Greetings to all my newly found friends at the Abbey!
My name is Madhurima Chowdhury. I live in Kolkata, India. By profession I am a writer who writes blogs and web content. I lost my father in 2008. Now my mom and younger sister live with me. I am married to Leonard, and we have a lovely pet named Buzo.
A little about my background
I was born and brought up as a Hindu. My parents never forced me or my younger sister to engage in deity worship like people do on a daily basis. They encouraged me to discover what I connect with myself. Since, from childhood, I was never forced into a particular philosophy, my mind has been open. I always respect that each of the people around me follows their own spiritual path. Personally, I never set up a deity at home. I never felt it in my heart to do so.
I did my schooling here in Kolkata and graduated in Commerce (business). I also learned graphic design and worked as a project head in a software development company for six long years. It was harsh. But I always tried to be positive, because I truly realised from my childhood that everything is in the mind.
In 2015 I quit the fulltime job and began freelance writing to make my living. I slowed down and felt peace inside me.
I explored Buddhism out of curiosity. I have used YouTube and listened to the Hindu holy book,The Gita. I have also listened online to the Bible. I am embarrassed to share that I am not attracted. Although those books teach great concepts, I still could not agree to many things they said. I am just 36 years old. I thought maybe my mind is not matured enough to understand them.
But, when I read about Gautama Buddha—his life, his monastic life, the four noble truths, and enlightenment—I was immediately enticed.
I liked the fact that no one is talking about a specific deity and no one is asking you to sit and do some mantras which you do not even understand. It made me feel light inside.
How I found the Abbey
I was exploring the web to know more about the life of the Buddha. Soon I began reading and listening to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Along with that I explored a treasury of YouTube videos of Buddhist teachings.
Every day as I sit to work ,before I begin, I put the on the headphones and listen to a teaching. If I am troubled inside by something specific I search more to find answers. Then I reflect about the things said all day. I love this ritual I do.
With this approach I heard Venerable Chodron. It is an unforgettable experience.
Soon I explored Sravasti Abbey—who they are, what work they do, the life of the Buddhist monastic, the teachings, in what ways I can give back, etc.
Why I explored Buddhism?
I wanted to find the meaning of peace and happiness. I have so many questions inside me.
Some are as follows:
- Why I suffer if my any family member does something wrong. I cannot change them. I cannot change any situation. In my heart I suffer. When I suffer I can’t work. I don’t know whether to still love them or hate them?
- When your boss accuses you for something, an instant anger comes. An instant defensive behaviour. How to tame the mind? Why should I be angry just because someone said me something?
- Why do I feel empty although life is so beautiful?
Those were just a few. I have many more questions. With the videos of Venerable Chodron and various other Buddhists I am slowly finding sense. I know how to pause now and wait before I react.
I confess that I was many times sad inside my heart as I grew up. I have made decisions in life, or have nurtured thoughts which now—post mortem using the precious Buddhist teachings —I can see were wrong. I am looking at things in a different way now.
The teachings are helping me a lot. However I am failing a lot too. Random events or people in life trigger a reaction.Soon I forget the teaching and start acting the usual old way. But now I know how to take time to then regret it and make another promise to act differently the next time.
I am a big work in progress at present.
I am here to find balance in life. I wish to learn and in some way help others benefit in the way I have.
With this hope, I am currently in week two of the Sravasti Abbey Friends Education (SAFE) distance learning course. A million thanks to the teachers at the Abbey and the staff and all students.
by Madhurima Chowdary