When did you first discover the Dhamma

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby clw_uk » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:29 pm

Thought it would be interesting to hear when people first come accross the Dhamma

The first time i came accross them was on the internet one night, i was bored so i decided for some reason to read up on different religions and happened to type in buddhism on wikipedia. When i read those four noble truths something hit me and realised that they some how answered a lot of questions and made a lot of sense. I didnt acctualy start practising buddhism till sometime after. I have a pretty bad period and during that time for some reason those four noble truths came to mind which lead me to seek out a deeper meaning of them. From then on i was a buddhist :smile:
“ Your mind is likewise blocked. But the right road awaits you still. Cast out your doubts, your fears and your desires, let go of grief and of hope as well, for where these rule , then the mind is their subject." Boetius
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby genkaku » Thu Feb 19, 2009 11:39 pm

I had been studying Hinduism for several years -- mostly just book stuff, but a couple of retreats and visits to temples -- and realized that somehow it did not answer my desire to DO something about finding a clear understanding (or whatever you might call it). Then I was taken to a Zen temple. It scared the stuffing out of me and at the same time it felt as if I had found what I was looking for. Whether I was right or not, I have no clue, but I stuck with it in a bumpy sort of way.
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 20, 2009 1:49 am

Greetings,

A work colleague of mine from 2005 was an FWBO Buddhist and I just asked her a whole lot of dumb questions about Buddhism after seeing a few knick-knacks on her desk, and found that the answers made a lot of sense. I did some reading, got involved in online discussions, started practicing the Noble Eightfold Path and it just evolved from there.

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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby Tex » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:14 am

I first encountered Eastern religions in a college philosophy course and was very intrigued by both Taoism and Buddhism -- what I read struck a real chord with me, but they were all just passages from the Tao Te Ching and Nagarjuna and some Zen writings and some Jain writings -- we weren't reading complete works and it wasn't presented in a cohesive enough manner to be sure of anything more than "whoa, this sounds like there's really something to it!". And I wasn't really ready for anything that serious anyway -- I had a degree to finish, and a career to start, and women to date, and beer to drink, and you get the idea...

About 12 years later, at the age of 31, my intellectual curiosity came roaring back, probably due in equal parts to finally growing up and to not being terribly satisfied with the life I'd carved out. So I went back to reading all those philosophy books again and was intrigued enough to study Eastern religions more online. After ruling out Taoism I focused more on Buddhism, and found e-Sangha and started interacting with real-life Buddhists and reading what was recommended to me. I realized pretty quickly that I was going to be a practicing Buddhist; after a few months I realized that I would practice Theravada.

About a year-and-a-half later I'm amazed at how much I've learned and even moreso at how much I've barely scraped the surface. I feel like my "rookie year" is going to last about a decade.

:smile:
Last edited by Tex on Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby nathan » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:18 am

This is a tough question so for me to be honest I would have to say, "I don't know". The search for truth has been central to my life, the establishment of truth has been a process in my life. I will have to gloss over most details. Oddly, an ongoing perception of the three marks strongly dominated my childhood and future development which made for a very odd experience of life. This mindfulness arises very naturally for me. In that context I think I have been perceiving dhamma to some extent all along. This suggests that a growing awareness of the characteristics was occurring parallel to the usual developments of the childhood mind. My conceptions have always been perceived as having a fabricated nature and so these have not had so strong a hold on me as they typically have on others. That inclination to see things more so for what they are than for what I wish things to be has always been there from my perspective. I don't think there is any need to read any more into this beyond the acceptance that such qualities of perception may naturally be more intense in some people for whatever reasons.

This kind of insight and the resulting perspectives did not square well with the perceptions and conceptions of most other people and it was cause for an intense need for more understanding of myself and of others which has also shaped my entire life, putting it on a course far different from that which would have been expected in the full context of all of the other conditions involved. I tend to view myself as an alien of some kind, mistakenly born on the wrong planet. Hopefully the paper work has been corrected now for the next time! :rofl: (mods: can we get a chuckle smiley that is a little more restrained?)

