Hmm. I chose none. At times I did actively choose "none". That doesn´t mean I haven´t studied and tried to understand what´s behind. At that time you could say, it was probably more intellectual play, but it was still revealing getting beyond the words and grasping the meaning of the pictures used in some ancient texts. I´ve read the fundamentals on Buddhism 25 years back, and meditated as part of karate taining, and often times alone. Mostly Zen books at that time, but also on the 4 noble truths. But you could say, then followed 20 years of erratic searching.
Things changed dramatically as I started to play pool in tournaments. That´s a complex art, subtle strain in your body, caused by the mind, will have an enormous effect on your play. Even if your training and technique is decent, it will in some days ruin your game. On the other hand there are also moments where you experience "flow". Where everything seems to work and you don´t have to think, you just do. So folding in competition when I walked up to the table I at that time remembered the Bhagavad Gita (I know, that´s not a Buddhist text). But it told me you´ll need to get this mastered even in a "battle" situation, or all that theory is mere theory.
Then a couple of years of observation started. What happens in the body, what distracts, how does it distract, how does fear feel, what is anxiety, how does it stick, how do thoughts enter and distract you. Pool became my mirror. Then I decided firmly that I want to master that. Develop an understanding what is illusion, turn the senses inward, understand the faculty and let it come to rest. I came to realize that it is not only anger and frustration over a miss or an unlucky roll can ruin your game, but the joy of something that went particularly well can also. So my conclusion was to stay separate from both. It became a routine to approach the table with the intention of staying equanimous. Of course, that often did not work. I started countering negative emotions with positive ones, try to develop an attitude of just sitting here, loving the game and the situation, and with time more and more situations were no longer able to execute their pull as they had before. I also had a good Master to assist me with that (an established pool professional who pointed me at exactly that).
After that I noticed the same feelings arise and go in daily life, and I took my practice from the table to the other situations that I encounter. It works better or worse, but during the last two years it has gotten better and better. I´ve been going from wanting to win to just playing. I´ve particularly been searching for opponents and situations I know that have a potential to trigger defilements in me, let myself sink in and try to stay clear. Discussing Buddhism on an online Buddhist board does qualify as such, I´d suppose
So what about Buddhism? When I read the sutras, or Books from Ajahn Sumedho or Daisetz Suzuki, that is a rather pleasant experience, since it usually is accompanied with a stream of "yes". I can find many of the stages I´veencountered described in there, and see the path works. Whenever I re-read certain original texts, a year later I could say I understood more of it. It helps sort the one or other experiences into a more complete reference frame, and look for what there was still to come. There are maybe some subtleties (when talking about whether word-and-form and consciousness mutually cause each other) where the texts offer different versions, where I from personal experience I would have to stick with one that describes it best. Maybe that´s fog, who knows. It doesn´t really matter to me as long as no defilements spawn on it. The cessation of them is my intention.
Would I have made these experiences without having read on Buddhism, Christianity, Raja Yoga, Vedanta? Who knows. In this instance it sure was part of that which my experience dependently arose on. So why not do some further reading and talk to people bout it. After all there is something, that really works and drastically sorts your view on many profane things in this world. "Am" I a Buddhist? I guess I have practiced disidentification far too long to say that. Or you could say, in a conventional sense, I am, among other things, also a Buddhist. I do no longer feel a need to search.
Am I thus a pool-tantrist, because I used my strong emotionality towards pool? Who knows
Formerly aka Gwenn Dana.