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.
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