- To refrain from killing
- To refrain from stealing
- To refrain from lying
- To refrain from being intoxicated
- To refrain from improper sexual conduct
- To refrain from eating after noon
- To refrain from singing and dancing
- To refrain from sitting or sleeping on luxurious items or places
- I take refuge in the Buddha
- I take refuge in the Dharma
- I take refuge in the Sangha
READER COMMENTS ON THIS ARTICLE
Kindly please suggest me as how to prevent the conversion from Buddhism to Christianity. There are many problems being faced by the minority Buddhist in mizoram in converting from Buddhist to Christian. Suppose, a Buddhist family having 7 members and 2 members converted to Christianity and in the meantime that family faces lots of problems.
- Sudip Chakma
Do I really have to refrain from singing and dancing? My life's joy?
- Kate in Texas
Find the nearest Buddhist temple to you. Speak to the monks they will help you convert. If you don't want to do this you can always follow the religion without fully converting. You don't even have to fully abandon Christianity, you may find your experience of it helps you in life. Buddhism is very different to other religions e.g. it has no God or spiritual being. Try meditating daily (there will be online help for this) and read as much on Buddhism as you can to make sure you agree with all of the religion and do research on other religions to see what is best for you. And remember that there is no right or wrong religion as long as it makes you happy with life.
I was wondering the same thing, I love dancing, and have been training myself for like 2 years... I want to follow this religion because I want more happiness from life. I would hate to give up dancing though. If you figure out if we HAVE too, please let me know
- Andrew K
Well, there are millions of devout Buddhists in my home country of Thailand that love dancing, too. Even younger people, teens and early twenties who go out to nightclubs most nights still consider themselves Buddhists. I don't think you have to give up something you love doing, unless that thing becomes a crutch, or it becomes something of an addiction. When dancing comes before friends, relatives, and relationships, then you might need to start examining things. Oh, and meditation is nice, too. Find a little time to work it into your daily routine. It might help you get even MORE joy out of your dancing.
- The Buddha Garden
I am a very open minded and spiritual being. Although, I was "raised baptist" I have never really been able to accept the religion as a whole. Following the teachings of Buddha is not a religion to me, but more like a lifestyle. I thirst for peace, and I believe I can get that by following the teachings of buddha. Im not looking to convert, but accepting those vows is enough for me. :)
- Cierra S
I understand what you mean when you say that following the teachings of the Buddha is not a religion but more of like a philosophy or moral attitude. One could also say they are not Christian but follow the Golden rule, too. You are not alone in following the Buddha's teachings in your quest for inner (and outer) peace.]]>
- the Buddha Garden
I can understand your feeling. Though my parents are very open-minded, I have a very close friend who has continuously tried to convert me to Christianity, and I am afraid to express my interest in Buddhism, as I am afraid I will hurt him. But, as something like this is eaisier said than done, I will offer you my best advice outside of the situation. I would just be honest with them, tell them that this is not any form of abandonment, and that you are still their son/daughter. I don't know your parents, but if they are typically very understanding they will most likely accept you, depending on just how devout they are there may be some resistance at first, but this is normal. Good luck to you in your search and I truely hope your relationship with your parents only grows stronger.]
That is a tricky one. If that is your family then I suggest you speak with your family members and tell them how you feel. You should not prevent your family members from converting if that is what they truly want. Just make sure that your choice is best for you and the people around you. Consider good and bad outcomes before you make a choice.
Hello everyone. I was raised a Southern Baptist. (Christianity). I have felt like nothing with Christianity and God. I have done research, a lot of it too. I want to convert to Buddhism, but how? I have tried to look it up to figure out and nothing has shown up. Is it like Baptist? Do I have to be "baptized", or (some special blessing) where I can become a Buddhist? Please let me know. I feel I will be at peace with my self if I do convert. Not just that. The life style, cultural, attitudes, etc. Is not the only reason why I want to convert.
Thank you all and please get back to me soon.
Live life, long, and prosperous.
- K. Jones
I am 12 and I want to convert to Buddhism although my parents are pagans. How should I tell them? And also, are there any other important things I should know? I want to do this properly.
Uhhh... Maybe you should learn a bit more about Buddhism before you convert. Buddha did not claim to be god (in fact, he never even mentioned if there was or wasn't a god) and Buddhist do not believe Buddha to be god
- John D.
