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Your first encounter with dharma

TakuanTakuan Veteran
edited May 2012 in Buddhism Basics
What was your first encounter with dharma?

I was about 10 years old and was watching an episode of "Batman: The Animated Series". In this particular episode of the show, Bruce Wayne traveled to Japan to train under his martial arts master. Sometime during the episode, he is shown meditating. Being 10 years old, I decided that I too would meditate, even though I didn't know how to do it. For about a year, I emulated what I saw on that particular episode off and on. Around the same time, I had a friend who was really into Bruce Lee. He saw me trying to meditate and gave me some of Bruce's books to read. Though Bruce wasn't particularly a "Buddhist", his philosophy was greatly influenced by Dharma. In fact, his book the "Tao of Jeet Kune Do" begins with the 8 fold path and explanations of Zen philosophy with concern to martial arts.

I know it's rather silly, but without that episode, I don't think I would have developed such an interest in dharma! "Batman meditates, so I must also meditate!" lol.


  • zenmystezenmyste Veteran
    ...I had a friend who was really into Bruce Lee. He saw me trying to meditate and gave me some of Bruce's books to read
    Im a massive fan of bruce. And have many many books of his. He was 'one' of my inspirations and got me into zen and Taoism..

    As for Buddhism, i went to Thailand many years back and noticed how peaceful and calm the monks looked and lived. and i thought 'wow, id love to live like these people'
    something just felt 'right' watching them.

    Whilst there, there was a tornado in the distance. and a few people were panicking. A buddhist monk walk past me and said very calmly, 'wow,would you look at that, if it comes nearer, make sure u hold on tight to something, then laughed gently..'

    minutes later, the tornado seem to disapear, and i asked him ''you seemed very calm then, have you seen one of them before?

    NEVER! he replied.. and walk off.

    His calm presence was unreal..

    since then ive been on retreats, dharma talks and met up with many different buddhist traditions.
    these days id say im 'more' attracted to the Zen and Tao way of life..
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Once upon a time I got stoned and read a book called "Be here now" by some old hippy.
    I think.... :D
  • GuiGui Veteran
    And for me, it was Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. First time I ever heard of the Diamond Sutra.
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    Same for me @Gui
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran
    Reading Huston Smith's "The World's Religions"
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    My experience is that trying to say when the "first" time was is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall. It may sound convincing, but wasn't there something that preceded that "first" without which the "first" wouldn't have had much meaning?
  • TalismanTalisman Veteran
    The Psychedelic Experience by Timothy Leary, based on the tibetan book of the dead. It inspired me to begin my own religion based on hippie junk and drug use. I was doing research on world religions while creating my own religion and ended up learning a lot about buddhism which led me to devote my efforts, instead, toward understanding the dharma.
  • Several years ago a got a e-mail with a Powerpoint Presentation with quotes from HH Dalai Lama, and I really like it, but I became close to buddhism years after that.
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    My Religious studies teacher was a buddhist and introduced us to it and simple meditation in class. He did also teach the rest of the syllabus about other religions. Still the meditation was good and was what stuck with me.
  • Reading Be Here Now (Babba Ram Dass) was a profound turning point in my life (I was about 16-17).
    Right around that same time, my friend's Japanese mother taught me a little about chanting and Buddhism... I was already delving into Paganism but always incorporated a little Buddhism into my Pagan path.
    Here I am, 40 years (YIKES!!) later, and Buddhism is my main path now for a few years. :D
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    MaryAnne said:

    Reading Be Here Now (Babba Ram Dass) was a profound turning point in my life...

    Same here!
  • MaryAnne said:

    Reading Be Here Now (Babba Ram Dass) was a profound turning point in my life...

    Same here!
    I still have my copy. It's forty this year.
  • BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
    probably the Dalai Lama as a child of 11 or so. What I remember most was seeing these monks and thinking to myself " these guys have nothing but robes, but they are so happy, whats going on with that".

    it's a question that has followed me my whole life.
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    I was walking though Little Tokyo (Los Angeles) and came upon a Buddhist temple - I don't remember the name. The front gate and door to the temple was open and I could see inside.

    I didn't go in, but I had a profound sense of presence, peace and tranquility. That was 40 years ago and that impression has stuck with me ever since.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Carlos Castinada's first book presented this 15 year old with the first inkling that the world may not be what everyone says it is.
    Zen flesh, Zen bones challenged me to look beyond my conditioning to find out what it might be.
  • It was George Harrison. I became interested in Hinduism and eventually adopted it. But as I learned more and more, I became disillusioned because of the preponderance of rituals, shastras, agamas, all kinds of rules and regulations, and relationship to God (which I have more and more doubts about) that smacked of the Christianity I left behind. As I learned more about Buddhism, it was far more attractive, not as a religion but as a way of life, with rituals being optional.
  • I had a nervous breakdown and was so impaired that I could not even read my mail I was so depressed like I couldn't focus on anything but worries or pain.

