My birth name is Brent. I was born in Huntington, Indiana and am currently living in Altoona, Pennsylvania U.S.A . I have had a hard life to put it mildly. I have two beautiful daughters; one is living here at home with me and the other is married now and has a daughter of her own. I have struggled with drug addiction for a good part of it which caused me much mental and physical turmoil. I found Buddhism in prison over 10 years ago and it literally saved my life and provided a change in direction for me. I came across the Buddha-Dharma communication of Paul Beard that provides the context of the Dharmadatu Buddhist Order and Sangha via their web site and found the material that was presented from a Western secular perspective made sense to me. Being a practitioner in isolation is very difficult. Now I have something practical to apply in my everyday life and I am now, at last, connected with others who are there to support each other despite being separated by physical distance. I became a member of the Dharmadatu Sangha on November 18th 2015 and whilst the Sangha gathered to conduct the ceremony in Australia, my daughter and I had followed its format at the shrine in my house. This has been another major turning point for me and one that I am very happy about and I am grateful for being given the opportunity to become part of this Sangha.