Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 8 years ago

How to begin with buddhism?

I am almost certain that buddhism is where i should be, however I'm not sure how to begin. I looked up some buddhist centers in my area and there are like 5!! I'm not sure which one I would fit in better with because I'm not sure which branch of buddhism fits me better. When i call these places what do i say? I have no clue about how to start and get incorporated into a group. Also this may sound dumb but do you think any of these places would shoo me because I'm female? I am not sure if that's a valid question. Is there any books that i could get to read up more on buddhism and the practices and branches etc? I feel like I should have really good background knowledge on this before trying to undertake the task. Any advice?

4 Answers

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Namery's" answer is incorrect. There is no "idol" in Buddhism, as Buddha is not seen as a god nor as an idol with special powers. And bowing is how Asians show respect, even to their own parents.

    Where to begin with Buddhism.

    1. Call and find out some basic information:

    Call and ask if they have beginner's lessons. If they do, ask how much they charge.

    If they do not have beginner's lessons, ask if strangers are welcome to join them when they meet. And ask what costs might be involving in coming to their sessions.

    Compare any costs to your own pocketbook. Some places ask only for donations, and some have set expenses so they charge fees to cover those costs.

    But you have to be able to afford to go.

    2. Ask who the local head of their dharma centre or monastery is. If their head is an ordained monk or nun. If their head is not a monk/nun, ask what the head person's training in Buddhism.

    Also ask (if they give lessons), who teaches and what their training is.

    Ideally, you want a center that has a local ordained monk or nun as their head, and also as their teacher. Second-best is a centre that has a "spiritual director", who is someone who lives elsewhere but comes and visits once or twice a year, and is available to answer questions from the centre.

    3. Check out times and transportation matters. No sense planning on going somewhere if the time is one you cannot make. Or if you cannot get there by bus or car.

    Just go.

    No, those places will not "shoo you" because you are female. As a matter of fact, in the Western dharma groups I have attended, there are 3 or 4 times as many females going to sessions and classes as there are males. And since it is the membership that supports the centre, and any monks or nuns associated with that centre, the centres would die out if they shooed off women.

    They will not try to convert you to Buddhism. I have never been to any dharma centre where they were nosy, or stand-offish, or ignored you, or (even worse) made too big a fuss over you. They all seem relaxed, pleasant and willing to just let you be there in whatever capacity you are comfortable with.

    As for WHICH branch of Buddhism, it doesn't matter much. Try out whichever centre is easiest and most-affordable for you. Give it a year. If you don't like it much, try out the 2nd best alternative. And so on.

    Understand that since you have not been raised in Asia, any Asian religion is not likely to fit you like a glove. There is likely to be a little mis-fit. But there should not be enough to cause you discomfort, and the benefits you gain from Buddhism should more than balance out an lack of total "fit". And ALL traditions of Buddhism work .. if you are diligent and have good instruction.

    Also, if you have patience; it can take anywhere from 3-8 years to actually start to change as a result of your Buddhism practices, although if you are not used to meditating, you might find a small immediate improvement.

    I have found a Tibetan Buddhist website that has a very good introduction on "what to expect" when you first come to their centre.

    As for reading, the best book I have found is this one, a book on mindfulness meditation in the Theravadan tradition. You can read it free, online.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    I recommend calling up all five and just ask them basically what they teach and what sets them apart. Don't be shy in saying you don't know much, they won't care. Go attend the one that strikes you as the best. Trust your intuition here, if it feels right, it probably is. Go ahead and start attending, and do what you feel comfortable doing. If after attending it it doesn't feel right, stop and try a different one.

    You being female won't matter, and the people you talk to will most likely be friendly and completely willing to accept a new person. In fact, they'll likely be very happy to have a new member. Buddhists are generally quite nice people after all. :)

    I wish you luck, and have fun!

  • 8 years ago

    if you don't want to visit, i think you can find out the phone number or email addresses of these temples. You can also do research online about Buddhism and it's ideas.

    You can be in many yahoo groups.

    Choose any groups at all - Good luck.

    Visit some of them:'s%20_firs...

    Buddhism in a line is just this:

    Not to do evil, to cultivate merit, to purify one's mind - this is the Teaching of the Buddhas.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    Remember, you must bow before an idol. If this is your choice, don't blame anybody else when you go to hell.

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