique picture that feels fulfilling to you, and nourishes your heart and soul
I love this and have found the same- sometimes when learning and experiencing different ways of doing things or various traditions of belief, there are pieces that just click (or overlap) perfectly. When it happens it feels like the complex puzzle of life becomes just a bit more clear
If a temple stay sounds appealing, I would urge anyone to give it a try! Temple stays tend to be very accessible and welcoming in Asia- I did overnight stays in both Japan and South Korea, as well as day trips to temples in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand. There don’t seem to be as many temples outside of Asia that I’ve come across, but a Google search will usually reveal a few! If you find one in the area it doesn’t hurt to ask if they have a short stay program (one to a few nights)
(A note that sometimes the stay is paid, otherwise it’s a work exchange, and sometimes they offer free experiences- depends on the place and time.)
For anyone in/passing through the New York area, there are a couple of temples in the Catskills- I stayed at DBZ and would be happy to chat about the experience (I did the month-long summer internship).
I can’t speak for all temples, but DBZ was very open and accepting while I was there- they were very friendly to people of other religious backgrounds and members of the LGBT+ community.
She sounds like a really compassionate and supportive deity for healing work!
I was rereading Existential Kink by Carolyn Elliott, and I just have to quote this here, it’s beautifully put and gave me a giggle
Don’t no one get liberated ‘less we all get liberated, ‘cause liberation is something that consciousness will spontaneously project everywhere, just like it can spontaneously project “badness,” “wrongness,” and “not-enoughness” everywhere. In Buddhism, bodhisattvas take a vow that they won’t leave the Wheel of Incarnation in Samsara (the world as we know it, with all its fucked-up stuff) until all beings are liberated. But the great cosmic joke is that it’s impossible to leave the Wheel of Samsara. As the Heart Sutra will tell you, Samsara is Nirvana, Heaven, release from suffering. Nirvana is Samsara. Earth is Heaven and Hell. The jewel is in the lotus. The lotus is in the jewel. Om mani padme hum, om gate gate paragate, parasamgate, bodhi svha, forever and ever, amen, praise to Allah, hail Hecate, thanks to Ganesha, high-five to Baphomet, big kisses to and from your Holy Guardian Angel.
It all fits together for me… chop wood, carry water, as within so without.
In other words, according to Carolyn Elliot, in her “Existential Kinkiness”, we are all F**ked anyway, regardless of bodhisatvaness or not? Correct me if I interpret this quote incorrectly:
One of the reasons I don’t consider myself a Buddhist (or christian) is because typically people inherit the religion of their parents without much thought, for example my grandparents were protestant Christians because that is what their parents believed and they adapted it without questions, and had an ultra conservative, almost puritanical worldview. I can remember feeling mild contempt towards them in my teens because of this and vowed that I would never call myself a (insert name of religion) without at least exploring and trying to understand every path out there.
There are some good qualities that I like from both Christian and Buddhist traditions (the whole love and altruism thing), but the whole dogma and fire and brimstone beliefs of both systems puts me off.
According to Christianity if you follow any path other than Christianity, or possibly even follow the wrong type of Christianity you get thrown somewhere where the sun don’t shine (Hell perhaps), to be violated by nasty demons stinking their demonic torture tools somewhere where the sun don’t shine…
According to Tibetan Buddhism, we spend most of our existence in the lower realms (AKA hungry ghost or animal but most of the time somewhere where the sun don’t shine (Buddhist Hells are more multiple that the Christian ones; - you can burn in hell, freeze in hell or drown in a sea of sewage for example.) to get toyed with by other hellish creatures putting instruments of torture where the sun don’t shine. Forgive me for the facetiousness. Perhaps there is or isn’t some form of hell that exists, but the way many/most organized religious seem to put it central to their dogma is what puts me off spirituality, especially organized religion full stop.
Sorry to go slightly off topic here. Just offloading some existential angst and perhaps finding myself mildly amused at the irony of this at the same time
The background I have in Buddhism I have mixed feelings about, which is why I don’t consider myself a Buddhist (in addition to vowing not to join one “way” or “religion” or believing something because it is convenient or because a parent (or important influential person) told me, without looking beyond my "bubble " and taking an honest look at the alternatives first).
I ended up living in a dharma center for a couple of years because of a difficult family situation: fresh out of university and unable to get a job, but cant go home to parent home because step brother assaulted dad so my real parent and step parent/ step mom made an agreement to ban either of their children from staying at their home. I Almost ended up homeless and losing all my tools for (making creative stuff) that I worked so hard to acquire, and was trying to make a career in a creative industry from. So dad shows me how to pretend to be a Buddhist, and fill in an application form to stay at a dharma centre to avoid homelessness!
The people were nice but It felt difficult to pretend the whole time, and try to pursue a career in my creative subject, when the aims of the people I lived with was almost the opposite… Most of them didn’t work, and were aiming for a life of celibacy, getting rid of possessions and renunciation of everything other than enlightenment, and planning for shaved heads and orange robes as monks and nuns.
So whilst I don’t consider myself Buddhist, I do feel some influence on me somehow, perhaps in the same way an ex-catholic may have some remnants of “catholic guilt”?
