“Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what had been overturned, were to reveal what was hidden, were to show the way to one who was lost, or were to hold up a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way Master Gotama has — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life.” ~ Abhaya Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya.
We stand at an interesting point in history. Since the time the Buddha first turned the wheel of Dhamma, his teachings had spread to lands in close geographical proximity to the Ganges Valley of India. It is only in the last few decades that the Dhamma had reached beyond oceans to touch the lives of those in far and distant lands. For each and every person who finds his or her way to the Buddha, there is a personal story, how they first encountered the Dhamma, what attracted them, what touched their lives, sometimes in very deep and profound ways.
This page is a page of such stories. The people are not extra-ordinary, just a sampling of sentient beings taken from the present chapter of time. But like Buddhists down through the ages, each reveals a personal drama.
- Lee Yu Ban lives in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia. Through the guidance of his mother, he was introduced to the Dhamma, and was familiar with its teachings. However, he did not take much interest in it until his early twenties when his father suddenly died of a heart attack. It was then that the truth of the Buddha’s teachings struck him.
- Greg Bester, is a Canadian and works as a Librarian. He found the Dhamma in his mid-thirties when his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and watched as she slowly deteriorated.
- Bernadette, from USA is a Computer Science student. At the age of eighteen, she made a trip to the Far East. She walked into a small temple at the end of a lane and immediately felt “at home”.
- Ang Siew Mun is a Malaysian of Chinese descent and presently works as a lecturer. When she was a child, she picked up a small booklet on the Dhamma from the family altar. Since then, she deepened her knowledge and practice through studying with several monks.
- Binh Anson is a Vietnamese immigrant to Australia. He began to reflect on life one eventful and quiet night while camping out in the desert in the Great Australian Outback. Circumstances then brought him to the Theravada teachings which he has chosen to mould his life.
- Jerry Douglas MD, from the USA grew up in a Christian family. He explored western philosophy and eastern thought while pursuing a career as a medical doctor. Seeking to overcome clinical depression he discovered Buddhist meditation and teachings through the Internet.
- Jim Anderson, a Canadian was born with a genetic defect that rendered him deaf and almost blind. Introduced to Krishnamurthi and Thoreau at an early age he was inspired to live alone in a cabin in the woods. His search for lonely places took him across Canada and to a Tibetan temple in the Scottish borders of the United Kingdom.
- Joy Russell from the USA is a mother of two teenage children and works as a counseler. Her ancestors were devout Christians but she found Buddhism crossing her path on several occasions. When faced with a difficult operation, she chose to bring a little Buddha statue with her into the operating theatre.
- Mary Duggan is a police lieutenant on the tropical island of the US Virgin Islands. At 15 she had a first taste of alcohol. She subsequently suffered from alcoholism. After recovering with the assistance of Alcoholics Anonymous, she started her spiritual search and encountered a book “The First Discourse of the Buddha”.
- Michael Symonds of Iowa, USA was a Methodist until he fell in love with a Asian girl. Realising then, that Christianity’s tenet that non-Christians are damned is unacceptable, he began to explore the Dhamma.
- Eric Via from the USA was on the run from a failed marriage, and from thousands of anonymous faces on the streets in Hong Kong. Finally, he locked himself in the bathroom and found the Buddha there.
- Rocana of the UK was initially discouraged from learning the Dhamma but eventually found it when eavesdropping on a Dhamma talk from her kitchen.