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Every Moment, Every Step: The Practice of Buddhism

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Being a Buddhist is not a matter of accepting a belief system or memorizing doctrines. To be a Buddhist is to practice Buddhism. This section discusses Buddhist practice -- what it is, how it's done. Here find basic information on how to begin walking the path of Buddhism; an introduction to ritual, liturgy, and other formal practices; and discussions of how Buddhism teaches us to deal with the moral and ethical problems we encounter in our lives.
  1. Becoming a Buddhist
  2. Formalities: Ritual, Meditation, Liturgy
  3. Living the Dharma

Becoming a Buddhist

Becoming a Buddhist is making a commitment to practice Buddhism by taking the vows of refuge. This commitment usually involves a daily meditation or chanting practice as well as following Buddhist teachings in one's day-to-day life. Although some Buddhists practice by themselves, most find it strengthening and rewarding to work with a teacher and a fellowship of other Buddhists.

Formalities: Ritual, Meditation, Liturgy

Many people interested in the teachings and philosophies of Buddhism are put off by the ritual activities, such as bowing to altars and chanting. Many Westerners interested in Buddhism avoid temples and dharma centers because they are uncomfortable with the rituals. This is a shame, because rituals can be powerful tools for a stronger practice. This section looks at aspects of formal practice, such as ritual, to help you understand why they are important and become more comfortable with them.

Living the Dharma

Buddhists are called upon to treat others with patience, compassion and loving kindness. How do we do that when people are not so lovingly kind to us? And does being a Buddhist mean being a patsy? The teachings of the Buddha do apply to our real-world, everyday lives and the choices we make, minute by minute, about how we conduct ourselves and relate to others. Actualizing the teachings in our lives is both infinitely challenging and infinitely rewarding.

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