    When I felt a little better I picked up Kathleen McDonalds book about meditation. So I had my first taste of meditation and it was like an oasis in my day of depression.
  • My uncle had many interesting artefacts from Africa, a drum, an ostrich egg and a small collection of books.
    When we visited, I would often be reading on rainy days. Over the years I read this book many times from under ten onward.


    Thanks uncle :bowdown:
  • I was also ten - when my anthropologist Godmother gave me a children's book about the religions of the world and I learned about and became interested in Buddhism. At the time my uncle also returned from a trip to Nepal and brought me a prayer wheel which further intrigued me.
    But what really drove my interest to study the dharma was when I asked my 6th grade Catholic school teacher about whether Buddhists and Hindus could go to heaven.
    We used to pass around a little milk carton to collect money for the starving kids in India - and having read that they are mostly Buddhists and Hindus, I was concerned for their souls, as I didn't learn yet what happened to Buddhist and Hindu souls - and I asked my teacher if they could still go to heaven.
    My teacher replied, "if they are good little Hindus and Buddhists, of course they'll go to heaven."
    And I said, "that's good, because I was thinking about becoming a Buddhist and still want to go to heaven."
    Then she said, "you are already aware of the one true religion, other religions are ignorant, so you cannot become a Buddhist and go to heaven."
    In my head I thought, "fuck you, who are you to say that there is only one true religion!"
    Out of defiance I decided to become Buddhist - and so started my sincere journey - and 35 years later, getting into heaven is no longer my concern...
  • EvenThirdEvenThird NYC Veteran
    My first memorable encounter with Dharma teachings must have been via Tibetan Book of the Dead when I was about 14 or so. Heavy reading material for someone who didn't know the basics of Buddhism! :dunce:

    I was a bit obsessed/enamored by it for the next three years, & read through most of it without understanding it (I was also a kid who was fascinated with the 'occult' and 'outsider' culture).

    One of my highschool teachers recommended Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and I believe I read a little bit of it. It doesn't have a whole lot to do with Buddhism, actually, but it did include some basic ideas that at the time, I didn't really want to hear. I ended up not reading it due to some odd but nonetheless great aversion to that book.

    I should probably go back and read/reread both of those! :p
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran
    I've read both those books for the same reasons with similar results. I enjoyed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance though. There's two versions now though with slight changes in a few words that alter the book apparently.
    Both books need re-reading a few times to get a grip of them properly. In amongst all the other things we need to do :-/
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric Hampshire, UK Veteran
    Walking past a Buddhist Peace Pagoda and Temple at Milton Keynes, UK and hearing the chanting. However the first time I understood what Buddhism was about was when we covered it in one Religious Education lesson. Obviously it was only a very brief introduction to the philosophy of Buddhism it really did click with me.
  • DaftChrisDaftChris Spiritually conflicted. Not of this world. Veteran
    When I was younger, around 6-7 years old, my Mom's friend's mom babysat me on a few occasions. She was from Japan and had a shrine to Buddha in the middle of her living room. It was fascinating to a child who had only been exposed to Christianity in his life and I think was the stepping stone which eventually led me to where I am today spiritually. :)
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    The T.V. show Kung Fu with David Carradine when I was just a kid.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    ourself said:

    The T.V. show Kung Fu with David Carradine when I was just a kid.

    Yes, I remember somebody called "grasshopper" trying to walk on rice paper ( or was it rice pudding? ) ;)
  • DharmaMcBumDharmaMcBum Spacebus Wheelman York, UK Veteran

    ourself said:

    The T.V. show Kung Fu with David Carradine when I was just a kid.

    Yes, I remember somebody called "grasshopper" trying to walk on rice paper ( or was it rice pudding? ) ;)
    No that was me on the rice pudding, and I was called Spacehopper
    Then I was called naughty and sent to bed for making a mess on the kitchen floor...
  • The Religions of Man by Huston Smith (now renamed The World's Religions) was one of the books in a college course on religion.

    And Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was recommended by a friend.

    Many books and articles since then, but those two set the stage for me.
  • no great story, i saw the movie Shaolin 2 years ago which prompted days of internet research and a change of spiritual direction.
  • no great story, i saw the movie Shaolin 2 years ago which prompted days of internet research and a change of spiritual direction.
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