I’m pleased to present the third installment of the Convert a Friend series. As always, I am posting it without edits.
The following essay was written by David Meszaros.
The Appealing Allure of Buddhism
One day, a friend had happened to stop by, and decided to join me for tea. As we discussed life, she had noticed from amongst my book shelf, a book written by the Dalai Lama. She began to tell me how she had been playing with the idea of experimenting with Buddhism. She asked me for my opinion, and I began to discuss what I knew of the fundamental teachings and practices. I explained, that the most appealing aspect of Buddhism, to me, was the practice of compassion. I then discussed the proposed health benefits of Buddhism, and how practicing meditation has been found to reduce stress. Further more, through a deeper understanding of one’s self, Buddhism enables the ability to delve within the cognitive expanses of the human psyche. Therefore, I concluded, Buddhism is inherently linked to the fundamental notion of compassion and self awareness, thus providing a systemic ideology that values the progress of all sentient beings.
One reason to practice the teachings of Buddhism, is to experience the nature of universal love and compassion. The compassionate ideology that encompasses the beliefs of Buddhism are grounded within the principles of karma. I explained to my friend, that by embracing humility, one is able to cultivate the empathetic characteristics that enables one to engage all beings with compassion. Furthermore, I discussed the teachings found within the “Bodhisattva’s Vows of Universal Love” and how the fundamentals of compassion strive to end the suffering of all sentient beings. I told her that, I feel, these themes are the most appealing, and I told her to imagine what it would be like to feel truly compassionate towards all sentient beings, and to imagine the harmony that would bring to all life.
Another rational basis, for practicing Buddhism, is the over all benefits it does for ones cumulative health. Buddhist’s have great diets, they are vegan, because of their commitments to compassion and ending suffering, so they do not partake in the consumption of meat products. I explained to her, some people find this to be one of the most appealing aspects of Buddhism, and that others find a vegan diet to be to difficult to cope with. However, the Buddhist diet is not the only alluring health feature that has spread from this belief. I discussed the health benefits of engaging the mind through meditation. Meditation is a component of Buddhism that has gained popularity, due to its relationship with stress reduction. The Buddha saw meditation as an important act that offers a clear state of mind when analyzing life’s various problems, as stated in our text, “the importance of meditation as a means for attaining clarity of perception, eliminating mental afflictions, and escaping from cyclic existence”(Page 90). Finally, I explained to her that through the practice of meditation, one is able to delve deep within their own psyche, thus, revealing layers of their true self.
Through the devotion of practice, the teachings of Buddhism highlight a path that leads to a deeper understand of ones self. In essence, meditation guides one down this path, and through various forms of methodology, aims to investigate the complexities of self awareness. I explained to my friend, that self awareness is a captivating aspect, it offers a new approach to psychological exploration, as discussed in the (Cloud of Jewel Sutra) that states “All phenomena originate in the mind, and when the mind is fully known all phenomena are fully known” (Page105). By harnessing these practices, a student of Buddhism will be able to train their mind in such a way that is directed by clear thought. Ultimately, I brought the conversation back around to a holistic approach, by combining all these enticing elements Buddhism really began to add up in her mind.
The nature of Buddhism is defined by compassion and a profound understanding of ones self, Buddhism is inherently linked to the fundamental notion of compassion and self awareness. Becoming a Buddhist has many appealing qualities such as the friendly nature of its compassionate followers. The health benefits of a Buddhist diet, accompanied by the practice of meditation create a welcoming atmosphere for new students. Lastly, the enchanting draw of self awareness provides the perspective student with even more enticing benefits. By gaining a deeper understanding of yourself, you develop a holistic approach that combines the key benefits of Buddhism.
- Fieser, J., & Powers, J. (2004). Scriptures of the east (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill (Page 90)
- Fieser, J., & Powers, J. (2004). Scriptures of the east (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill (Page105)
- Fieser, J., & Powers, J. (2004). Scriptures of the east (2nd ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill (Page108)
- Santideva, Bodhicaryavatara, “Bodhicitta-parigraha” tr. Marion Matics, Entering the path Of
Enlightenment (London Macmillan, 1970), pp. 154-155
5 thoughts on “Convert a Friend — Part III”
Good post. The only comment I would like to add is about Buddhist being vegan. Buddhist are not required to be vegan or even vegetarian. In fact in the Parinirvana Sutra (the Sutra about the Buddhas death) it outlines the fact that the Buddha died from what appears to be food poisoning from a dish called “pork delight”. Traditionally Buddhist monastics are mendicant which means they go out on alms rounds to beg for food. They can only eat once a day before 12:00 noon. They will walk to the end of a driveway and stand silently. If the person that lives in that house wants to give them food they will come out and put the food in their bowl. The monk will then give them some teaching of the Dharma in return. What ever is put into the bowl they must eat even if it is meat. It is difficult to understand for some people but Buddhist put the emphasis on your own personal action. So if someone else kills an animal it is not the same then if you killed it. Also there are different requirements for monks and laypeople for these type of things. Many Buddhist do choose to be vegetarian or vegan but it is ultimately their own choice.
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Thank you for sharing that, buddhistoronin! I appreciate you taking the time to explain this so thoroughly.
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No problem. Sometimes as with any religion custom can often be confused with doctrine. Have a nice day! 🙂
We study and practice buddhism to become a buddha. A buddha can help sentient beings end their suffering.
I’m so sorry, Venerable Benkong… I just saw this post. I thank you for your succinct explanation of Buddhism.