Convert to Buddhism

Convert to Buddhism


I’ve
had some people ask me how to become a Buddhist or how to convert to
Buddhism. My answer would start with ‘Why would you want to do that?”

What
I mean by that is what attracts you to Buddhism? Is it meditation?
You do not need to convert to Buddhism to meditate. Just follow one
of the many guides out there, join a meditation circle or even a lay
Zen centre.

Dalai LamaIs
it the principle of Compassion? Again, anyone can practice
compassion. Some great Christian saints are examples of compassion.
People like Mother Theresa come to mind immediately when you think of
a compassionate being. All you need to do is practice it. Become
compassion. The Dalai Lama wrote numerous books on the subject and I
cannot pretend to be able to explain it better than him. I’ll refer
you to his books.




 

Look for
Dalai Lama in this Amazon search box to get a list of his books.

Why
do you want to be a Buddhist? Is it to be part of a community of
liked-minded people and feel their support? This could be a good
reason to convert to Buddhism. The Sangha is a very important aspect
of Buddhism. Buddha recognized that the community plays a definite
role in enlightenment and wrote extensively on the subject. He wrote
some guidelines for the communities of lay people and for monks and
nuns.

If
you want to join a community, you can go to my page on the
different
 schools
of Buddhism
 to
see which one appeals the most to you. You will then have to look for
a local chapter near you and contact them.

 

I
rencently started a 
World
Buddhist Temple Directory
 to help you find a place of
worship near you.
  

It
is still incomplete but please add your organization to it and people
in the future will find it easier to find you.

I often have
requests by email from people wanting to help them with their
conversion.  I am not affiliated to any organization so I cannot
help you.  This directory is the best place to find someone who
can.

Jason Quinn is a Zen AbbotDo
you feel the calling to become a monk or a nun? The best thing to do
in this case would be again to contact a local group and learn from
them before taking your vows.

 

 

Buddhists
are free thinking people. Buddhism gives a lot of freedom to everyone
to study, practice, and feel the teaching within yourself rather than
believing what someone tells you is true.

 

The Buddha is reputed to have said:

 

Do not believe in anything
because you have heard it.

Do not believe in anything because it is spoken by many.

Do not believe in anything because it is written in religious books.

Do not believe in anything on the authority of your teachers.

Do not believe in traditions just because they have been handed
down. 

But after observation and analysis, 
when you find that anything agrees with reason
and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all,
then accept it and live up to it.

 

 

 

In
Buddhism believing comes last. You first have to learn, study,
examine, test and then, when you find what really makes you tick,
start believing in it. I think it’s part of the reason why Buddhists
never wish to convert anyone to Buddhism. Conversion to Buddhism is
up to you and it is not to please someone else.

 

Buddhist communities are there to help you in your path

This
answer, even if completely true, might feel unsatisfying. Before you
go any further, I think you should review the main
principles of
Buddhism 
and study them. Applying them in your life makes you
a
follower of Buddha. Not in the sense of a religion but more in the
sense of following the teachings he gave us in order to do like he
did: awaken to a higher reality.

I
guess what I’m trying to say is that there is no need to follow the
Buddhist religion or to follow a leader or a certain school to attain
enlightenment and follow the Buddhist teachings.

If
in your practice you feel the need to take that step, then, by all
means, do it. Just be wary of charlatans and cult leaders who just
want your money.

Anyone
who has stayed in a hotel in Japan has probably seen a copy of 
The
Teaching of Buddha
.
First published in 1925, the book was originally edited by Japanese
scholars of Buddhism before WWII and distributed widely throughout
Japan. The first English edition was published in 1934. The
Reverend Dr. Yehan Numata brought out another English
edition in 1962, and in 1966, after the establishment of
the Bukkyo
Dendo Kyokai (BDK) (Society for the Promotion of Buddhism), Dr.
Numata assembled a committee of Buddhist scholars to substantially
revise and edit a new English-Japanese edition. 
The
Teaching of Buddha
 has
undergone minor revisions and numerous re-printings since. It is now
available in fourty-one languages and over 7 million copies have been
distributed and placed in hotel rooms in over fifty countries
throughout the world.

If you would like your free copy, please request one at the
Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai home page