Why did you choose 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.

Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Red Faced Buddha » Sat Oct 06, 2012 4:25 am

mrbambocha wrote:Hi.
I would love to hear why you made your choice for Buddhism, to get some perspective.

Why did you choose Buddhism?
Why do you think it is the right path?

Well,because it makes sense for one.The Middle Way is pretty reasonable,you don't hear religious teachers telling people not to go to the extremes,and certainly not in 500 B.C.Second,it teaches that man is capable of reaching Nirvana without having to worship and pray to God,gods,etc.
On to your second question,yes I do think it is the right path.However,I don't think only Buddhist can reach Nirvana.Anyone who is kind,has right views,helps other people,etc. can find enlightenment and become a Buddha regardless of his religious views.
A person once asked me why I would want to stop rebirth. "It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want to be reborn."
I replied. "Wanting to be reborn is like wanting to stay in a jail cell, when you have the chance to go free and experience the whole wide world. Does a convict, on being freed from his shabby, constricting, little cell, suddenly say "I really want to go back to jail and be put in a cell. It sounds pretty cool. Being able to come back. Who wouldn't want that?"
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby PorkChop » Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:04 am

Met chinese buddhism and taoism through kung fu back in the mid 90s, about when i was starting to become disenchanted with catholicism (ironically, i was going through confirmation class at the time).
In college i tried to get more serious, picked up "Entering the Stream" a book where most flavors of buddhism are represented by their more prolific authors.
I wrote it off because I thought it was encouraging nihilistic robots - i guess I didn't get it.
On again off again relationship with Catholicism kept me looking around.
Spent a significant amount of time with Germanic Heathenism around 2004; but gave it up when i saw that whatever loose organization of practitioners popped up would immediately get infiltrated with white supremacists. In the end there just wasn't enough documentation left to practice and enough of an organization of practitioners to practice with.
Went back to Catholicism after a particularly bad breakup in 2006, found myself trying to make others happy, trying to live up to other peoples' expectations, found myself trying to get the girl back, and then found myself praying to God to punish her... realized that it just wasn't the right path for me...
Met my wife, who's a non-denominational Christian (parents are SGI) in 2007. Vacillated between the Catholicism my parents expected of me and her coffee-shop style Christianity for a while, not really being fed by either.
Tried to read the Bible a few times cover to cover before finally coming to the realization that the religion as a whole held absolutely nothing for me.

Last year sometime I found Joseph Campbell and Robert Thurman. Both are/were amazing speakers and I love listening to both of them.
Robert Thurman helped me realize that I was wrong in my initial assessment of Buddhism.
Meanwhile, I was training muay thai full time again and my coach is a pretty "devout" Theravadan from the Thai/Lao tradition.
Got sick with some staph infections this past June (still ongoing) and had a lot of time to read.
Picked up copies of the Bhagavad Gita, Upanishads, and a bunch of Buddhism books- also broke out the huge collection of Buddhist books I've accumulated through the years.
I changed gyms during a temporary lull in the infections and found a boxing coach who was active at a Vietnamese Tian Tai/Pureland/Thien temple.
Started attending the English services with him.

It kind of became a choice between Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism.
My monist tendencies drew me towards Advaita Vedanta, I think the Upanishads is a beautiful piece of literature that all monotheists should read.
In the end I found the teachings of Buddhism to be more profound, the instruction and practice in Buddhism to be much more available.
I like practicing at the Vietnamese temple, but I found that the speakers who really spoke to me were from the Tibetan Gelug tradition (Robert Thurman, Ven Thubten Chodron, Ven Robina Courtin, FPMT, etc).
A few weeks back I attended a teaching by Geshe Soepa at a student-lead Lam Rim group.
I really like the vibe I get from the Lam Rim folks.
I'm going back to Lam Rim class tomorrow in fact, and I've been looking forward to it all week.
I haven't taken precepts/vows yet, so I don't know if I've really "chosen" Buddhism, but I do plan on doing so in the near future.
I still plan on attending services at the Vietnamese temple, at least until I have to make a decision.
I think I'm finally done shopping around...
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Steveyboy » Tue Oct 09, 2012 7:21 pm

