I'm really getting into Buddhism now. It fits my outlook on life and truth closely. I bought the book "What the Buddha taught" by Walpola Rahula. It had very good reviews from most all Buddhists, except from like one fundamentalist Buddhist troll on the internet. I read the excerpt on amazon and I was blown away by it. It's very easy to read for a book on religion.
I do not know what school of Buddhism I might follow. I do like Zen, but within Zen there is also Soto and Rinzai views. It's really not that big of deal, not like picking "the true church" in Christianity. Its just that the different schools in buddhism hold different rituals and interpretations of the core of Buddhism that all believe. None are really fighting against each other like in Christianity. So I'd follow whatever i feel is right and good for me. I believe the author of the book was a Theravada monk. I also have a "Zen for Idiots: book, but I don't know how good that is. There is tons of Buddhists books out there, but some are innacurate, sort of "corrupted" by today's new age thinking and too much influence from other religions.
But it is quite interesting studying it all. There is plenty of webpages out there to help and their forums seem to have quite open minded people. I think I may join their forums more and come here less. It seems this forum is filled with too much hate, too much ignorance. I do know I've become hateful here too with my own posts. Hate it's a natural expression of emotion, but to wallow in hatred, as is the tendency here (and in any forum), is never good, nor much productive. But at the same time, I do see people struggling to control their hatred and overcome it. It is still all interesting to watch.
I was looking for nearby Zendos, it seems most all are out in western Long Island, in the city, and also upstate New York. None out by me in eastern Long Island. No big deal, as they aren't like churches at all, but it would be interesting to talk to a teacher someday. For now I'm just reading the basics of everything.
One which inspired me was Pine Hill zendo, way out in upstate New York. On the front page it has a picture of a tree growing on a rock, with the quote from the bible “Some fell on rock, ….” (LUKE 8:11). Then says:
And, as you can see from the picture, contrary to the words in the New Testament, seeds, even a tree CAN grow on rock - even the most “deluded” of us will get IT: “ .. even if you should miss striking the earth, kensho is certain.” (HAKUIN: Rohatsu exhortation).
This is the promise of Buddha. This is the promise of Daio and Hakuin; the promise of all Zen Masters up to now. Join us in this quest and see for yourself, that you are in the midst of the kingdom of heaven - and have always been.
Pine Hill's zendo for Rinzai Zen. I was looking into Rinzai because I liked samurai's and their way, Rinzai was what they followed. Of the zen schools, Rinzai's are more into Koans and teaching, while Soto's focus more into meditation (though both meditate). But that was just just why I was curious.
Anyway I found that intro on their website quite interesting. Once on a trip to a christian retreat upstate, I doodled a picture of a tree on a rock. I believe the tree was barren of leaves too. I never really knew what it meant till I found this interesting connection now. I don't believe it's anything prophetic or miraculous, but interesting my mind finally makes the connection to this now.
Also the quote that "you are in the midst of the kingdom of heaven - and have always been" was quite interesting. Nearly everyday when I went to work I would hear the words "the kingdom of heaven is inside you" ringing inside my head. This was from a verse Jesus said, refering to his spiritual kingdom, in his explaination to the Jewish Pharisees of it's nature (Luke 17:20-21). It seems it's something many that christians don't bother to read too, with their obsession for a coming earthly kingdom. There is a similar thing spoken in the Gospel of Thomas, popularized by the movie Stigmata, which was probably what made it get stuck in my head. I wasn't hearing voices or anything magical, it was just like a song that gets stuck in your head. Anyway I never knew of why it was bothering me so much. I did somewhat hear of connections to Buddhism ealier, but never looked into it. Now I just happen come across this and it's very inspiring. Maybe my mind will shut up about it now.
So that's what I'm into now. Maybe tommorrow I'll change my mind again. But I am happy with this Buddhism, a happiness I never had for quite some time. Isn't that what matters?