Entering the Buddhist Path
The first step on the Buddhist path is to take the vow of refuge. Of course, before doing this one should acquire a basic understanding of Buddhism and know what going for refuge means. Once a person feels confident in his or her decision, they may attend a refuge ceremony where a qualified Buddhist teacher bestows the vow.
Having taken the refuge vow, one formally enters the Buddhist path. The next step is to learn what that path consists of and how one can follow it for oneself.
It is said that the Buddha's teachings can be summarized in three main points:
Practice virtue, or do things that are helpful to oneself and others
Avoid non-virtue, or refrain from doing things that are harmful to oneself and others
Tame the mind
The Buddhist scriptures contain many methods that guide disciples in achieving this three-fold aim.
There is no single way to traverse the path, no one-size-fits-all approach. Many individuals do the same type of practice and attend the same courses in Buddhism, yet they each work with their unique set of karmic dispositions and individual propensities.
Once you have entered the Buddhist path, it is helpful to make a connection with a qualified teacher who will guide your study and practice in a manner appropriate for your needs. One’s relationship with a teacher, at least in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, is seen as extremely valuable to one’s spiritual growth.