I believe that now, more than ever, we need to talk about the Dharma, and to spread a message of hope for all the people who are suffering during this pandemic. The idea of talking about Dharma, however, came about by chance. By May 2020, I had started writing about Buddhism, my experience with meditation, and my reflections as a personal hobby on Facebook under the name of “Gotami Yadanar.”
Of course, after becoming a Buddhist, I have always had a dream to spread the Dharma, but I dare not to imagine and dream big, as I was just insecure about myself: but around that time, a new awareness was born in me and I felt it was a duty to speak out about Dharma, if I have a platform and the drive.
I realized that something changed when Buddhists, lay and monastic alike, from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka, started to share and comment on my posts. There were hundreds of commenters and thousands of Likes on my posts. This was a huge number for me and I never expected such consistently favorable responses. From that moment on, I had the idea of arranging livestreaming in English to speak about topics related to Buddhism. My idea was to bring young people closer to the Dharma. I had seen many nuns and monks, Western and otherwise doing this, but there were rarely laypeople that did the same.
I was a little afraid: “They will never take me seriously!” I thought. After all, I simply consider myself a young woman with little spiritual authority. I was a bit hesitant for another reason: I speak Chinese better than English, since I spent all my adolescence studying Chinese while I practiced English mostly at school but not as assiduously as Mandarin. I interpreted this choice as a challenge to myself: to speak about Buddhism, in English, in a simple and direct way.
In my livestreams, I began talking (and still talk) about sutras, Buddhist philosophy, and personal experiences with Buddhism. Surprisingly, little by little I began receiving comments, Likes, and messages from laypeople and monastics that said they saw a hope in me, in an age in which those who are born and raised as Buddhists often fail to take care of the gift of the Dharma. As someone who is born as a non-Buddhist, I feel honored to know that I can be a good example, or at least someone who is trying to share good ideas in accordance with Buddhism.
Sometimes, I get negative reactions from some of my peers, who maybe see something strange in this idea. No one is perfect. But obviously, even the greatest thinkers in the world, like the Buddha, had people who did not understand their mission and intents. Therefore, why shouldn’t a simple girl like me have problems and shortcomings?
I started this small project of mine in April, and in the blink of an eye it has already been eight months. Despite my university commitments with exams, studying, having to go back to my hometown a few times a year to take care of my family, this platform remains one of my most important commitments. I have resolved to maintain my platform in the face of the highs and lows that every young person, whether they’re close to the Dharma or not, ultimately experiences.
I am just a girl like any other, wandering in this world of samsara, with a dream of sharing and learning the Dharma to bring happiness and peace.
Watch Gotami’s Dharma livestreams at her Facebook page