Greetings and salutations! My first name is Stephen and I'm still rather new to Buddhism. I've studied the teachings off-and-on for only a year or two. This is the second Buddhist forum that I've visitied. I've been hanging around a forum for new Buddhists since January, shortly after I came to direct realization of Impermanence, Selflessness and Dependent Arising. I started out asking questions but found that before long I was also able to impart some knowledge to those in need.
I'm not specifically Theravadin, and I'm not a monk. I do consider the Tipitaka / Pali Canon to be the best source I've found so far for authentic Dhamma though. I would rather accept the totality of all Buddhist teachings, of all schools, and keep all of these teachings in mind until direct experience / realization makes clear that which is true and that which is not. I hope that I am welcome on your forum even though I do not label myself as part of any particular school.
I am probably better suited to responding to questions concerning the Theravada tradition than any other school because of my preference for the Tipitaka. I had some initial aversion to Mahayana because I felt it was much too culture-driven, so most of my studying has been of the Tipitaka. I've moved beyond that aversion and can view the different schools with equanimity, but I hope you don't hold that against me.
I started the first Buddhist-specific free e-mail service on the 'net (to my knowedge), http://www.BodhiBox.com
. I'm not sure if anyone would be interested, but it's there and it's free; powered by Google Mail (Gmail).
I continue to practice and hope to progress further before too long, but until I've left the householder life and I still have internet, I see no reason not to help out wherever I can.
The "self", which is a construct of the mind, is non-self. It is not us, and we are not it. This self blinds us to reality; it is our Mara, our Satan, our Hades. Cast it out and behold the path to freedom.
for a free Buddhist e-mail account, while you're still attached to the 'net...)