I am a 28 years old girl and I am new to Buddhism.
English is not my first language; I have a pretty good understanding but sometimes my expression gets a little weird so please do not hesitate to correct my english (I would really appreciate that actually) or ask questions if what I write is unclear.(Before posting: I realize this is a very long post. If you quickly want to know about me, maybe it is better you read only the last part I put in blue. If you like long and boring readings though, you are welcome to do so).
My first encounter with buddhism is when my mom and I went to see the movie Little Buddha at a theater. I was little at the time, but I remember being very impressed by the Buddha's life and some of the Buddhist concepts. But that was all then, since I was being raised as a (tolerant) Catholic Christian.
My second encounter happened during my first trip to Japan about seven years ago. I lived there for a year, and like most tourists, during my travels I visited many beautiful Buddhist temples. The only Buddhist notions I had were vague recollections Buddhims as portrayed in movies, documentaries and tv shows. I then though it was too bad visiting Buddhist temples without knowing what Buddhim was about. So I bought the book "The teachings of Buddha" that was sold in one of the temples and started reading it. It was a complete discovery. I realized some completely new concepts, and at the same time there were many things on which I agreed. It changed my point of view on some things for some time, but then I kind of forgot about them.
After that I went back to my own country. From time to time, when I was looking for anwsers or feeling that something was missing, I would naturally turn to Buddhism, look for some books and read them. But most of the time the writing style of the books I chose was heavy and made it not very clear, and my interest would just gradually fade away.
Now I am back living in Japan again. Since a year, I have been having minor health problems which are caused by stress.
My way of living should be quite peacefull actually. My work is not supposedly very stressful, I have a boyfriend I am living with, I have friends...
I realized I have a tendancy to over-react to everything, which causes the stress, which causes me to have health problems, which increases stress, my health problems get worse, etc.
I have read some good books about stress that made me realize the problems do not come from my life but from my mind. I tried some techniques advised in the book but it was not very efficient. I also started to do some sport which helps me release some stress and also make me feel physically better, but I felt something else was missing.Then I remembered about buddhism. I read a book in two parts, on about the sutra, the other about tantra. I got very enthusiastic about the sutra but the tantra did not correspond me at all. Then I looked for other types of Buddhism and I found out about Theravada which I think is more for me.
It had only been more than a week since then, and I found many very good books in English about the teachings of Buddha on the internet. I cannot stop wanting to read more about it, I think about it all the time, and this time I have decided to put the teachings into practice. I have many problems that I believe can be solved by the Buddha's teachings: I get easily angry or disappointed, I have tendancy to judge myself or the others, I never forgive myself, sometimes I lie, I am afraid of sickness and death, etc.
But to be honest, I am not sure if I really want to become a Buddhist.
What I feel know is that Buddha's teaching make so much sense, they are so close to my values and they are so wise I cannot ignore them. I do now know if the path is made for me, but I want to give a try because I believe it cannot harm me to try to do so, it can only do me good ! I will try practice the teachings for several months, and then I will chose if I want to continue and be able to call myself a Buddhist. I hope this is okay with you guys.
I will probably have lots of silly questions.
Oh, and I found this forum because I was looking an answer at the question "Does illegal downloading break the second principle?" and I found people had a great discussion here about it. Then I saw it was a Therevada forum and thought "Maybe this can become my Sangha".
Anyway, nice to meet you all.