[Ads-l] buffet/cafeteria Catholics, Buddhists

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Sun Mar 10 21:35:07 UTC 2019

I made no attempt to antedate “cafeteria Catholic”. Wikipedia has 1971 for that and 1986 for “cafeteria Catholicism”. 

Some of these instances of “buffet Buddhist” appear to be nonce.

1. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/03/buddhism-meditation-anxiety-therapy/584308/
Why So Many Americans Are Turning to Buddhism
Olga Khazan
7 Mar 2019

Much like “cafeteria Catholics” ignore parts of the religion that don’t resonate with them, some Westerners focus on only certain elements of Buddhist philosophy and don’t endorse, say, Buddhism’s view of reincarnation or worship of the Buddha. Call them “buffet Buddhists.”

The English OLD definition almost fits:
North American as modifier Denoting a system in which people may choose from a number of available options, especially one in which an employee may select a personal package of company benefits.

Merriam-Webster has a similar definition:
providing a selection from which a choice may be made 
cafeteria benefit plan 
a cafeteria curriculum

The term cafeteria Catholic is applied to those who assert a Catholic faith yet dissent from one or more doctrinal or moral teachings of the Catholic church or who are viewed as dissenting by those using the term.

2. http://www.lawrence.com/weblogs/patrickquinn/2006/jul/1/philemon/
1 July 2006
Patrick Quinn

Americanism is a formal expression of what's better known as "buffet Catholicism": Many American Catholics walk down the serving line sampling only the doctrines they like, and pass over the rest in silence. Americanism is hardly limited to North America or to Catholics. There are plenty of buffet Christians of all varieties, as well as buffet Muslims, buffet Buddhists, buffet Jews and so on.

3. http://www.byzcath.org/forums/ubbthreads.php/topics/72885/3
25 September 2002

Certainly when His Holiness the Dalai Lama denounced abortion as contrary to the life-affirming principles of Buddhism, the buffet Buddhists of Hooie-wood experienced a dukkha day of Cecil B. Demille proportions.

4. http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/19198/disrespect-and-non-disrespect-towards-buddha
July 2013
Yeah I think theres a lot of buffet buddhists these days. Its not the 6 fold path with a side of "I'll do whatever I want”

5. http://dontknowzen.com/the-death-of-zen-in-the-west-gone-too-soon/
Haven Tobias
8 September 2018
He concluded: the problem (?) with you people (?) is that you act as if Buddhism is a buffet. Oh, zen moment! Bingo! Ka-ching! This was about when Barak Obama was saying: hey, if you want to call it Obamacare, that’s ok with me. I said: hey, if you want to call us Buffet Buddhists, I’m going with that. There are contemporary and there are ancient elements in Buffet Buddhism. There are American contributors, and English ones, but there are also Asian lights, like Thich Naht Hanh. Buffet Buddhism can take a little from Tibetan Buddhism, but leave the guru worship and the tantric magic aside;

6. https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/1bru6g/not_believing_in_karma_and_prat%C4%ABtyasamutp%C4%81da/
five years ago
Well, if there are "cafeteria Catholics, then why not "buffet Buddhists"? That is, who just take the parts they like?

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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