Do you have to be a Buddhist to meditate?
You don’t have to be a Buddhist to do any of the practices that you’ll find on this website. You can keep on practicing the religious tradition you were brought up in and make use of what you find here.
If you don’t have a religious tradition then there’s nothing here that will seem particularly “religious” at all. (In fact, many people think that the term “religion” isn’t a very accurate way of describing Buddhism). Well, perhaps the mantra meditations may strike some people as religious, but really even those are just ways of helping to connect you with the nature of your mind — not to unite you with Indo-Tibetan deities or anything of that sort.
Meditation is just a way of getting to know yourself better, and learning to take responsibility for what you find, so that you can learn how to be a happier, more fulfilled person. It can be seen as comprised mainly of nonreligious mental and emotional exercises that promote good mental health. In fact Buddhism talks about meditation (and even ethics) as being forms of “training.” We train the mind so that it begins to cause us less unhappiness.
You’ll find meditation practices here that involve becoming aware of the breath. There’s a meditation practice in which you pay attention to your experience while you’re walking. There’s another in which you wish yourself and other living beings well. None of that strikes me as being suggestive of a religious path in any exclusive sense. If you’re coming from a background other than Buddhism you’ll probably recognize some of the key principles of meditation from your own cultural and religious background.
This site is set up and run by people who call themselves Buddhists, but we just want to share with you something that we’ve found useful. Our aim certainly isn’t to convert anyone.