I have been lurking here for a while and it seems that this could be a place for skillful dhamma discussion.
I came to the dhamma the old fashion way (at least for my place and time) through 60's and 70's counterculture. My first inkling of a spiritual life started with discovering the Transcendentalists in high school. From there it was Alan Watts, Krishnamurti, Suzuki Roshi, psychedelics, communal living and vegetarianism. It was pretty syncretic but very much a learning experience. And it was fun.
In my more settled early adult life I had the great good fortune of knowing some Venerable Bikkhu’s. I still dabbled in Zen and was generally quite wobbly but became very drawn to the Pali Suttas and Metta, Samatha and Vipassana practice.
In more recent years I have made an attempt to come to terms with the Christianity of my childhood and culture. The point of entry again was the Transcendentalists through their 19th century Unitarian Christian roots. I love the rejection of original sin and the emphasis
on self reliance and salvation by character. It sounds a bit like Buddhism, but it lacks Buddhism’s depth and complete path to fruition. I try to imagine what they would have been like if people of that era had access to Suttas that we do today.
I have never thought of my self as being conservative in any way but today I would call myself a very conservative Theravadin Buddhist. I have a busy family and professional life but it is dhamma practice that is at the heart of everything I do.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.
Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8