This week I purchased my first Buddha statue, nothing to serious just a small one for my desk. While out running some errands, I came across just the right figure with a tea candle holder in his lap. He now reposes in full lotus gently overseeing my work. This leads me to reflect on a yoga client's question from just other day. Somewhere between standing tree and dancer poses, she looked at me and asked, "So...do you consider yourself a Buddhist?" I remained ambiguous when answering, never really saying yes or no. I do that often when directly asked such things; better to be allusive rather than declare something untrue.
Interesting question! Buddhist? Me? I did just buy a Buddha.
Looking over to my book shelf just across from my desk I might be tempted to say yes. Titles referencing Buddhism and Zen in their titles line the shelves. I read them and consider many of them in my top ten favorite reads.
But...honestly...if being a Buddhist means acknowledging a formal religious path with memberships and masters then the answer would be a solid no. Nevertheless, I recognize the middle way of Buddha as I understand it, that narrow razor's edge somewhere between answers and questions, the one that seeks to remain always here and now. This path inspires me to stay clear from so called absolute answers that bind and constrain as well as from the utter despair of total meaningless.
So does this make me Buddhist? Probably not. I am content to look at my bought Buddha on the corner of the desk. This little statue in all it's simplicity challenges me to wake up and remain in the present with soft eyes, flexibility and uprightness.