There is significant growth in the practice of Buddhism today. As a result, most people who discover Buddhism wonder if anyone can be a Buddhist. Or, in other words, if anyone can practice Buddhism. Hence, are there people who Buddhism is specifically for? Can the practice of other religions stop one from taking part in Buddhism? If you are searching for an answer to any of these questions above, you just at the right place.
Of course, anyone can be a Buddhist. The Buddha taught that when one gets the message of Buddhism, he should find out by himself the truth of the message. That is to say, one has to be conscious of what he believes in making sure it is true to him. Moreover, becoming a Buddhist simply takes “taking refuge in the Triple Gem”. And, taking a vow to uphold the “Five Buddhist Precepts”. Doing so can make anyone a Buddhist.
But then, if anyone can be a Buddhist, is Buddhism the true path for everyone?
Well, you can only decide for yourself if Buddhism is the true path for you. Therefore, all you need is to seek and know the core values of Buddhism. Thus, you need to learn the basic teachings of the Buddha. Also, find out the belief systems of Buddhists especially in modern times. Then, try to align these with your personal core values. If these teachings align with your personal beliefs, then, you can go further with the Buddhist path.
How Do You Know That Buddhism is For You?
The path of Buddhism leads to understanding and enlightenment. Hence, the ultimate goal of Buddhism is absolute awareness. Buddhists refer to this state as an awakening. Here, all human sufferings end.
When these start making sense to you. And, also, when you start getting a strong feeling to attain pure happiness, then maybe you should try the path of Buddhism.
Basically, the practice of Buddhism requires no struggle. Although, Buddhism teaches that anyone’s liberation lies in his very own hands. Yet, that does not call for struggling through the path of awakening. Instead, one should through the practice of meditation effortlessly walk through the path of enlightenment.
In addition, when you start with the path, you should be able to keep a light heart always. That is to say, you should be able to maintain happiness and feel fulfilled no matter the situation, good or bad.
Summarily, only yourself can figure out if Buddhism is for you. And, the best way to do so is to try out the practice. If it satisfies your values, then Buddhism is obviously for you.
What Did the Buddha Teach His Followers About Following the Path of Buddhism?
The Buddha pointed out to his followers the need to be objective about their beliefs. That is to say before they accept anything as the truth, it must appear to them as one. As a result, following a belief simply on hearsay basis does not apply in Buddhism. Also, neither is accepting teaching based on traditional values. Nor, even accepting because of trust upon the teacher.
Hence, the Buddha suggests that one has to observe things presented to him through the process of truthful inquiry before accepting. Basically, this means that one must open up his own mind in order to, first of all, understand the teachings. Afterward, if after the personal encounter he finds the teachings as the truth, then should he accept.
This is the main reason why the Buddha after his enlightenment only shared his teachings. Thus, he never sought for followers. Instead, he presented his findings to the people around. Most of all, he let them the freedom to decide if there is a truth in the findings. This also applies to the practice of Buddhism today.
In general, this is what Buddhists refer to as the way of inquiry. Thus, before deciding to follow the path of Buddhism, you may want to make a truthful inquiry first.
What Are the Basic Teachings and Principles of Buddhism?
Certainly, every beginner in Buddhism should at one point or another ask the question above. Of course, to conduct a proper truthful inquiry on Buddhism, one must understand the basis of Buddhism. It is only when you know the teachings that you can be able to know if it aligns with your personal values.
The teachings of the Buddha that formed the basis of Buddhism include:
- The Four Noble Truths (the truth about human sufferings)
- Noble Eightfold Path (the practice of mid-way that leads to the end of all suffering)
- The Triple Gem (Three Buddhist Jewel )
- Karma (the principle of cause and effect)
- Rebirth and Samskara
Buddhism is mostly about the philosophies listed above. However, for one who is willing to take a chance in Buddhism he needs to thoroughly study the Philosophy of Buddhism. Hence, he remains knowledgeable of the basic path in the practice of Buddhism.
