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Hello Everyone

Post by ChanCuriosity » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:08 pm

Hi All,

I look forward to reading the forum and engaging with my fellow users.

A little bit of background...

Growing up, I was aware of Buddhism, to the extent that anyone growing up in a town in Northern England would be, I suppose - but I didn't know what it actually was. I probably heard about it in RE lessons at school, although it will have only been touched upon briefly. I remember exploring Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Sikhism at some length in those lessons, although I paid scant attention to anything but Judaism and Sikhism (these seemed the most interesting to me, at the time). Following any religion, however, seemed completely out of the question. My dad was raised C of E; my mum was raised Catholic. I wasn't christened. I grew up without religion being forced on me, only attending church for the odd christening or funeral here and there, and carol services (being in the school orchestra, this was a rather enjoyable thing). You might say that I grew up in a fairly secular environment, albeit in England, there is, I suppose, a nominal Christianity that permeates society.

I mention all this to show how surprising it was to me that I should, much later, be drawn to Buddhism. For me, it happened while I was driving along one Sunday morning, in September 2016. Radio 4 was on in the car, and I was listening to a programme that wasn't Thought for the Day (that's weekdays only). I can't recall exactly what it was, but having checked the schedules for R4 for that period, it could well have been something featuring John McCarthy. Anyway, Buddhism was mentioned, and the idea of non-attachment/letting go is what I seem to remember was the thing that caught my attention.

Having pulled into a car park, I took out my phone and searched for Buddhism on Google. I think "Buddhism basics" was the exact phrase I used. I immediately read the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path, and suddenly, I felt a sense of clarity that I'd not experienced for a long time - indeed, perhaps I had never experienced clarity to such a degree. I remember sending a text to my wife and telling her that I'd just learned something so obvious yet so profound - and something that I'd been fighting against for three decades!

A month later, having explored YouTube and read a few free ebooks on Buddhism, I bought some books - The Essence of Buddhism, by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche, being one of them, and The Buddha walks into the Office, by Lodro Rinzler, being another. Since then, I've explored YouTube further, and listened to many Dharmaseed talks. I've dabbled with meditation. I've gradually become more serious about following the Middle Way. Having spent the past year receiving psychotherapy on a regular basis, to deal with anxiety, I've noticed the similarities between Buddhism and the work of Carl Rogers. The more psychoanalysis, psychotherapy and philosophy books I read, the more I get drawn to Buddhism. I've been interested in Stephen Batchelor in particular, but lately, I've found that some of the articles and videos by the Western Chan Fellowship have really resonated with me. This is a path that seems to suit me, and with each new day, my resolve to follow the Middle Way increases.

I've just booked my first meditation session, which is a half-day course at the beginning of next month. I thought I'd also join a forum so that I could find out how others are doing as they explore their path, and share my experiences with them.

All the very best!

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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by Virgo » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:21 pm

Welcome. :)


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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by Punya » Tue Aug 14, 2018 9:16 am

Hello and welcome Stewart. :hi:

Purchasing Essence of Buddhism by Traleg Kyabgon Rinpoche was an excellent move. Hope you enjoy your introduction to meditation.
We abide nowhere. We possess nothing.
~Chatral Rinpoche

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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by ChanCuriosity » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:48 am

Thank you, Kevin and Punya.

I'm looking forward to my introduction to meditation. I've lapsed from meditation (I was doing a 15-minute guided meditation from YouTube for a while) but it's become apparent to me that it is highly beneficial and I feel the need to practise it. I therefore decided that it would be a good idea to get a proper introduction from a teacher in order to enable me to practise daily in a way that will actually be of benefit!

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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by DNS » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:47 am

Welcome to DW!

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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by Queequeg » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:03 am

Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Hello Everyone

Post by Admin_PC » Thu Aug 23, 2018 6:41 pm

Welcome to DharmaWheel!

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