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Switch to Forum Live View Are You Practicing Buddhism in the U.S.?
7 years ago  ::  Aug 23, 2011 - 3:36PM #1
Posts: 9
I am a young woman from the U.S. considering converting from Christianity to Buddhism. I already practice meditation, mindfulness, general prayer, spiritual practices, etc. There are several beliefs and rituals that I strongly agree with, however, there are a lot of things that are challenging. 

Being raised in America, it's in our nature to be greedy, impatient, busy, judgmental, cruel, arrogant, oblivious, etc.

I have been researching Buddhist beliefs and lifestyles:
-Not eating after noon until sunrise the next day
-Right speech; gossiping, speaking too often, judging, etc.
-Abstaining from sexual misconduct.
-Avoid using perfumes, luxurious bedding, etc.
-Controlling one's desires.
-Meditating and chanting daily.

Those are the things that I find would be most challenging, but I am willing to gain control over most of them.

Are any of you from America and practicing Buddhism? Do you practice everything or just the things that you agree or disagree with?

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 24, 2011 - 12:16PM #2
Posts: 1,420

Aug 23, 2011 -- 3:36PM, Aquella wrote:

I have been researching Buddhist beliefs and lifestyles:-Not eating after noon until sunrise the next day-Right speech; gossiping, speaking too often, judging, etc.-Abstaining from sexual misconduct.-Avoid using perfumes, luxurious bedding, etc.-Controlling one's desires.-Meditating and chanting daily.

Most of these are rules for monks and nuns. Lay Buddhists aren't expected to follow all of them.

All Buddhists have the five precepts:
1) don't take life
2) don't take what isn't given
3) abstain from sexual misconduct
4) abstain from false speech
5) abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness

Some groups have additional rules for lay people, but these five are the rules taught by all Buddhist groups. Also, the definition of sexual misconduct varies from group to group and from individual to individual. And many Buddhists drink alcohol.

I hope that helps.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 24, 2011 - 12:43PM #3
Posts: 9

Yes it does, thank you!

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7 years ago  ::  Sep 17, 2011 - 6:26PM #4
Posts: 413

Hi, Aquella.

To answer your initial question, I'm an American living in America and I practice buddhism. Ren's point about the difference between lay practitioners and monks/nuns is a good one.

Also, keep in mind that the practice of buddhism is not about extremism - even in buddhist practice. :)

For example, take clothing. Buddhist thought suggests that we shouldn't invest too much time, energy and money in our rainment, as it's a poor use of resources and can lead to attachment and self aggrandizement. But I work in a typical American professional setting, and showing up in a pentient's robe would shock and distract my co-workers, and draw lots of attention to me. In my opinion, that's not a very buddhist thing to do. Instead, I wear somewhat typical business clothes in simple, timeless styles and colors. My goal is not to stand out, either by being well or poorly dressed. I want my clothes to be just clothes, not a topic of discussion.  Since I've started this practice, I find that people at work tend to be more relaxed and open with me...there's no competition with  other women, and no (well, less) sexual undertones with men.

I'd recommend looking at most buddhist practices as recommendations with examples. Look for the intent of the practice and try to incorporate it into your life. That's a good way to start. If you find that there are practices that seem important, and you just can't make them fit, well, then you have larger challenges.

Best to you,


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7 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2011 - 2:01PM #5
Posts: 1,552

here are a list of Zen Centers in the US (and elsewhere as well):

Zen Centers Guide

I think you find every range of practice, from celibate monks and nuns, to lay practitioners who practice with great intensity, to people who just meditate occassionally.

If you are interested in pursuing Buddhism, you might want to contact a Zen Center near you, visit, talk with the monks and nuns....


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