Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Question : (Unedited)
I have been studying Buddhism for a little while now. I am interested in practing it but I have several questions that I would like to know the answers to first. First I heard that Buddhists take up practices such as patting the belly of a statue of Buddha. While I'm sure it's just an urban myth I would like to know for sure. Next I work in a grocery store deli, while I have no problem becoming a vegetarian, would it be against Buddhism to work in the deli still. There are other questions that I have but I am content to research them on my own so please respond when you have the chance Thank-you
Thank you for asking me.
Welcome to the journey of inner peace and happiness. I heard of people patting the belly of the fat or "laughing" Buddha. The fat Buddha is supposed to be the future Buddha, the image of which was created by some very "imaginative" people. It's rather embarrassing actually. There is nothing "Buddhistic" about it. The Buddha taught universal truths which transcend race, culture, time and space. The Buddha also encouraged us to use our common sense and human intelligence to analyze his teachings. Patting the fat Buddha's belly as far as I am concerned is a very stupid act which insults the sanctity of the Buddha.
There is nothing a Buddhist is forbidden to do. The advice from the Buddha was that we should know what is wholesome and what is not. Knowing that, and if we choose to do the unwholesome things then be prepared for the unwholesome results. So the choice is solely ours. The Buddha never issued commandments. The Buddha advised with reasons. By the way, being Buddhists doesn't mean to be vegetarians, although to be one is very healthy. You may want to try out the following three-step analysis as to whether one should proceed with a plan of action. First, consider whether the act is harmful to others. Then consider whether the act is harmful to oneself. Finally, whether the act is beneficial.
Please come back if you need further clarifications.