By the time I was in my late teens I had reviewed and examined most every known school of thought fairly well and began to incline in the direction of the Buddhadhamma. As my learning continued the Dhamma began to be increasingly understood as conforming harmoniously to my own insights and observations and suggested many of the best ways to further develop skill and understanding. By the time I was in my thirties I had established very clearly that all I knew of existence conformed fully to the Dhamma and that it's understanding and skillful means were in every way more complete and efficacious than all others. I knew this was the direct means for developing or perfecting my insight and wisdom. I then put my full confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha and continue to do so.
Last edited by nathan on Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby Ben » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:23 am

My first contact was when I was about 10 years old. My parents brought home from Thailand a carved wooden Buddha image that I was just naturally drawn to. After my mother told me a little about the Buddha, mostly about compassion, I went and looked up the entry under Buddha in the 1953 edition of the encyclopaedia brittanica we had in our house. Even at that age, however much I could understand and glean from that dusty old tome resonated with me. Shortly afterwards I remember correcting my Christian Brother teacher who denigrated the Buddha by stating untruths about him.
Some years later my interest was reignited.
Sometime after my mother died, an older brother loaned me a copy of Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which probably had less to do with Zen than it had to do with Pirsig's obsessions. I then moved on to Alan Watt's 'This is It' and 'Cloud Hidden' when I was 15/16, and works by Suzuki Roshi.
At around the same time I invented my own meditation technique that, in retrospect, was very similar to what I've been doing these two and a bit decades. I didn't take refuge for another few years while I continued to rediscover Christianity and the Upanishads, with a short foray into the works of Madame Blavatsky.
It was on my 22nd birthday, and some say the full moon night of wesak, that I took refuge for the first time in 1985 under the guidance of assistant teachers to, my teacher, SN Goenka. That moment was like a home-coming to me.
Metta

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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby Individual » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:36 am

clw_uk wrote:Thought it would be interesting to hear when people first come accross the Dhamma

The first time i came accross them was on the internet one night, i was bored so i decided for some reason to read up on different religions and happened to type in buddhism on wikipedia. When i read those four noble truths something hit me and realised that they some how answered a lot of questions and made a lot of sense. I didnt acctualy start practising buddhism till sometime after. I have a pretty bad period and during that time for some reason those four noble truths came to mind which lead me to seek out a deeper meaning of them. From then on i was a buddhist :smile:

When can one ever truly claim to have not come across the Dhamma? And when can one ever truly claim to have come across the Dhamma? In both cases, I would say never.
The best things in life aren't things.

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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby puthujjana » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:00 pm

I came to the Dhamma via depressions about the meaningless of life.

One evening at a chinese restaurant, a good friend (who also suffered under depressions) told me that he read something about Buddhism. He gave me a short summary of the 4 noble truths: "The Buddha teached that existence is suffering, but suffering is conditioned through craving... You can end suffering, if you end the causes. The way to end them is the noble eightfold path."
These few sentences stuck in my head. So I read more about Buddhism at the internet and ordered some books.

I tried to meditate guided by the books and during one of my first metta meditations I experienced strong rapture.
It was such a beautiful and warm feeling, that made me smile the rest of the day. It was like seeing daylight for the first time in my life :D

I thougt: "Wow! That's it!" and so I developed faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha and took refuge.
Last edited by puthujjana on Fri Feb 20, 2009 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Once you understand anatta, then the burden of life is gone. You’ll be at peace with the world. When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness and we can truly be happy."
- Ajahn Chah
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby jcsuperstar » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:22 pm

i read the dhammapada while waiting for my future exwife to get off work... scared the s :jawdrop: t out of me... and i just kept reading more and more on buddhism
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: When did you first discover the Dhamma

Postby genkaku » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:34 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:i read the dhammapada while waiting for my future exwife to get off work... scared the s :jawdrop: t out of me... and i just kept reading more and more on buddhism


Thanks for the morning smile, jc.
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