Andrew108 wrote:Stewart and others, I'm having a go at him because he references Tsem Tulku in nearly every post he makes. I think this is cultish.
As to why I chose Buddhism well then my answer is that Buddhism represents the truth and I have a relationship with the truth. I don't have an agenda just an interest in the truth. I follow the truth and that's why I chose Buddhism. Within Buddhism there are often different types of truth. So it's not always that simple. But in an honest way, and working with teachers I trust, I have established the truth. So I'm very happy and relieved. Thanks.

Well, that's interesting. I think that's how some people think of Tibetan Buddhism in general, especially in regards towards Guru devotion. Unlike you, I find devotion and lowering one's ego for the benefit of others a more compelling way of practice. I apologize if I had misrepresented Tsem Rinpoche or the organisation in any way but I think that I have my right in expressing my faith just like you have in yours. I understand what I have expressed may not appeal to everybody and that's why I am alright with your opinion.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby dzoki » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:01 pm

I chose buddhism, because I felt that I need a support, a direction to my life. So when I was around 16 I started to read about different religions, especially their aproach to morality and ethics. I found Buddha´s five precepts to be the most sensible and natural system of ethics. Because precepts is something I myself would decide to take and I would decide freely, there was no angry god commanding me to do that or not do that. So I would be the only person responsible for what I do.
Plus I didn´t like the idea of God, or multiple gods (as creators, or apsects of creator), my whole family were at that time dialectic materialists - including grandparents on both sides, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. so I was brought up thinking how stupid all the people who believe in God were. Since Buddha said that there is no creator, I also liked this aspect.
Also example of Buddha as a person and teacher. I was and always am touched by his compassion and kindness and his wisdom in every situation. Kalamasutta was actualy one of the first texts I read and to this day I consider it one of the most importat teachings which sets Buddhadharma apart from all the other spiritual systems and religions. Once I read it I knew, that this is the teaching I want to follow.

I think Buddha´s teaching is a correct path for me, because aplying it gives me joy and a sense to my life. Everything in my life just confirms the truth of it, the impermanence, the grasping, the emotions, the arising of suffering, peace, hapiness, mindful presence - all of these things happen everyday, so there is not an instant where I would see that Buddha´s words were untrue.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Zenshin 善心 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 11:59 pm

there are two ways to answer this question. the first way, i can tell you about my history and background and why i chose Buddhism.

but as a nembutsu-sha (and maybe this could apply to other traditions too, i don't know enough to say for sure) i feel it would be dangerously arrogant and presumptious of me to say "i chose Buddhism". rather, everything that has occured to me in this life has led me to this point right now. as such, i am entirely indebted to the love, support, guidance, compassion and teachings of those i have encountered throughout life. it's not 'self' but 'other' that led me to this path. all i can do is mouth the nembutsu with a heart full of joy and gratitude.

All beings since their first aspiration till the attainment of Buddhahood are sheltered under the guardianship of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who, responding to the requirements of the occasion, transform themselves and assume the actual forms of personality.

Thus for the sake of all beings Buddhas and Bodhisattvas become sometimes their parents, sometimes their wives and children, sometimes their kinsmen, sometimes their servants, sometimes their friends, sometimes their enemies, sometimes reveal themselves as devas or in some other forms.

