Brief members bios - please contribute!

Introduce yourself to others at Dharma Wheel.
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smcj
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by smcj » Thu Apr 30, 2015 9:31 pm

I spent the late '70s living at the Santa Cruz Karmapa center, which was effectively Rime' at the time. We would have lamas from any sect come teach. Thus I had the privilege to meet many of the great lamas from the late 20th century that would tour California (plus a handful of duds). Although the lamas were generous and Dharma became credible, I felt like Vajrayana was too hard for someone like me.

After that I spent 35 years in L.A. trying to get my personal life and career together. Stupidly I went through a substance abuse scenario in the mid '90s. When I came out of it I saw that there were ignorant and unsophisticated people that made great strides in spirituality through 12 step programs. I thought to myself, "Well, if those people can make something out of spirituality, then so can I." I used my NgonDro practice to get clean and sober instead of a 12 step program, so understandably I see similarities. I post here at DW about it sometimes.

I still suck at meditation, it's even harder than I thought. But I'm 60 now and I don't care so much about the fact I'm not good at it. Remarkably I will say that at this stage of life I am one of the happiest people I know--or even know of--and it's thanks entirely to the Dharma teachers of my youth.
I support Mingyur R and HHDL in their positions against Lama abuse.
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Once in a while you can get shown the light
In the strangest of places if you look at it right.
Robert Hunter

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KrisW
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by KrisW » Fri May 01, 2015 1:41 am

Hi,

My name is Kristofer but I have a ton of affectionate names people give me, such as Gopi, Gopika, Shyam, Chota Baba, Sennin, etc.
Alot of my family passed away when I was young and that scared the crap out of me but it mostly drove me to find answers.

I started with the bible but eventually around 12 or so due to influence from nat geo magazines, and the movie "The Golden Child" discovered estern taditions. Buddhism at first but it was to over the top for me to get uvderstand, so i got into Bhakti yoga, vrindavan baba style. strict vairagya. oh yeah!!

Around 16 or 17 I got back into buddhism and even had a esangha account, I think white lotus or something, I was tryna be cool idk. anyways somebody from that forum sent me some books that really clarified the basics but I was still deep in raganuga marga. even learned sanskrit basic grammar and prosody; long/short syllables caesura, anusthubh, tristhbuh, jagati etc mostly so i could recite verses correctly.

Somehow read something about dzogchen that was interesting maybe Jalu or Jalu Chenpo but that was enough for me to become curious.

So thats where im at now trying to seriously learn and practice Dharma for about 3 to four years now.
The guru is the Buddha, the guru is the Dharma, likewise the guru is the Sangha, the guru is Śrī Heruka, the guru creates everything.

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rory
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by rory » Sat May 02, 2015 5:25 am

Lazy_eye wrote:Nice thread topic --

... Although I've been around on the forae for awhile (I met some of you on E-Sangha),
It's fora, forae is feminine plural in Latin. One forum (neuter singular), two fora.
gassho
Rory
Last edited by Ayu on Sat May 02, 2015 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed the quoting brackets. _()_
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Lazy_eye » Sat May 02, 2015 12:36 pm

rory wrote:
Lazy_eye wrote:Nice thread topic --

... Although I've been around on the forae for awhile (I met some of you on E-Sangha),
It's fora, forae is feminine plural in Latin. One forum (neuter singular), two fora.
gassho
Rory
Thank you, Rory! My HS Latin teacher would be very disappointed in me for making that mistake. :emb:

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rory
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by rory » Sat May 02, 2015 11:35 pm

Lazy Eye
Thank you, Rory! My HS Latin teacher would be very disappointed in me for making that mistake.
No worries :smile: , I only know as I'm taking a second BA in Classics. You can see the same with datum and data. A tricky one that's useful is index and indices (feminine). The students in my Latin class are smart! Their other classes are physics, philosophy, computer programming.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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DNS
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by DNS » Sun May 24, 2015 5:05 pm

Great topic and photos! It's nice to see the photos behind the users we interact with here at DW. :thumbsup:

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elessar7
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by elessar7 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 8:48 pm

I am 46 years old, Mexico City born and raised.

