Are you new to the Forum?
I joined around last October, I think.
Do you read a lot and post seldom?
Do you post a lot but hide in the shadows?
Yes, I probably posted too much lol, but, I don’t think I hid much though.
While we are closed for Vassa we have a chance to relax and look around our community, get to know each other a little perhaps.
Things like whether you are Buddhist by birth or by conviction,
I was born into a Hindu family, so by conviction.
Whether you live in a Buddhist majority or minority society.
Buddhist minority society, New Jersey, USA.
Some of us feel drawn to teach the Dhamma and others of us don’t.
I do feel drawn, but I do not feel like I am sufficiently prepared, nor ready - I might not be ready by the end of this lifetime or even next few lifetimes.
Some know or are learning Pali.
I haven’t really started, but I am interested in learning early Buddhist classical languages, included Pali.
We all have different ways of giving service and bringing the Dhamma into our lives.
The ways that come to mind as ways in which I would hope to bring it into my life and/or contribute are “studying, practicing, and translating” the Dhamma-Vinaya.
Please tell us a bit about yourself.
If you have time, and would like to share, that would be wonderful.
I was born into a Hindu Brahmin family in the US, but I grew up relatively skeptical of religion and instead looked to math and science as sources of truth.
About halfway through college, I began finding math and science more and more to be unstable/unreliable foundations to base my life on. There were several phenomena and areas of life that science either refused to investigate or were inadequate in doing so - for example, ethics or happiness. I began looking outside of math and science for a reliable source of guidance.
In high school, I had already surveyed many of the major religions and philosophies and came away relatively impressed by the Buddha. By the age of almost 19, I had arrived at some sort of commitment to learn Buddhism in-depth. Although I continued and continue to try to learn from the harmless and beneficial things outside of Buddhism, my primary focus since then had gradually become learning Buddhism primarily.
I started by undertaking multiple silent, intensive insight meditation retreats.
While these suited my inclination towards intense focus, I came away with a strong urge to want to learn what the Buddha himself taught - as opposed to what meditation teachers and introductory book writers say about what he taught. In other words, I wished to try to go back as close to the source of Buddhism as one feasibly could go back - hence my interest in early Buddhist textual sources.
My approach to learning Buddhism seems to be akin to the education and training necessary to become a doctor. Begin with in-depth study (such as in the first two years of med school) and gradually transition over time into increasingly more training (rotations, residency, fellowships) before becoming an independent doctor.
I completed my undergraduate degree in biological sciences and philosophy of mind in order to pursue an MD-PhD dual degree in medicine and clinical psychology. However, at some point, I was able to develop the courage to pursue graduate education in Buddhist Studies exclusively, and am currently studying at a university in Sri Lanka (but am working on my thesis from home in US).
Ideally, in the future, I would like to:
complete graduate school education in Buddhist Studies exclusively and fully
start and work through a Buddhism-based organization to earn my livelihood
move to and live somewhere near the 4 holy places to easily visit all 4 places
I am very much interested in meeting and getting to know beings (preferably in person, but not necessarily) who share my interest in studying and practicing “early” Buddhism for hopefully long-term/lifelong associations, if not sustained into our future lives as well. And SuttaCentral seems to be a wonderful place to be able to do just that.