From faith in God to Atheism to Buddhism
by: Leah E. Larsen
As a child, I was involved with the Salvation Army. I remember I often experienced
a sense of divine bliss during prayer sessions, and I felt deeply religious. But when
I passed 10 or 12, I became aware of all the conflict, war and suffering in the world, so
I lost the faith that there was a kind God behind all this. As I got older I kept
asking questions to try to find the true purpose to human life, but no one I knew
could give me any answers that made sense to me.
Through my life I was always privileged – I had a loving family, good friends, I did
well in school and financially I had the opportunity to explore the hedonistic
pleasures. Yet travelling the world, going to concerts, partying with friends or
passing my exams – there was always this empty feeling within. Feeling homesick,
as in “there has to be something more to life”. I just did not know what direction to
take, in order to feel true happiness. I enjoyed my job as a social worker, but the
thought of having kids, pursuing a career and such just did not have a real value in
my eyes, as I just could not close my eyes to the endless suffering of the world.
Then I went through a personal crisis due to a sudden accident, and this led me to
seek out a Buddhist group. The attraction to Buddha’s teachings was magnetic and
I finally knew my path in life. All my questions were answered in the Buddha’s
teachings. Ironically you could say I found myself in his doctrine leading towards
realizing non-self. Life no longer seemed meaningless as I found out that the
human body is the gateway to the highest happiness – Nirvana.