My name is Jay and for many years I've been studying and practicing the Buddha Dhamma on and off. I was first introduced to Buddhism through my interest in things Japanese which lead me to the brief practice of Pure Land Buddhism (Jodoshinshu) and soon after membership with Soka Gakkai International Canada (a lay organization based on Nichiren Buddhism). After a couple years in the SGI, I became somewhat curious about the other schools of Buddhism and for a while learned a bit about the various Mahayana schools, and then Vajrayana, and finally Theravada.
I turned away from the Dhamma when I came across some things that (at the time) I didn't want to accept (namely the Theravada atheistic attitude and the seemingly polytheistic attitude of the various Mahayana schools). In attempting to fight the thoughts that were creeping up on me from the deepest parts of my mind, I turned towards Islam and became a fully-observant, sometimes perhaps exessively observant, Muslim.
However, over the years my mind could not force out the information that had already entered, and eventually I began to "bounce back and forth" between the two belief systems. Eventually, I came to the realization that I can not force myself to accept either belief system, and that I must simply continue my study until I feel confident enough to make an informed and calculated decision on the matter. It was around this time that some of the issues I had with the Dhamma before seemed to fall away, and I began to stop feeling guilty about doubting the idea of a permanent creator-deity.
Since then, little by little, I have been studying the Dhamma and attempting to put it into practice. I spend a lot of time reading and reflecting over the Dhammapada, which is currently my favourite book, and spending time alone reflecting on what I learn each day about the Dhamma.
Some months ago I began to call myself a Buddhist, as I had privately taken refuge in the Triple Gem and make a promise to myself to learn and understand the Five Precepts, and then to accept and live by them.
I am now more serious in my study, have registered with a nearby Vippassana meditation centre (I will attend my first 10 day course in January) which is taught in the instruction of S.N. Goenka. I have also enjoyed a few talks with a couple very kind and welcoming Bhikkhus, and I now wish to connect with the worldwide Sangha/Community of Buddhists and continue to learn from/with them, which is why I have just registered here.
As I am still very ignorant of many basics of Buddhist etiquette and caution, I wish to apologise if anything I say on here offends or causes any anger to anyone here, although I promise to abide by the rules of the forum and will do my best to adhere the universal concepts of compassion, tolerance and respect. If ever I make a mistake in attempting to explain anything related to Dhamma, I ask you to please correct my mistake if you know what mistake was made, so that I may continue to learn.
My posts may at times be a bit winded (I tend to talk like one usually writes an essay) and that is also something I wish to correct, so please forgive any rantings and ravings I may post and feel free to encourage and help me to be "more to the point."
Many thanks to Dr. David Snyder for his creation of this website, as well as DhammaWiki which has proven to be an indispensable site for my continuing education in the Dhamma. May all present be well and happy.
With reverance and metta,