Does Buddhism have a certificate authenticating that you are a Buddhist?


Does Buddhism have a certificate authenticating that you are a Buddhist?

by Lance Hamilton



In Catholicism, they have this baptismal certificate that states that you are a Catholic. Does this also apply to Buddhism? Thanks in advance.

My answer:

Hello Lance,

Please understand that some sects might be different, I do not know all of them but Buddhism doesn’t have a ceremony making you a Buddhist. It is a matter of choice: you either follow the noble eightfold path or you don’t.

Also, in Japan, you can lead a Buddhist life but most rites are for the deceased. Thus, when you die, they will give you a posthumous Buddhist name. Your family will inscribe it on a tablet and put it on the family altar.

The only certificate you get while alive, that I’m aware of, is what is called the “Tokudo” This states that you entered priesthood. It is usually transmitted from a priest to another.

In Nichiren Buddhism, people also get a scroll called the Gohonzon. This is an object of worship and the practitioners will put it on the altar and recite texts to it every day. It is not a statement of “being Buddhist” though, like the Baptism certificate. You must attain a certain level of worship to be granted your Gohonzon but you are still considered a Buddhist before receiving it.

do you have anything to add to this topic?
Do it in the comments below or ask your own question.

In compassion,


Comments for Does Buddhism have a certificate authenticating that you are a Buddhist?

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Apr 19, 2011

On becoming a buddhist.

by: Anonymous

The only thing I am aware of having been indoctrinated as a layman buddhist is the 8 fold path ceremony. We recite the sutra for the 8 fold path and then a Rimpoche or Master Lama clips from the crown of your head a small lock of your hair. After this is done for all who have chosen this path we are given a buddhist name. I can only speak for the Mahayana or Vajrayana studies from Tibet. But before I took this oath of the 8 fold path we had a retreat with many blessing ceromonies. As a Buddhist I can only say that even if you did not gain a teacher you are Buddhist either way in your Heart.We all are…

Apr 19, 2011

“Officially” Buddhist

by: Jeff A

With many Buddhist groups in the USA that have large numbers of non-Buddhists wanting to make some public declaration of following the Buddha’s teachings, there is a ceremony of “Taking Refuge in the 3 Treasures” (or 3 jewels).

In my Soto Zen tradition, this is called jukai, or taking the precepts. It is available to lay followers, and expresses devotion to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; as well as vowing to not kill, not steal, not lie, not use intoxicants, and to not be irresponsible in sexual relationships.

I have seen this type of right of passage ceremony in both Mahayana and Theravadin traditions here in the US.

Thank you for the information. I was aware of the ceremony but you don’t receive a certificate, do you?

Apr 19, 2011


by: Dana

Nichiren Shoshu does in fact have a ceremony making you a Buddhist and a member of this School. It is called the GOJUKAI ceremony.


Thank you for the information.
Do they give you a certificate?

Jun 15, 2011


by: Anonymous

nope, i actually didn’t receive any certificate in buddhism.. and thanks for the comments!.. i learned a lot from those..

Sep 14, 2012

Ti Sarana

by: Sensei M. Sekiyo Sullivan

In the Bright Dawn Center for Oneness Buddhism, we do a Ti Sarana (going for refuge) ceremony marking one’s commitment to the path.

The person going for refuge receives a dharma name, and we do give a certificate as part of that, not unlike the Baptism certificate shown. The certificate is signed by the sensei performing the service and also Rev. Koyo S. Kubose, Bright Dawn’s founder.

The service can even be done in a teleconference, if there’s not a Bright Dawn sensei near you. You can visit my organization’s website, (in Central Florida) or Bright Dawn at for more information.

*************Note From The Editor************

Thanks for the comment. Different schools have different traditions. My original answer though, was for the mainstream Japanese Buddhism tradition. Since most Japanese people do not even know what sect they belong too, they do not have anything to mark them as Buddhists, unless it’s the juzu -rosary- or the butsudan -home altar-

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