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New member, long-time Buddhist

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I have been transitioning for about four years, but I have been a Buddhist for over 40 years.  When everything else changes, Buddhism has been a constant in my life.  I first encountered Buddhism in the 1970s, when I was home on leave from the air force.  I was browsing in a bookstore, and feeling nostalgic for the 1960s, which I had been too young to properly appreciate.  I happened across a book by Alan Watts, "The Way of Zen".  Hmm, I thought, Zen was a big thing in the 60s.  I should read that.  So I did, and it led to a lot more reading.


There were no Buddhists that I could find in the town where I was stationed, so when I decided to make a commitment and take Refuge, I visualized an assembly of bodhisattvas and took refuge in their virtual presence.  I consider myself a non-denominational Mahayana Buddhist.  Most of my practice has been with Tibetan groups, but I don't really consider myself a Tibetan Buddhist.


I went on a Buddhist pilgrimage to India and Nepal back in 1985, with a group from Los Angeles.  We visited all the main pilgrimage sites, attended two weeks of teachings by H.H. the Dalai Lama, and had a private audience with His Holiness.


These days, I am once again in a place where there are no other Buddhists in the area.  So I do my daily meditation, and try to live my values as I go about my life.




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Good Morning Kathy, I enjoyed reading your post. I was introduced to Buddhism by a friend here on this board I met several years ago, and she gave me a book by Thich Nhat Hanh called "The heart of the Buddha's teachings", transforming suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation. While I know very little overall about the practice, this particular book helped me earlier in my transition so much, after all gender is suffering. This book introduced me to the concept of mindfulness and how to deal with inner feelings. Feelings that were running wild at times as my body went through the adjustment period with HRT and my social transition. Mindfulness raised my awareness into areas I had not previously explored, and gave me tools on how to calm my mind, they really worked ! I just wanted to share how much this helped me directly with my transition. My 2nd therapist I saw prior to my surgery was also a big proponent of mindfulness, and i was able to use our sessions to further these practices. 


I also have traveled to India and find the culture there fascinating. 


Hope your day is a good one



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Hello Kathy.  Thats interesting as you are my age and I recall there were a number of books on Buddhism available in my later teens.  I read one (don't recall the title) but it spoke to me in a way the religion my family couldn't.  While I never formally took up the practice I believe in its tenets.  As with Cyndee I came to see the idea of mindfulness as an important way to help work through issues.  It helped me see life differently and view others from a perspective I hadn't.  Early on I came to see that nothing is permanent and we all change constantly.   


That is so interesting that you've met and had an audience with H.H.  I missed out seeing him a number of years ago when he visited the Boston area.



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