Hello to everybody here. My name is Zac and I am 21 years old, originally from Australia but moved to the UK 7 years ago and have been living here in London ever since.
I've only just started out on the Theravada path - I come from a background of Western Occultism and Magick, and I really did think that path was going to give me more than enough to do for the rest of my life... but I got thrown a bit of a curve ball, mistakenly stumbled across some Dhamma teachings and that was it, I was absolutely hooked. The more I study Theravada, the less I want to control the world and my surroundings by magickal acts of willpower.
Bhikkhu Bodhi's The Noble Eightfold Path is the book that has changed everything for me, the direction I thought I was going in.
For those who are interested in reading my (fairly brief) story, I have set up a livejournal where I will be writing about my experiences on my path.http://tilakkhana.livejournal.com
I went to a weekend retreat at Amaravati Monastery in Hemel Hempstead, UK. It's a Thereavada monastery in the Thai Forest tradition, under the abbotship of Ajahn Sumedho. I'm sure many of you are familiar. It was a wonderfully eye-opening experience and I am going back for another 5 days at the end of this month. I may be going for refuge and taking the precepts from an Ajahn there soon also.
My current goals are to practice samatha and try to achieve access concentration on the way to the first jhana - but I'm not putting pressure on myself or having expectations of attainments at this stage. I am just practising.
I look forward to discussing with you all. Many blessings upon the path.