by, 19-Sep-2012 at 11:45 (311 Views)
This is going to be a somewhat long blog post!
Let's start, first of all "religion" is in quotes because the western term created in Europe doesn't really fit the "religions" I'm going to be talking about. i.e, there are no central figures, there isn't exactly a "scripture" and in some senses, and some factions there isn't actually a "God". Not as most western religions will present these ideas.
So, when I was really young (under 7) one of my neighbours was from China, she and her parents had moved from overseas sometime from when I was 4. I became good friends with the girl, and would visit often. I always loved everything about their house, it was so "mysterious" for lack of a better word, and the dialect (Mandarin I believe) was so fascinating to listen to.
You can guess that in their house they had all kinds of stuff more native to China, tags of porcelain hanging from doorways with Chinese characters on it, statues, and lots of black and gold wooden tables or doorways. It was like having a piece of China in my backyard.
Of course, I was quite young and probably didn't even comprehend that there was a whole world outside my tiny town, which in of itself is quite a fascinating concept. But they were by far my favourite family, and I remember being taught a lot of things by them.
First off they would have been "Buddhist", I'm also quoting buddhist, because they may not have been core-buddhist, pure buddhist, etc. as I'll ramble on about later.
I remember one of my favourite things in their house was an awesome oak altar covered with all kinds of possessions photos, and a tall black stone with gold writing in it. Of course, as a child I had no idea what it was, even if they did tell me. All I know, is that I loved it, and I could just sit and stare.
I moved on throughout my life after moving away, but the fascination with asian culture stuck. It only seemed to get more and more intense as I got older. I loved everything about asia, I wanted to visit there since I was 12 (and still do). I watched documentaries, I read "stuff" about the cultures, and I learned things from my mom if she knew. As I became older and older, my comprehension of the culture obviously got better as well. I started wanting to learn what all the funny little characters in Chinese and Japanese (and Korean) meant. I still haven't learned the languages, but I want to quite badly! (I know a little bit of Mandarin and Japanese).
It was around the time I was 15 that I become more interested in Buddhism, I thought that monks, and all of the Buddhist traditions were so awesome! I still was a dumb teenager, and didn't know much about it, in fact I thought that Buddhism was a religion (as in they worshiped 'Buddha' and they read scripture every day, etc.). In all honesty, I thought this until now, but it hasn't changed my interest in the culture.
For the record, at this time (and all the time after I was 8 I have been agnostic, but this is a whole other story, and not really relevant).
Anyways! Back story about how I have become interested in Buddhism (and now Daoism, and Confucianism).
I'm going to be continuing the blog on these topics, so feel free to check back more and more! It's already too long, and I can rant on for hours more
I'll make another post tonight/tomorrow.