If I were asked the question, “What religion are you?” it would seem very odd if I did not say, “I’m a Buddhist.” After all, people look to me as a Buddhist leader! To keep things simple, it is easier for me to say, “I am a Buddhist.” Yet that is not how I see myself. Rather, I see myself as a follower of the Buddha. I aspire to follow in the Buddha’s footsteps. To hold on to the label of “Buddhist” and wave it like a banner is something else altogether.
When I say I wish to follow in the Buddha’s footsteps, the key point for me is that the Buddha used his own intelligence to discover the meaning of life within himself. He did not discover it from texts written by someone else, or from any formalized set of rules. He found it within himself, within his own noble heart. We all have the potential to do this.
from the book “The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out”