Had the great fortune to come into contact with the Buddhadharma in 2004 and became a student at Casa Tibet Mexico. (This is the Mexico version of Tibet House US, also founded by HH The Dalai Lama.) After a starting to practice and several retreats with Allan Wallace, Lama Ole Nydahl, Yangsi Rinpoche and other teachers, I formally took refuge in 2005.

I live these days in the San Francisco Bay area and work in Risk Management as it relates to the Payments industry. Love to travel, hike, climb and cook.

I hope to meet many of you and be of service to this wonderful Sangha with whatever little I've learned with my humble practice.

Oscar
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MarkWilliam
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by MarkWilliam » Mon Nov 09, 2015 8:57 pm

Hello: My name is Mark Marlatt. I'm 51 years old, I live in Tucson Arizona. I am a professional musician by trade. I own a lesson studio in North Tucson. I also perform and own a recording studio. I have my bachelor's degree in music education from the University of Hartford (Hartt School of Music) and a second degree in Cultural Anthropology.
Over the years I have read about and studied many different religions. I stumbled on some writings by Thich Nhat Hanh some years ago and was instantly taken. Nothing I had ever read or studied had been so close to my genuine mindset as Buddhism as it was interpreted by this person. Although I wasn't practicing Buddhism at that time, I certainly saw the many, many parallels between Hanh's writings and my own personal beliefs. And still, years have gone by and I am just now really starting to read and study again. I have studied meditation, the 8 fold path, and the 4 truths to a certain extent but now my main objective is to study, practice, and learn. I am sure that my journey is not unlike many other's who have gone before me.
My end goal is to be able to live as a practicing Buddhist and still be able to function to a degree in modern society. I have to admit, (in my eyes) this is no easy task. I seem to have so many questions and there seem to be too few answers. For all intents and purposes, I am at the very beginning of my journey to enlightenment and understand that it is all a learning process that will take time. Although I can read all that I want about anything, unless I have people around me that understand what I am going through and that are going with me, and if I do not have proper guidance, all of the right mindfulness in the world will be of no use to me.
So I come here to learn mostly. I am in no position to give advice or judge. I sincerely hope that I can met people here who can offer me knowledge, and companionship for my journey. I will share whatever I can and listen with as much compassion as I know how to listen with. That's about all I can offer at this point.

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Wayfarer
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 10, 2015 7:13 am

Hi Mark, welcome. My bio is further up the thread, I'm also a musician although not professionally. Hope you find Dharmawheel useful.

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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BrianG
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by BrianG » Wed Nov 11, 2015 1:17 pm

Hi, my name is Brian.

I work in entertainment, here are my credits -
http://www.mobygames.com/developer/shee ... Id,205422/
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5851512/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

I practice according to the LamDre cycle of teachings.
Telepaths - I like to kill them

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take2daily
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by take2daily » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:34 am