- Ashvaghosa, The Awakening of Faith

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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby TaTa » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:12 am

I dont think i have choose it in the sense of peeking it up from a variety of religions. I was one of those persons who never asked him self the big questions, neither a religious kind of guy. I always thought that all the metaphysical stuff was bullshit and always view life in a materialistic way, only believing in what i can see.
One day for no reason i decided to search the word "buddhism" in wikipedia and it all made sense to me, i was impressed. About half a year later i borrow some books from a friends parents about buddhism and read them while on a 1 month solitary vacations. I decided to try meditation and beeing a pothead like i am i found it cool that i can get high without drugs. Of curse in very little time i realized that the potential of this was amazing and soon my whole view on life changed radically. I have been meditating for a couple of months and studying. The results came in no time and my life improved very quickly. It all feels really natural and im pretty sure that ill stay in this path my whole life.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby ram peswani » Sat Oct 13, 2012 3:05 am

I had hundreds of questions in my mind about God, purpose, evolution etc.
Reading and discussing could not answer these questions to my satisfaction.
So I chose meditation to get the answers.

Meditation started giving me answers and the end result is that I am totally hooked to Guatam Buddha. For me it is a true science of evolution. I have got all the answers. Also it gave me the method of right existence free from pain and miseries. And the best thing is that it has been giving me perfect results.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby bosatsu86 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:18 am

Buddhism takes a very realistic approach on life, tells us we are suffering, but teaches us the key to embracing that suffering and enjoying life for all of its beauty and imperfections. Like many others here, I was also raised in a Christian (Well, perhaps not exactly: Jehovah's Witness, who teach they are not Christian like many other faiths) and found in interacting with other adherents that there were few truly happy individuals in the organization. Most would smile and happily make small chat with everyone, but beneath the surface there was a sense of misery and resentment toward the faith. I certainly felt that way myself. After deciding it was not for me and quietly disconnecting from the faith, I spent years reading religious and spiritual literature, hoping to find something that would speak to me. In 2010, I came to Japan to study Japanese on an exchange and have remained here ever since. Being a largely Shinto-Buddhist society, I've had many opportunities to explore Buddhism. It's only been within the past year that I have truly began to practice Buddhism, so I am still very much an amateur, but I hope to explore the many wonderful resources on this board and connect with many of the fellow members here. :)
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby philji » Wed Dec 18, 2013 9:57 am

From age 18-40 plus involved with Hindu teachers, both devotional and advantage. This just seemed naturally in the direction of Buddhism. The final thing making me explore further is seeing the 17th Karmapa when he first came to Dharamsala at age 15 . I was impressed and wanted to know more.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Door » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:09 am

mrbambocha wrote:Hi.
I would love to hear why you made your choice for Buddhism, to get some perspective.

Why did you choose Buddhism?
Why do you think it is the right path?

I chose Vipassana because I could immediately feel the benefit. I saw the underlying mechanism for the whole path. That when bad emotions are if I am aware and equanimous with them they pass, and when they pass in this manner they pass for good.

Now it wasn't always pleasant, in fact it can bring up a lot of suffering but that is how the emotions leave.

More importantly I went through the exact stages and experiences that the Buddhist texts describe, the jhanas and the nanas, aka stages of insight. I also have talked to others who have underwent the exact same thing.

There are many wonderful methods created by many saints and awakened people by which one can reach enlightenment. Yoga, the Advaita tradition, Dzogchen, ect. However, they pale in comparison to the techniques taught by the Buddha, ie Vipassana meditation derived straight from the Satiphattana Sutta, the foremost Sutta regarding meditation retreat.

Dhamma.org , Check it out
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby TRC » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:23 am

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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Jainarayan » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:56 pm

Well, maybe it's time I came out of the closet and admitted I've left Hinduism behind and adopted Amitābha Pure Land. While I do believe in the Hindu deities, I don't think they are 'God'. I think they are supra-mundane beings, on a higher plane, in a different dimension than we are. In fact as far as a belief in God I'm back to what I was for a long time... an agnostic deist. It actually doesn't matter to me if there is a God or not, because I find dwelling on it to take away from the Three Jewels, 4NT and 8FP.

