I have a complicated past and slight indications of my past existences and accumulated karma to only start to understand my character, my destructive actions, and the consequent reactions for them in this lifetime.
My mother had me as a single mom and I was abused mentally and physically for a long while by her growing up - she took me when it was convenient for her/when it could be afforded and left me at her parents otherwise. I developed a intense loathing for her, myself, and my family; they are very traditional Asian, Evangelical Christian folks that did not approve of the circumstances under which I was born and was being brought up and were very strict and authoritarian. While my grandparents did truly care for me and were more gentle - they were approaching their 70's and were not prudent on providing me with structure and perhaps did not know the complicates of raising a child in the 1990's in North America vs the 1950's in South-East Asia when they had their own children.
I was eventually taken in fully by my grandparents and they look my legal custody which lead shortly to great disaster and things spinning out of control....
I developed into a extremely arrogant, entitled, insecure, and obsessive pre teen/teenager with a unhealthy social life, mental frame and outlook on life. I wallowed in self pity, foolishness, vanity, and hedonism for a long time. I often thought of suicide, but was afraid of the fruits of an unsuccessful attempt/the possibility that death would not bring relief.
I happened upon Buddhism nearly all too late in life to actually realize my mistakes and change the error of my ways. To admit foolishness after thinking you know it all is a painful thing, to accept poverty after a lifetime of wealth is a pang at your ego, to admit failure after years of artificial self projected success and respect is crushing - but finding clarity, realizing the ultimate futility and pointlessness of desires and material objects, and focusing on learning, evolving, and building good karma with compassion for the world and your own surroundings transcends all the pain.
I took refuge in the Three Jewel at Vancouver Fo Guang Shan on July 7th 2013 and will receive the first five precepts at Guan Yin Temple this coming Monday, August 26th 2013.
I am not perfected - I still err and must focus on repairing my character, developing compassion, respecting others, taking criticism and advice in the correct way, and humbling myself/ego. But of all I have experienced in life thus far, I am most grateful for having discovered the true treasure of the Three Jewels and Mahayana. There is slow but sure improvement in my existence and I hope, if not to be enlightened in this lifetime - to at least learn a thing or two about life and to spread some compassion.