My name is Steve Martin, Lots of use out of the name especially in the 70's. I'm from Southern California, San Clemente is my home base. I live up the road these days can't afford that beach community life style.
I spent 6 years in the 82nd ABN at Fort Bragg. I went in later in life. I had been studying martial arts for years prior so it was a natural for me to join the demonstration team, which was a lot of fun. I got out and went to Idaho, where my wife went with the kids half way thru my enlistment..;-). I went to university at Idaho state and came away with a BS in Geology/Technical writing. I Did quite a lot of rock climbing while I was in Idaho and have the scares to prove it. I grew up with a surf board under my arm so back to California I went. I found and married my childhood sweetheart and now we live a peaceful existence together.
My spiritual growth started when I was very young. I was drawn to churches and people who aspired to be holy. I spent several years with a cult not to be named and was ejected for expounding the prospect of hypocrisy among the higher-ups. I studied Tao and the writtings of Lao-Zi and excelled in tang soo do moo duk kwan & Chung Do Kwan until a few accidents on the rocks rendered me unfit to practice.
In 2007 while fishing off a jetty just near my home town I was struck by a rogue wave and thrown over the rocks into the back bay, where I drowned. I was fished out and through some effort at the hospital I was brought back physical awareness where I have stayed until this day. I spent 7 days in the ICU and it took two years for my recovery. I found the path to liberation on that day in the culmination of a dream that I had continuously since being a child. That being the wave that nearly took my life. without understanding what I was doing I had the 8 auspicious objects tattooed on one shoulder and the Dharma Wheel on the other.. I bought the Tibetan book of the dead and began to read.. And here I am today.. :shrug: Oh yea.. I have lots of kids..
"no-self" says that nothing about you is fixed...I like that..

It's all one needs
https://youtu.be/ncrNEAAMgSs

Jeff H
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Jeff H » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:20 pm

It’s really nice to read about everyone here! I hope this thread gets renewed traction. Thanks for reviving it, Steve.

I’ve been very happily married for 27 years. It’s both of our second marriages. By our first marriages, Patti has a daughter and son, and I have a son. Between us we have three grandchildren, ages 5, 7, and 8. Our kids are variously in Vermont, South Carolina, and Oregon.

I practiced karate in the ‘70’s and as an adjunct to that, learned zazen meditation from a Jesuit priest using Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, which I read over and over long before I had any interest in Buddhism as a religion. In the ‘80’s I returned to my home town on Long Island, New York, and became a devout Episcopalian Christian at the church I had abandoned just before confirmation (around age 13). There I led discussion groups, created a 7th grade Sunday School curriculum, and began a youth group. I also took a pastoral counseling course at the local seminary, which got me interested in the helping professions, leading me to a Master of Social Work degree at Adelphi University in the 90’s and a job with a local not for profit where I worked until my recent retirement at the end of 2015.

The attacks of 9/11 had a profound effect on me, crushing my concept of an “American ideal”. (See the attached essay below which I wrote on the first anniversary of 9/11.) Prior to that I had left the Episcopal church because I wasn’t finding what I felt was heartfelt spiritual comradery. But my new congregation which was more spiritually motivated, failed, IMO, to see the bigger picture of human suffering epitomized in 9/11, and instead took up the xenophobic, “how dare they!” tone of the larger society. So then I moved to the Unitarian Universalists, where I found an ethical motivation with liturgical trappings, but it never quite satisfied.

In January of 2007 the UUs invited the local NKT center [Mods: please don’t censor; we’ll move past this!] to give a one-day seminar on Buddhism. I had just turned 59. It was not so much an “Aha!” epiphany as an “Oh yeah. That’s good.” connection. I attended weekly sessions at that NKT center for the next two years, but more importantly, I studied Geshe Kelsang’s five “Foundation Programme” texts on my own in some depth over that time.

Late in 2008 I attended Ven. Robina Courtin's teaching for the first time, and she touched me where I live. I cannot say that she is my root guru or even my teacher, but she is my touchstone and I first took refuge through her. In my Buddhist infancy, as I write this post, I have to say that for me the Prasangika lineage still resonates through her and I try to attend whenever she comes to NYC.

In 2009 I formally left NKT and began Geshe Tashi Tsering’s “Foundation of Buddhist Thought” online course for the next two years. It was essentially the same material I had studied at NKT, and the repetition was extremely helpful. After that I spent a year studying Shantideva’s Way of the Bodhisattva with Kunzang Pelden’s commentary, Nectar of Manjushri’s Speech, as part of Ringu Tulku’s “Online Shedra”. Then I took Geshe Tashi’s second online course, a seven-trimester study of Tsongkhapa’s Great Treatise. Since then I’ve now begun the FPMT’s Basic Program through the Shantideva Meditation Center in New York City.

