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Religion and Spirituality, Science and Philosophy Use this forum to discuss what you believe in. This is a place where everyone may share their views freely.

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Lilyofthewest Offline
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Buddhism? - April 29th 2015, 07:02 PM

Okay so a few months ago I took an interest in Buddhism and now, after having done a bit more research, I'm beginning to seriously consider converting to Buddhism (for want of a better term than "converting", as I understand Buddhism isn't really something you convert to but more so a way of life you adopt). My own religious background is mostly non-existent. Nominally my family is Catholic but my parents are lapsed and while I was baptised and confirmed, that was more out of tradition than anything else. I never practiced Catholicism. I currently identify as an atheist/humanist but I'm still open to nontheistic spirituality, hence why Buddhism has potential appeal in my eyes.

Before I go any further, I have some questions about nitty gritty aspects of Buddhism:
1) Is vegetarianism mandatory for Buddhists? I've heard different answers; some say it absolutely is, some say it depends on the tradition of Buddhism you follow and some say it's an issue Buddhists should make their own minds up on based on their own circumstances. I ask this mainly because eating meat is a core tenet of the culture I've been raised in and, as a result of that, it would be very difficult to break from it, even if I wanted to.
2) What is the general Buddhist view of LGBT people? I'm trans and my understanding is that there is social conservatism present in some traditions of Buddhism in the east, while western Buddhists are almost universally accepting of the LGBT community.
3) Is practicing at a temple a necessity? I live in a medium sized, mostly working class city in Ireland which isn't very religiously diverse, and the only places of worship are Catholic churches and mosques. The nearest Buddhist centre is a good distance out of town.

As well as that, if anyone here is Buddhist, was Buddhist or has a Buddhist philosophy, it'd be great if you could share your experiences with me. Thanks!
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Re: Buddhism? - April 29th 2015, 07:24 PM

My parents are buddhists There are many different types of buddhism, much like Christianity. My parents are part of the SGI (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soka_Gakkai) My parents aren't vegetarian and many of the other buddhists in SGI aren't. There's a gay man in my parents' SGI group and there's also a lesbian couple they're perfectly accepting.

My parents don't go to a temple. They sometimes go to Taplow Court in Berkshire but that's like once a year or so as we're in Wales.

I'm not religious myself and consider myself an Atheist but Buddhism is probably the only religion I would consider converting to.

Good luck in finding your way

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Re: Buddhism? - April 30th 2015, 12:55 AM

I know some stuff about Buddhism, some of my philosophies are Buddhist, actually.
1. I don't think vegetarianism is mandatory, I believe there are Hindus who believe it should be, so they eat nothing more than waste as an effort to do as little harm as possible to the world. In my understanding, Buddhism's philosophy "The Middle Way" is designed to discourage extreme practices because it can cause suffering. (vegetarianism isn't that extreme, but it would make me suffer)
2. Buddhism accepts LGBT people. If some Buddhists don't, thats more of a cultural ideal than a religious one, just like Catholicism. Unlike Catholicism though, I assume Buddhism doesn't disallow gay marriage.
3. Buddhists believe in finding your own way, I think, which is why they don't usually go out converting people. They probably wouldn't mind if you don't go to a Temple. If you were to actually try to become a Buddhist monk, I'm sure they would try to get you to follow what you set out to do though.
One Catholic to another, at its core, I believe Buddhism has more common values at its core with Catholicism than people realize. Universal acceptance of the sinner, not the sin (Buddhism doesn't speak in terms of sin, its more like what does and doesn't cause suffering- nuance), try to do good, do as little harm as possible to the world and others.
To me, all religions are the same at their cores, and all the bad things that come out of them are started as a result of the cultures of the regions where the religions are believed. For example, Islam doesn't commend inequality towards women; thats a backwards cultural belief thats pushed by the rulers of countries (think Saudi Arabia). In contrast, in Indonesia, a Muslim country, there have been 7 women leaders, I believe.

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