(A non-profit American Theravada Buddhist organization founded in 2002 in California, USA and established "Sakya Metta Buddhist Vihara & Meditation Center" in 2008.)
If anyone wishes to become a Buddhist, the ceremony is very simple, and all it takes is only five minutes. There is no specific rituals to become a Buddhist. In the time of Buddha, when one is impressed and understood the teaching of Buddha by hearing from Buddha himself or his disciples (lay or monastic), became Buddhist by taking refuge in Three Jewels or Triple Gems and accepting Buddha's teaching method.
One needs only to go to a temple or look for a monk and request for the refuge! Then the monk who administered would ask the recipient to repeat after him the three lines of refuge, follows by the five lines of lays’ code of conduct (precepts), and then one is a Buddhist. When one has broken any precepts, then one must know and repents in one’s heart and vows not to make the same mistake again. If one is constantly breaking the same precept, it means that one is a habitual offender, and then it must be repented in front of a monk and takes a fresh refuge and precepts.
One should learn some daily useful Buddhist terminology such as
1. Bhante : To address a Theravada Buddhist monk.
2. Sutta or Sutra : Pali discourses
3. Dhamma or Dharma : Teaching of Buddha
4. Vihara : A Buddhist Residence or a monastery where monks reside and provide religious services.
5. Venerable : Venerable is used before a monk's name as showing respect to the monk.
6. Buddha : Buddha, the founder of Buddhism.
7. Sangha : Commonly means the Monastic Order but sometime it also means Fourfold Community of Buddha (monks, nun, female devotee and male devotee).
9. Bodhisattva / Bodhisattwa : Bodhisattva is a being who is fulfilling all the necessary wholesome deeds to become a Buddha in future. A Bodhisattva can be either a human or nonhuman (such animal or deity). It should be known that a Bodhisattva being must be reborn uncountable life times to completely fulfil the Parami/Paramitas to become a Buddha.
10. Nibbana or Nirvana : Nibbana in Pali language while Nirvana is in Sanskrit language. Nibbana is the ultimate goal of a Buddhist follower. By achieving Nibbana, one ends the endless suffering of the world by eradicating all kind of attachments that keep us bounded and attached to this universe.
11. Karma or Kamma : Karma is one of the most important topics in Buddhism. The concept of Karma is "What is goes around, comes around". Whatever we do, good deeds or bad deeds, there will be a consequence. Therefore, we should be mindful and attentive to avoid bad Karma that cause painful experiences.
12. Parami or Paramita : Paramis or Paramitas are the spiritual practices of Buddhists. There are 10 types of Paramis one should cultivate and develop to reach the final goal of Nibbana, the Liberation from Suffering.
13. Puñña : Puñña is a Pali word which mean good deed. There are Ten Type of Meritorious Deeds that one should practice. Puñña or merit is for our materialistic happiness while Kusala is spiritual development.
14. Kusala : Kusala is another type Meritorious deed but this merits are only special to Buddha's teaching. Merits of Puñña can be done by anyone but Kusala has to be more deep and insightful. There are Ten Types of Kusala that should cultivate to reach Nibbana.
15. Sīla : Sīla or morality, is a practice of vows. There are 5 precepts, 8 precepts, 10 precepts and 227 precepts. Lay people mostly follow 5 precepts and sometime 8 precepts. 10 precepts are for novices while 227 precepts are for monks who got Higher Ordination.
16. Bhikkhu : A Theravada monk who got Higher Ordination and vows to follows 227 precepts.
17. Bhikkhuni : A Theravada female monks who got Higher Ordination and vows to follow 311 precepts.
How to become a Buddhist?
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