I decided to actually introduce myself over at the sister website for traditionalists and I decided I may as well introduce myself here as well, although I'm not a complete lurker here as I am there. So if I seem to be in addressing myself to people playing on the other team, understand that everything else here has been cut and pasted so I won't' be accused of constantly changing my story depending on who I am talking to.
“ Greetings, my name is Leo Rivers and I will largely be a lurker here because according to the usual judgment of things I am a Mahayana Buddhist.
I am also an atheist or I think it is more accurate to say that I am a person who believes that the natural universe is created by natural causes, in other words my atheism doesn't come from me being “mad at religion” because of a bad experience, although I spent 25 years with a Sangha that did indeed end up something that really deserve to be called a bad experience. But I have been an atheist since my catechism class with a Lutheran pastor who I respect to this day, in that he is been in retrospect one of the more upright representatives of an honest person of religion.One of the best takes on what atheism is to me is in a charming very positive and informed little book that takes 2 forms both of which are very good, one practically a pamphlet and the other a little textbook written at a high school level, Baggini, Julian. Atheism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, USA, 2003., and the bigger one Atheism (A Brief Insight) by Julian Baggini. Published by Sterling , 2009.
But I think that the more important thing for you folks also know is that having the spiritual and bureaucratic core of the group that I belong to for so long disintegrate like ice under my feet made me decide to discover what Buddhism was all about for myself. That introduced me to both the original Scriptures which we were discouraged from reading before as if reading them without someone telling us what to think of each sentence as we read would lead us to damnation and probably a whorehouse on the way. I didn't go all the way to damnation. I discovered Robert Gethin and the Yogacara in their own view of themselves and delighted in that one could practice a path in which progress on the path was coherently presented as a path with checks and balances and moreover involved something more tangible than waiting for the saucer to spirit you away.
I'm not saying that the way that up to that point Buddhism had been presented to me up to that point had been a combination of having the Bible left untranslated in Latin chained to the podium and listening to a man rent from behind the curtain as he pulled levers, but I am no longer always thinking that I am the only one who doesn't know what's going on and must be too polite to ask.
That was a huge lecture from me on me if you are to know me I have been on the Mahayana forum for a long time and only mention my background once in a while because I am still getting a lot of silence every time I speak. [not just here - none of my friends are really comfortable with me either in this regard. I can live with that. I am just really enjoying the last years of my life like a child wondering from booth to booth at a fair, where everything is colorful and intensely interesting and there is endless people to meet.”
Buddhism eBooks Collection Part 1
Something I stumbled into. I have NOT downloaded it or checked to see if it is kosher .