1. A person doesn't necessarily have to act according to a belief one hundred percent of the time in order to genuinely believe it; there can be slip ups and set backs. We're really talking about general patterns of behavior rather than strict, 24/7 adherence.
I AGREE WITH THIS...AND BHUDDISM SAYS THAT THERE WILL BE SLIP-UPS AND SET BACKS...AND YOU ARE RIGHT...IT IS ABOUT GENERAL PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR AND HAVING GOOD INTENTIONS...AGAIN, STRICT ADHERENCE TO BHUDDISM IN A THIS DAY AND AGE AND IN A WESTERN SOCIETY IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE....I CAN CITE ALL OF US BEING ON THE INTERNET.......IF I AM A VEGETARIAN BUT I EAT A HAMBURGER ONE DAY, IT DOES NOT MEAN I HAVE RENOUNCED BEING A VEGETARIAN....HOWEVER IF I EAT A HAMBURGER EVERYDAY, THEN THATS DEFINITELY A PROBLEM
2. The beliefs you focus on don't refute my point because the behavior you describe is perfectly consistent with those beliefs. A person can believe working out is healthy and not work out because they are engaging in some sort of trade-off, willfully being lazy because it satisfies some psychological need. As another example, a person can have true beliefs about the dangers of smoking and yet do it anyway, again because they are willfully engaging in a trade-off. The behavior you mention is only inconsistent with certain other beliefs, like "I love working out," "I am striving to be as healthy as I can be," and so forth. If anybody who rarely works out thinks they have these beliefs then they are sorely mistaken, because their behavior is entirely inconsistent with them.
AGAIN, GOOD ANALOGIES......YOU HAVE TO MAKE TRADE-OFFS EVERYDAY IN ORDER TO FUNCTION IN SOCIETY....also if we do not have sex with our girlfriends, THEY WILL LEAVE US.....HOW DOES THAT HELP ME REACH ENLIGHTENMENT???..SEX HELPS KEEP THE BODY HEALTHY AND HAVING A RELATIONSHIP IS GOOD FOR PSYCHOLOGICAL PURPOSES.NOT TO MENTION IS IT FAIR TO DEPRIVE YOUR GIRLFRIEND OF SEX???
3. So, patterns of behavior that are inconsistent with a stated belief indicate that that belief is not genuinely held by a person, regardless of what the person says (a person can be mistaken about what they believe). This is especially so when the pattern of behavior obtains over a person's entire lifetime. A pattern of attachment and base desire fulfillment seems to me inconsistent with the beliefs of Buddhism; therefore, anybody actively living this way isn't a Buddhist. They may say they believe in them; they may think they believe in them; they may be sympathetic to them; they may even occasionally gesture toward their being true; but, on the whole they don't actually believe them, because that's not how belief works.
I DISAGREED WITH THIS AT FIRST BUT I THINK YOU ARE BASICALLY RIGHT...BUT IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU AND OTHERS CONSIDER TO BE "BASE DESIRE FULFILLMENT".....IF A GUY HAS SEX ONCE A MONTH IS THAT "BASE DESIRE FULFILLMENT"? HOW ABOUT ONCE EVERY SIX MONTHS?....where do you draw the line between fulfillment and wanton desire???
It seems we agree on the essentials then!
Regarding base desire fulfillment, as far as I am able to tell Buddhism defines all
desires as base and thus advises its adherents to avoid them. If this is right, then very few people really believe in Buddhism, because very few people consistently behave
as if its strictures are true, and it is on the basis of this behavior that we ascribe beliefs.
A corollary of this is my original point: the "casual Buddhists" don't really believe the strictures of Buddhism -- i.e., they don't consistently act as if they are true -- and instead are entertaining them either for popularity, complex psychological reasons, or whatever else (even if they think
they really believe them).