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Becoming a Buddhist

Outside Asia, most people develop an interest in Buddhism by reading about it, and there are many excellent books about Buddhism available. Yet Buddhism learned only from books is only a taste, not the full banquet. Finding a teacher and community of Buddhists is easier than ever.
  1. Beginner Buddhist Books (8)
  2. Finding a Teacher & Sangha (7)
  3. Life as a Monk or Nun (4)
  4. Taking Refuge (3)

The Four Reliances
The Four Reliances are guidelines for students of Buddhism from the Mahayana sutras.

War and Buddhism - Discuss War and Buddhism
To Buddhists, war is akusala -- unskillful, evil. Yet Buddhists sometimes fight in wars. Is war always wrong? Is there such a thing as a "just war" theory in Buddhism?

Buddhism and Vegetarianism - Discuss Vegetarian Practice in Buddhism
The First Precept of Buddhism is do not kill. The Buddha told his followers not to kill, participate in killing or cause to have any living thing killed. To eat meat, some argue, is taking part in killing by proxy. Do you think vegetarianism is essential to Buddhist practice? Why or why not?

Secular Buddhism - Have Your Say About Secular Buddhism
"Secular Buddhism" is a hot topic in western Buddhism. But what is Secular Buddhism? And is it really a good idea?

The Practice of Buddhism
Buddhists often speak of Buddhism as a practice rather than a faith. What exactly is Buddhist practice?

The Buddha's Path to Happiness
We all want to be happy, but most of us look for happiness in the wrong places. Here is what the Buddha taught about happiness.

Chanting is a standard part of Buddhist liturgies that newcomers sometimes resist. Why is there chanting in Buddhism, and how do you do it correctly?

Reasons to Convert to Buddhism?
Why I can give you no good reason to convert to Buddhism.

Ritual and Buddhism
Can there be Buddhism without the rituals? Maybe, but the rituals do have a purpose.

Buddhism and Sexism
Is sexism intrinsic to Buddhism, or did Buddhist institutions absorb sexism from Asian culture? Can Buddhism treat women as equals, and remain Buddhism?

Feeding the Buddha
Offering food is one of the oldest and most common rituals in Buddhism. Food is offered to monks and ritually to deities and hungry ghosts. Here is a brief explanation of the meaning and purpose of Buddhist food offerings.

Giving Thanks for Our Food
How do Buddhists give thanks for food? Here are meal chants from three schools of Buddhism that are chanted before meals, expressing gratitude.

Hot-Button Issues and Buddhism
Global warming, Wall Street and embryonic stem cells were not concerns during the Buddha's life. On the other hand, there was war, sexism and abortion 25 centuries ago. What does Buddhism have to teach about these and other contentious issues?

Secular Buddhism
"Secular Buddhism" is a hot topic in western Buddhism. But what is Secular Buddhism?

Go on a Buddhist Retreat
Retreats are a great way to initiate a personal exploration of Buddhism, and of yourself. Here is advice about how to find authentic Buddhist retreats and what to expect when you participate in one.

"Protestant" Buddhism

Guide to Mahayana Buddhism in the West
Here is a simple guide to the several schools of Mahayana Buddhism that have been established in the West.

Buddhism in a Nutshell
A basic, beginner-level explanation of Buddhism for the spiritual seeker.

About Buddhist Monks
What is the life and role of Buddhist bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns)? Here is a simple overview.

Gods in Buddhism
There may or may not be gods in Buddhism, depending on how you define "god," but believing in them is not the point.

Did the Dalai Lama Endorse Gay Marriage?

Bowing as a Buddhist Practice
Bowing is a practice found in all schools of Buddhism. Why and how do Buddhists bow?

The Mindfulness Controversy, Part 1: Work and War

The Mindfulness Controversy, Part 2: Mindfulness Therapy

Buddhist Meditation and the Dark Night
The "dark night" is a disturbing or damaging meditation experience. How do these happen?.

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