I Sat Staring At the Floor, Unmoving, For Countless Hours

While in college I took a World Religions course that broadened my world view. I had been raised Roman Catholic but was very dissatisfied with the practical application of this belief system very early on. I started reading lots and worked my way through numerous belief systems in my teens. They all offered something, but I was still unsatisfied and angst-ridden. I was into: native American beliefs, unitarianism, agnosticism, atheism, existentialism. Holy moley!! I was generally unhappy with the state of the world and had lots of big questions about why things were the way they were.

When I heard about Buddhism it instantly engaged me. What caught me was the idea that we can not necessarily change the outside world, or it is hard to. But, we can more easily change how we react to, perceive and interact with the world by understanding our own minds.

I went to a Zen talk given by the Korean zen teacher Seung Sahn. It was like an enlightenment experience, I had this shocking realization. He was so alive and so present. I had never seen any human being present themselves or manifest in this way. It was truly mind-bending and earth-shaking for me.

Not long after I moved into a zen center and started my practice wholeheartedly. I wanted to get some of what he had. I sat for countless hours, in meditation practice. I lived there for a few years and I feel so grateful for the experience and for having found a practical, applicable belief system that has changed and enriched my life.


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4 Responses Aug 19, 2007

wow. your experience sounds amazing. i am just now getting into buddhism, studying it on my own. like you, i was raised roman catholic. i see a lot of parallels so far. in fact, my catholic upbringing helps me understand buddhism. my father, who studied both catholicism & buddhism, claims that the two belief systems are not incompatible.<br />
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i, too, like the fact that buddhists admit that there are few externals that can be changed. in this way buddhism reminds me of existentialism. according to frankl's logotherapy, one of the ways that we can find meaning in life is through our approach to necessary suffering. i believe this to be true, despite the fact that suffering, however nobly, is not valued in mainstream western society.<br />
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i would like to learn more about buddhism, & i plan to continue studying it. i want to get some more videos of thich nhat hanh (sp?).

I am currently taking Living Religions. It is quite fascinating to learn of different religions. It is when you start to study these different religions that you realize all the preconceived notions were false. I have studied and continue to study Buddhism. It is quite intriguing.

I agree. Lots of big questions. It is when you stop asking that you really get stale. Moment by moment by moment, just as it is.

Love it!! Great story. I also wanted to add how wonderful it is to be in a tradition where you dont necessarily have a final right answer. Its something instead that one discovers for themselves and perhaps the discovery turns out to be a question instead.