Jeff H wrote: ↑Thu Dec 06, 2018 4:01 pmFrom the first day I was introduced to Tibetan Buddhism I found myself drawn along a series of learning experiences in an unbroken chain that unfolded itself very naturally for 10 years in a predominantly Gelug stream. I was more or less isolated except for online classmates and occasional visits to a not-so-nearby center. After those first 10 years, no natural next step presented itself. The one teacher who provides me with the truly personal connection that is essential for Buddhism is “in-the-air” so to speak. She has spent quite a few years flying around the world teaching at FPMT centers everywhere. I’ve never had a home sangha. So after those first 10 years, I came to DW and began reading regularly and writing occasionally.
It was like the wild west to me. But just as lobsangrinchen says, I feel I am growing from the experience. DW informs me about a much wider world of Buddhist teachings and practices. It exposes me to Buddhists, Buddhists-in-disguise, and non-Buddhists who are interacting with samsara and each other in a myriad of ways. It is well moderated, so discussions don’t go flying off into absurdity or vitriol (too often). And it’s got a remarkable mix of genuine scholars, dedicated, long-term practitioners, gadflies, and goof-offs.
I think the important thing is how you bring your own Buddhism to that party and what effect it all has on you. For me, that is the work of Buddhism.
When I was new to Buddhism, people here answered my very naive questions.
I got many links to Dharma resources/books, which I wouldn't have found otherwise.
Being extremely introverted, I wasn't about to walk into a local Dharma center and introduce myself the old-fashioned way.
Dharma Wheel is where I first heard of Bokar Rinpoche's "Lord of Love," which changed my life.
Dharma Wheel is where I first encountered Shantideva. His words have transformed how I treat others.
And several times I've been directed to Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition, called FPMT for short here.
FPMT has introduced me to many beneficial mantras, as well as other buddhas I hadn't heard of.
If one believes what the sutras say about these mantras and dharanis, then that simple recommendation has brought about the benefit of many beings.
When I first encountered Amitabha, the people here helped me understand the experience. I've made new friendships with fellow Amitabha devotees.
Finally, you can't go very far on DW without encountering a mantra, a sutra passage, or the name of a buddha.
I think that's beautiful, well worth the down sides that internet forums often have.
I'm late to the party but I hope you enjoy your time here, Edgar. Welcome