Q: My family was quite fearful when I became a committed Buddhist, whereas they hadn’t had any concerns while I was engaging in the practices without formal commitment.
NN: Yes, this is also common experience. Families can fear commitment to religion because they see that I am allowing some other authority and influence to operate in my life – one that possibly they know nothing about. They fear—consciously or unconsciously—that they have lost their power and influence over me and they fear that they will lose contact with me. Buddhism has tended to be regarded by some people as a philosophy and therefore ‘safer’ and more acceptable. When they realise it is actually a religion, because I take commitments and allow it to influence major aspects of my life, then family can become concerned.