It is primarily the teachings on rebirth and karma that make Buddhism live for me and make sense of the bodhicitta teachings. (I wanted to follow Jesus in universal loving compassion as a Christian, but I never found the instruction manual there as I have here.) And in the spirit of rebirth and karma, I am very patient with the three countless great eons ahead of me. I understand that all I have now is a rudimentary philosophical understanding, which I combine with daily meditation, liturgy, and recitations. I try to apply the teachings and the spirit of the liturgy in my daily activities, but I’m not very good at it yet. I’m confident that with consistent, persistent effort, I will create the causes to eventually meet a suitable teacher.

I am very much drawn to an online environment because I am a very slow thinker. I need time to process what others say and I generally need to formulate what I am thinking through writing. The breadth and depth of experience and erudition on DW is remarkable! I'm delighted to be here.
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We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Wayfarer
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Wayfarer » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:14 am

Hi Jeff - great intro and thank you for it. I admire the dligent and thorough approach you have expressed in your post. I read your attached reflections on 9/11 too. I still remember that day vividly, I think it was one of the overall worst days of my 62-odd years of life. Anyway, welcome and hope you find your participation rewarding.

:namaste:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

Walter Sobchak
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Walter Sobchak » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:18 am

I was "Silent Bob" in a previous incarnation here, then forgot my revised user name, "Walter Sobchak", and was unable to log on for couple of years, until I remembered it yesterday.

I'm 74 y/o and have been practicing since 1974. My first teacher was Trungpa Rinpoche, whom I studied with for about 12 years and I completed Ngondro under his direction. Not long after that I met Thrangu Rinpoche, who became my principal teacher and was the source of all the various practices I've done in the past almost 30 years. In the years since 2000 I've also formed fruitful connections with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche. I aspired to do the traditional three-year retreat, but was never able to, though I did attend Trungpa Rinpoche's three-month residential seminary in 1978 and a number of other long Vajrayana retreats.

For the past 25 years I was the manager/caretaker of a remote 6000-acre ranch in the Eastern Sierra, but after my wife died a year ago I got tired of my own company and moved to Bellingham, Washington, to be closer to dharma centers and to people I might talk to about things other than horses, trucks and how oppressive the government is.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Chris
(formerly Silent Bob)

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:51 am

You sound like a fascinating dude Walter, hi from Oly;)
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Jeff H
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Jeff H » Wed Apr 13, 2016 1:46 pm

Walter Sobchak wrote:I was "Silent Bob" in a previous incarnation here, then forgot my revised user name, "Walter Sobchak", and was unable to log on for couple of years, until I remembered it yesterday.

I'm 74 y/o and have been practicing since 1974. My first teacher was Trungpa Rinpoche, whom I studied with for about 12 years and I completed Ngondro under his direction. Not long after that I met Thrangu Rinpoche, who became my principal teacher and was the source of all the various practices I've done in the past almost 30 years. In the years since 2000 I've also formed fruitful connections with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche. I aspired to do the traditional three-year retreat, but was never able to, though I did attend Trungpa Rinpoche's three-month residential seminary in 1978 and a number of other long Vajrayana retreats.

For the past 25 years I was the manager/caretaker of a remote 6000-acre ranch in the Eastern Sierra, but after my wife died a year ago I got tired of my own company and moved to Bellingham, Washington, to be closer to dharma centers and to people I might talk to about things other than horses, trucks and how oppressive the government is.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Chris
Thanks for sharing! I find it very interesting to know a little more about different people here on DW.

When I was getting my masters in social work, the first day of family therapy 101 the professor had everyone in the class say something about their names. It was fascinating that every single person had an interesting story to tell about their names. So, is there a story behind your Bob-Walter-Chris names?
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Apr 13, 2016 4:26 pm

Jeff H wrote:
Walter Sobchak wrote:I was "Silent Bob" in a previous incarnation here, then forgot my revised user name, "Walter Sobchak", and was unable to log on for couple of years, until I remembered it yesterday.

