My name is Steve Allan, almost as far back as I can remember, even in high school in Sydney Australia back in the 60’s, when ever there was a ‘what is your religion?’ question , as a semi serious, semi rebellious joke, I always said I was a ‘Backyard Buddhist’ – I don’t know why! However it never got me out of Christian Fellowship 1st period every Friday morning.
In the 70’s we were all getting in to TM, The Beatles and the Marharishi and then life kicked in, career, family, stress, the time when we really need some meditation but are too busy and too stressed with life to fit it in.
For me , 25 years later the circle closed and my meditation practice started again and then I began to look behind the meditation to the to the concepts, the teachings and its origins, the more I looked the more rational the whole thing became.
10 years ago, living in a rural tourist town in Australia I began the practice of the ‘Trilogy of Hearing’ studying via book and internet and travelling throughout Australia, Asia and India for teachings, so instead of a backyard Buddhist I became a mobile Buddhist.
In a question and answer session after a teaching with the Dali Lama, he was asked,”what is the meaning of life” – his answer,”I don’t know the meaning of life but I know the purpose of life – to be of benefit to others, do no harm and be happy”. On the surface this seemed a simple little sentence, so why did it affect me so much? So I delved into it – Be of benefit; the practice of compassion and generosity. Do no harm; take up the practice of The 5 Precepts. Be happy; end suffering via ‘The 4 Noble Truths’ and the ‘8 Fold Path’, mixed with ‘The 5 Hindrances’ and a dab of ‘Dependant Rising’ and a whole lot of ‘Karma’ What a simple little sentence!!
In an effort to be of benefit I instigated Buddhist teachings in my Australian home town of Airlie Beach, bringing Tibetan Geshi’s and a teaching nun to town and I built, open and ran ‘The Whitsunday Meditation Society‘for 5 years until I retired.
But something in the Mahayana system was not quite right for me. I think it was the ancient Tibetan traditions that permeate their practice. I found them colourful, dramatic, awe inspiring and full of pageantry, but I kept coming back to just the Buddha’s words, maybe I was a fundamental mobile Buddhist!
It was these thoughts that reignited my search in Buddhism and after a couple of years I came to Zen due to its simplicity, honesty of practice and its focus on meditation.
Now retired and living in Bali I looked around Australia and S.E. Asia for a Sangha, I knew it was time for this mobile Buddhist to settle down.
After looking at a wide variety of Zen centres I settled on a small and very personal Zen centre on the central coast of NSW Australia, Silky Oak Zen, where I have now formally taken the precepts and found a home sangha.
In my desire to continue to be of benefit to others I am now seeking ordination and hopefully the opportunity to open a Zen centre in the mountains of North Bali in association with OBW.
With Metta, 3 bows.