While religion (as a subject) naturally fits with language and culture, not everyone
who has an interest in language and culture has an interest in religion. However, from
a young age, I did. Since elementary school, I have read mostly nonfiction books, and some
of my favorite subjects were religion and what is often described as “folklore” and
Additionally, I spent a fair amount of time reading the Bible when I was
younger, though I never quite interpreted it the same way my family did. Even at a young
age, I saw much of the Bible as being rooted in Jewish culture, which is what prompted
me to study classical Hebrew when I was younger.
However, I was most drawn to Buddhism. I was introduced to Soto Zen Buddhism and before
I was a teenager, I had already started to identify as a Buddhist. Later, I became involved
with the Sanbo Kyodan Zen tradition in Dallas and currently participate in several Buddhist
communities. I still identify as a Buddhist and...
maintain a daily Buddhist practice. Over the
years, I’ve found one of the most Buddhist things I can do is develop my Buddhist way of
thinking and perspective. To that end, I have made it a point to read many of the classic
Buddhist works in the Chinese and Japanese tradition, and I have found my thinking to be
influenced by Nagarjuna’s (Longshu's )
work on the middle path and Zhiyi’s
work in the Tiantai tradition.
However, I see an immense value in what would be described as the secular (non-religious) and secular
life, even though I relate to many people who would identify as “religious.” I do not expect people
to accept a Buddhist perspective, and...
rarely talk about Buddhism with those who do not share my interest,
though Buddhism “informs” the way I view the world. It also probably helps that
many forms of Buddhism are “nontheistic”; that is, Buddhism is a religion that often does
not involve notions of gods, and I am essentially agnostic.