Hipster 101: How to Be a Buddhist. ~ Brie Doyle

Via elephant journal
on May 25, 2011
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Photo: jon.roberts

Being Buddhist is definitely where it’s at.

Bonus video: Illest Buddhist.

Bonus shopping list for the Spiritual Materialist.

I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for the past 11 or so years—let me explain it to you. Because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t understand it otherwise…

First of all, you have to have these special beads. That’s what makes you a member of our club. And you can’t get them at any store. You can only find them in indie shops that you wouldn’t really know about unless you’re friends with me or someone I know. Or if you’ve traveled and lived abroad in Asia, which I doubt you have.

Photo: how lucky we are

Also, it’s nice to have some flags. Monks in Asia call them prayer flags, but if you are a Buddhist and you’re from America, they’re known as climbing flags. They are placed at the tops of really high peaks to symbolize what a bad-ass-mother-fucker you are because you climbed a mountain that most other people will never in their life climb because they are lazy or because they’d rather do ones that are more mainstream. Not you. Not a chance.

Next, you need to meditate. Like, a lot. And wear your beads to work and hang your prayer flags in your office so others can see ‘em. Oh, and try to drop Namaste in ordinary conversation wherever appropriate. Or, go the other direction—make fun of those who say Namaste, that’s probably safer. Either way, if you could let the others around you know how long you’ve meditated today, that would definitely make you more authentic. The longer the sesh, the deeper you are. No doubt. No doubt.

Talking about the days of Trungpa also make you a more legit Buddhist, particularly if you weren’t alive during his lifetime. And please, don’t use his full name. If you know you know. If you don’t, why is that my fault? Your parents’ copies of his books can get you a lot of clout in the right sangha situations. So make sure to have those handy.

Drop words and phrases like: “spiritual materialism,” “duality” and “ego” randomly in conversation at work or at parties and get ready to laugh your ass off. They’ll seriously have no clue. Sad. And it’s best not to say you’re a Buddhist ‘cause you don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard. Make others guess by your attitude, your presence and your aura.

What’s that? You say you slept with your best friend’s wife? Don’t worry about it. Just tell him he clearly needs to work on non-attachment (not that he’d get what you’re saying). But at least you can say you tried to help him work with his mind.

People just don’t understand.


Though pretentious yuppies abound in Brie’s home town of Boulder, CO, she can’t seem to find another place she’d rather live. But she’s been fortunate enough to try many places. From NYC to New Zealand, SE Asia, Japan, Nepal and India, Brie has traveled the world seeking adventure and stories to share. Pre-babies, she was a middle school teacher and a yoga teacher, but now that she is pumping out children, she stays at home and writes. She has written two novels, one based in India, one based in New York, and she is furiously seeking publication. In the meantime, she can be found making light of life on her blog: www.briedoyle.com.


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37 Responses to “Hipster 101: How to Be a Buddhist. ~ Brie Doyle”

  1. FrancoVai says:

    Awesome! That was great, loved reading it. So true, I just got my Mala beads, now I am hardcore!

  2. Confused says:

    What is the purpose of this article? I am a Buddhist – I have mala beads and I use them for chanting – I study the Shambhala lineage – yes, Trungpa – does that make me less authentic? I don't have any place to hang a prayer flag in my office but if I did and someone asked me about it and it lead to some knowledge-sharing, is that awful and pretentious? I'll be sure to work on having compassion for this insecure author – apologies for the sanctimony….

  3. elephantjournal says:

    No, I do all those things too…I think the purpose is just to make fun of doing so for show. Sense of humor about ourselves is always healthy, if not unkind…and I don't think this is making fun of the genuine thing, but the "wearing malas for fashion" kinda mentality. You know, spiritual materialism! ~ W.

  4. NotSoSure says:

    Confused: You should add more fiber to your diet. You would probably be less cranky if you did.

  5. Maggie says:

    Plain lame post.

  6. Blake says:

    Hey that hipster Buddha? I made that!

    Great post by the way!

  7. ZensationalCreations says:

    I want to be hardcore too, but I don't have Mala beads, yet… j/k

    I've been meditating since I started practicing yoga in 1999. My interest peaked several years later during my yoga teacher training when Geshe Dakpa Topgyal came to the yoga center to talk to the class about Tibetan Buddhism. I started to read a bit back then, but lately, I can't seem to learn enough. Some may think it's weird how I crave Buddhist knowledge more now than ever before, but I'm one of those people who could care less about who thinks what about me. I know I'm not materialistic, spiritually or otherwise. I actually found my latest book at Goodwill. But my point here is simple. The study of Buddhism is definitely making me a happier, healthier person. Not only have I learned more meditation techniques, I’ve caught myself practicing tonglen in cases where in the past I would have ripped someone’s head off verbally. And my road rage that is triggered out of fear has become more like “Get the fuck over you asshole – OH and may you be HAPPY, etc.!” I know that’s not how tonglen is supposed to go, but I’m getting there. I seem to get over that fear quicker too and I may not be as fearful as before. For me, yoga was just a springboard to learning to let go and be, whereas Buddhism is the pool of peace. However, I do want Mala beads because I think they are beautiful. And anyone who may think I’m being a trendy when I do wear them will be exactly right. I’ll be wearing them as a fashion statement, not a Buddhist statement. Even if I’d never heard the word Buddhism, I’m sure I would still wear the Mala. Oh and last but not least, Namaste…

  8. Buddha Duke says:

    Awesome article! Love the satire! Keep it coming

  9. TimesNewRoman says:

    As mediocre as the post is, the bio is even worse. A jab at Boulder and its "pretentious yuppies" by someone who clearly whitens her teeth? I dunno.

