How Do I Become A Buddhist?


The word Buddha can be defined as “awakened one.” It means waking up to what is happening right now in this moment. Like the Buddha, we are waking up to our enlightened nature in this moment. In the Buddha’s own time, he saw hunger, poverty, sickness, and death outside the palace, and the suffering he saw around him inspired him to seek the reason for suffering. Now, we see hunger, homelessness, environmental destruction, racial injustice, sexual violence. So many people are hurting each other and the planet. Social media and the news expose us to these images, to this suffering, constantly.  

Being a Buddhist today means realizing our Buddha nature and responding to the world with love and compassion. If someone is sad, what do we do? We nurture them. If a toddler is running and falls down, what do we do? We pick them up without giving it a thought. So, what kind of Buddhism is that? Is that Zen? Is it Theravada Buddhism? Is it Mahayana Buddhism? No, it is before Buddhism. Our enlightened nature is before thinking and labels. When we wake up and perceive this moment clearly, then we respond and help. Then we are the Buddha right now, and that is when we become 'Buddhist'. "

From No-Nonsense Zen For Beginners

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