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5 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2009 - 5:01PM #1
Under_The_Bodhi_Tree
Posts: 1
Hey my names Stephen,

I was just wondering would anyone have advice on how to tell my parents about my new found faith in Buddhism ? it would mean a great deal do me if you can help
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5 years ago  ::  Jan 03, 2009 - 7:14PM #2
LozangK
Posts: 34
Hi, Stephen, and welcome to the board!

I've met many young people online in your shoes.  The solution really depends on you and your circumstances; what kind of people are your parents, in terms of their personalities and religious beliefs?  I don't mean, of course, that you have to answer that question here, but it is something you should consider. 

I grew up with parents who were Christian by upbringing but whose approach to religion was more or less liberal.  My father was baptized but didn't start going to church until later in life--I was around 6 or 7 years old--and my mother was Catholic but joined my father's church, a Congregational Protestant church.  I attended church with my parents but they also sent me to a Catholic school from fourth grade through eighth, so I went to mass and Catholic religion classes.  Both of my parents later lost faith in organized religion some time before their separation and see it as a highly personal matter, considering themselves non-denominational Christians. 

When I was fifteen and no longer attending Catholic or Protestant school or services, I picked up a book on Buddhism and began exploring it.  The next year I was going to a Tibetan Dharma center and at age eighteen I took refuge with my lama.  When I first began being verbal about my religious or spiritual thought, my father agreed with my general sentiments but was uneasy about non-Christian beliefs with which he wasn't familiar.  While my mother was generally supportive, and even got to the point of asking to read some of my Dharma books, it took my father some time to accept that I had embraced certain beliefs that were different from his. 

If your parents are of a more fiery disposition when it comes to religion, the most important thing you have to remember is that it is always possible to practice Dharma, whether or not you are open with your parents.  But, if they are inclined to be open to such things, then it is never too early to initiate a dialogue with them.  The reaction you get from them may surprise you, as it surprised me, and it may take them some time to come around, but the important thing is that they understand that the reason why you are being open with them is that you trust them and respect their intelligence and opinions.  If, however, they are not ready for that kind of a dialogue, then it is better to practice quietly.

So good luck and welcome again to the board! ;)

LozangK
Beliefnet Host, Buddhist Teens
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