Friday, September 16, 2011

Beginning of humans

Question : (Unedited)

what do buddhists believe about the
of people... what do buddhits say about
where people came from into this world?

My comment:  

There is a discourse where
the Buddha explained the "evolution"
or the "beginning" of life. However
this "beginning" was  just the beginning
of endless cycles of existence stretching
for an unimaginable and incalculable long
periods of time; for lack of a better
word it is called an aeon for one such
cycle.  Unless you are familiar with
Buddhist teachings, you are not going
to believe this.  Be that as it may, the
story goes like this:  Long long ago,
luminous beings having descended to
earth from a higher plane of existence,
found that on the surface of the
planet was a layer of very aromatic
substance.  They decided to taste
it and subsequently was addicted to it.  
After a long time they lost their luminosity
and supernatural powers, and their forms
evolved into what we are today. This
was the result of having tasted the
"forbidden elixir"....sounds familiar??

Smile from justinchoo :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Survey on 911 tragedy (Buddhist perspective)

This came via email:
Hi there Justin, and “Sawasdee Kha” as we say in my home country of Thailand (although I live in the USA now).

This is Srisuda Hongthai from The Buddha Garden and I wanted you to know that we are conducting a survey on Buddhism in the ten years since the 9/11 Tragedies. I don't know what impacts the 9/11 attacks had on your home country of Malaysia. But here in the USA, many people found solace in the teachings of Buddhism after 9/11. The survey is at:

Wouldn’t it be great to know why so many people become interested in Buddhism after the 9/11 attacks? Does Buddhism still play a role in their lives ten years after the attacks? How do the attitudes of new Buddhists differ from those who were Buddhists before 9/11?

No matter how long you have been interested in Buddhism, we encourage you to take this survey yourself. The fact that you DON'T live here in the USA is even better, since it will help to add diversity to the responses.

We also kindly ask that you will join other webmasters like you by telling your readers about the survey and encouraging them to take it as well. You would be doing a great service to the Dharma community.

Will you kindly let us know if you will be joining hundreds of like-minded bloggers and webmasters by linking to the survey, or mentioning it on FaceBook or Twitter?

Thank you, and Sawasdee Kha,

Srisuda Hongthai
The Buddha Garden

Harder to teach Buddhism to a Westerner?

Question : (Unedited)

I heard someone say it is harder to teach Buddhism to a Westerner, Why is that?

My comment:

Hi W,

For someone new to Buddhism, it is like a first-time traveller discovering new and strange places, some totally alien and opposed to one's experiences.  Buddhist doctrines will be totally alien to a stereotyped Caucasian who has been brought up in a Christian environment.  This is because Buddhist concepts are very different from Christian doctrines.  It will take some time for him to think "outside the box" and experience a paradigm shift in order to appreciate and understand what the Buddha taught.

A stereotype Western mindset in terms of religion is that there must be a creator god and the devil; a hell and a heaven; punishment and reward by god.  Everything is centred on the fear of this all-powerful and all-knowing god.  This is the greatest hindrance to a Western mind to understand the teachings of the Buddha.  It is a "religious shock" to learn that Buddhism is totally different from Christianity.  So long as the Western mindset is not changed, this person will have difficulty learning Buddhism.  The only way is to leave aside all the indoctrinated ideas and set oneself to learn Buddhism with an "open mind".

On the positive side, once the Westerner begins to understand Buddhism, he can practise better than an Asian.  Asians are afffected by their ingrained superstitions and the fear of ghosts.  

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