A seeker wants to delve into this ancient religion and is wondering how to get started
I’d like to explore Buddhism, but I’m not sure where to start. I like what I know, but it seems to be a diverse, complicated, and even contradictory religion. Where do I even begin? Is visiting a temple a good idea at this early stage?
Kathryn Drury Wagner: Buddhism started 2,500 years ago in India and has spread throughout the world; it’s now the fourth-largest religion on the globe. I asked Gabriel Cohen, a fellow contributor to Spirituality & Health and the author of Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: A Buddhist Path Through Divorce, for his insights.
“My personal experience, and that of a lot of people, is they don’t come to Buddhism out of an academic or intellectual interest,” he says. “They come to it because they are suffering.” Cohen first connected with Buddhism when he was going through a difficult divorce. “I was coming out of a store and saw a sign that said, ‘How to Deal with Anger,’ and I was intrigued. It was acknowledging we feel that emotion sometimes, so I went to the event, a Dharma talk at a Buddhist Center.” Attending a Dharma talk—a public discussion given by a Buddhism teacher—is a n …