Spotlight on Our Sangha: Joseph
Jun 21, 2021
Buddha’s teachings were something I was drawn to early on…fast and hard. It all started during my senior year in high school when my teacher introduced us to Buddhism in world history class. I ended up majoring in Asian studies in college which took me even deeper. After I left university and moved to the city, I went to a ton of different classes and read every Buddhist book I could get my hands on. Around ’97-’98 I found Guide to Dakini Land by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. I was completely enamored by it and tried to do the practices. By that time I had over 200 books on Buddhism and none of them were a comparison to the books I was reading by Geshe Kelsang. A few years later, my girlfriend at the time picked up a copy of Tricycle magazine and there was an ad for the empowerments of Heruka & Vajrayogini with Geshe Kelsang in New York! We went along and it was incredible. I felt something in me really shifted, like I was profoundly changed. Shortly after, I discovered the Kadampa center in New York City and began studying Guide to Dakini Land with Kadam Morten!
Buddhism has grown to become the biggest part of my life because the teachings are so insightful and incredibly transformative. What drew me in at first was the Four Noble Truths, in particular I was taken by the first Noble Truth – the idea that no matter what you do or which direction you go, you’ll experience suffering because suffering is the nature of this existence. Then, of course, discovering the other three Noble Truths which lay out the solution….all this really resonated with me.
Over the years I’ve really learned to enjoy meditation. Initially I used to have to force myself to sit and meditate, but now it’s not a question – I look forward to it everyday. The more relaxed I am and the more I let go, the better it gets.
Teaching Dharma is an hour of sanity I get to enjoy twice a week! Being a teacher helps your practice in ways I can’t describe. Teaching anything is how you get really good at it. That’s how you make real progress, because you start making connections you wouldn’t normally, so that every time you teach you’re going deeper and deeper.
Joseph teaches the Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoon General Program in Williamsburg.
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