Question : When we find ourselves surrounded by non-Buddhists, should we simply follow their practices?
Answer: From the Buddhist point of view, especially for those who do see themselves originally as Buddhists, they should sincerely relearn the basics to remember why they became Buddhists in the first place, to reinforce their Right Understanding and increase their faith, on why the Buddha’s teachings are truly supreme. 27 outstanding reasons on why they are so can be seen at https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2010/11/whats-the-big-deal-about-buddhism.
The Buddha’s teachings are also time-tested, even able to align with modern scientific discoveries and psychotherapy techniques, able to withstand all reasonable questioning. They are taught without insisting anyone to be believed in, to be ‘mysterious’ and ‘unquestionable’. Also, having taken refuge in the Triple Gem, which is to vow to adhere to the Buddha’s teachings for life, they should not be relinquished carelessly, especially without rational reasons.
Question : The belief system mentioned seems easy to follow, just needing to pray to a certain deity, who will supposedly take care of everything. What do you think?
Answer: In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with already 5.6 million deaths and increasing, there are statistically many disillusioned by such beliefs, with many renouncing them upon realising such prayers do not seem to work. In the Buddhist point of view, there are no almighty deities due to reasons such as these: https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2021/03/how-to-solve-the-problem-of-evil-with-buddhism. (Our well-being is connected to the complex dynamics of personal karma spanning past, present and future, which can be transformed with practice.)
Question : Is there an ‘equivalent’ practice in Buddhism, that is easy to follow, with blessings for all kinds of issues?
Answer: For Buddhists, there is that which is not equivalent, but greater – the Main Practice of the profound Pure Land teachings. For a glimpse of some of the great blessings offered, do see https://purelanders.com/2022/10/30/the-twelve-lights-thus-come-one. For a brief introduction on how to practise mindfulness of Buddha to connect to the Buddha, for eradicating negative karma to receive these blessings, do see https://purelanders.com/2016/02/17/how-do-i-start-nianfo-practice. It is best to look out for relevant classes to learn about mindfulness of Buddha systematically and comprehensively too.
Question : What if faith in the Buddha’s teachings, including in the above, is wavering?
Answer: To increase faith, these doubts should be diligently clarified via the right community, such as by using the comment section below. There can also be increasing of faith by studying many inspiring testimonies, as experienced by sincere practitioners, both ancient and contemporary: purelanders.com/testimonies. If there are other challenges faced, they can be shared for fellow Buddhists to offer Dharma solutions too.