“What many people like about Buddhism is that we don’t have a lot of rules about how you should live your life,” said the Rev. Jon Turner, a minister at the Orange County Buddhis Church. (Japanese immigrants decided to us the word "church" for their sangha in order to fit in more seamlessly into American culture) “We don’t have a lot that’s black and white. So if you don’t fit the mold in Christianity, where do you go? A lot of times they’ll come to Buddhism as an alternative.”
This was the case for Hector Ortiz, who grew up Baptist, but as a gay man, said that he struggled with his church’s teachings on sexuality. Buddhism seemed like a better fit.
“For me, spiritually, what makes sense is that I’m responsible for my own actions and how I interpret the world, [as] opposed to looking to others for happiness or seeking it outward,” Ortiz said. “I was drawn to the personal responsibility, seeking happiness inward and the acceptance. It felt like a place I was arriving home to, spiritually.”