Howdy Folks ..
Here's my quick (or not so quick) intro thingy 8)
I think I've been agnostic, or whatever, since I was a young teen. Never really gave any kind of 'spiritual' or 'religious' path and attention as I always had the perception that is was a bunch of dogmatic horse crap. fast forward to about 5-6 years ago (can't pinpoint the exact date, not that it matters!) and I stumbled across buddhanet.net one day while browsing the interwebz .. I had never heard anything negative about these 'Buddhist' types so I decided to start poking around. Well, the initial basics had me hooked, such as the idea of 'non-self', taking action for yourself and not seeking some type of 'salvation', and the idea of the precepts as 'guidelines' and not 'THE LAWWWWWWWWW' .. It just seemed like 'Hey, here are some good guidelines to live you life by, and it may make your life a bit more enjoying/fullfilling .. But if you choose not to practice, eh, oh well, and good luck!' which I also really dug ..
So, I set off to find a local Buddhist group here in Dallas TX and came across New Kadampa Tradition center and decided to check it out. It almost made me forget about the whole Buddhist thing, as it was most definitely not my cup of tea. So I went back online and did some more research and found that the Theravada tradition might be the one I was looking for as it was supposed to be the closest teachings that the historical Buddha actually taught. I picked up myself a copy of the Middle Length Discourses, found a local Thai temple that had an English speaking group, and started to attend it on a semi regular basis while also dabling with Vipassana at home. This lasted for a bit, and yes something still seemed a bit off as well. There seemed to be too many 'rituals' attached to everything which I just didn't see the point in, which also provided long and interesting arguments with a buddy of mine who really dug all the ritual stuff .. But, in the end they all seemed pointless and when a guy there started talking about monks being able to levitate themselves, I was pretty much outa' there.
Kinda gave up on the whole thing for a while, till when a couple of years ago I picked up a little book by Brad Warner called Hardcore Zen. His descriptions of the Soto Zen sect of Buddhism (would sect be the proper word?) made me start researching it, and low and behold, it was the Buddhism I think I was searching for all along! So for the past couple of years I've been a nice arm chair Buddhist reading stuff and what not, even though the main stay of Soto is zazen, and finally decided to start a serious (well, serious in my eyes) zazen practice a couple of months ago.
Unfortunately there are no Soto temples around me, closest one being 4 hours away in Austin (which I do hope to check out someday) so everything I've been doing has been w/o the guidance of a teacher. But, I figured I might as well and sit some every day, as something is better than nothing, right? ! ;-)
So when I found this site, needless to say I was very excited ;-) Oh, that and I was using the timer on my stove as a zazen timer, which was kinda harsh. The one on here is MUCH better, hehehe .. I've been taking baby steps so to speak, 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes in the evening. Able to get half-lotus, with about a minute of full lotus afterward just to 'test' out the position. But even now at 10 minutes my mind is full of junk and I find it hard to make it through even 5 ;-)
There, that was short enough, wasn't it??? :twisted: :twisted: