Greetings from Tampa!

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Greetings from Tampa!

Postby svenofthejungle » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:42 am

So I'm new to both Dhamma Wheel and the dharma. I came across Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chödrön, and numerous other teachers a few years ago, and took their words both as a comfort and a challenge: I can be happy, but I have to be willing to change myself to do that. I live in Tampa, born and raised in a small town near Brooksville (FL), and am currently a graduate student, tutor, and occasional handyman and doer-of-odd-jobs for my living. About to leave academia with my master's and take my chances in this 'real world' I keep hearing about.

No credentials whatsoever, apart from having read a lot about the dharma, and living a life that's become increasingly marked by awareness of dukkha. I was frequently depressed to the point where I wouldn't even get out of bed. I self-medicated through intoxication, which only dug me deeper into my depression. Meanwhile, my life was rolling along just fine (in one sense) and rolling by without me (in another entirely). I quit drinking and withdrew from my social life for a while. Started meditating, mostly zazen and mindfulness meditation. I was trying new things, because I couldn't soothe myself with alcohol anymore. So one evening, I started meditating on metta. Benefactors, loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and when I got to enemies, I curled up on the floor and started sobbing.

So it came to a point where I sat in my sweatpants, alone, and took the Three Refuges. Didn't care if I meant it or not. I wasn't a member of a sangha. I barely understood the basic points of the dharma. The Buddha was just some over-privileged prince in some long-buried Indian kingdom who had a spiritual experience and wound up saying some pretty good things sometimes. I didn't care: the metta meditation experience I had about did it for me: the dharma was worth committing to. That was about two months ago. I recite the Refuges and the Five Precepts frequently, many times a day, because the Pali is beautiful, the meanings are even more beautiful, and because I think taking refuge is best taken as an iterative process of intention and discipline --- not the kind of sudden 'conversion experience' from my Baptist upbringing.

So here I am. I'm intellectually sharp but emotionally stunted. Over-educated white male from a working-class background, stuck in a weird place at a weird age in a weird time. A little more than freaked out about life these days. I do some dubious things sometimes and hide behind the good reputation I built up in less selfish phases of my life. I'm figuring things out as I go along. I've been broken and feel expansive, because it means I get to put myself back together. I know dukkha and don't want to play anymore. And I really do want all beings without exception to be happy, safe, healthy, and that they love freely. I want to help where I can.

Metta,
Sven
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Re: Greetings from Tampa!

Postby tiltbillings » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:48 am

Welcome
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Greetings from Tampa!

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:50 am

Hi Sven,

Welcome to samsara! I mean, Dhamma Wheel!
May the Dhamma [Wheel] take you out of samsara.

:meditate:
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Re: Greetings from Tampa!

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:44 am

Greetings Sven,

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel.

:buddha2:

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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Re: Greetings from Tampa!

Postby cooran » Sun Apr 28, 2013 5:18 am

Welcome Sven! :group:

Many of us also turned to the Dhamma after suffering enough to impel us to look at the world and try to find a solution. :smile:

With metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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