Aaron views Buddhism as a framework equipped with a set of tools and ways of thinking that can produce specific effects on the mind. While acknowledging that other traditions, such as the yoga tradition, may share similar tools and potential destinations, he highlights what he sees as the distinctive strength of Buddhism. In Aaron’s understanding, Buddhism excels in creating a powerful and lasting framework that is remarkably reproducible.

His crude understanding suggests that the Buddhist system has been effective in establishing lineages over time. Unlike some other traditions, where significant leaders may be one-off figures, Buddhism seems to consistently produce lineages of teachers and students who grasp the teachings. Aaron finds the strength of Buddhism lies in its emphasis on lineage and the effectiveness of the tools in cultivating and changing the mind. He notes the remarkable continuity and durability of the structures within Buddhism, contrasting them with systems that may be more prone to breaking.


Christopher finds resonance in Buddhism, particularly through the lens of interdependence. His understanding of this concept draws inspiration from deep ecology, emphasizing the interconnectedness and interdependence of all life forms within the web of existence. Christopher describes a pivotal moment when reading about the Buddha’s awakening experience, where the Buddha reflects on his past lives, encompassing various forms of life, including humans, animals, and even plants.

The profound realization of the intricate dance of life, encompassing both joy and suffering, prompts Christopher to imagine being both the victim and perpetrator in different life forms. This imaginative exploration leads him to a powerful sense of boundless compassion. While acknowledging debates within Buddhism regarding the literal interpretation of concepts like reincarnation, Christopher emphasizes the transformative power of the mythic story and its potential to alter one’s perception of the world.

Christopher contrasts Buddhism with other traditions, noting its departure from dualistic perspectives, such as those found in Judeo-Christian and indigenous traditions. He appreciates Buddhism’s matter-of-fact approach, where mistakes are attributed to ignorance rather than inherent moral flaws. This contrasts with traditions that often externalize the source of issues. Buddhism, in Christopher’s view, offers explanations and answers that resonate with him, providing a different way of approaching mistakes and understanding the perpetual compulsion to recreate wounding in one’s life.


Zelyke describes Buddhism as a collection of methods for achieving lasting happiness, providing a toolbox to navigate life’s challenges. Regardless of one’s role as a layperson or a monk, she acknowledges the inevitability of facing difficulties in an unpredictable life. Zelyke emphasizes that Buddhism equips individuals with various methods from this toolbox, allowing them to enhance and develop qualities needed to navigate any situation effectively. While she notes that formal meditation contributes to this process, Zelyke underscores that the ultimate goal is to be a useful and joyful person in interactions with the surroundings.


Ben sees Buddhism as akin to a scientific pursuit, suggesting that, among various comparisons like religion or philosophy, science more accurately captures its essence. He draws parallels between science and Buddhism, noting that both aim to understand truths about the nature of existence. Ben highlights the scientific method as a means of experimentation and draws a parallel with meditation in Buddhism, which he sees as an experimental process to realize philosophical truths. He emphasizes the importance of sharing methods, just as in science, to validate and confirm the truth. Ben points out that multiple people have employed different methods within the various schools of Buddhism, demonstrating its adaptability to individual needs. He suggests that framing Buddhism as a science of the mind helps modern individuals understand its principles in a world where science has become a predominant explanatory framework. Ben stresses the importance of not blindly accepting information but rather understanding and experimenting with the methods presented in Buddhism to personally validate its truths.


Pema highlights the enduring relevance of Buddhism, emphasizing its timeless importance for individuals like her who have experienced suffering and yearned for happiness. She notes that Buddhism’s precision and practicality make it a specialized body of knowledge focused on overcoming suffering. Pema observes that people in the West often frame their problems in terms of solutions or technologies, neglecting the actual underlying issues. Using the analogy of washing clothes, she explains that the focus should be on solving the problem of dirty clothes rather than solely discussing the washing machine or cleaning process. Pema recognizes that individuals sometimes express their issues positively, such as desiring a vacation, but asserts that the fundamental problem lies in suffering and the confusion surrounding its resolution. She identifies Buddhism as a specialized discipline uniquely designed to address and alleviate suffering, acknowledging the precision in its language, much like the specialized terms used by experts in other fields. Despite cultural differences and potentially outdated examples, Pema believes that the core truths of Buddhism remain relevant across time and cultures until the universal problem of suffering is effectively addressed.


​​Donovan sees Buddhism as a multifaceted philosophy that offers various approaches for individuals to connect with themselves and view the world differently. He believes that anyone can find a suitable path within Buddhism, given its diversity. Donovan acknowledges that some people prefer structured and formalized teachings, and they can find specific Buddhist lineages that cater to their needs. He emphasizes that Buddhism provides a unique perspective on life, offering numerous ways for individuals to find what works for them.

Even individuals with different religious backgrounds, like Donovan’s wife, who was raised Catholic, can participate in Buddhist practices without the need for conversion. Donovan notes that his wife, despite her Catholic upbringing, engages in Buddhist practices, attends retreats, and values the contemplative aspects of meditation.

Donovan describes the practice of connecting and contemplating one’s connectedness with all sentient beings, addressing the challenges and stressors of life. He highlights the various aspects of the human experience, such as birth, old age, sickness, and death, and the potential for release from these challenges through enlightenment. Donovan finds Buddhism to be a wonderful component of his life and believes that anyone seeking a spiritual practice can find a connection with a Buddhist approach that resonates with them.