I have a pop up altar to Green Tara in my home but have mixed feelings about her: on one hand I feel a loving protective presence from her. On the other hand I feel a frustration and resentfully wonder if any of these Buddhas jinx or put obstacles up for creative, financial or romantic aspirations, because they may see them as obstacles to attaining enlightenment? Perhaps some of us lived as monks or nuns in past lives (if such things really exist?) and took poverty and celibacy vows in those lives, which “jinx” our efforts to find and keep satisfying meaningful careers and lasting relationships in future lives(or this lifetime)?
Perhaps there is a way heal from and to reconcile or navigate some of these belief systems without (feeling like I will be) “going to hell” for “raising hell” in a hard rocking band (performing Highway to Hell perhaps?), some controversial or non-conventional art, or simply enjoying some hedonistic indulgence from time to time. (?)
Are there any other Craft workers here that have had similar experiences exiting dogmatic religions, and if so to what extent does their old religion or imprint from family upbringing affect them as pagans?
Sorry for the long posts, one more queston: Perhaps I interpreted these Buddhist deities and parts of Buddhism all wrong?
Perhaps these Buddhas can & do help people (even non Buddhists making dedications or reciting mantras to them) to acquire career success, financial abundance and love, and all the other stuff that makes humans happy and fulfilled, if acquired in a way that “harms none”, similar to the Wiccan rede?
It’s a bit more complicated than that (isn’t it always?)… if we choose to interpret it that way, it would make sense for us to do it in good humor and not in despair and hopelessness, one of those mindsets is expansive and heart-opening while the other is keeping us constricted and feeling small. Just like in all witchcraft, it’s all about what works and how it feels.
One of the reasons that I fell in love with witchcraft is how it invites questions instead of discouraging them. I have a curious mind, and a heart that tells me right away what feels right and what doesn’t, so the left hand path it is for me.
Really not the kind of God I would follow, that I was sure of from a very young age… I’m glad not all Christians buy into this kind of stuff either. Doing things out of love instead out of fear makes life so much fulfilling, but there are always some power hungry individuals that would prefer us to go with the former to feed them with our very own life force energy.
The Bad Witch Carolyn Elliott’s take here is that it all exists right here, heaven and hell and everything in between, and that’s how I understand the six kinds of beings in Buddhism too. We all have the potential to be any of them, it all comes to our perception, our level of consciousness, the frequency that we inhabit. That’s what I referred to with the “chop wood, carry water” thing, the same situation can look and feel wildly different, depending on if you’re a sad, depressed mess, if you’ve attained enlightenment, or are just having an okay day.
Now this is where it gets very interesting…
I feel that Buddhism is a very sharp sword, when it comes to spirituality, one that cuts both ways. Sharp tools are nice and effective, but if you are not careful you will end up cutting yourself, and no one can be careful all the time. I’m talking about spiritual materialism… it’s nice to wear a robe and feel all powerful and special isn’t it. Feeling so much better than all these unenlightened beings around us who go on with their mindless daily grind. We definitely all jinx ourselves all the time.
I’ve got a feeling that it’s more about not attaching our sense of happiness to whether we have or don’t have these things. Which many misinterpret to “not having them is the saintly way”… no, it’s not about deprivation, it’s about enjoying and being thankful of the things when you do have them, and not letting it get you down when you don’t. At least to me. Sure, there is some kinky enjoyment to be had in deprivation too, not to talk of the self-righteousness that comes with it It’s all good stuff.
I wasn’t raised any religion, my mother believed and still does that you choose your own. However I chose a very strict Christian religion (I won’t name it, as don’t want to offend, many people in that religion are good decent people), however the believe system was very isolationist and apocalyptic. So when I finally embraced the craft in Covid ( although the craft was always in me, just put aside), I sat at my crossroads (I’ve sat here alot by the way). The way I was able to reconcile my old faith with witchcraft, was to first pray to spirit/God/ whoever was listening for signs, second I read. I read alot, about alot. Third, I looked into my own personal history to see if there was anything I was missing. It wasn’t easy. I’d get witchy books, then feel nope this is bad, and I’d throw it out, only to feel a “nudge, and voice in my head saying to me, Idiot! ” So I’d buy the book again, and round and round I’d go. I chatted to fellow witches here, who all said I should do what works for me. Then after time, much time, many prayers, to many gods/goddesses, studying paganism, Celtic path, Wicca, Christian witchcraft, secular witchcraft, spiritism, finally I accepted the Norse path (1 deity in particular, although he chose me, and has been the one taking me through all this stuff, just didn’t see it at the time, that’s another story!) So I think, what I’m saying is, don’t “force” anything, no need to hurry, no need to commit, no need to make any decisions, just go with the flow. Magic and the craft are beautiful, adaptable and flow freely in all directions. Be open to the energy, gods, goddesses around you, and maybe 1 will chose you. It’s how it worked out for me. When he did reveal himself, it was plain as day who he was. I’ve stopped trying to fit old beliefs into my life now. I’ve accepted that the old way was what I did, I have happy memories for some of it, not so happy for other parts of it, but it was my life then, this is my life now. They are both different and that’s ok. Hope this makes sense lovely.