Buddhism, Zen Buddhism

How to Become a Buddhist?

Are you ready to embark on the path to Buddhism and discover inner peace, but you do not know how?

Hello, my dear friends! As a long-time practitioner of Zen Buddhism and a martial arts teacher, I am often asked, “How can I become a Buddhist?” 

The answer is more complex than Buddhism is a philosophy encompassing many different beliefs and practices. However, with dedication and practice, anyone can become a Buddhist and experience the profound benefits of this ancient tradition. 

In this article, I’ll dig into my experience and offer practical advice and guidance to help you embark on your path toward enlightenment (even if I’m not there yet!)

So, as usual, grab a cup of tea, find a comfortable seat, and let’s explore together the beautiful world of Buddhism.

Understanding Buddhism

Buddhism is a religion that teaches us how to live a peaceful and contented life. It’s not about worshipping a deity but focusing on developing our minds and spirit. 

Its philosophy focuses on mindfulness, meditation, and self-awareness to achieve inner peace. It emphasizes compassion, love, and understanding toward all living beings. It helps us understand the nature of suffering and how to overcome it.

Here are some of Buddhism’s main Teachings:

  • The Four Noble Truths: The Four Noble Truths are the core principles of Buddhism. They are the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering, the end of suffering, and the path to the end of suffering. Buddha taught that the root cause of suffering is our attachment to desires and aversions. To end our suffering, we must let go of our desires and follow the Eightfold path.
  • The Eightfold Path: The Eightfold Path is the path to end suffering. It’s a set of principles that focus on cultivating morality, wisdom, and mindfulness. It includes the right understanding, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Following this path will help us achieve inner peace and enlightenment.
  • The Three Universal Truths: The Three Universal Truths are the truth of suffering, the truth of impermanence, and the truth of non-self. These truths teach us that suffering is a part of life, everything is impermanent, and no permanent self exists. Understanding these three truths will help us overcome our attachment to things and people and cultivate inner peace and detachment.
  • The Five Precepts: The Five Precepts are Buddhists’ ethical guidelines. They should refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and taking intoxicants. Following these guidelines will help us live a moral and ethical life and avoid causing harm to ourselves and others.

Remember that becoming a Buddhist is not about converting to a new religion but about adopting a new way of life. It’s about cultivating love, compassion, and understanding toward all living beings, including yourself.

Steps to Become a Buddhist

To become a Buddhist, you’ll need to start by studying Buddhism. This involves reading books, attending classes or lectures, and discussing with other practitioners. You’ll better understand the path and its benefits by learning about Buddhist teachings, history, and practices.

  • Find a Teacher: Finding a teacher is essential to becoming a Buddhist. A teacher can offer guidance, support, inspiration, and instruction on meditation and other practices. Look for a teacher who embodies the qualities of compassion, wisdom, and patience and can help you grow on your path.
  • Take Refuge in the Three Jewels: Taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddhism means committing to the Buddhist path. The Three Jewels are the Buddha (the teacher), the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community of practitioners). By taking refuge, you put your faith in these three things and dedicate yourself to the Buddhist path.
  • Practice the Five Precepts: The Five Precepts are ethical guidelines that Buddhists follow to cultivate positive habits and reduce negative ones. They are: refraining from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication. Following these precepts will develop a sense of morality and compassion and create positive karma for yourself and others.
  • Meditate regularly: Meditation is a central practice in Buddhism. Regular meditation helps you develop mindfulness, concentration, and insight, which can lead to greater peace, happiness, and wisdom. There are many forms of meditation, including mindfulness, loving-kindness, and breath meditation. As a Zen Buddhist, I recommend zazen meditation. Still, you can also find a style that works for you and commit to regular practice.

Benefits of Being a Buddhist

Buddhism is a way of life that can benefit those practicing it. As a Buddhist, you’ll learn to cultivate inner peace, develop compassion for others, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. 

  • Inner Peace: One of the main benefits of being a Buddhist is cultivating inner peace. This can help you deal with stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions. Through meditation and mindfulness practices, you’ll learn to quiet your mind and find a calm that can carry over into all areas of your life.
  • Enhanced Compassion: Buddhism places great importance on compassion for all living beings. Through metta (loving-kindness) meditation, you’ll develop a sense of empathy and understanding for others, leading to deeper connections and more fulfilling relationships.
  • Greater Wisdom: Another benefit of practicing Buddhism is the development of wisdom. By studying Buddhist teachings and applying them to your life, you’ll better understand the world and your place in it. This can increase clarity, decision-making, and a deeper sense of purpose.
  • Understanding Impermanence: Buddhism teaches that everything is impermanent and constantly changing. By embracing this truth, you can learn to let go of attachments and appreciate the present moment. This can help you avoid suffering and find greater peace and contentment.

Becoming a Buddhist can bring numerous benefits, including inner peace, compassion, wisdom, and a greater understanding of impermanence. By following the path of Buddhism, you’ll discover a way of life that can help you find true happiness and fulfillment.

Misconceptions about Buddhism

Many misconceptions about Buddhism have been perpetuated over time. However, these misconceptions are often based on incomplete information or misunderstandings about the teachings of Buddhism. 

It is important to clear up these misconceptions to truly understand the beauty of the Buddhist way of life.

  • Buddhism is not really a religion: Contrary to popular belief, Buddhism is not a religion in the traditional sense. It is a way of life that focuses on the teachings of the Buddha, who encouraged people to look inward for answers rather than turning to a higher power. Buddhism does not require faith in a deity or worship of any particular god or God.
  • Buddhists are not atheists: Buddhism is often misunderstood as atheistic since it does not involve a belief in a creator God. However, it is incorrect to label it as such. Buddhism does not deny not confirm the existence of God or divine beings; it simply does not talk about it. 
  • Buddhism is not just about meditation: While meditation is a key aspect of Buddhism (especially Zen), it is not the only practice. Buddhism encompasses many teachings and practices that encourage mindfulness, compassion, and wisdom. These practices include practicing self-reflection and engaging in acts of kindness and generosity toward others.

If you want to become a Buddhist, it is important to understand the true nature of it and dispel any misconceptions. Buddhism is not a religion but a way of life that encourages individuals to take responsibility for their spiritual journey. It is not atheistic but rather emphasizes the interconnectedness of all things. 


This article has provided you with helpful insights on how to become a Buddhist. 

It’s important to remember that Buddhism is not an intellectual exercise or something to be studied but a practice that requires consistent effort and dedication.

Always be kind and compassionate towards yourself and others, cultivate wisdom and understanding, and practice mindfulness and meditation regularly. With these practices and the guidance of the Buddha’s teachings, you can find the happiness, inner peace, and fulfillment you seek. 

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. May you have a wonderful and fulfilling journey toward becoming a Buddhist.

– Fuyu