I was raised a Buddhist by my Dad, I still observe some tenets of it. I think that, because Buddhism has developed over time in different countries, the different kinds can be a confusing. A tibetan puja (offering ceremony) can seem pretty esoteric, Japanese and Thai Buddhist culture can vary. Lineages (passing a teaching down through teachers tracing back a heritage) is how a teaching carries some consistency, so a lot of Buddhist infighting and politics is about lineage issues.
My recommendation is to perhaps think about the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order or an organisation that recognises that westerners can have different cultural needs when it comes to teaching. The teacher Siddartha, the figurehead in Buddhism (if you could call it that) was reported to have encouraged his followers to be a lamp unto themselves and determine what works for them, not to trust a teacher or guru on reputation alone. The Buddhist communities (Sangha's) I have liked have been inclusive, non elitist and able to relate to different perspectives.
I know less about Hinduism never having practiced it. There are some really common misconceptions about it in terms of the nature of it (people assume it is many Gods and Goddesses, not so for many Hindu's) and again, a good community will recognize that and be willing to educate you.
Thich Nhat Hanh, Jon Kabat Zinn and Pema Chodron are my favourite authors for Buddhism. All are accessible to those not having practiced before.
Edited by Titania, 31 January 2013 - 12:22 PM.