Source: St. Petersburg Times
Richard Weissman delved into Buddhism by accident five years ago after his dog died. He randomly pulled one of many books off his bookshelf — the Tibetan Book of the Dead — and began reading it to his wife in an effort to find some comfort. At that moment, his mission was born.
"It clicked," said Weissman, 46, who was raised Jewish but spent his adulthood on a spiritual search. "I was like, 'Ah, this is it.' "
Now he oversees the Tampa Bay area's local Buddhist organization and leads classes in meditation. He runs Ratnashri Sangha of Tampa Bay, a Buddhist Dharma Center, from his home in Port Richey.
After his epiphany, he hopped on the Internet and searched for a local connection to the Buddhist practice he had just read about. Soon he began regularly driving nearly an hour to Largo to meet a group of people doing mediation and other Buddhist practices.
The group was looking to reorganize and he offered to act as president. Soon after, he and his wife "took refuge" — a ritualized process to become a Buddhist.