  10. Sarah says:

    These kinds of stereotyping articles on this website have gotten really old. I guess we'll be looking forward to How to be a Hindu next.

  11. Lama Wama Ding Dong says:

    For a Buddhist you don't sound very compassionate.

  12. FrancoVai says:

    If you can't laugh at yourself, oh boy! Don't take yourself so seriously is, I think what she was trying to convey. All the ritual stuff is great and really important but if you are doing it for show, oh boy! Come on people laugh a little. My parents neighbor God bless her is a devout Catholic and I mean devout. She goes to Church seven days a week but give her the opportunity to steal five bucks from somone, she will, but she does go to Church all week though. On Sunday when she is praying with everyone she is all smiles and hugs, as soon as she leaves the parking lot it's everyone for themselves and especially that woman that cut her off in the parking lot. Live, Laugh and Love, the Mala beads are great, but use them for what they are intented for!'


  13. Reid says:

    You tell her! Oral hygiene is totally pretentious – especially if it involves fluoride.

    And, TimesNewRoman, bravo for your consistently constructive comments on the Boulder Daily Camera about the less expensive towns in our county. (Which I recognized after clicking your name above.) Up the road is "Wrongmont," aka "Methmont," aka "Longtucky," which is home to a "Longmont loser" who should "go back to Longmont." To the south is "Doomfield." And, to the east is Firestone, which is a "special depth of suburban hell."

    But, throw those rocks at our Boulder and we will belittle your appearance in order to force an embarrassed retreat! (Debating content would be to exhausting). A reader using an anonymous pseudonym makes tired jokes about rival hicks and people's looks, but an author using her real name and photo dare not poke fun at the up-tight locals … Yawn ….

    Brie, for what it is worth: I am not bad-ass enough to plant them, and I don’t know where to buy them. But, I do find a calming beauty in images of brightly colored prayer flags atop desolate mountain tops. Mock me, if you will! Cheers, and thanks for lightening my day.

  14. vanessafiola says:

    Uhh, Brie, Buddhists are a protected class.

  15. Liska says:

    Apparently so are hipsters and Boulder residents… I don't think any actual practicing Buddhists were harmed in the writing of this post.

  16. John Morrison says:

    I think there is a difference between taking your mala with you to the office so you can do a few OM MANI PADME HUMs on lunch break – but that is different from working your mala while standing in the Kroger checkout line.

  17. Confused says:

    Not cranky at all but thanks for the suggestion. Eating some whole wheat toast and enjoying it – hope you have a great day.

  18. […] Here is my latest post to Elephant Journal—Hipster 101: How to be a Buddhist. […]

  19. Sasha says:


  20. ZensationalCreations says:

    I liked that line too Pearls and Poets. It motivated me to add my sarcasm, 2 cents, and sincerity.

  21. Don says:

    Great and funny post, Brie! I'm Asian, Buddhist, grew up in Colorado and practice yoga. I should be offended on every level but luckily, my self esteem is so low I assume I deserve to be dumped on. 🙂 It's kind of funny to see how serious people are about their dogma. It's called satire and humor, maybe a laugh would be good?

  22. drbinder says:

    "If you know you know. If you don’t, why is that my fault?" HA! That seems to fit perfectly after reading the comments.

  23. I love it when the asinine comments just re-inforce the joke. Nice work, Brie!

  24. Robin Turner says:

    "It's not irony unless someone, somewhere, doesn't get it."

  25. Robin Turner says:

    @TimesNewRoman Are Buddhists supposed to have yellow teeth?

  26. […] In conclusion, I’d like to quote from that nice old Buddhist woman: “When things fall apart.” ~ Pema Chodron […]

  27. chrissymom says:

    All I know is that I want that hipsters jumpsuit…they are back in you know

  28. chrissymom says:

    Oh and good job brushing Brie….I for one love the pearly whites!

  29. […] shared this one up before, but it’s hella […]

  30. […] (Click above for Hipster Buddhist) […]

  31. Muiz says:

    This article is shallow and just not funny to me at all. I notice that this style of writing appears more often these days. Unfortunately it's published on websites that I go to to read quality writing.
    To me, it's annoying to read articles with sentences such as this; "Next, you need to meditate. Like, a lot." "Like?" Maybe in conversation if the 80's Valley Girl in you has to slip out, but not in writing! Grow up and please don't quit your day job.
    And it's because, not "'cause."
    Waste of time reading this.

  32. amourmechant says:

    it's articles like these that make me wonder why I thought so highly of this mainstream hipster blog site. I'm no Buddhist, but I believe in peace and love. I just finished my book on balancing my chakras twice and the negativity exuded here makes me realize that, there is still much turmoil within me.

  33. elephantjournal says:

    Hey there! Just for the record, we accept and publish from many different perspectives and viewpoints. And we like humour…even (especially) poking fun at ourselves and our inner turmoil now and then. 😉 ~ Ed.