I am curious. Why did you start learning Buddhism?

When a person turns to Buddhism (or any other religion), does it typically need a trigger or do we slowly develop an inclination to know more.

Hoping to get more stories from the forum people on the why and how they started on the path to being a Buddhist.

I will start:

From young, my mum taught me to pray to Guan Yin Pusa. Actually, it is more like a procedure for the family - burn joss sticks during events like death anniversaries and religious dates then feast on the offerings thereafter.

I guess this habit had an effect as I did continue praying to Guan Yin Pusa every now and then in my teenage years - especially when I thought I needed divine help for my examinations…haha.

As a young adult, I was interested in the supernatural aspects that is entwined with that of religion. Talk of heaven and hell, gods and demons. It was more of like having a leisurely read of a story when I got my hands on such literature.

Otherwise, the bulk of my time was involved in the usual pursuit of material wealth and comfort.

The turning point was when a friend and colleague (that will be @Jereme) had me as a captive audience (in every sense of the word as I was sitting next to him on a 5 hour flight with no other inflight entertainment).
He started talking about his experience studying Buddhism and his pilgrimage to Taiwan and his encounters with various Venerables and their teachings.

I was definitely curious and interested in what he said but I had put it off then as something that I may explore eventually but not now.

Then, a life changing event happened on the eve of Chinese New Year in 2015.
I noticed a shadowy curtain encroaching my vision in my left eye. What I thought would be a straightforward treatment at the clinic escalated to an emergency case of surgery for retina detachment without which I would go blind.

All the best laid plans of having reunion dinners and excursions with my family were dashed in just that moment. I was gripped by uncertainty and fear and tried to get some answers to assuage it.

Would the surgery be successful? Will I recover fully? What other things can happen to me? The medical personnel were careful not to commit to any promises on recovery - I can understand that now as they will not know either. While surfing the web for information led to more horror stories…arrggghh.

Fast forward 2 months later, I had gone through a successful surgery (although I do recall some argument in the surgery theatre about some screw up that happened - I was cool with it as I was doped up on sedatives) and a rather painful recovery period in which I had to spend the bulk of the time with my head facing down to let the retina “stick”.

However, I was still left with questions:
Why did this thing happen to me? What other bad things can happen to me?
Was I just unlucky? What is luck?
Why must I suffer?
Will I spiral into depression thinking of all this?
How do I get peace of mind? Is there a way out?
Is there a better way to go through life?

Fortunately, the conversation with @Jereme resurfaced and some hope rekindled that there was some help I can get.

Registering to enter Lamrim classes at BWM Monastery was thus one of best thing that came out of this episode in my life.

And I have been studying Buddhism ever since.



For me is quite simple. After starting work, i was a bit tired of having the same 9 to 6 schedule everyday. I wanted to find some meaning to my life instead of just living the rest of my life doing the same thing.

I was very fortunate that Master found me again and gave me the chance to study Lamrim and give my life hope and happiness.


yup, I also had that same sentiment.

Is this all that one was supposed to do:

  • go to work 9 to 6 to provide for family
  • go home, take care of kids
  • some entertainment watching movies, playing games, taking the occasional holiday
  • sleep
  • wait for old age, death

Not to mention that the above routine seems to be filled with quite a large amount of suffering: worrying about career, kids, things not going your way (even during holidays), sickness and disease.

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I had the same experience as @adrian though a different story - a series of events that were unexpected and undersirable happened suddenly and it caused me to be gripped by uncertainty and fear and the need to seek answers. With all these unpleasantness in life, what is the purpose of me having a life in this world? I have tried exploring other religions to seek my answers, but I seem to be able to understand Buddhism better.

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One day a discussion between me and my friend about bodhi tree. He tell me the story of bodhi tree in bodhi gaya and how he and his wife manage to get hold of bodhi leave. So I was curious and ask for the photos of bodhi tree. His wife sent me the photo of bodhi tree taken by them in bodhi gaya years ago . To my surprise, the bodhi tree showing a BUDDHA figure facing a lion head in the middle of the bodhi tree. My friend and his wife never notice it .
From then onward the picture just stark in my mind, as I normally eat very little daily I decided to go for vegetarian diet.
I seach for buddha teaching in You tube and that’s how I realised it.


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My mother started learning Buddhism first, and my sister followed her. Sometimes my sister shares what she learnt from Buddhism with my wife, and my wife followed her to learn Buddhism too. I saw changes in my wife and sister which I felt are good, so I started to learn too.


hi @TanSL, what kind of changes did you observe in your wife and sister that you can attribute to them learning Buddhism?

I am trying myself to understand and ascertain for myself practical cases of Buddhism changing a person’s behaviour. Hope you don’t find me nosy :grinning:

Chanced upon Ajahn Brahm’s sharing on how he became a monk - seems like an interview given in Indonesia:

Some highlights of his talk:

He had started off by doing “market research” by reading books on the various religions and found Buddhism the one he “liked the most”. And that was how he became a Buddhist at the age of 16.

Then in university, he practised meditation and found happiness in it.

He realised later he could go to Thailand and be a monk for a short period of time. But when he became a monk, he knew this was what he wants - to the extend that he had nightmares of him becoming a layperson again.

He has stayed a monk because it gives him lots of happiness. He has “job security”.
He is a very happy monk!

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Another Venerable’s sharing on How he became a Buddhist monk

Glad to share my observations. For my wife, she used to be someone who got anxious quite easily and worries alot, then she would be at a loss as to what to do, but I noticed after she started learning Buddhism seriously, she has become more calm and her emotions are more stable. She told me she has learnt about supplication during her Buddhism lessons which somehow calms her nerves and she is able to think clearly. For my sister, she used to be a self-absorbed person and seldom thinks for other people, and she could be quite harsh with her words. However after she learnt Buddhism for some time, she started to volunteer to help the needy and is a much kinder soul now. I’m quite surprised and wonder what did they really learnt from Buddhism to be able to change like that.

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wow! really great to hear such examples of the benefit of learning Buddhism.
thank you much for sharing your personal anecdotes