I'm 74 y/o and have been practicing since 1974. My first teacher was Trungpa Rinpoche, whom I studied with for about 12 years and I completed Ngondro under his direction. Not long after that I met Thrangu Rinpoche, who became my principal teacher and was the source of all the various practices I've done in the past almost 30 years. In the years since 2000 I've also formed fruitful connections with Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche and Jetsun Kushok Rinpoche. I aspired to do the traditional three-year retreat, but was never able to, though I did attend Trungpa Rinpoche's three-month residential seminary in 1978 and a number of other long Vajrayana retreats.

For the past 25 years I was the manager/caretaker of a remote 6000-acre ranch in the Eastern Sierra, but after my wife died a year ago I got tired of my own company and moved to Bellingham, Washington, to be closer to dharma centers and to people I might talk to about things other than horses, trucks and how oppressive the government is.

That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Chris
Thanks for sharing! I find it very interesting to know a little more about different people here on DW.

When I was getting my masters in social work, the first day of family therapy 101 the professor had everyone in the class say something about their names. It was fascinating that every single person had an interesting story to tell about their names. So, is there a story behind your Bob-Walter-Chris names?
Walter Sobchak is John Goodmans character from The Big Lebowski.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Jeff H
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Jeff H » Wed Apr 13, 2016 5:24 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Walter Sobchak is John Goodmans character from The Big Lebowski.
Ah. I guess I need to get out more. :thinking:
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Kunga Lhadzom
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by Kunga Lhadzom » Wed Apr 13, 2016 6:19 pm

My Father came from a family of Sephardic Jews...they escaped the inquisition and eventually ended up in the U.S.
My Mothers family came from Finland. My Great grandmother was raised in the palace of the last Czar of Russia, her mother was a handmaiden to the Czarina. Just before the revolution in Russia, my great-grandmother got married, and the Czar smuggled them out of the country....
My mother was conceived when a handsome Jazz Saxaphone player raped my grandmother.....my grandmother was ashamed, and when my mother was born she was brought to a hospital/orphanage. After a few months went by, my great- grandmother went to see her and fell in love with her and took her home. When my mother was growing up, she thought her grandmother was her mother...when she found out the truth, at age 11 or 12, she was so distraught, and confused...she ran away from home....

During the course of her adventures...she was kidnapped twice. Once by gypsies....
As she was always mischievous, she saw a sign in a window (Palms Read), and instead of going to the store to get bread (someone she was staying with told her to do), she got sidetracked, and went in the shop where the gypsy was. Being that my mother was already taught how to do fortunes reading cards when she was a kid....the gypsy woman could see my mother could be an asset to her business...also my mother was very pretty, and she wanted my mother to marry her gypsy-boy son. My mother didn't like how these people slept on the floor, and seemed to be poor....as my mother had great dreams of going to Hollywood and becoming an actress....so she begged the gypsy woman to let her go....and she did....


Another time she was kidnapped, she was drugged drinking a bottle of soda/pop.
The people that drugged her were Mexicans...and she was taken to Mexico, where she lived in a Bordello (house of prostitution).
My mother was still a virgin, and begged the Madame to spare her from being a prostitute....so the Madame checked her out to see if she really was, and then made her a maid instead....cleaning the rooms, bringing refreshments, cooking cleaning....

After many months went by.....after futile attempts to get the sailor/patrons to help her escape...she left one night when they forgot to lock the doors......and hitchhiked back to the US.....


To make a longer story shorter....my mom became a fan-dancer working at a fancy club in New Orleans...where she met my father (a drug addict, pool-shark-gambling man).....I was eventually conceived....


