About Alan Peto


Welcome!  I’m Alan Peto, and I am passionate about helping beginners and Westerners learn Buddhism through my articles, books, videos, and graphics in a way they can understand.

  • Why Buddhism?   I wanted to understand and practice Buddhism in a way that made sense to me, and share what I learned with others!  Many people living in western countries have found my style of explanation helped them understand as well.  
  • New to Buddhism?  I recommend you read my “Basics in Buddhism” series of articles.  You might also find my Best Books for Beginners article helpful.  Also, check out my new book (available free as an eBook), Buddhism in 10 Steps, co-written with Buddhist monk Sanathavihari Bhikkhu.
  • “Buddhism is Confusing, Can You Really Help Me Understand It?”  While everyone has a different way they learn, I have helped many people over the years who have enjoyed my writings, videos, and graphics!  I hope you find them helpful as well 🙏
  • “Are You Really a Buddhist?”  Yes, I am officially a card-carrying Buddhist 😉  However, I am a Buddhist layperson, not a monastic, priest, theologian, etc., and want to speak from the layperson’s perspective.  Because most Buddhists are actually laypersons, I want to live and teach from that level.  These are my personal experiences, opinions, research, thoughts, and insight, which I enjoy sharing with others.  If you have a question or need to contact me, send me a message here.
  • Social Media:  Follow me on the social media platform you frequent to learn more about Buddhism! Instagram, YouTubeFacebook , Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest, Insight Timer, Amazon (Profile & Author Page) and check out my PodcastLearn Buddhism with Alan Peto” (also available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, etc.).
  • My Background:  I have trained and worked as a journalist, graphic designer, researcher, technical writer, and instructor who has taught tens of thousands of people over the past 30 years and nearly a million people on my website.  I am the author of the book “The Buddhism Secrets of Cats”, and others.
  • “What is Your Buddhist Affiliation?”  My refuge temple is Hsi Lai, which is part of Fo Guang Shan (FGS) – a worldwide Buddhist order based in Taiwan with over a million practitioners.  It practices Humanistic Buddhism, which is a form of Chinese Buddhism (Pure Land and Ch’an “Zen” Buddhism), meant for the human world we are in right now.  My Dharma teacher is Venerable Master Hsing Yun (founder of FGS).  However, I routinely read and listen to teachers from various traditions, such as Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh (Plum Village), and Theravada Buddhism.

“What Buddhist Teachers Can I Learn From?”  I’m not a Buddhist monk, so I always recommend you expand your education and instruction to come from an actual Buddhist monastic in a tradition you wish to belong to.  Here are some teachers you can start off with.  Note that there are many wonderful teachers available that you will find as you start exploring Buddhism, including at your local temple!

    • Hsing Yun: (Mahāyāna) A Chinese Buddhist monk who established the worldwide Fo Guang Shan (FGS) Buddhist order based in Taiwan that focuses on Humanistic Buddhism (Buddhist that meets the needs of people and is integrated into all aspects of daily life).  His numerous books explain Buddhism, Buddhist teachings, and the many Buddhist sūtras, especially those in Mahāyāna Buddhism.  https://hsingyun.org/
    • Thích Nhất Hạnh: (Mahāyāna) A Vietnamese Buddhist monk who became world-famous in the 1960’s due to his opposition to the Vietnam war.  He met with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who would later nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize.  While his teachings focus on mindfulness, his teaching style was widely accessible to Westerners.  You can find over 100 books written by him who is the founder of the international Plum Village community.  https://plumvillage.org/
    • Bhikkhu Bodhi: (Theravāda) An American Buddhist monk who was ordained in Sri Lanka.  He is the author of numerous Buddhist publications and books, including those that explain the Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.  https://bodhimonastery.org/ven-bhikkhu-bodhi.html
    • Los Angeles Sanathavihari Bhikkhu:  (Theravāda) A Mexican-American Buddhist monk in the Sri Lankan lineage teaching in North Hollywood, California.  He has been featured in Buddhadharma, The Guardian, Lions Roar, and other publications for his work in bringing Buddhism to the Spanish-speaking community worldwide.  He also can be found collaborating with Alan, such as with Buddhism in 10 Steps, Returning Home, and The 14-Day Buddhist Planner for the COVID-19 Pandemichttps://linktr.ee/sanathaviharibhikkhu 
    • Ajahn Chah: (Theravāda) A Thai Buddhist monk who became influential due to founding two major monasteries of the Thai Forest Tradition.  His teachings and monasteries were the first to bring Theravāda Buddhism to the West.   https://ajahnchah.org/
    • The 14th Dalai Lama: (Mahāyāna) A Tibetan Buddhist monk and spiritual leader of the “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism. The name Dalai Lama is a title given to each manifestation of Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and is of political and religious significance.  The current Dalai Lama is the 14th to hold the position and was born Tenzin Gyatso.   https://www.dalailama.com/


I’ve got to tell you…I’ve learned more from your website than from any book, site, or audiobook. You have a great ability to make difficult concepts very simple and approachable. Thank you, sir! I needed what I read today!  ~ Han Scrollo