So why did I abandon Hinduism? I became increasingly disillusioned and focused on the rituals, dogma, and superstition of Hinduism (sorry to offend any Hindus present). If I wanted that, I'd have stayed Christian (sorry to offend any Christians present). So why Pure Land? Quite simply, it appeals to me. To be mindful of Amitābha Buddha and call on him for rebirth in Sukhāvatī, take refuge, and practice the Eightfold Path, Six Perfections and Five Precepts is easy-peasy, being the lazy schlub that I am. It's about living a way of life, not practicing a religion.
Worthy, wise and virtuous: Who is energetic and not indolent, in misfortune unshaken,
flawless in manner and intelligent, such one will honor gain. - Digha Nikaya III 273
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Snovid » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:48 pm

Why did you choose Buddhism?

I do not know
I think Buddhism has chosen me ;)

I like Buddhism because it the latest discoveries of quantum physics
confirm the truth of the words of the Buddhas.

But I do not consider myself a Buddhist
I just enjoy Dzogchen, Bon and esoteric Tantra because my main interest is the mind
awareness and posthumous fate.
I am from Poland I use google translator I do not know English
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:56 pm

1) A convincing explanation of suffering, why it is, and how to end it.

2) Doubts I always had about materialist conceptions of the world

3) I used to always get this nagging "you are in a dream, dude" feeling, which I always brushed off, until discovering that in fact, there was something to those inclinations.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby padma norbu » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:09 pm

The more I read, the more impressed I was with it's logic. Nagarjuna's " Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" really blew me away and I could never believe in anything but the Buddhist outlook after that.
"Use what seems like poison as medicine. We can use our personal suffering as the path to compassion for all beings." Pema Chodron
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:16 pm

Purely by accident.
I thought I was getting into nudism
but by the time I'd realized my mistake,
I had already taken refuge and it was too late to turn back.

(No, actually, I had always been drawn to it, even as a child. When I was in my 20's and finally had an opportunity to actually 'become' a Buddhist, I didn't hesitate. Many of the things buddhism teaches I had already thought about a lot when I was very young. Eventually, a chain of circumstances put me in contact with a great teacher, and I have always felt very fortunate for the opportunities I have had to practice and study).
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby Punya » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:27 am

In my late teens I was definitely looking for something but the buddhist book I bought didn't convince me (there weren't a lot of good books commercially available at that time) and I then got on the whole career, marriage, children rollercoaster. A serious lack of good karma really.

Fast forward a couple of decades and I started looking again. This time what was being said in the books was resonating and even though I had some reservations about sexism (no, I'm not going there) it just kept pulling me in. I didn't say this in a previous thread but I think it was really Cave in the Snow that finally convinced me. From the beginning I kept metaphorically bumping into a particular teacher and years later I was finally able to fly interstate to see them teach. From the first moment I was hooked.

Why do I think it's the right path? I just know. It took me a couple of years identify as a buddhist but I've never wavered since.
Just as the trunk of an ordinary tree
Lying in the forests of the Malaya mountains
Absorbs the perfume of sandal from the moist leaves and branches
So you come to resemble whomever you follow.

~Patrul Rinpoche, The Words of My Perfect Teacher
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby elf girl » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:21 am

My parents were both raised Catholic, and because of this I was raised secular :P

But because I was raised without religion, I feel I had a natural curiosity about it. Much of my family is very devoutly Christian, and I joined them a little for some exploration in my very young years. Nothing they said really made any sense, because I often have an analytical mind.

But when I happened upon Buddhism, everything just made sense. A religion that encourages people to question and experience their Truths for themselves! I'm still learning of course, but the deeper I go the more right things feel. Harmlessness, the causes of suffering, loving kindness... it all just speaks to me on a very personal level.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby theanarchist » Fri Dec 27, 2013 7:39 pm

I believed in reincarnation before I came to buddhism.

Because it's the only religion that makes some sense and gives a reasonable explanation to why there is suffering in the world.
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Re: Why did you choose Buddhism?

Postby dude » Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:53 pm

Because the practice works.
I can see results in this life.
Oh and yeah because it's logical.
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