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How and Why I Became a Buddhist Teacher (Part 1) - Buddhism for All

Welcome to my site! My name is Salvador Choussy, I´m a student of Buddhism and I also teach it. Before you dive into the text, let me make a couple of disclaimers: first of all, English is not my native language, so if I make a grammar mistake or invent a new word, please feel free to let me know and I will fix it, also, I´m relatively new to “blogging” (actually, I think its the first time in my life when I´ve used that word), so if you discover a technical issue that needs to be addressed let me know and I will get it fixed. Thank you for your patience and help, it is very much appreciated!

Let us begin with a story.  About five years ago, I published my first book.  It was written in Spanish, my native tongue, and in it, I tried to explain the most basic of Buddhist teachings: The Four Noble Truths. 

At the time, I taught the “Introduction to Buddhism” course in one of the local centers of my native county, El Salvador.  I taught in an era pre-amazon, kindle, e-pub, or any other electronic shopping possibilities, and, as you can imagine, books about Buddhism in a Central American country were extremely rare.  So I wrote the book with two goals in mind; first of all, I wanted to provide my students with a text that they could review at their leisure, and secondly, I wanted to avoid having to repeat the same teachings over and over again.

My book was published, and when the internet came along, the electronic version sold well and got good reviews, but the main goal achieved was that it helped many start on their Buddhist path.  So much so that I was, pretty consistently, asked to write a book in English, which I thought was a good idea as well as a challenge.  I had learned so much since the publication of my book that I thought that a new, revised edition in English would help many more potential Buddhists begin their journey.

I began writing, and about halfway through and about two years in the making, I read it over, and even though I considered I’ve done a good job, I felt that something was missing; something was just not right.  So, I did what we crazy Buddhists do when a challenge arises: I meditated. 

Of course, my writing stopped, but after a couple of more years, I finally discovered what I thought to be the problem: If you consider the thousands of books written about Buddhism, you can easily see a constant.  All the authors are highly educated Lamas, Rinpoches, Doctors, and individuals who have dedicated most, if not all, of their lives to the study and practice of Buddhism. 

I´m a Lawyer, and I work full time in the treacherous world of the law.  I´m no Lama, and I haven´t gone on extensive retreats, not for lack of will, but because I must pay the bills, and I enjoy spending time with my wife and daughter.  I have no doctorate in eastern studies, and I didn´t drop everything when I finished my Law Degree to head out to India or Tibet to spend time with the Gurus.

The natural question arises: why in the world would you want to read a blog written by me?  There are many more qualified writers out there.

That was the main problem I discovered my second book attempt had.  I was trying to write something way too serious and formal but lacked the academic and spiritual development that all these wonderful individuals have.  However, before you close this tab and go back to Facebook, let me tell you a little bit more about myself, how I came into Buddhism and why I dared write this blog.

I was born in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador, in 1974.  In 1980 a civil war broke out in my country that would last for over a decade and claim about 100,000 lives.  Bombs, shootings, and kidnappings were practically a day to day occurrence in my adolescence.  If you add two major earthquakes (1982 and 1986) to the mix, you can very safely state that I had an upbringing riddled with anxiety and fear.

When the war was over, my mother passed away after a long battle with colon cancer.  Having absolutely no emotional regulation tools at my disposal, I suppressed a lot of grief, which would eventually lead me to suffer a severe nervous breakdown and panic attack.  When I recovered, I knew there was something, apart from the obvious and long overdue psychological therapy, missing in my life.

Another thing you need to know about me is that I love to study, so knowing something was missing, I began the search through my time-tested method: reading. 

After months of going through the scarce self-help books available in El Salvador, I discovered what was missing: a fulfilling spiritual path. 

Don´t get me wrong; I’m by no means trying to establish Buddhism as the only fulfilling spiritual path, but after much study, I concluded that it was the path that made the most sense to me personally. 

There was something about how Buddhists perceived reality and how they explained the workings of the mind that called to me. 

Also, and probably most important, there was meditation. 

In most of the self-help books I studied, I read that meditation was prescribed as the ultimate antidote to almost every problem and ailment, but Buddhism was the only path hat explained why it works on so many levels and what it has to do with a spiritual path.  So, I decided to give it a try.  

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