How to Convert to Buddhism

Buddhism is one of the oldest religions in the world. Buddhism was founded around the fifth century BC by a man called Siddhartha Gautama. Although Gautama, being a prince, had everything he could ever want, was dissatisfied with his life. One fine day he left behind all his riches and a beautiful wife to understand why there is so much suffering in the world. The religion of Buddhism has three main branches. Theravanda or Southern Buddhist is the oldest and most popular of the three branches. The second branch Mahayana teaches individuals to be compassionate and selfless. The third branch Vajrayana is quite similar to the Mahayana branch of teaching except that it focuses on a wider range of spiritual knowledge. The purpose of Buddhism is to attain the state of Buddhahood or enlightenment.

Buddhism is an amazing philosophy centered on discovering and understanding the true nature of reality and not as we choose to perceive it. To convert to Buddhism is an extremely simple task. All one has to do is quiet ones mind and repeat thrice the mantras:

“I take refuge in the Dharma. I take refuge in the Buddha. I take refuge in the Sangha”

Now you are a Buddhist. The difficult part is to stay on the path of Buddhism. You must be willing to percieve reality of life as it is and not how you would prefer it to be. You will have to rub your conditioned mind and destroy all preconceived notions about life and stop discrimination between all living beings. You must accept and follow the four noble truths.

  • There is suffering in the world.
  • This suffering is the cause of all the problems in the world.
  • This suffering comes from our attachments and desires.
  • The way to seek and end to this suffering is through the Eightfold Noble Path.

The Eightfold Noble Path is:

  • Right Thought
  • Right Action
  • Right Speech
  • Right Vocation
  • Right Practice
  • Right Effort
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right Dhyanna

To further become a Buddhist monk or nun (bhikshu or bhikshuni) you should adhere to the folloing five principles:

  • To not take the life of another sentient life form i.e non violence.
  • To not steal or take what does not belong to you.
  • To refrain from sexual/ sensual mis conduct.
  • To not lie.
  • To not consume any intoxications like alcohol or any drugs.

Besides these requirements to become a Buddhist monk one must be accepted by an Abbot in front of a Sangha of the monastery you wish to join.

To be a Buddhist its not compulsory to undertake any official ceremony. After all Buddhism is merely a label, and the actual practice will differ from person to person. You must read Buddhist teachings and even the teaching of other religions to forward your spiritual awakening. Buddhism doesn’t have any hard and fast rules and anybody who considers himself a Buddhist is one. Dalai Lama once said that since there are six billion different people in the world there should also be six billion religions. Acceptance and tolerance are the foundations of Buddhism and hence this makes it an incredibly flexible and accommodating religion. The ceremonies undertaken are more of a reminder and guideline to a practitioner of the religion more than anything else.

Related Content:

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  2. How to Convert to Islam
  3. How to Convert to Catholicism
  4. How to Attain Enlightenment
  5. How to Create a Religion

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