Hi Alex,

I am researching Buddhism and have been contemplating about a few particular things. I hope that it is not all too much.

-       Are there any basics of Buddhism one needs to know?
-       Does one attend any classes to learn and make Buddhism a way of life or is it the duty of the parent? Perhaps a mixture of both?
-       Do people whom follow Buddhism take it more as a way of life or a religion?
-       Are there any punishments inflicted to young by parents if a teaching is violated?
-       By when does one typically need to know any basics of Buddhism?

Thanks for helping!


Dear Kevin,
Your questions are rather loose and open, so it is hard to know where to start. I will try to give you some hints.
1. Yes, there is no way you can practice Buddhism without knowing at least a little about what Buddhism is. Unless you have a connection to a particular form of Buddhism, when you would be best to study things related with that particular tradition, whatever it is, you could do worse than start with Wikipedia.
2. If you have not been brought up as a Buddhist, then of course taking classes might be a helpful thing to do. In countries where Buddhism is the accepted religion, then of course parents give their children the sort of education that any parent ought to, but if the children are serious about practice they will probably want more than their parents can do. There is no fixed rule.
3. That is an excellent question, but it all depends on what you mean by "religion". What do you mean by "religion"?
4. I'm sure that that happens. We must be realistic. And parents do have a duty. On the other hand, "punishment" isn't something the Buddhism values particularly highly, unless the circumstances really demand it.
5. I don't think there's an answer to that. By the time you want to practice seriously.
I hope that helps a bit


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Alex Wilding


I have practiced and studied Tibetan Buddhism in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions since the early 1970s, and have a good knowledge of theory, history and of the struggles of trying to practice the teachings, including meditation, while leading a normal, modern life. I am also available to provide background information for journalists.


I have been a practitioner since the early 1970s; have run a small Buddhist centre in the English Midlands and was vice-president of Kagyu Benchen Ling e.V. in Germany, for whom I managed three large Buddhist summer-camps. More importantly, I maintain a habit of personal practice. I am the "owner" of the Kagyu list at Yahoo.

My first degree was an M.A. from Oxford. I later obtained a Master of Philosophy degree for a research thesis in "Initiation in Tibetan Buddhism" from Leicester University. I also have engineering and educational qualifications.

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