Although I believe we have much to learn form all of the spiritual teachings and have explored many of them, Buddhism seems to be the one that I always gravitate towards.

Perhaps its appeal for me lies in its rigourous insistence on hard logic combined with experience gained from meditation to challenge our most deep rooted assumptions and fears and arrive at the truth. Rather than obedience and worship of a higher power, it focuses on the cultivation of wisdom and compassion as the path to enlightenment and happiness. We are challenged to understand the teachings and then test for ourselves whether they are true or not. Although it is very philosophical in nature it aims to take us beyond reason to experience the true nature of reality.

I cannot hope to do justice to the immense body of wisdom and understanding contained within Buddhism to which I have barely begun to become familiar, and so the best I can do is to point you in the direction of some of the literature that we have available to us in the West and recommend that you try going along to your nearest Buddhist centre to find out more.

Introducing Buddhism by Chris Pauling offers a clear and concise introduction. This book is published by The Friends of the Western Buddhist Order which has many centres worldwide and attempts to present Buddhism in a way which is relevant and useful to people living in the modern world. Like all of the great spiritual traditions Buddhism has been adapted to and manipulated by the different cultures in which it has had a presence, so I think the FWBO is fulfilling a useful and important role in differentiating the central tenets of the teachings from the cultural “add ons” that exist in the Orient. A wide range of books and Cd’s can be obtained from their publishing arm Windhorse Publications

You may prefer to learn about Buddhism directly from cultures which have a long tradition of practice. The most prominent of these are the Tibetans, mainly due to the influence of their spiritual leader the Dalai Lama who has produced some delighful books full of useful tools for helping us through life as well as familiarising us with Buddhism.

The nearest Buddhist Centre to where I live is also Tibetan but from the Kadampa school of Buddhism which also has centres all around the world and who’s founder is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. His books explain the teachings according to the Mahayana Buddhist school, which originated in India, but are also heavily influenced by his Tibetan heritage. I have been studying The New Heart of Wisdom which has really helped to deepen my understanding and renew my resolve to follow my path.

If you are fortunate enough to have more than one school of Budddhism within reach then it may be best to try shopping around to see which you prefer. If you decide that any of them are worth persevering with I’m sure you will be making the right decision and will have found an indispensable ally on your personal journey.