I want to convert to Buddhism and I have done lots of research on it but I am too afraid to tell anyone. My parents have no religion but I still don't want to tell them. My close friend is christian and in a strictly religious family. People at school are very naive and don't really accept people that are different to them. I have had mild bully problems in the past and don't want to start things up again. I have been vegetarian all my life and people won't even accept that. Singing is really important to me, my mum and my grandparents. Should I wait until I am older to convert?
I am 13 years old. Now i know that people are thinking.. "Shes too young!" But I am really into Buddhism. I would like to convert from Christianity. Ive studied it and know most thjings about it. But i am still in need. Please help me with this..
- T. B.
Hi there, and thanks for writing us.
Yes, it is a big decision about converting.
The best thing I can suggest though is to find either a local Buddhist temple or speak directly with a Buddhist monk or nun. In any religion there are a lot of complexities.
But really, you can be a "practicing Buddhist" in the meantime, since you will find that the Golden Rule of Christianity is basically the same as the Karmic rule of Buddhism "Do good, receive good; do bad, receive bad."
Can I also suggest reading a couple of books on Buddhism by Thich Nhat Hanh or Pema Chodron as I think you can learn a lot of useful things from Buddhism for everyday life.
Hope this helps.
- The Buddha Garden
Look for your nearest Buddhist temple. The time it takes to convert depends on you.
Thanks for your comment and your question.
As outlined in the article above, converting really isn't the hard part. And in my home country of Thailand (as well as in Thai temples here in the USA), no on really is concerned if you have "converted" or not. Everyone is welcome as long as they act respectfully to the temple, the monks, and to the other people attending.
I am sorry to hear that you feel your religious beliefs and practices, and your social values, might interfere with your relationships at home and at school.
I talk to lots of monks, as I usually go to our local temple EVERY Sunday to attend sermons and learn about the Dharma. They have told me many times that the important thing is to understand that all things are impermanent, and that attachment to impermanence causes suffering. Greed, anger, and delusion are the three poisons that cause suffering.
You don't need to give up singing, dancing, or other activities that you truly enjoy, unless one were to become a monk or a nun. And having friends and family who are Christian is not a problem as well. Just remember that the Golden Rule in Christianity is the same as in Buddhism. The Dalai Lama says; "If you want to make OTHERS happy, practice compassion. If you want to make YOURSELF happy, practice compassion." Jesus said, "Do to others what you want them to do to you." and in the Old Testament in Leviticus 19:18 "Forget about the wrong things people do to you, and do not try to get even. Love your neighbor as you love yourself."
- The Buddha Garden
There are many different lineages of Buddhism, so it is a little difficult for me to give suggestions outside of my personal area of expertise - which is Theravada Buddhism as practiced in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Burma and Sri Lanka.
You might be interested in first learning about some of the practical applications of Buddhism in our daily lives. I might suggest a book or two by Jack Kornfield, who was a monk for many years in Thailand before coming back to the USA, where he teaches about spirituality in our daily lives, along with teaching about meditation. Jack is very well respected as an instructor.
I would also look into some books by the Vietnamese Zen Monk Thich Nhat Nanh, who is very much respected for his ability to clearly convey many of the concepts in Buddhism on a very down-to-earth level. Another very popular teacher is Pema Chodron, who is also well respected for her ability to help people apply many of the Teachings of Buddhism to their daily lives in the West.
If you find yourself more interested in the history and more structured aspects of Buddhism, then please let me know and I will try to find some good references for you in English (most of the references I know are either original Thai language teachings, or teachings from Sri Lanka and India which have been translated into Thai.)
I really hope this helps and please let us know if you have more questions.
- The Buddha Garden
I am a mother of two boys and my husband and I are interested in Buddhism but, we live in a small Texas town that isn't open to Buddhism or any thing but, I want to start practicing and learn more about how to be a Buddhist. How can I do this when there is no temple near me?
