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Words of Advice for the New Buddhist

Question:

I am in the midst of a spiritual journey that has lead me to explore Buddhism.

So I would like to ask: If you could say anything to someone looking into Buddhism for the first time what would you say?

Answer:

I will now boil down all my experience with Buddhism into one pithy line that will quickly bring you enlightenment:

“Don’t argue with the one-eyed man.”

Of course, that’s a joke. If you got half the kick out of yesterday’s koan that I did, then you’re roaring with laughter right now. If you didn’t read yesterday’s post, then that makes no sense at all, and I’m going to have to look elsewhere for wisdom.

I asked some of the folks on Twitter (Yes, I spend way too much time on Twitter, but there are lots of great people there) what they would say to a new Buddhist, and I received lots of responses. I have edited some of them for grammar and spelling and posted them below. Most of them are quite a bit more serious than my answer, so hopefully one of these will resonate with you. All of them are excellent bits of advice:


@Alicat13 Don’t get confused by all the different schools, concentrate on the simple basics: the 4 Noble truths, Eightfold Path & Mindfulness.

@keithstudios What ever it is, there most be lineage to its base and not something someone pulled out of their… hat.

@hochmann I would say: “Buddhism isn’t what you think.”

@keithstudios Examine all that you read and hear – to ensure that it is the truth.

@balispiritfest Find the right teacher.

@keithstudios No one will be giving you anything and it a lot of work.

@thefleecebeast Have no fear and trust fully in everyone’s ability to help, accept everything as it appears to you and don’t worry so much.

@guruphiliac Buddhism is about discovery and uncovering an ongoing truth in us all.

@dianefischler Impermanence and clinging leads to suffering, the nature of all things is change. I guess that’s more than one, but there you go.

@omsah I would say that Buddhism is not a religion but a metaphysical practice.

@MWendyHaylett I would say Buddhism helps you to live an authentic life and enables you to see life “as it is.”

@guruphiliac You ARE the Buddha.

@mrteacup That knowing something about the history and culture of the places where Buddhism comes from is worthwhile.

@PapercutterJohn I’d say: read Thick Nhat Hanh’s “The Art of Power.” Awesome in it’s simplicity.

@Elevenser First time Buddhists: Not everything in your new mirror will be easy to look at, but some of it will be beautiful. Accept both.

@Vendettared79 The best thing is to look into your self before you start anything else.

@idtheory Don’t believe everything that you think.

@woodycrenshaw Read “Buddhism: Plain and Simple” by Steve Hagen. It will explain what you need to know. Oh, and everything is impermanent.

@yogadork You need to decide whether you will define it as a religion or a philosophy.

@Allyinspirit Slowly slowly * Be patient * Be true to yourself * Never compare your success or failure with others * Slowly slowly.

@MalindaBlue Namaste!

@emily21182 Read the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

@thefleecebeast Be natural.

@febeccaglia Find a Buddhist Center nearby, get some reading and do some research. There are different trends, as you know.

@CounterCultureP Lay down your suffering and find the path to peace.

@daj42 Simply that it’s a philosophy concerning the quality of one’s life, is inclusive, and relevant to the present.

@swamibaby Spend some time with it before you judge.

@vagabondvistas Read the book, “If the Buddha Got Stuck,” by Kasl. It is a very practical view of “Buddhism.”

@nathanpiazza Everybody hurts. Buddhism’s about experiencing life as a soul and not just as a body. All about peace and pragmatism

@mikebullock Read: ‚ÄúZen Mind Beginner’s Mind,‚Äù or check out Daily Buddhism podcast 43!

@zenchoices Are you satisfied with the consistency between your innermost thoughts and your outer behavior.

@jsab0 I’d make sure to mention that Buddhism is not a philosophy or belief system. It’s a practice, and a way of being.

@jakeberglund It is not a religion, it is a practice. it is not what you believe, it is what you do.

@kosmosisrad Buddhism is the end of trying to find fulfillment from the external world.

@bgdtcoaching Check out “Meditation for Beginners” by Jack Kornfield.

@bgdtcoaching Be patient, it’s all as it is.

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