Question: “I’m very new to Buddhism and just learning everything, but I’m incredibly fascinated by it and considering adopting it as a way of life. There’s just so much information to learn its overwhelming. How did you learn everything? Are you self taught? Do you know of any books or videos or podcasts or anything that are helpful? Sorry for so many questions but I don’t know any Buddhists in my life to ask.”
Buddhism can be very overwhelming sometimes! Even for me it’s often too much information to process, which is why I take things at a glacier pace! “Starting out” in Buddhism is exciting for a lot of people and more often than not, everyone wants to just jump right in and become enlightened the next day or some ridiculous fantasy. But the truth is, Buddhism is very difficult. The philosophy and psychology is literally an entire lifetime worth of study, and the practice must be incorporated into your daily life. But it must be taken at a very gradual, slow pace in order to really absorb and learn anything.
This is my recommended “syllabus” for anyone beginning Buddhism. Year One: For twelve months, study only the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Study, contemplate and master one truth and path a month for the whole month.
Year Two: Study the Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. Again, each link for one month the whole month.
Year Three: Long meditation, the Four Immeasurables, and the Six Perfections (Paramitas).
Included in all that is of course a regular meditation practice and the study of “smaller” teachings like cause and effect (karma), rebirth, etc.
I self-studied for 3-4 years before I started going to a temple and had a Teacher. Books and Google were my best friends and my teachers. And occasionally the binge watching of YouTube videos of the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh.
My FAQ page should be quite helpful for you.
Smile and be well!