Elsewhere on the Internet, someone asked how to know if s/he were a Buddhist. I recognize that this question can honestly mean something to some people, but I couldn't restrain myself....
Here are the ten incontrovertible qualifications for really being a real Buddhist really:
1. Adopt a wise and wizened demeanor -- someplace between George Clooney and Mahatma Gandhi.
2. Memorize the 108 holiest and most convoluted of all possible paradoxes. Dispense as necessary.
3. Clothes ... don't forget the clothes!
4. Walk slowly as if permeated with some weighty liquid.
5. If you're a lay person, yearn for ordination. If you're an ordained person, yearn for laicization.
6. Chant softly but audibly in public rest rooms.
7. If you visit a temple or monastery, make sure to bring home some
small tourist treasure to indicate you visited. Hang it prominently, but
with humble discretion, in your living room...next to all those books,
8. Offer a small, carefully-crafted smile when someone tells you a first-class joke.
9. If someone asks you if you are a Buddhist, consider the question in a dour and somewhat quizzical silence.
10. Treat all beings with equanimity and kindness ... right up until
the moment when you can't stand it any more and simply kick the cat.
Repent as necessary.
And if all of this strikes you as utterly ludicrous, find a Buddhist
practice, practice it and never mind who's a Buddhist and who's not.
Everyone suffers ... nuff said