Are you wondering how you can start walking the Buddhist path? Are you trying to figure out what is your next step? If you have been asking these types of questions, we hope that our Growth Track will provide a solid guide for your new journey.
If you are new to the Buddhist Faith Fellowship, this web page is a great place to learn about our eight essential steps to walk the Buddhist path. You do not have to wonder what is your next step or what to do next on your journey with us. Designed to promote environments of awareness, insight, and connection, our Growth Track gives you a clear direction and the necessary tools to move forward. By following its practical steps, you will connect better with the Buddha’s teachings, with the Buddhist Faith Fellowship, and with others.
In Buddhism, everything is about process; as limited beings we are not expected to attain perfection. Our practical Growth Track is a great way to discover, connect, and engage with the teachings and with others at your own pace and according to where you are spiritually at any given time. As such, some of the steps may be taken simultaneously or in a slightly different order to meet your personal learning needs. Please let our founding teacher, Senpai Daishin, know should you have any questions or concerns.
First Step: Attend our Sunday Practice & Talk Meetings.
Coming to our Practice & Talk meeting on a regular basis is the first step in walking the Buddhist path. Our P & T gathering experience brings many benefits such as an increasingly calm and clear mind, an inspirational faith, and a deeper sense of personal meaning. In our community setting, you will learn about the Buddhist teachings from our knowledgeable dharma teachers, engage in life-enhancing practices, stimulate the mind during Q & A, meet new people on the path, and discover ancient and modern traditions. Also, you can become a supporting member to help maintain the Fellowship’s activities and outreach. Visit our Home page here for our Upcoming Events and directions.
Second Step: Read about the Buddhist teachings.
Although book knowledge is not a requirement for spiritual awakening or following our philosophy of life, it is good for newcomers to get acquainted with its rich history and culture, and the inspiring example and life-changing teachings of the Buddha, the great masters, and teachers throughout the ages. Also, seek out experience members who can mentor your walk along the path; their familiarity with Buddhism can serve as valuable guides in your journey. Visit our Buddhism web pages here to get you further along the path.
Third Step: Practice the teachings.
Believing in the teachings is not enough; you should strive to apply them in your daily life. Buddhism is about transforming your life and being a positive influence on others. Nobody can do it for you; you are responsible for your own happiness, success, and failure. Practices like meditation, prayer, sutra chanting, and deep self-reflection are all part of the American Buddhist lifestyle. By engaging with the teachings on a regular basis, you will eventually experience changes in your life and environment. See our Suggested Daily Practices web page here to get started.
Fourth Step: Enroll in a course.
Our Fellowship offers a sequential order of courses to help you grow in the teachings. For beginners, we suggest the Buddhism 1.0 course. This course meet just once a month for a certain length of time, and are designed to meet the needs of busy people like you. In order to receive Affirmation (see Step 7), you must successfully complete the Buddhism 1.0 course. Visit our Courses web page here.
Fifth Step: Get involved in the Fellowship.
There are many activities and programs that can help you apply the teachings to a social context and interact with others who are also following the path. Getting involved means helping the Fellowship fulfill its mission of healing suffering and sharing the Buddhist teachings with our local community and the world. You can become part of our movement in building new communities, and widening its spiritual culture with inspired people who have already heeded the call of Boundless Compassion. There is also a social aspect of getting involved with the Fellowship like attending social gatherings, cultural events, fundraisers, and field trips. If you still have not yet become a supporting member, this is a good time to do so in order to directly help out the Fellowship realize its mission. Visit our Programs tab for available activities and programs or ask our founding teacher, Senpai Daishin, how you can get involved. In addition, you can visit our Membership page here to become a supporting member
Sixth Step: Bring your family and friends.
Walking the path becomes more meaningful when it is shared with others. If you have family or friends who are open to Buddhism, then certainly share the teachings with them and invite them to our Sunday Practice & Talk meetings. If you have young children, you can participate in our innovative Buddhist Family Practice where the whole family can learn about awareness, balance, and compassion. As a result, they will feel more connected with the world, and to be more emotionally secure through mindfulness practice and solid values. Visit our Home page here for our Upcoming Events and directions or our Buddhist Family Practice here to learn more about this program.
Seventh Step: Become a Buddhist.
Once you have walked through Steps One through Five, then you are eligible to officially become a Buddhist in this tradition through our Affirmation Ceremony. This ceremony is a simple yet deeply spiritual confirmation ritual that allows you to publicly to express your commitment to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. While it is important to be familiar with the basic tenants of Buddhism, it is not necessary to accept all the teachings; however, you should be willing to consider them. The Buddha never asked his disciples to believe something because he said it. He said that one needed to prove it true for oneself. Visit our Become a Buddhist web page here to learn more.
Eighth Step: Give.
More than just a practice, in Buddhism, generosity is connected with gratitude, which recognizes that you receive so much more than you can ever give back to others. It is the gracious spirit informed by insight that skillfully responds to the world at appropriate times. Generosity in this context unfolds spiritual leadership that freely and humbly offers love, faith, and understanding. It can translate into volunteering at the Fellowship, sharing the dharma with others, mentoring others on the path, becoming a dharma teacher or even creating new Buddhist communities. Furthermore, the generous heart can encompass becoming a volunteer in the local community and to assist positive social or environmental causes. In day to day living, it can be helping out a neighbor or stranger, taking time to listen to someone’s words or just practicing mindfulness in order to help this world become a peaceful and more compassionate place to live. Visit our Give web page here and visit our Engage web pages to get involved.
Walking the Path: Completing the Growth Track
Walking the Buddhist path through our Growth Track is a journey that does not end at the Eighth Step. It is a continuous process of discovery, connection, and re-engagement that offers a lifetime of insights and personal meaning. It is important to accept that it takes time to spiritually grow, transform, and awaken. We all have entangling habit energies and deeply negative personal karma to deal with. Therefore, you should strive to be patient and persistent with your spiritual development. Let us remember the Buddha, who after seven long years, finally receive the enlightenment experience under the Bodhi tree, and even then, for decades later, he continued to practice everyday.