Buddhism. Feeling the Pull.

27 Oct

I have been going to So Shim Sa center since July. During the summer I would go three, sometimes four times. Once school started, Thursdays has become my designated day to go for an evening service at the temple, a meditation session, and a acupressure lesson afterwards. And here is my modest account of transitioning towards Buddhism.

Being brought up in Soviet Russia, where any kind of religion/spirituality/mysticism was rejected, I have inherited a very “non-religious” attitude.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, my family (my mother in particular) have embraced Russian Orthodoxy. Because I already was living and studying in the U.S., I never did. My mother has tried “working” me, making the point that I was, after all, baptized by a Russian Orthodox priest when I was little, thus being required to remain Eastern Orthodox. For many years I would not associate with ANY faith. After being laid off in 2006, I have felt the switch towards spirituality. I wasn’t Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist. I didn’t worship Hindu gods, I wasn’t interested in Kabalah. For lack of a better word, I was looking for myself. I was getting to know who I really am, and what I have to offer. However, I have always believed in:

a) a higher power,

b) the concept of being a good person,

c) the fact that the Universe has our best interests in mind, and

d) learning from every experience you gain. Even if that experience is a bad one.

Three years ago I have started learning about Buddhism through websites, travel to SouthEast Asia, lectures from the Great Courses, and my own research.

This summer I have discovered So Shim Sa Zen center in the same town where I live. Since that time I can call myself a practicing Buddhist. My life values closely align with Buddha’s teachings. I can feel the pull of Sangha – the Buddhist Community – it’s so much easier to practice when you are not alone. When I first started going to So Shim Sa, I felt intimidated and unsure of myself. But through Sunim’s lessons on meditation, life values, Buddha’s teachings, and mutual reflection, I feel the pull. I enjoy being part of Sangha. I enjoy being part of something bigger. I enjoy coming to the center, participating in evening and Sunday services, and seeing my fellow Buddhists.

I realize I have a VERY long way to go. But so far, Buddhism has opened my eyes on how to enjoy every minute of this life, conquer your worries, face your fears, accept whatever comes your way, and learn from every experience.

Every Experience




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