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Switch to Forum Live View Very New - Where to start?
7 years ago  ::  Sep 12, 2011 - 4:34PM #1
Posts: 1
Hello! I've only very recently begun to learn about Buddhism and explore it. I was basically raised by agnostics who never strictly adhered to any religion or system of beliefs even though I was also exposed to Christianity, mainly through my grandmother. Nothing was ever forced on me, I think both of my parents pretty much left me and my siblings to decide for ourselves what to believe and what not to believe. Which I think was wise of them, yet also left me kind of floating in uncertainty.

I've never really found anything that clicked with me until recently when I started reading up a bit on Buddhism. I went into this not looking for a religion/philosophy or belief system, but truly just curious about Buddhism.

I have to admit, I have been very surprised by the fact that the things I've learned so far just felt right to me all around. What further has surprised me is the impact just what little I have learned, has already started having on my life! I can't even begin to explain how shocked I am. It seems so small and simple, yet just a couple of very basic things have improved my life!

Just some simple breathing meditation techniques (I'm not sure what the technical/official name is for that, if there is one), and applying some basic things to my daily life has provided some amazing results. (I actually was able to defuse an arguement with a family member and we turned it into laughter!! For me, that is a big, big thing!). I tend to be the sort of person who snaps easily at others and can be quick to anger, but already I'm learning ways to think before I speak and to try to approach things from a calmer, more compassionate place rather than reacting impulsively to any annoyance I feel.

Sorry for rambling on. In any case, I'd love to know some places to start to learn more about Buddhism. I understand there are different kinds of Buddhism and I have no idea which might best fit me, if any, but am willing and wanting to learn!

Any names of books or websites that might be helpful for someone very new with little knowledge about all of this, would be truly appreciated.

Thanks in advanced. :)
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7 years ago  ::  Sep 13, 2011 - 2:57PM #2
Posts: 487
Since no one else has responded I will offer this. Before I began the
pursuit of awakening I would first get a general feel for Buddhism. There are
several good Books about Buddhism. A couple I recommend are Buddhism plain and
Simple by Steve Hagen and What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula. They can be
found on Amazon I believe. A book that helped me a lot in my early days was The
Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Buddhism. It defines a lot of the Indian
Terms that mean nothing to an English speaking Westerner.

I would also read some books about Buddhists. Possibly biographies or a
couple of my favorites.

Crazy Clouds by Perle Besserman and Manfred Steger.

Shoes Outside the Door by Michael Downing.

The more you absorb, the more inclined you will be to find a Buddhist
direction that fits you, or possibly discover that Buddhism isn't for you.

But, eventually you will need a teacher. It may not be the first Buddhist
teacher you encounter. Listed below are some sites that have a wealth of

Introduction to Buddhism

Access to insight, Theravada, just by following the links provided in this
site you could become a knowledgeable Buddhist.

Mahayana Buddhist Sutras in English

World Wide Buddhist Data Base for finding teachers and a sangha near

The Great way is not difficult

I hope this is of benefit.

Wishing you small tranquil days,


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7 years ago  ::  Dec 06, 2011 - 2:03PM #3
Posts: 1,552

I am enclosing a link below for various Zen Centers in the US and elsewhere.

My suggestion would be to go to a Zen Center, speak with the lay practitioners, the monks and nuns, and directly get a sense of who these people are and what their practice means.


here are some links you can explore:

Zen Mountain Monastery Meditation Instructions


Zen Centers Guide


Buddhist Meditation #1:


Buddhist Meditation #2:


Dharma Talks


Dharma Talks

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7 years ago  ::  Dec 07, 2011 - 6:26AM #4
Posts: 12

personally, i would begin with the dammapada. whilst it is found in the pali canon (referred to mostly by therevadans) it is accepted by all schools as ther nearest to the pure words of buddha.

buddhism is about learning your own way, finding your own path, with the help of the dhamma. before worrying about which 'school' to follow, if any, i feel it important to really get a grip on the main teachings of buddha.

i would read, re-read, meditate simply and allow the words to be absorbed.

then, when you investigate the various schools and approaches, you will be guided by what you have already discovered in yourself, rather than the other way round.

Andy Barnes
My musings
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