My Introduction to Dharma Forum Refugee Camp
I grew up a Lutheran in north Florida, identified as a Christian mystic in college, was a secular-humanist atheist for a couple of decades upon entering graduate school, wrote a dissertation involving Zen koans from a strictly academic perspective, and began meditating in 2010, at age 46, merely to cope with some longstanding phobias and general anxiety. Interestingly, though, it wasn’t so much the phobias that locked me into meditation practice: It was the restlessness that surrounded all my pleasures and kept me flitting from hobby to hobby, always with a sense of time pressure and an existential something missing.
I am a follower of the Buddha dharma, with a somewhat eclectic practice, having begun and continued for a year in the Tibetan Gelugpa tradition, at a local center in Raleigh, but then having switched to a mainly Thai Forest tradition solo practice. My mainstay daily practice comes via Thanissaro Bhikkhu and his teachers, in particular the excellent condensed meditation guide Keeping the Breath in Mind, by Ajaan Lee. I do not have one official “teacher” but believe I have benefited from many teachers and dharma friends, including mainly Daniel M. Ingram, whose maps of the Progress of Insight made a dramatic difference to my practice, enabled me to appropriately tweak my practice in stage-sensitive ways, and attain Stream Entry August 8, 2014, almost exactly a year after having first read Daniel’s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha.
For whatever mysterious reason, the night before I attained Stream Entry, I began keeping a practice journal. I’m going to move that journal here, entry by entry, and then continue, so that the thing is all of a piece, in one place.