(Nice picture from CK Hon)
You answered a few of my questions a few days ago, and they really helped me, thanks! Yet, my curiosity has seemed to have only grown. I guess it's a good thing. Anyway, here's a few more questions:
1) What's the difference between Therevada and Mahayana Buddhism? All I know is that one is like Orthedox Buddhism, and the other was made after the councils. They were councils, right? Well, nevermind that, I can look that up. The council thing, not the other thing.
2) What form of Buddhism would you recomend? I know that I should really branch out into my own ideal, and decide for my own, but I have so many extra curricular activities and homework and general teen stuff. Dating. . . well, extra curricular activities and homework. Mainly, it's that there are so many forms of Buddhism that I can't find all the info., and I don't even know all of them! GRR! Oh, the woes of curiosity unfed! Anyway, I guess the real question I have is that, hmm, can you provide links or info. about the schools of Buddhism and other teachings, all that jazz?
3) Since I'm young, I am going through the, ahem, 'change' of the teenage years. That, and I also live a moderately materialistic social life. Everyone at school has the latest IPod and cell phone (luckily, I want niether. My brother with the wrecked car and 7000 songs, needs the cellphone and IPod. That's right, 7000.), and my house has a big screen, three computers, and we recently got a new car. I even just went to China a month ago! Now, being surrounded with all that leads me to want more. For example, I just got my brothers old computer. It can run any of the new day stuff. Now, I want more. More games, more upgrades, just more PC stuff. You see my plight? I already have a lot, and want more. I already know how to at least control myself from splurging on wants. Yet, the real question I guess I have is that how do you recomend I lessen my moderately lavish surroundings?
4) I am really in no position to think of this yet, but how do I deal with lust? Well, I guess I am in a position to think of it, being 15. anyway, how do I deal with it? It's every where! When I delete one E-mail, two come out! That, and that I have access to it on the internet. A high power access line to the internet. I'm sure I don't need to go to far into detail, but I have on more than one occassion, um, well. . . Anyway, my question is how do I teach myself to control my desire?
Thanks, You guys are the best thing to happen to Buddhism since Avolkitshvara. I think that's it. Well, you guys are good, in any case. If I got that wrong, please do tell.
Much Thanks, D W
Hi D W,
Apologies for the delayed reply due to website problem.
1)A brief historical background of Buddhism will explain this. During the Buddha's time, his teachings were all memorized by the learned monks and passed down as such. After a few hundred years, differences in interpretations began to appear. A lot of Brahmins from the Brahmin religion (modern day Hinduism) became Buddhists. During that time the emperor was a Buddhist. His name was King Asoka. Naturally, all would like to become Buddhists! Because of these differences, King Asoka called for a council of monks to confirm the authenticity of the Buddha's teachings. The council of learned monks recited and confirmed the full text of the teachings which had been handed down by verbal recitation. They referred to this confirmation as the text of the elders (senior monks). In the Pali language it is called Theravada, which is the tradition that I follow. The Brahmin group decided to have their own version and called themselves the Great Vehicle (Great Wheel), in Pali, Mahayana. They then belittled the Theravada by calling them Lesser Vehicle which in Pali is Hinayana.
The Mahayana spread towards the north-west to Afghanistan, the Silk Route to China, Korea, and Japan. While the Theravada spread to the south to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), and then up north-east to Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Being very practical teachings based on universal truths, Buddhism was able to be accepted by the different communities. They could practise Buddhism without having to change their cultures and customs. That is why we have Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Buddhism, Japanese Buddhism, and who knows Western Buddhism! The beauty of Buddhism is that although there are such varieties, the basic teachings of the Buddha are the same. The difference is actually in the rites and rituals, and some other minor subjects.
2) You have plenty of time to learn more about Buddhism. Please surf through the websites that I have recommended you in my first reply to you, and you will find all that you need to know. In the meantime enjoy your youth, but remember to harness your energies for positive and noble activities. Live a noble and harmless life by following the 5 precepts to the best of your ability. These 5 precepts are like a protective fence against evils and sorrows. If you choose to compromise on these 5 precepts, which are actually universal values, be prepared for all the problems and sorrows when they come haunting you. You know AIDS!
3) I would assume that you come from the land of plenty..USA..Plenty to eat, plenty to enjoy, plenty to everything...Yes, plenty to everything...plenty of troubles and problems too! This is because of the lack of true wisdom. Your life's experience is no difference from that of your parents, for that matter, your ancestors. The difference is in change of material things. Your great great grandparents would want the best horses. They would want to have more dresses and more new shoes. Your parents would have wanted the latest "convertables" and the latest colour tvs. We are all the same. It is natural but not all natural behaviour are beneficial. If we crave for more and more, we actually become crazy! If you are wise, which I say you are, then follow the Buddha's advice....reduce greed, reduce hatred, reduce our ignorance to the true nature of life.
4) I am as "bad" as you, but I have an "advantage" over you. I am 55 years old! Running out of steam. D W, it is natural that we are lustful. It is the very nature of our lives. That's why the Buddha referred humans as "Sensual" beings, subject to great temptations of the senses. We cannot control all these sensual desires. It will make us all zombies! What you need to be careful of is to restrain and not go to extreme. And remember the 3rd precepts..to refrain from committing sexual misconduct. This is very important...Aids.