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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.

5 comments to Words of Advice for the New Buddhist

  • steve

    hello my fellow spiritual seeker!Keep going down the PATH that you are going keeping an open mind and checking things out for yourself to see if it works for you or seems to be true for you!

  • Tina

    Thank you all for your guidance! I will have to join twitter seems like fun!

  • Know that we are human and we are not perfect. Begin with meditation and practice patience and forgiveness everyday.

  • Milan

    I usually find that the easiest way to sum up it all up, without getting into technicalities and the like, is just simply “Compassion”. It comes to me, and maybe its just me, that to be compassioniate you need to be humble, patient, understanding, a constant drive towards knowledge of the world around you, realize your own faults, and more.