Hi Dhamma Wheel,
I already registered some time ago, but haven't gotten around to doing any posting yet. Time to change that.
So, what to say? About 3 years ago I first seriously read about Buddhism. Though this began as just a cursory interest, it quickly became more serious as I encountered a body of thought unlike any religion or philosophy I encountered before. Up to then, I had considered suffering to be just another fact of life, not worthy of much thought, and when I did think about it, I'd blame perceived inherent qualities of myself or the world for whatever pain I felt. Buddhism opened my eyes to a different way of viewing suffering: not self-made, not world-made, but action-made, dependent on impermanent conditions, and therefore changeable, escapeable.
Soon after I converted, making the resolution to keep the 5 precepts. Since then I've broken them many times, but I keep trying, and as my understanding of the teachings progresses, keeping the precepts becomes easier and less of a struggle.
To this day though, I've never set foot in a buddhist temple/monastery, and haven't even spoken with a buddhist offline. Even online, my contact with other buddhists has been incidental and limited. Having nobody to discuss the path with means I'm stuck with my own delusions, hampering my progress. I've joined your forum hoping to change this, hoping to benefit from your insights, and hoping that my own contributions will be of use.
I've been visiting this forum for a few months now, and am impressed by the obvious culture of civility and respect here. I'm used to a far more confrontational form of discussion, so posting here will be quite a change from my normal approach. I'll endeavour to be civil and respectful always, but old habits will undoubtedly show themselves. When they do, please forgive me.
That is all for now. I'm looking forward to posting more soon!
All the best,