In the pilot episode of BuddhaPod, cohosts Catherine and Andrew introduce the podcast and discuss their paths to finding Buddhism and how it has played a part in their lives as college students.
Ultimately, practice has to start somewhere, and although we have spent a considerable amount of time in traditional monastery settings, that kind of extended retreat experience is not always an option. For those who have other commitments, getting started in Buddhism means finding a community. This community can be in any school of Buddhism—whether that’s Theravada, Mahayana, or Vajrayana. Even for those who are interested in a specific school, it does not hurt to visit a temple in a different tradition if that is what is available. The foundational teachings will transfer, and the temple will serve as a place of practice until the conditions for joining another temple are fulfilled.
For us as Asian American Buddhists, Catherine and I grew up in families where Buddhism was present, but not really practiced outside of funeral rites and annual celebrations. It was precisely through this cultural exposure to Buddhism that we both became interested in learning more, and that has led us on a path that we still walk today. Through various causes and conditions, I eventually found my way to Hsi Lai Temple in Los Angeles, where I am an active volunteer now, and Catherine found her way to Guang Ming Temple in Orlando. And despite being on opposite ends of the United States, we somehow ran into each other in the hallway of Hsi Lai Temple last summer, and that chance meeting eventually led to this podcast.
Thinking about all of the factors involved that have led us to this point here and now—being interested in Buddhism and listening to this podcast, curious to find out more, let’s make the most of it and plunge in to find out what Buddhism is about. Find a local temple and see how you can get involved!
If you are interested in finding a Fo Guang Shan (the temple that Catherine and I are a part of) branch near you, check out this directory.
If you are interested in finding temples in other traditions, take a look at this general directory.