- Texas Momma
There is a Monk in Alief (Near Houston).. Master Cau Chin, he's a very spiritual individual, very humble and has this amazing energy about him. He's caught the attention of thousands of people, he has had people go to him from all over the world, he has even had Oprah and President Bush seek him for a bit of enlightenment. Every Monday hundreds of people go to his temple (sit outside) and listen to him, his teachings and the testimonies that his forever faithful followers give. He uses his ability to help anyone and everyone that he can. Its quite an experience, I highly recommend that if you have the chance visit him at his office (you have to be there early because people line up from 4/5 in the morning and to especially visit his Temple - DO IT!! I saw him Tuesday morning, I woke up at 2 am to be one of the first in line to visit him, I was number 11 (he sees atleast 60 a day).. he told me things about myself and that he knew I was going through -a heartbreak but that I would be okay; things like that. It was pretty insane how spot on he is.
Congrats on wanting to convert to Buddhism, I did from southern baptist.
It is different. Buddhists won't chase you to the parking lot demanding you follow their dogma.
The wisdom about meditating in earlier posts is spot on. Do that and you will get insights to your questions.
The best wisdom I have gotten regarding others' acceptance came fron a quote from a
Jon Kabat-Zinn book: when I told everyone I was a Buddhist they all were upset, when I became a Buddha no one seemed to notice.
I wish you peace, friend. I was raised Roman Catholic but never believed. Too much hate towards fellow man. Namaste and good luck
~~~~~~~~ Good day friends,
I have been wandering for many years as a lost soul and have found Buddhism to be closest to what I believe. I have read Dr. Brian Weiss's book Many Lives, Many Masters, and the idea of past lives is simply incredible and I highly recommend it.
But to my questions:
Living in the bible belt (Charleston, SC) I find a lot of hate and resentment towards homosexuals because of religious belief that it (homosexuality) is a choice, which is just not true. I have read that Buddhism also views homosexuality as wrong, which i 100% disagree with. I simply refuse to take part in the judgement of another human being for something that nothing can be done about. I wish to hear multiple opinions on the belief system.
My second question is that of meditation or even past life regression. It seems my mind is far too active to reach a state of meditation or hypnosis, and I get nervous every time i feel myself drifting, afraid of what might happen. Though I look forward to the answers I seek, my mind simply will not quiet down enough for me to reach the state. I seek solutions on ways I might calm my mind down.
I wish you all peace, love, and joy on your journeys to enlightenment.
Buddhism is a great peaceful religion in the world - I'm very happy to see those who are converting- in india theirs is millions of people converting to Buddhism per year
I'm un happy as a Christian. I thought I might be worshiping the wrong god. Is there someone I can speak with about Buddhism
Hi there, Michael, and thanks for your email.
I am sorry to hear about your unhappiness and doubt.
There are MANY people to speak to about Buddhism, but I would just like you to know that there are many differences between the different schools of Buddhism.
Also, there can be quite a difference about which aspects of Buddhism are taught to which groups of people. By this, I mean that a Buddhist monk might talk about the metaphysical aspects of Buddhism when speaking to a group of people who were "born and raised Buddhist" in a Buddhist country, while they may talk about more practical aspects in daily life when speaking to a group of people who are from a non-Buddhist country.
My suggestion would be to go to the library and look for books by noted Buddhist authors, such as HH The Dalai Lama, as well as by Thich Nhat Hanh and Pema Chodra. Another favorite author of mine is Jack Kornfield, who was formerly a monk in my home country of Thailand.
After you get a little more idea of the different schools of Buddhism, then I would suggest you try to find a local temple and see if you can speak to the monks. It might be difficult; at a few of the Thai Buddhist temples near our area of Northern California, most of the monks don't speak ANY English.
Alternatively, there are many "groups" that mean as well on a semi regular basis. You might look for meditation groups or Zen groups that meet in your area. You might find groups in your area that discuss karma or dharma.
But the important thing to remember is that the "Golden Rule" is pretty much the same amongst all religions, and that is "Do not do unto others that which you would not have them do unto you."
I really hope this helps.
