Finding the Three Jewels Today
How can you find refuge in the Three Jewels today? If you are interested in Buddhism, where can you find a teacher to provide the guidance you will need, and a group to support you? There are many Buddhist communities all over the world today.
Buddhism in Your Neighborhood
Buddhism is found the world over. In the United States, there are approximately 3 to 4 million proclaimed Buddhists, out of a total population of approximately 300 million people. There are somewhere between 500 and 800 Buddhist centers in the United States. (See Appendix D for a list of Buddhist centers near you.) Visit a few centers if you can and sit with a few different groups. Buddhists live in Australia, South Africa, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Italy, the Netherlands…they're everywhere!
If there is no Buddhist center in your vicinity, you can always look online for sitting groups within a reasonable distance of your home. You can do a Google search for “Buddhist sitting groups” in your area. You may find sectarian Buddhist centers, such as Zen temples and Tibetan Buddhist centers (for example, Shambhala), and you may find nonsectarian, vipassana-based centers or sitting groups. You can also find online Buddhist communities.
You can read the latest issue of the Inquiring Mind, a free dharma journal that may be distributed near you that provides an updated list of retreats and sitting groups. There's a vast array of information out there on Buddhism in all its forms, such as the Buddhist magazines Tricycle, Buddhadharma, and Shambhala Sun. You can also read blogs such as Mindfulness Matters: Tools for Living Now on
Your phone book, local newspaper, and free weekly are also good sources of information. Look under Religious Organizations or Churches. Sometimes community bulletin boards are good sources of information. You could also get some like-minded friends together and start your own sitting group.
You can find a teacher at a center or through members of your sitting group. If you find an established sangha in your area, you will most likely find a teacher comes along with the sangha.