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I'm a mathematics student and I want to become a buddhist because I've heard that they don't believe in any god.

How can I get in to buddhism?

What kind of books do you recomend to read for starters?

Can I be a Buddhist without joining any community?

Is there any kind of "secular" Buddhism?

I would like to learn about their vision of life without making any rituals. Is that possible?

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    Buddhists do believe in gods as beings who have higher living standards compared to humans. Not as creators or the ones who decide our destiny. I don't think any reasonable atheist can refute the possibility of the existence of such beings. – Sankha Kulathantille Feb 14 '16 at 2:44
  • i think americans, germans, canadians, ozzies and brits are gods, they have higher living standards than myself ))))))) – Баян Купи-ка Feb 14 '16 at 8:42
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    @БаянКупи-ка "compared to humans". :) – Sankha Kulathantille Feb 14 '16 at 9:30
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I've heard that they don't believe in any god.

It depends on what you mean by God. Buddhism does not have the concept of a almighty, creator (deism), sustainer, creator plus sustainer (theism), destroyer, everlasting god, external controller or owner or creator of the soul, enforcer of karma or retribution and rewards for one's actions, etc. but does mention Deva who are better described as celestial being / deity but which is sometimes translated perhaps loosely or incorrectly into English as gods.

Also see God in Buddhism.

How can I get into buddhism?

Why don't you 1st take a course at a meditation centre. You can locate a centre close to you here: https://www.dhamma.org/en/index, http://www.internationalmeditationcentre.org/global/index.html, http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/

What kind of books do you recommend to read for starters?

Start with In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon (Teachings of the Buddha) Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Can I be a Buddhist without joining any community?

Anybody walking the path (The Noble 8 Fold Path) with a view to come out of stress can be considered a Buddhist. It will be helpful if you are part of a community as it can help you with learning and practice. But also if you join the wrong community it can be detrimental.

You can try https://www.dhamma.org/ or http://www.internationalmeditationcentre.org/. Also http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/ has other groups which you can try out but be wary that not all forms of Buddist pratice give the same results.

Is there any kind of "secular" Buddhism?

Secular Buddhism as in the west may have gone too far in re integrating Buddhism but inherently Buddhism is secular. Also see answers to this question on Secularized Buddhism

I would like to learn about their vision of life without making any rituals. Is that possible?

Buddhism does have culture which has developed around it and the cultural significance change from country to country. There are not Rites and Rituals in Buddhism itself.

  • You mentioned "wrong community". What do you mean by that? I've been thinking about becoming a Buddhist by joining a community (I need guidance and motivation), but I'm very afraid of opening my mind to the wrong people. – daniloquio Feb 15 '16 at 18:26
  • There might be communities which do not pratice genuine Buddhism. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 15 '16 at 18:52
  • Very close to my home there's a "Kadampa meditaion center", would you say they fall in that category? – daniloquio Feb 17 '16 at 14:19
  • I would refrain from commenting if this is the right or worng community but why don't you try: dhamma.org, internationalmeditationcentre.org to start with. – Suminda Sirinath S. Dharmasena Feb 17 '16 at 14:43
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You don't believe in any God. Ok. You don't believe in rituals. Ok. Very likely you already don't. So why Buddhism? I'd like to make an important point here stating that Buddhism is anything but a religion. The right question to ask would be why would you want to follow anything at all.

You will find many answers here that will give you sources and some googling will give you additional reading. "Access to insight" is one place to read some suttas and translations.

But I would say some practical advice is worth it. Get a cushion, or a straight backed chair, or sit on the floor cross legged. With spine erect. Close your eyes lightly. Make sure you're comfortable. Take 3-4 deep breaths. This gets your system responding to you. Then start normal breathing. Watch your breath go in and out of you. You could start by observing the stomach going in and out with breathing. Don't force it. And then do a body scan top to bottom and bottom to top, loosening up any tight or tense areas. Come back to the breath going in and out. You could alternatively focus your attention on the breath at the tip of your nose. During this time you may find that your mind keeps on coming up with one thought after another. If it doesn't, you're my God ;) Ignore those thoughts and come back to the breath.

Try this for sometime and then gradually increase the time. And then go for additional reading sources gradually.

Apart from this, my advice would be not to get into any complicated concepts which is not yet in your experience. This is a pitfall. Because that will just send your mind into unnecessary spirals and get you nowhere.

Metta and good luck with your practice.

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You don't need to join any community to become a buddhist.

You can start by taking five precepts.

To abstain from evil (Sila - Morality)
To do good (Samadhi - Concentration)
To purify the mind (Panna - Wisdom)
These are the teachings of all the Buddhas.

Dhammapada, verse 183

Sila (The Precepts)

  1. Right Speech
  2. Right Action
  3. Right Livelihood

Samådhi (Tranquillity of Mind)

  1. Right Exertion
  2. Right Attentiveness
  3. Right Concentration

Paññå (Wisdom, Insight)

  1. Right Aspiration
  2. Right Understanding

A. Sila. The three characteristic aspects of sila are:

  1. Sammå-våcå: Right Speech
  2. Sammå-kammanta: Right Action
  3. Sammå-åjiva: Right Livelihood

By Right Speech is meant: speech which must be true, beneficial, and neither foul nor malicious.

By Right Action is meant: the fundamentals of morality, which are opposed to killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, and drunkenness.

By Right Livelihood is meant: a way of living by trades other than those which increase the suffering of all beings— such as slave trading, the manufacture of weapons, and traffic in intoxicating drugs.

You can read about Buddhism in this book: Dhamma Texts by Sayagyi U Ba Khin

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I noticed that you mentioned that you were studying mathematics.

I myself am wired to view the world with mathematical/logical eyes, so maybe I can relate to your questions, and its source.

I would like to suggest reading Nagarjuna's writings. Some might disagree and say that it is not for beginners. If your brain craves structure and meaning, then this might be a path to aim for.
Logic of Buddhist Philosophy

I would also suggest that you remember that Buddhism is referred to as the Middle Way in which extremes are considered "bad". This might help you in better coping with the ideas of "god vs. no god", or "x vs ~x".

Suerte en el camino!

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Forget about what everyone else says. Traditions are just obstacles. Read up on Bankei and just stay in the Unborn mind. That's all you have to do.

It's so simple, but people just want to inflate their egos by telling you there are 1000 different difficult things that you have to do.

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This is a good read: "Siddhartha" by Hermann Hesse.

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I feel to be at least qualified for answering basic requests.

Since no one else has already mentioned it, I would recommend to start with reading the Four Noble Truths. An arguably complete treatment can be found in The Four Noble Truths: A Study Guide from Access to Insight. I would not only recommend it because it was my very first exposure with the subject, but also because, generally, it is considered one of the most fundamental teachings of the Buddha, and as a consequence also one of the most present in introductory buddhist texsts. If you would like more a book recommendation, my suggestion is to give a read or acquire an overview only after the Four Noble Truths from What the Buddha Taught: Revised and Expanded Edition with Texts from Suttas and Dhammapada, a most famous text and apparently a highly reviewed one. I too read it and can say good things about it.

There are certainly other valid entry points, some of which have already been recommended (such as learning the five precepts, a prerequisite often advocated by the Buddha himself), but since it is easy to fall into an information-overload trap nowadays and only basic instructions are being asked for here, I would limit myself to suggesting only the most essential material.

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