- The Buddha Garden
You don't need to convert. Actually Dharma is to imbibe the teachings in self. So those who are practicing the above principles in day to day life, he/she automatically become Buddhist. As simple as that. So no need of conversion. Conversion is not a ritual but practice. Thanx
Can I suggest 4 books? You may find interesting. I am from Burma. (A Map of the Journey) (Snow in the Summer) ( Life is a school/ My Mind is my Friend) (Dealing with Negativity) by Sayadaw U Jotika. You can download some from internet
- May Than Oo
Buddhism just requires you to follow the five precepts. The monks are only held to the more rigorous task of the 8 fold path. We, as the Laity are just in charge of doing what we can to end suffering. As far as the part about not dancing and singing, it's more of not losing yourself to the pleasure. It's taking the middle path, or path to moderation. Buddhism doesn't necessarily need to be practiced at a temple, you can read the texts and if you're a convert buddhist you can meditate. At the end of the day, buddhism can be cherry picked for the ideas and thoughts people follow. The ultimate goal remember is to end suffering and to aid in the journey for fellow man kind. Sending good vibes to all of you
For those people asking for reading material, I've found these writers helpful:
Thich Naht Hanh
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Lama Surya Das
Stephen Batchelor (who provides a very unique, atheistic, non-supersitious view)
Sam Harris (another atheist who practices mindfulness meditation)
I am a born theravada Buddhist from Sri Lanka and I can tell you that unless you are a monk, any buddhist can sing or dance or enjoy the life at any time. Buddhism doesn't refrain you from enjoying the life. but refrain the five conditions specified at the beginning of this article.
You do not need to be a vegetarian. you can eat any meat you like provided that you are sure that the particular animal or fish is not killed for your meal.
~~~~~~~~ It can be confusing because different lineages of Buddhism have different beliefs.
In the Theravada school of Buddhism prevalent in southeast Asia, we don't really believe in an Omnipotent God. We do believe in Devas ("Shining Ones") and they are similar to the Hindu gods and Goddesses. the main difference is that in the Theravada school of Buddhism, we believe that they are subject to the laws of Dharma and Karma, while I do not believe that the Hindu followers of those deities regard them as such.
It would be fair to say that in many lineages, there is a belief that no being can "save" us, and that we must all work for our own "salvation" through our own acts. On the other hand, in some lineages, there is a belief in salvation through a divine being.
It's sort of like Christianity. One could follow the Church of Later Day Saints or the Roman Catholic Church or the Seventh Day Adventists and still be a Christian.
I hope this helps.
I should really emphasize that most Buddhist lineages I know don't have a way to "formally" convert. This might seem strange.
In fact, in Thai language, there isn't even a way to say, "I am a Buddhist." Instead we say something like this: "I count on the teachings of the Buddha," or maybe it could be translated as, "I rely upon the religion of the Buddha"
The bad news for you is that you have a lot going on in your life, so it may seem like you are being overwhelmed. The good news is that the "rules" of Buddhism are easy to understand and easy to follow. For instance, this is what the Dalai Lama has said about his own religious rules and beliefs:
"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple the philosophy is kindness."
As for being a vegetarian, I think some Buddhists are (maybe the majority are Chinese Buddhists???) but most aren't. Even in Thailand it is hard to find vegetarians. And as one monk here in California said to me, "If you eat vegetables, aren't you destroying the homes of all the insects and small animals that live and feed off of them?"
You could find some local temples and go in and talk to the people there and maybe see if you can talk with some of the monks there. But remember that there is such a diversity of practices in Buddhism, what you see and hear at one temple might be different from what they do and teach at another temple.
In the meantime, I really recommend that you look at reading a book or two from Pema Chodron or Thich Nhat Hanh or HH the Dalai Lama, or my friend Jack Kornfield.
- The Buddha Garden
Buddhism just requires you to follow the five precepts. The monks are only held to the more rigorous task of the 8 fold path. We, as the Laity are just in charge of doing what we can to end suffering. As far as the part about not dancing and singing, it's more of not losing yourself to the pleasure. It's taking the middle path, or path to moderation. Buddhism doesn't necessarily need to be practiced at a temple, you can read the texts and if you're a convert buddhist you can meditate. At the end of the day, buddhism can be cherry picked for the ideas and thoughts people follow. The ultimate goal remember is to end suffering and to aid in the journey for fellow man kind. Sending good vibes to all of you.
Useful article. I think there should be some correction in this article. I'm a Buddhist and live in Sri Lanka. Normally we follow above mentioned five precepts (refrain from killing, stealing, lying, being intoxicated, improper sexual conduct). If we need practice more deeper, but without being a buddhist monk, we can follow the other additional two precepts (Refrain from eating after noon, singing and dancing, sitting or sleeping on luxurious items or places). So in poya days (According to buddhist calender) we do follow above other precepts (5+3) Normal days we only follow the five precepts. Additionally there are 10 precepts.