If I’m In Buddhist Treatment, Does That Make Me A Buddhist

If I’m In Buddhist Treatment, Does That Make Me A Buddhist?


Refuge Recovery Centres is a unique treatment center with many of its practices and philosophies grounded in Buddhist principle and ethics. From meditation to yoga, sangha and cultivating dharma, we incorporate key Buddhist tenets into our approach to recovery. Our treatment program utilizes the most current evidence based treatment methods while injecting a consistent theme and connection to Buddhism. Buddhist practices of mindfulness and meditation are scientifically proven to improve wellbeing physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Coming to a Buddhist treatment program does not mean you are converting to or must identify as a Buddhist. Even our founder Noah Levine has spoken openly at the Against the Stream Meditation Center about his personal conflict with how he identifies with Buddhism and what he would call his relationship with Buddhism. Additionally, being part of a Buddhism based recovery while still attending 12 step support groups which promote a higher power does not have to be mutually exclusive.

LionsRoar.com, a Buddhist based website, writes that identifying as Buddhist has to do with whether or not you accept the truth of Buddhist principles. Buddhist beliefs like compassion and non-judgment are universal and nonexclusive. However, more distinct principles are uniquely Buddhist. Citing the way Tibetan Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh describes them, Lion’s Roar lists:

  • Impermanence
  • No self
  • Nirvana

The concepts of karma and reincarnation would also be included by many.

Making a formal “commitment” to Buddhism takes place through a ceremony called taking refuge. Refuge Recovery was inspired by this practice for offering a path of Buddhist based living for addicts and alcoholics, and to anyone suffering, for recovery. “Because nirvana means giving up ego’s futile search for refuge from impermanence and no self,” Lion’s Roar writes, “the twist is that you’re taking refuge in not seeking a refuge.” By discontinuing to seek refuge in drugs and alcohol but seek refuge in Buddhism, you are seeking a spiritual path.

Many practice the tenets of Buddhism, and believe in core Buddhist principles without identifying as Buddhist. For your recovery, you do not need to commit or convert to any religion. Instead, you are on a journey to discovering your own thoughts about spirituality and what you believe about life.


Refuge Recovery Center welcomes men and women seeking treatment for their attachments to addiction, alcoholism, and other forms of suffering. Offering a multiphase program, Refuge is able to customize any treatment plan based on individual needs. Call or text us today at 323-207-0276.

Recommended Posts