Buddhism–A personal journey

In this month’s article – my intention is to give a bit of information on my personal journey to becoming Buddhist. The reason is twofold – first, hopefully my story will inspire you to follow your path – no matter what that is and secondly, to provide you with a frame of reference concerning myself and where I am coming from with the articles I write.

Here’s the funny thing - It has taken me a few years to realize that I am Buddhist. One of my dearest friends saw it when we first met, more than twelve years ago. I thought she was off her rocker and said as much. It wasn’t that I had anything against being Buddhist – The issue was being associated with any religion – least of all ; my idea at the time, of what it meant to be Buddhist. Boy was I wrong.

In my mind, (uninformed) I would need to give up all the comforts of life – home, good food, etc – cut my hair off (hair is a really big deal in my ethnic culture), move to a monastery, live in one of those small cells, eat rice and pray twenty hours a day. Being a good Taurus Moon person – I could give up a lot of things, but not good food, comfortable home or my hair. Bottom line, I wasn’t willing to give up anything. So, becoming a Buddhist was OUT!!! To this – I am sure the Buddha’s, Bodhisattva’s and Angels were laughing so hard, they probably feel off a cloud.

There is a part of me that believes we pick the path we are going to take to enlightenment before we incarnate in each life. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know in this life, my friends who said I was Buddhist were correct in their assessment. What I didn’t know is that I was already living my life as a Buddhist. A person does not have to take formal vows to be Buddhist. It is a way of life, being kind, compassionate, living in the present moment, paying attention the motivation of actions, freeing one-self from obscurations, healing old wounds, and being of service to others. Being a life coach and astrologer is my dream job – it is my passion to help others discover their inner joy and live life as a centered being.

My journey to recognizing myself as a Buddhist began with a set of cassette tapes loaned to me by my first astrologer – David Pond. He saw something in my chart that prompted him to give me the tapes. They were the "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” by Sogyal Rinpoche. I listened to them but really didn’t understand much - This was back in 2002. The next year found me in Australia for certification as a Journey Practitioner – that was a wonderful program of healing old wounds on the cellular level. Anyway, because the program was seven weeks, the organizers found me a place to stay in a private home – in Byron Bay. On several occasions we went shopping and I found myself purchasing Buddhist art. This was the beginning of my love of Buddhist art. Before, I knew what was happening, I had filled my home with Buddhist pieces.

My subconscious was doing a wonderful job of directing me to recognize consciously that I was on the Buddhist path. The next thing that happened was a trip to Bhutan in 2007. I had absolutely no intention to travel to Bhutan. My business as a life coach was brand new and I needed to concentrate on building a clientele. Besides, I told myself – I couldn’t afford it. Where was Bhutan anyway? I had never heard of the place.

The trip to Bhutan came about through an ad in Shambhala Sun. One day while reading the magazine (I subscribed to the magazine out of curiosity – What happened to the cat that was curious?) I saw an ad placed by Authentic Asia for a trip to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan where the motto is ‘gross national happiness’. I still remember seeing the ad – knowing I was supposed to go but slamming the magazine shut and saying to God ‘I am not going and you can’t make me.’ Six weeks later I was on a plane to Bhutan. What a wonderful trip that was. I learned so much about myself and Buddhism and gained five new friends. The America guide Nick Egan was so patient with me. I was the only one on the trip who knew nothing about Buddhism – not even the terms, so he spent a lot of time patiently answering my questions and explaining what we were viewing in the temples. I am so grateful to him for his kindness and generosity with information. If you ever have an opportunity to travel with Nick – do it, he is a great guide.

After arriving home, I decided to learn more, so I enrolled in on line classes through Rigpa. Remember the tapes my first astrologer gave me? Well, Rigpa is Sogyal Rinpoche’s organization for Buddhist studies. After several years of study – I traveled to Tibet with the same group who I met on the Bhutan trip. It was after this trip that I completely realized that I was a Buddhist.

Fortunately for me, no one ever put any pressure on me to become Buddhist. My realization has been gradual and will stand the test of time because of it. Buddhism works for me - in all areas of my life. Each of us has to find our own path to joy and happiness. This is my path – what is yours?

As Featured on ArticleCity.com