This page will be a collection of stories from members, friends, and others about their experiences with Lion’s Roar and Buddhism.

What Buddhism Means to Me as a Non-Buddhist

by Melanie Noel Light

Community Liaison Director for Lion’s Roar

My favorite thing about Lion’s Roar Dharma Center and Buddhism in general is that I don’t have to label myself “Buddhist” to partake in the programs, events and social activities. In order to get the most out of my experiences, however, I should be interested in kindness, compassion for oneself and others, self awareness, easing suffering, and ideally, being part of a community (also not required, but highly recommended).

Buddhism is just a surprisingly simple philosophy that acknowledges certain inevitable truths about life (for example, some suffering is going to be present at times in our lives). But we CAN lessen it with the wisdom and tools found in Buddhist practices. And this concept helps me put my life – and life in general – in perspective.

This is not a place of extremes or absolutes. Group members and attendees seem to take genuine interest in me but no one forces any expectations upon me (other than decency and respect for others, naturally). What I get is a sense of feeling welcomed, even belonging; a whole bunch of kind people who appreciate my presence; and the joy of creating unique friendships.

Buddhism is called “A religion of kindness”, and yet internally it’s considered more of a philosophy than a religion. This apparent paradox somehow puts me at ease. Without really realizing it, Lion’ Roar has become a community of surprising warmth for me, even though I don’t have to spend every waking moment there to feel it. There’s a bit more purpose to my life as well.

While I don’t have experience with other Buddhist temples, this one is both comfortable AND comforting. There’s a certain sense of hominess that I just suddenly noticed one random day. And so whenever I choose, I can find it a respite from the occasional confusion and heaviness of my tiny world. Ultimately, I feel honored to be involved and included, and I hope those seeking something similar will too.

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