Introduction to Buddhism

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Introduction to Buddhism

Postby Brandon » Sat Jan 04, 2014 11:33 pm

Hello!
As I wrote in my introduction, I am merely a newbie when it comes to the in-depth learning of Buddhism, thus I am somewhat lost as to where to start and how to go about it from there. Firstly, I'm not sure of the complete difference between the Theravada / Mahayana / Vajrayana traditions, thus I'm unable to identity with neither of the three. Following this, I found some, if you might call it, 'sub-branches' of these traditions such as Pure Land or Zen, these which I do not understand how they came about.

So after I discover which path of Buddhism to follow, where can I begin to actually 'fall in line' with the faith? Do I read the stories of The Buddha? The scriptures? Also, I also needed an introduction to meditation, such as a video or instructional text (I wouldn't mind a free e-book available online), as it is something I've wanted to do even before officially deciding to follow the Buddhist principles. I also understand there are different types of meditation, which I also am unaware of their differences and the different purposes it provides to the individual. I'm also not sure if chanting and meditation fall into the same category, meaning if one is done simultaneously with the other, as a form of worship to the Buddha. I don't want to bring up another religion, but for example in Christianity, they pray and ask for health, strength, guidance, etc. In Buddhism, how does this take place?

I'm sorry if my questions are too amateur. I'm really young and inquisitive and would like to get my journey started as soon as possible, so any informative responses would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much in advanced.

-Brandon :heart:
Brandon
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:46 pm

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:03 am

Hi, welcome.

To get you started, here is basic meditation instruction. Don't try to do long sessions, start with 5-10 minutes. Posture is very important, correct details here. You may not be able to do lotus/half lotus; that's OK, sit Indian style if you can, make sure hips are elevated higher than knees.

There's a beginner's thread here somewhere, I'm not sure what forum, but that's a good place to start. I'll see if I can find it. Buddhism is a huge subject, don't try to understand everything at once.

Enjoy your path, and don't forget to relax.
User avatar
justsit
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby justsit » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:32 am

OK, here is a thread with some beginner book suggestions. And here is a thread on some other beginner stuff. There are probably more, but that should get you started.
User avatar
justsit
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Jan 05, 2014 5:34 am

The book that started it all for me is available for free online at http://www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe.html
It's a basic, gentle introduction to meditation and some Buddhist ideas.

Just keep things simple to start, not worrying too much about accumulating heaps of new information.
Hope to see you around :)
Namu Amida Butsu
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 573
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby Door » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:14 pm

Firstly, I'm not sure of the complete difference between the Theravada / Mahayana / Vajrayana traditions, thus I'm unable to identity with neither of the three.


Don’t worry so much about this. A belief system is not required to travel down the path. The entirety of the path can be summed up into meditating and following a moral life. Buddhism is very scientific and non-sectarian in this way. It can be practiced by any one of any religion.

Following a moral life includes 5 precepts for lay practitioners:
• "Do not kill
• "Do not steal.
• "Do not engage in improper sexual conduct
• "Do not lie
• "Do not take intoxicants (drugs, alcohol, ect)

So after I discover which path of Buddhism to follow, where can I begin to actually 'fall in line' with the faith? Do I read the stories of The Buddha? The scriptures?


Like I said above the only thing you need to do to ‘fall in line’ with Buddhism is to meditate and follow a moral life.

To learn to meditate you should take a meditation retreat. This will teach you a meditation technique properly and will strongly engrain the technique into you, like practicing a sport and building strong muscle memory. It will provide the momentum required for your daily practice.

Meditating retreats, and having your daily meditation, this is Buddhism.

Here is a good organization which holds retreats across the U.S. and world:

www.dhamma.org

As far as books go, I suggest this, it is a free, simple and pragmatic:

http://static.squarespace.com/static/50 ... 785055665/


Good luck :anjali:
User avatar
Door
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:29 am

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby Jikan » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:50 pm

The point isn't to go shopping for the best tradition to identify with. Don't worry about that. I can say from experience it's a waste of time.

Instead, focus on finding a situation in which you can learn. Look for a teacher/temple where you feel confident that the teachings are put into practice, and where you are challenged just a bit.

Depending on where you are geographically, members of this very board can help you find such a situation, and can help you avoid some Bad News Crews.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5382
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby daverupa » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:56 pm

In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon

The Buddhist religion is massive, for many reasons. This book is one of the better introductions to the historically primary sources for Buddhism.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
User avatar
daverupa
 
Posts: 297
Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:52 am

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:19 pm

I agree with finding a teacher. If you are at a point where you are pretty certain you want to "try things out", there really is no substitute for flesh and blood people to interact with and teach you.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 2616
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA

Re: Introduction to Buddhism

Postby theanarchist » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:27 am

Jikan wrote:The point isn't to go shopping for the best tradition to identify with. Don't worry about that. I can say from experience it's a waste of time.

Instead, focus on finding a situation in which you can learn. Look for a teacher/temple where you feel confident that the teachings are put into practice, and where you are challenged just a bit. .



Isn't that shopping for the best tradition?

I suggest to go and find local groups to see if one of those traditions "clicks" with you. But beware, at the fringes of Buddhism there are few groups that look buddhist but have degenerated into something ranging from lifestyle buddhism light, esoteric mumbo jumbo to hardcore cults (at least that's the case with Tibetan buddhism, but I have also heard that there are Zen teachers with sex scnadals etc). I would be careful about these. If you are interested in a group/teacher, do a little goggle research to find out if it's a good, authentic one. If there is a huge controversy, I would be careful.
theanarchist
 
Posts: 577
Joined: Thu Dec 26, 2013 7:26 pm


Return to Exploring Buddhism

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: mikenz66 and 18 guests

>