I grew up Christian, but questioned everything as a teen, and was very attracted to India and Eastern culture and philosophy.
After reading my brains out trying to figure it all out...I eventually fell in love with Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, and took refuge in 2003.

Sorry for all this...but i didn't know where to begin.....nor how to end ....

:rolleye:
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MindTheGap
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Re: Brief members bios - please contribute!

Post by MindTheGap » Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:09 am

I grew up Catholic in a small southern town where Catholics were seen as baby-eaters. 

One Sunday when I was about six, we came out of Church at the end of Mass and found the windshields of all the cars fluttering with Chick Tracts. The general gist of the tract was that priests had sex with nuns and the Host at Mass was made from the cremated remains of their illegitimate children.

Since I had learned to speak and read at an early age I wasn't too young to understand what it said. Neither, it turns out, were the older Protestant kids in the neighborhood. 

Oh, that's also how I found out how babies are made.

I went to Catholic school, though, so that part wasn't as bad as it could have been.. Well, the Catholic school part wasn't that great either. I don't really want to go into it much. I was smaller than my other classmates and more interested in history, literature and art than baseball, football and all the other noble cultivators of testosterone that our culture espouses. In third grade, I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I was a pretty lonely, beat-up kid much of the time. That's the only part of that story I want to talk about.

My mother has had health problems all her life, and spent much of my early childhood in and out of the hospital. In brief: she was born a Siamese twin, but her sister didn't survive. She was a parasitic twin. The doctors were able to separate them, but that left my mother spina bifida. She also had a bout with polio as a child, but survived. The surgery that saved her life as a baby severed nerves that left her without feeling in her feet. In high school, she stepped on a rusty nail... and that's how she discovered she had no feeling in her feet. After high school, she married my dad, he joined the army and moved our family down into a tiny little belt hole of the Bible Belt - that's where his posting was. After four children, the wound from the rusty nail hid a deadly secret: osteomyelitis. This is a bacterial infection of the bone marrow. By the time it was diagnosed, she was gravely ill. I was about five years old at the time. My older sister took care of me while my mother was in the hospital. This made for a very confusing early childhood.

There were a lot of good aspects to my childhood, though. I always felt safe and loved at home, which, I know, is a rare commodity in this world. Even though my curiosity and thirst for knowledge was constricted at school, at home it was nourished and encouraged. All of us kids were read to as children, and there were books all over the house. Not so much art and music, though. My dad's idea of art was paintings on black velvet he picked up in Juarez. My mom's idea of music was Bing Crosby and Burt Bacharach. 

From my older sister, I did get some Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Peter, Paul and Mary. Among others - Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin... You get the idea. Got some Pink Floyd, David Bowie and Elton John from my brother - we shared a room for awhile. Got a lot of Pink Floyd.

I'm the last in line. I've got a sister ahead of me (my "younger-older" sister), then my brother, then my older sister.

My "younger-older" sister and I more or less swapped grimaces at each other behind my parent's back. She did love me, though. She introduced me to cheesecake.

(We're best friends, now)

She also introduced me to Puff the Magic Dragon, (which still makes me happy) Seasons in the Sun, (which still makes me cry - a little bit.) and One Tin Soldier, (which became the formative basis of my ethical thinking).

Once, when my parents had gone out for the night, my siblings were baby-sitting me. They went out of the house and told me to STAY INSIDE! When they came back... They were the best playmates. Ever!

When my parents returned, I joyfully proclaimed to them, "WE HAD A POT PARTY!!"

All hell broke loose. My siblings weren't such great playmates for awhile.

I had a personal experience when I was a young child that, later in my life, made a profound connection for me to Buddhism. Stories like this always come out sounding nutball goofy, so I'll spare you the details... I guess the point is that my early childhood gave me a familiarity with meditation and the First Noble Truth. And some good times too.