Can the Practice of Other Religions Stop One From taking Part In Buddhism?
Buddhism is a practice that greatly tolerates other religious practices. Of course, Buddhists believes that one single teaching cannot really satisfy the depth of human spiritual needs. Thus, many religions are a manifestation of diverse ways to satisfy the various spiritual needs of humans.
Moreover, the Buddha taught the need to inquire truthfully before accepting any teaching. Hence, if one applies this teaching and finds any religion to be true to him, of course, he should follow it. More so, Buddhists do not canvass for followers. Instead, they keep an open alms and welcome anyone who at any point wants to be part of the community.
In addition, the Buddhist monasteries are open for anyone, whether Buddhist or not. The monks and lay devotees will always welcome anyone who comes in. Above all, they are always willing to help and assist you with any questions you may have.
In summary, being part of other religions does not stop one from practicing the Buddhist path. In fact, some people view Buddhism as a philosophy instead of a religion. As a result, they just take up the practice not minding the religious background. More so, there is no true conversion to Buddhism. That is to say, Buddhism does not require anyone to denounce his religion in order to be part of the practice.
Are There People Who Buddhism Is Specifically For?
The answer is NO! Buddhism is not a practice directed to any particular set or group of people. Basically, when the Buddha attained enlightenment, he started by sharing his findings with the people around. His first teaching was the truth about suffering. This is what he compiled in the Four Noble Truths.
Since suffering is abounding for all human beings, so also all human needs a path that leads to the end of suffering. This path is what Buddhism teaches in the Noble Eightfold Path. Everyone needs to attain absolute happiness in the end. As a result, Buddhism is for anyone who wishes to end suffering and be happy.
How Can I Practice Buddhism From a Location Outside Buddhist Nations?
Buddhism is not a practice that requires the convergence of practitioners in a place. Hence, you can practice from any location. Practicing Buddhism mostly entails following the teachings of the Buddha (the Dharma) and upholding the Five Buddhist Precepts. Of course, you can do this from any location.
Visiting the Buddhist Temples is mostly to seek guidance from the devoted Buddhist monks. You can as well get the information you need online from the many resources on Buddhism and the practice.
Generally, Buddhism teaches that anyone’s liberation lies in his own hands. Thus, there is no savior in Buddhist nations that will save you. In other words, just continue living out the Buddhist teachings in your daily life. Whenever you get the opportunity, then you can go for the symbolic ceremony of taking refuge in the Triple Buddhist Gem. This includes the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Certainly, this ceremony will grant you the recognition of an official Buddhist. However, it is just a symbolic practice.
How Can I Practice Buddhism in the Midst of Opposition?
This question comes when you stay with people who do not share the same belief system as you. Here, it could your family members or friends. As a result, they try to stop you from taking part in the practice that meets with your core values.
In general, it is only a lack of understanding that can lead to such a situation. Therefore, you do not need to struggle with them. Nor, do you need to start telling them that they do not understand you. After all, the practice of Buddhism shows in our lives. Much like upholding the Five Precepts which enhances your moral values. Thus, the Precepts says:
- Do not kill
- Refrain from taking that which belongs to another
- Avoid telling lies
- Avoid sexual misconduct
- Do not get yourself intoxicated. (Here, Buddhism is not against taking medicines made from alcohol, but avoid getting drunk due to pleasure)
Again, for meditation, only meditate at your free time. In other words, do not let your meditation time crash with your daily duties. Of course, you do not want distractions from external factors.
When you do things rightly, you should be able to practice Buddhism freely. Surely, people may just not like you for nothing. But, as you get closer to enlightenment, you will surely understand better. Moreover, do not forget to cultivate compassion for everyone.
What If I Have Some Buddhist Beliefs That are Hard For Me To Accept?
