The very first memory I have of Buddhism was as a kid. My cousin told me that monks turn the soil carefully when burying their dead so they won’t disturb the earthworms. Fast forward into my adulthood, I saw the movie “Shaolin.” My admiration for the portrayal of the monks’ discipline and compassion in that movie led me to my first real commitment with Buddhism.
I started reading online articles regarding Buddhism and I was fine with it. Buddhism has a way of making one feel good while learning it and it made me feel that way. However, I was aimless despite the vast resources I found online. Then I met my Buddhist teacher Frank, and later on teacher Sumie.
This is when I discovered that having someone to guide you through your learning magnifies the feeling of goodness and turns it to happiness. The feeling felt surreal at first and I was quite taken aback because of its intensity. I began to wonder, “Why am I this happy?”, “Is it normal to be this happy?” At that time nothing has really changed in me, the things that make me mad, sad, or insecure are still there, and I was aware of that, only that they seemed to be put in the background. They seem to feel less, they seem to feel distant. And it hit me, I have just started listening to Buddhism and I already feel this good? What if I listen more? What if more people were to hear this? These were my thoughts at the start that I still have up to this moment.
Buddhism simply marveled me with its sensibility. How the teachings give us the authority to our actions. No concept of fear, judgment, or punishment only owning up to our deeds and the consequences it will make. It made me feel a relevant aspect of my existence. It is a practical philosophy to follow to give more meaning to our lives and to make living less problematic. The Law of Cause and Effect and the Six Good Deeds alone are good habits to start and keep in our lives, even to those who do not wish to pursue Buddhism. If we all have these as guiding principles in our lives, we would all be living in harmony and life struggles will be more bearable. Buddhism also gifted us the purpose of life, an age old question that we, and all the other humans before us, ask ourselves. It brings peace to know that we don’t live just to survive and then die. We all want purpose and I think even sceptics will agree to that.
I have only been listening to the teachings for a few months and I know that there are still a lot of lessons that I will discover but despite that I have already realized the unselfish promise of Master Shinran and Sakyamuni Buddha to share the wisdom of Amida Buddha. I intend to follow and keep that promise too.