Things got progressively better as I got older and the prospects to sate my voracious need to learn increased. High school was pretty good. I had one friend who was Jewish and one who was Hindu. the town had gotten bigger by then. We learned a lot from each other. That was pretty cool.

(This is getting pretty long, so I'm trying to condense a bit. Plus the cats keep wanting to dance on the keyboardinghibinh) 

I missed a lot of the eighties music, though I did pick up some by osmosis. Mostly, I had discovered the AV section of the library and was listening to Armenian folk music and Tuvan throat singing. And some Sephardic Hannukah songs. 

I had a girlfriend. We broke up. Next topic.

By the end of high school, I decided I wanted to become a priest, which shocked my parents. No, not just a priest. A Franciscan Friar. I'd read a biography of St Francis of Assisi and decided I wanted to be just like him. A mystic. A Christian Yogi.

Plus, I loved to be in the woods and so did he, so... Seemed like a perfect match.

So I entered the Seminary. Christian yogi... not so much. But, I got a double major in Philosophy and English, which had great job prospects.

Actually, the Seminary closed down halfway through due to lack of... Seminarians... and we transferred to a program at John Carroll University. So, at least I got my diploma from a fairly decent school.

I had some girlfriends. Got found out. We broke up. Next topic.

After college, I had learned enough about the Catholic Church to know I didn't hate it, but  it wasn't home. So spiritually and vocationally, I did some rattling around. I took some meditation courses at a Zen center with a friend. The first time I looked into my mind, I found again what I had known as a young child. I knew I had done this before, long before I was a child. The teachings brought me to Buddhism, but meditation made me realize I already was a Buddhist.

Just to project out of the storyline a bit: I really liked Zen, and I still do. But what I read and felt increasingly, inexorably, pulled me toward the Land of Snows.

Got a job. Hated it. Took some classes at the community college. Hated it.

Then, I took some SCUBA lessons, and quickly went from a Basic Open Water diver to an Assistant Instructor. I found my passion! The next year after AI, I took the Instructor Certification class. Out of a class of ten, I was the only one who passed. I was driven. I had heart. And it was g0dd@^^n hard. But. I did it.

(It helped that I was a good swimmer to begin with. My one sport I always excelled at.)

So, I was a SCUBA instructor for three years. Best three years of my life. Got diagnosed with Minere's Disease, - a vestibular disorder.

Stopped teaching SCUBA.

Got married. Got divorced, thank god. Next topic.

(I am glossing over a lot, but you've gotta leave some stuff to talk about, nay?)

So, in the process of all that post-college ramble, I moved here. I moved there. 

I came home.

Home's a lot bigger than I remember, even though I'm not quite so small. I take care of my loving parents who loved me into life out from under my little black cloud, cheered me on, and always told me I was bright and talented when the world seemed to think otherwise. And, may they be forever blessed, taught me how to read.

So, I gotta job. Don't like it. Pays the bills. Got my own house, but I don't spend much time in it.  I read. I meditate. Once in awhile I go on a date, but I usually bring along a book, just in case. 

God Bless the Kindle iPhone App. 

Recently, I've been doing some experimental photography using only lighting and my iPhone's camera (no Photoshop) just to see what effect I can get. 

Image

(the Thangka is framed, so that's actually my reflection in the glass. See what I mean?)

Oh, and I waste a lot of ink on paper. Or actually... pixels... on a screen...? Well. Whatever. $#!+ this is long - admin's gonna kill me!

Anyway. Who's up next?
Last edited by MindTheGap on Sun Apr 24, 2016 5:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
And now, as long as space endures, As long as there are beings to be found,
May I continue, likewise, to remain, To drive away the sorrows of the world.

- Shantideva: Bodhicharyavatara

In this world there is no man, there is no woman. There is no person, self or consciousness.
Man and woman are merely imputed and have no essence. Thus, the minds of worldly beings are mistaken.

- Wisdom Moon: now known as the Bodhisattva Tara

When there arises a gap in the mind...

Image

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