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5 years ago  ::  May 26, 2009 - 5:41PM #1
Beginnerkim
Posts: 2

Hello, Beliefnet Buddhists and readers alike. I am Kim, and I have a very simple, though, substantial, problem. I wish to convert to Zen Buddhism, but I am only 15, and my parents will not take me serious enough to take me to visit some local centers. They think it is some play so I will "come off as more asian". I could care less about this, I simply wish to devote myself to a religion I find comforting and agree with. Is there a way to officially convert at home? What can I say to my parents? What books should I start off with?

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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2009 - 1:18PM #2
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
Hi Kim,

Welcome to the Zen Buddhism board.

I'm in the process of moving to a new home, so this will be very short.

First, you don't need to officially convert. Just practice Buddhism.

Since you are interested in Zen, I'd recommend "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind", by Shunryu Suzuki. Suzuki had a gift for explaining Zen without the usual Zen jargon.

For a general introduction to Buddhism, I'd recommend "In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discorses from the Pali Canon", by Bhikkhu Bodhi. It contains passages from the Pali suttas that contain significant teachings, along with Bodhi's commentary.

Here's a link to meditation instructions from a Zen monastery web site: link -> meditation instructions

Maybe someone else can answer in more detail, or give other suggestions. :)

Good luck,
Ren
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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2009 - 4:31PM #3
Beginnerkim
Posts: 2

Thank you for taking time to reply and your suggestions. I will look into both books and the website posted.

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5 years ago  ::  May 27, 2009 - 9:22PM #4
snowfinch
Posts: 1

Kim,


I agree with Ren that Shunryu Suzuki's book, 'Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind' is a wonderful book. But be careful - it is deceptively easy to read! You need to pay close attention to what you are reading! A very good American Zen teacher, Norman Fischer, has some very helpful talks on this book here.


There is a fairly new site for young practitioners in the tradition of the Vietnamese Zen teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, which seems fairly active: Wake Up. Take a look at this, as it might be a useful support for your new practice. Also, look at the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a wonderfully gentle yet superbly focussed teacher. You can get a lot of his talks from the website of his practice centre, Plum Village. Link here. His book 'The Sun My Heart' is a wonderful introduction to this form of Buddhism, too.


Remember, Buddhism is a practice, a way of looking at life. It isn't, in its essence, a religion. There is no need, as Ren said, to convert. Just practice. Your parents, if you practive well, will see that it is a positive influence.


Good luck. And gashô.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jun 04, 2009 - 12:09PM #5
Jasballz
Posts: 22

May 26, 2009 -- 5:41PM, Beginnerkim wrote:


Hello, Beliefnet Buddhists and readers alike. I am Kim, and I have a very simple, though, substantial, problem. I wish to convert to Zen Buddhism, but I am only 15, and my parents will not take me serious enough to take me to visit some local centers. They think it is some play so I will "come off as more asian". I could care less about this, I simply wish to devote myself to a religion I find comforting and agree with. Is there a way to officially convert at home? What can I say to my parents? What books should I start off with?




 


Ok. What you can do if you like is start listening to Linkin Park if you like. JK, well I recommend Chaung Tzu by Thomas Merton, Zen Mind Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki, and Jesus and Buddha as Brothers by Thich Nhat Hanh.


 


Really all you need to do to formally "convert"


is take refuge in the three jewels:


 


I take refuge in the Buddha


I take refuge in the Dhamma,


I take refuge in the Sangha.>>


 


However, apart from you, where is the Buddha,


the Dhamma, or the Sangha? Thank you for being you,


without you, none of this would be possible.


 


My mom is Christian Pentecostal and has thrown out


all of my Buddhist books, I have had to at least spent 100$ on


Buddhist books, most of them from Thich Nhat Hanh.


That's good for me, because it refreshes my practise really,


she is like a zen master or something....lmao.


 


Seriously, once you start to practise seriously,


your family will thank you very much for it,


because when you practise, they practise.


What are you practising? At first you will


be practising being a Buddha.


How do you practise being a Buddha?


Sit full lotus, like Suzuki Roshi describes in his book.


If you can't do that, do what you can.


After you've gotten that down, if you're lucky, you


may discover something else. You.


 


Then you're practise may really transform the


lives of those around you and bring the


cessation of suffering to others.


Christian, Jew, Atheist, Moslem, Buddhist,


are all labels, it doesn't make a difference:


 


God answers the prayers of anybody,


and Buddha-practise is Buddha-practise for anybody.


 


You can tell your parents that you are just exploring


other faiths, really they can't stop you from sitting practise


or reading about anything. Dedicate your practise


merit to their wellbeing.


 


I recommend getting a bell from buddhanet.net to start and end your practise as well


as bowing at the end to dedicate your merit to the well being of your parents.


 


Thank you for your practise.


:-)~@(&

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 08, 2009 - 2:11PM #6
Sadmonk
Posts: 18

You can become a Buddhist by taking refuge in the 3 jewels.


I take refuge in the Buddha


I take refuge in the Dharma


I take refuge in the Sangha


I take refuge in the triple gem within myself.


(now your officially a Buddhist:)


You could tell your parents that you are open to learning about different


faiths and relgions. If they are not open to this, then you can do it on your own time.


Such as self study and practice.


I would recommend this book to get you started.


"The heart of the Buddhas teachings" by Thich Nhat Hanh

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4 years ago  ::  Dec 21, 2009 - 10:55PM #7
nnn123
Posts: 1,530

wonderful advice Sadmonk!

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