This is common among Buddhists of western society. They focus more on the meditation aspect of Buddhism and other moral obligations of Buddhism. However, some Buddhist doctrines such as rebirth do not appeal to most Western Buddhists.
All you should know is that Buddhism is a practice subject to objection. The Buddha noted that if at any point you find any Buddhist teachings to be false, present your findings. As such, the teachings will be reviewed.
More so, he warned, on the other hand, accepting without any objections. Hence, you can accept the teachings that you found to be true to you at the point. Give yourself time and continue with the path of enlightenment. Surely, you will understand all the Buddha taught when you attain enlightenment.
If I Decide to Practice Buddhism, Where Should I Start?
Becoming a Buddhist starts from the mind. That is to say, it is a call that comes from within. It involves rising with others in practice. The most basic thing to do is to learn about the practice especially by reading. And, of course, putting what you learned into practice in your daily living.
Note also that Buddhism does not involve changing the way you relate with others. Or, on the other hand, changing the way you dress or eat. Instead, it is a path to living. It is a journey towards absolute happiness. Hence, Buddhism has more to do with the way you take life in general.
To start practicing Buddhism therefore, you need to take a journey on How To Become a Buddhist
What is the Goal of Becoming a Buddhist?
The goal of Buddhism is for you to be truly happy in the end. As a result, Buddhism teaches the truth of life and existence. It acknowledged the existence of suffering. Therefore, it seeks the best means to end human suffering.
Attachments cause suffering. Consequently, Buddhism is all about getting rid of human attachments. Hence, one can live freely and happily. By so doing, you learn how to best control yourself effortlessly. Thus, taking charge of your mind and body. And, not letting your desires rule you.
The end of suffering in Buddhism is “Nirvana”. This state is the ultimate goal of practicing Buddhism. Thus, Buddhism, in general, is all about working to get to the state of Nirvana.
Do I Need to Join a Buddhist Community?
Obviously, for a beginner, joining a Buddhist community around you would be the best way to grow. It is true that you can get the information you need online through the internet. However, participating in the communal lifestyle of Buddhists is an experience worth being part of.
Moreover, you do not just know, but, also feel the true practice of Buddhism. Also, every Buddhist community will have a program that will help you adapt. They at some point in time visit the Buddhist Temples and special sites around the world.
Lastly, you are not forced to join a Buddhist community. However, know that you will enjoy being a part of the community. Hence, keep an open mind about it.
Am I Free To Tell Others About Buddhism?
For as long as you are not trying to convert them to the practice, it is very much okay to explain Buddhism to others. Moreover, you learned about Buddhism because someone was willing to help you out. As a result, do not hesitate to relate to others what you have learned about Buddhism. However, it is always better allowing them to ask you for the explanation by themselves.
When you finally identify as a Buddhist, it is now more of how much it shows in your lifestyle. And, less of how much you talk about it.
Which School Of Buddhism Can I Join?
Buddhism is a vast practice with many schools or branches. These schools of Buddhism have the same basic teachings. Although, there are many notable differences in their teachings. A community of Buddhists usually springs up from a particular school of Buddhism. Hence, before joining a community you have to find out the branch of Buddhism that gave rise to it.
As such, when joining a community of Buddhist, feel free to try out the different communities around you. That is to say, go for a few classes in each. By so doing, you will find out the differences. Then, you know which one that appeals to you most. You can then join them.
These differences are as a result of Buddhism meeting with various traditions and cultures. As a result, some beliefs from the cultures became adopted into the practice.
Last Thoughts On “Can Anyone Be a Buddhist?”
Buddhism is a practice that requires devotion and discipline. Also, there are many doctrines in Buddhism. Therefore, Buddhism is not a practice you can just learn once. It can take you a lifetime to really understand all the teachings of Buddhism.
However, the good thing is that Buddhism is progressive. Thereby, you grow as you practice.
This page tries to answer questions about becoming a Buddhist. Thus, whether you can be a Buddhist and the things you should know about becoming one.