NBW often receives questions about where it sits within the general field of Buddhism. So for the curious here is a Frequently Asked Questions page.
What is the objective of NBW? Its objective is greater wisdom, compassion and peace for all its participants
Does NBW meditation help with conditions like depression, anxiety and addiction? Not always, but it very often does. Nothing to lose in trying! Which Buddhist tradition does it belong to e.g. Tibetan, Theravada, Zen?
It is independent and not descended from any specific tradition. It emerges from the core teachings of the Buddha.
What does NBW or its participants believe as Buddhists?
It is a practice, not a belief system and is non-religious. Whatever your beliefs may be you are welcome at NBW events.
Does NBW feel OK about people who do have a religion or people who are atheists or agnostics?
NBW welcomes all people of any religion and of no religion.
IS NBW atheistic?
It is neither atheistic or theistic, but silent on certain questions.
Do you have to be a member, or are there special requirements, in order to attend?
NBW activities are open to all.
If I attend do I have to sit on a cushion?
No. You may sit on a chair as most participants do, but cushions are available if you prefer one.
Do you have to pay for meditation classes and sessions?
NBW is non-profit, and does not charge for teaching the Dhamma.
What is the Dhamma (Dharma)?
The Dhamma is the deeper reality of the human condition and the key to the source of our abiding dissatisfaction
Is NBW a charity?
Yes, it is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), registered in England & Wales, No. 1170368. That doesn't mean you have to be a member to attend - just come along.
Is NBW really expecting us to become monks or nuns?
There is no such expectation.
Some people say Buddhism is selfish or self-centred in approach.
Not true. Great emphasis is put on community and compassion for others.
Is NBW associated with a particular country, nation or ethnic group?
No. NBW is universal in outlook. It does not accept any special relationship between the Dhamma and a country, nation, ethnic group or race.
What does NBW feel about gender, sexuality, disability, age and such issues?
NBW does not accept any form of discrimination whatsoever.
Does NBW get involved in politics, or does it expect participants to stay out of politics?
NBW does not engage in party politics.The political position of NBW participants as individuals is not the concern of NBW.
What is the NBW view of abuse and violence?
NBW does not accept violence or abuse but actively promotes peace and mutual understanding.
What is the NBW view of other living things?
NBW teaches the unity and interdependence of all living things and respect for all forms of life.
Do you have to be a vegetarian to be involved in NBW?
Many NBW participants are vegetarians, and NBW recommends vegetarianism, but many participants are not vegetarians and there is no pressure to be a vegetarian.
So what are NBW teachings basically founded on?
It is grown from core elements of the Buddha's original teachings, as found in the ancient texts known as The Tipitaka.
But isn't that very academic and hard to understand?
These teachings are brought into a contemporary and everyday context, entirely in plain English, for ordinary people.
Isn't Buddhism all about meditating to get a sudden experience of enlightenment?
NBW teaches awakening, not enlightenment. It supports the slow cultivation (bhavana) of wisdom, compassion and peace.
Isn't Buddhism dogmatic and ritualistic?
In some parts of the world Buddhism is dogmatic and ritualistic, but that is not NBW's style. It is flexible and questioning, and not afraid to let go of literalistic beliefs and dogma.
Doesn't Buddhism have a so-called 'merit system' of karma in which you come back in another life at a higher or lower level according to how good or bad you have been?
Popular Buddhism in some countries like Thailand and Sri Lanka does have such a belief system. But NBW does not.
Does NBW have priests or gurus?
No. It just has well-practised teachers, who are on the same level as everyone else as human beings.
Is it run by a committee or some sort of exclusive group?
No. It is democratic and participatory - it is led by a Facilitators' Forum of over 20 participants and anyone can become a Facilitator after a while. Anyone can attend the Forum.
How does NBW handle money?
NBW is a charity, with a number of registered trustees including some with accounting competence. For resourcing it depends on the donations of those participants who can afford it. It also has modest charges for services such as teaching at schools, and funerals. NBW has its own bank account, and a Treasurer (who is a trustee).