I from time to time get this question. And although some would call me a buddhist, as I have reflected on here and here, my answer is: I am what I am. Not “who” I am, but “what” I am. I do not fancy -isms, or dogmas. I do not build my life on faith in any system of ideas. I am what I am.
I can answer that I practice Zen, that I try to be mindful, that I try to live in accordance with Tao, that I want to be friendly (my interpretation of “loving kindness”, – I can decide to be friendly, but not to feel “love”). I consider the wisdom of Buddha to be of great importance, like the wisdom of Lao-Tzu, or Jesus Christ, or ….
But I can not identify with “-isms” of any sort. I try to figure out what I am, not who I am. That could be insight i a buddhist sense of the word, an effort to flow into an understanding of what this what is. But that does not make me an “-ist” of any kind. It is method and practice, not religion. And besides: It is also impossible to think of my self as anything diconnected from the rest of my experienced nature, others, or cosmos. In the sense I am, “I” am a basically only concept of my own experience of being.
From neural impulses forming into senses, from senses to perceptions, from perceptions to conscious thoughts and concepts there are so many possibilities of errors that it would be very little scientific to claim that I know who I am. The best I can claim is that I experience what I am, from moment to moment. I have to be that humble.
We have got 100 billions neurons in our brains, each connected, directly or indirectly, to 100.000 other neurons. If we take into consideration the glia cells, that outnumbers the neurons with at lest ten to one, and know that they also have their distinct function in the information processing, there are more elements involved in this process than there are particles in our known cosmos.
A whole universe in my brain, – I should be humble. The only thing I think I know is that in this moment I am what I am.