Sharing Buddhism Without Buddhism First

gold colored buddha statue
Photo by Somchai Kongkamsri on Pexels.com

Question: I have a friend who liked to read many Dharma books. After recovering from an illness, she occasionally talks about it, and I would always encourage her to further understand the Buddha’s teachings to overcome her suffering, though she no longer shares Dharma with me any more, and admits that she does not rely on Dharma when she has crises. However, I continue to share the Dharma with her and send her whatever Dharma knowledge that I find useful. However, she does not even reply with thanks or comments, like she used to do. I wonder if I am overwhelming her. Should I let her find her own way?

Answer: I think you should put Buddhism aside first, when you approach her (online and offline), as she seems uncomfortable with it at the moment. It is better to meet her for tea or a meal to chat over everyday life matters, for catching up in person for the time being. This is how you can gradually find out what her priorities are at the moment.

When you advise her, it might be good to not use Buddhist terms for the time being – though you might still be advising using Buddhist teachings. Later, after she finds the advice practical and useful, you can reveal to her that the advice was from Buddhism. This is how you can rekindle her interest in Buddhism — in practice, beyond just book learning that she used to do. In short, don’t be a good Buddhist friend to her for now – just be a good friend, hear her out and advise in everyday language when needed.

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