This Meetup group was founded in July 2009 to invite people to get together and talk about Buddhist ideas and practices. You do not need to know anything about Buddhism to join or to show up and participate. Everyone is welcome!
Meditation is one aspect of Buddhism. Philosophy is another. Other aspects include history, the life of the Buddha, and the cultural adaptations of Buddhism in China, Japan, Thailand, etc.
People who are interested in Buddhism often have a strong faith in another religious tradition. This is not unusual. Buddhists do not run around trying to convert other people to Buddhism -- but they are usually happy to answer questions if anyone asks.
It is also quite common for people without any religious tradition to become interested in Buddhism. A lot of contradictory information exists online and in movies, etc., so sometimes when someone starts investigating Buddhist ideas, he or she might become confused about what is correct and what is not.
The simple answer is this: Buddhism is 2,500 years old and has been transplanted to many different cultures. Just like Christianity, Buddhism has different schools and sects, and each of these has variations. For a long answer, well ... there are many books about each different Buddhist tradition!
The hope is that this group will be a no-stress way for many different people to encounter and explore ideas from the Buddhist teachings and traditions.
> See a list of Gainesville Buddhist Practice Groups