I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

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I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby Kanen » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:16 am

Well, yes I do. I'm trying to learn, to understand, and to somehow find a way to stop hurting so much.

My name is Chandler, I'm seventeen and living in Texas. I only began looking into Buddhism about a month ago - I'm not sure what made me do it, some sort of whim, a stray thought. But what I found was astounding. I was raised in a very Christian home, my brother being a Baptist minister and everything, and for years I thought that I was a good Christian boy. Then I discovered I was gay, told my family, was rejected, and gave up on a teaching that I found to be 1)Illogical, because I could see no proof of a god, and 2)Evil, for what it had done and is continuing to do in the world. I embraced atheism with all my heart, began to uphold logic and reason as virtues, and thought that was the end of it. I'd spend the rest of my days as a secular humanist.

But then things changed. About two years ago I sank into a terrible depression. I've always had a problem with self-image, but this twisted it into something else entirely. I began to truly hate myself - who I was, the person I saw looking into the mirror everyday. The depression led me into a lot of other things - drugs mostly, but anything that I could find to numb the pain, to shut these thoughts up. I felt entirely lost in my suffering, and I wanted desperately to find a way out.

And then I found Buddhism, and for the first time in so long, I could see a light at the end of a tunnel. It was a structure that I felt I needed. It was a morality that rang true to me. It upheld enlightenment and discovering truth for yourself. I started meditating and found, for the first time in so long, that I could make the thoughts stop, at least for a time.

I read up on several different practices, but I'm still very confused as to what everything means. Parts of the teachings - such as reincarnation - I find hard to accept, and I have seen references to brahmins and such that I reject outright as a mixing of Hindu practices. I cannot believe in a higher power, but perhaps I can believe in myself.

What I want from this site is understanding. I need someone to guide me along this path - I need a teacher, and that is almost impossible to find in this small, podunk little town I live in. Because this... this... I don't know what to call it, religion? Philosophy? Whatever it is, it's given me hope. And I want to pursue it.

But who knows? This may just be a whim of mine. I fall into fads every now and again, so why wouldn't this be any different? I know, though, that I don't want it to be a fad. I want to change my life.

I don't know if any of this makes sense or if I'm just rambling, but I could use some guidance. Buddhism is... a bit daunting, trying to delve head-first into it. If I could, I would travel to a center or temple and just ask questions, but that's out of my reach. I want to find a teaching that I can follow, but I have no idea if that is Theravada or Mahayana - though from what I've read, I'm leaning towards Theravada. I need understanding first - and yes, I should learn some patience.

-Kanen
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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby Ben » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:25 am

Greetings Chandler and welcome to Dhamma Wheel.
The best thing to do right now is just take your time investigating Buddhism. Check out the introductory resources thread in the Discovering Theravada sub-forum. Feel free to ask questions. With Buddhism, the proof of the pudding is in its eating, so one needs to engage with the teachings and begin to walk on the path - and it is from that one benefits. There maybe a centre close to you: http://www.buddhanet.info/wbd/
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:04 am

Hi again Chandler, this is a better place to learn about Therevada Buddhism than where we first met, by the way I'm former monk John over there, John is my middle name, again I wish you all the best, people really go out of the way to answer basic question here, I see it happen all the time, a lot less animosity in the air, people looking more for discussions than arguements, and about 95% less wackos, is that a good assesment of your forum Ben, I'm trying my best!!!
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby cooran » Sat Jul 27, 2013 5:31 am

Welcome Kanen! :smile:

Look forward to your posts - many of us have had tough times in life, and probably wouldn't have searched for a solution and found the Dhamma without that happening. :group:

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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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:57 pm

Welcome to Dhamma Wheel!

Check out the introductory resources here:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3012
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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby reflection » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:04 pm

Hi, welcome to the forum.

I think it's best to take it all bit by bit. Take the things you feel are helpful for you and leave the rest for a while, or even for a long time. That way you will give yourself some time to internalize things and don't run ahead of yourself. If you go too much into the books, you run the danger of it becoming an intellectual challenge instead of a path of transformation.

In the end it is all not that complicated, because it all comes down to the four noble truths the Buddha taught, and these you can find inside yourself. There are so many teachings mainly to give different approaches to understanding these four noble truths. You don't need to read or think over all these teachings per se.

Wish you all the best,
Reflection
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Re: I Don't Know What I'm Doing Here

Postby manas » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:35 pm

Kanen wrote:...
I don't know if any of this makes sense or if I'm just rambling, but I could use some guidance. Buddhism is... a bit daunting, trying to delve head-first into it. If I could, I would travel to a center or temple and just ask questions, but that's out of my reach. I want to find a teaching that I can follow, but I have no idea if that is Theravada or Mahayana - though from what I've read, I'm leaning towards Theravada. I need understanding first - and yes, I should learn some patience.

-Kanen


Hi Chandler

welcome to Dhamma Wheel, and thanks for sharing that inspiring story of how your journey has unfolded thus far.

When it comes to online resources for the study of the Dhamma, the 'Access to Insight' site I have found to be very helpful. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ On the right-hand side of the page that opens, it says "Quick Guide", and just underneath that, "Beginnings: what is Theravada Buddhism?"
I just had another look at it, and there's a lot of helpful information there.

May you continue to have the courage to try to see things for yourself, rather than merely accept an imposed belief system - whether religious, sectarian or scientific, we ought to investigate things thoroughly, because truth will always stand up to close scrutiny.

Lastly, well said that you will need patience - yes you will, we all do. I've been studying and practicing the Dhamma (in a patchy way sometimes but anyway) over the last 20 years or so. When I compare my understanding now to what it was when I began, there is a substantial difference. But last night, I had this perception of how I still have quite a long way to go. Because the Path isn't just about knowing things intellectually - it is experiential, it has to be walked. So yes there is a lot to learn in terms of concepts, but the real insights are born out of actual practice, not just 'knowing' things intellectually.

But even just first dipping our toe into a beautiful lake, we might know something about the sweet coolness of the water, even without being immersed in it. Enjoy your exploration of the Dhamma, it's really deep...if you like deep truths, you'll like the Dhamma :smile:

kind regards,
manas
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The greatest warrior of all time turned out to be the most peaceful one.
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