The Role of Your Sponsor
Someone, your sponsor, has introduced you to the practice. Don’t be intimidated by the word sponsor. All this means is that this person has introduced you to the practice. Ideally, the person who introduces you should assume the responsibility of following up with you, teaching you to chant, helping you to learn gongyo, answering your questions, giving you things to read and going with you to your first few meetings until you feel comfortable.
If he or she does not follow up with you, then you are always welcome to ask someone else to help you. You will meet other practitioners when you start to go to meetings. The most important thing is that you get the guidance you need.
Never be shy about asking questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. You’d be unique if you didn’t have questions. Ask them. This is how you’ll learn. Everyone remembers what it was like when they started and will be glad to help you.
Meetings Are Important
In the meetings you will have the opportunity to chant with other people and someone in the meeting will show you what to do. You will hear Buddhist topics and you will meet long term practitioners and hear their experiences. Those will be invaluable in teaching you how to use the practice to address your own obstacles.
Learn To Practice Quickly With Support
Try to stay in touch with the person guiding you and attend meetings on a regular basis. This is the quickest way to learn what you need to know to practice properly. If you get the support you need at the beginning, you will quickly realize the benefits of the practice.
“The Importance of Support at the Beginning,”(C) Margaret Blaine, The Practical Buddhist