Thursday, December 29, 2011


Question : (Unedited)
Every sentence said by Buddha makes sense and fits perfectly even in today's modern life. As all Buddha said makes sense, how will he explain miracles, those does not make sense and are supernatural? How will a Buddhist explain miracles performed by Jesus?

My comment:
Hi Fr,
There are a few definitions of "miracle" from the dictionaries.  The most relevent one for your question will be "an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause".  

During the Buddha's time, he had also performed "miraculous feats" like emitting fire on one side of his body and water on the other side.  He had what we called supernatural powers.  In our daily lives we have either witnessed or experienced unusual events.  In fact most of these unusual events in the end could be explained rationally.  That leaves only a very few unexplainable events.  Buddhists are aware of the existence of beings in other planes of existence.  Some of these beings have special powers over worldly affairs and they may "intervene" in the conduct of our worldly affairs, for some reasons or the other.  For lack of a better term, we may say they are like our "guardian angels".  

As for miracles performed by Jesus, I think it will be more appropriate if you ask the Christians.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Exact date of Buddha's death

Question : (Unedited)
Dear Sir,
I happened to learn that the exact date of Buddha's death is not known even though we commemorate it on a certain fixed date of the year. Why is there a debate on this one? Is it because people in the past were not that intelligent to keep track of events and modern scientists are more advanced?

I want to know the date that is mostly accepted and any shortcomings of the scientific researches performed on this, if any.

Thanks in advance

My comment:
Hi Ch,

Thank you for asking me.

The day is called "Wesak Day" or "Buddha Day".  It is the thrice sacred day of the birth, enlightenment and passing away (parinibbana) of the Buddha.  At the sixth World Conference of the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB) held in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, in 1961, the conference resolved:
"That the first full moon day of May be recognized as the 'Buddha Day' and celebrated accordingly."  The month of May corresponds with the month of Visaka of the Indian calendar.  It was in the full moon day of Visaka that the thrice blessed events took place.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ghosts and aliens

Question : (Unedited)
do buddhists beliee in ghosts or even aliens, if so what r they then?

My comment:
Hi T,

The Buddha spoke of beings in existence in different planes of existence in our world system.  There are countless other world systems where beings may exist.  The universe is endless, beyond our imagination and reckoning.  The Buddha called the universe "loka dhatu" and the world system "cakkavala" spiral cosmos.  

In our world system there exists 31 planes of existence (depending on classification, the number of planes differ; but all the planes are included).  We as humans occupy one plane, sharing with animals which is considered a separate plane.  There are ghosts plane which in itself is a form of existence.  The higher planes will be the planes of gods whose life spans are unimaginably long.  In our terminology "aliens" would be those beings from other world systems.  All these planes of existence, although with very different conditions and life span are all subject to impermanence.  All life forms come into life, exist for a period, and ultimately disintegrate.  Apart from human and animal planes, the other planes exist in different dimensions.  That is why only very few people could see ghosts.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Why worry?

Question : (Unedited)
I'm in a really tight spot financially  - working poor, as I've heard it called.  I worry almost all day every day about it, about how to make it work, even though the math shows it won't. I can't find an out, no matter how I figure it - at least for now.  There's alway hope for the future.  My mind seems to be grasping on this and can't let go, but is this irrational? I try to work hard to appreciate the beauty of each moment, the breeze on my skin, or my sleeping kitty's contentment, but then my mind runs into the rut of my worry again.  What do Buddhist teachings say about dealing with this?  Imminent homelessness or hunger seem like real things to worry about.  

I hope you can give me some insights that may help me be peaceful.


My comment:
Hi J,

Everyone has worries.  Even the super rich have worries.  It is the price that we pay for feeling insecure, real and/or imaginary.  As for your situation, your worries may be real.  However we should take into considerations of your "status" in life at present; namely your location, age, ability to work, and family status.  If you are in an affluent country, I would say it is not as bad as if you are in a poor and "unstable" country. If you are young, then time is at your advantage.  If you are qualified or at least able bodied, then you still can continue working. What about family?  You see all these factors have to be taken into account.  Most probably your worries are real and justified.  On a more mundane approach, if you already know your problems, then half of it is solved because you have identified the root cause of your worries.  The practical approach is to strive to earn more and at the same time try to save more.

On a more philosophical note, you have to accept that worrying is part of life.  But if you have put in effort to minimize your "problem" then you have also to try to lessen your worries.  "Worrying" is a mental "sickness".  It is due to the fear of the situation.  This fear can be real or imaginary.  It does not matter.  So long as you allow this fear to dwell in your mind, the mind will be eventually become a slave of this fear.  The more you dwell on it, the more it enslaves you.  It is just like a bad habit.  You will need a strong and understanding mind to overcome this bad habit.  The Christians have a very effective way to overcome fear and problems.  They have complete faith and trust in Jesus.  Whether Jesus really helps or not is irrelevant.  The fact that the person's mind becomes strong with this faith, the fear and worry disappear!  In the Buddhist context, we have to face facts and note the problem.  Having identified the problem we have to make effort to remedy it.  Having done that there is nothing more that we can do.  If we know that we have done our best, then when the worry thoughts return we just note the thoughts, acknowledge them and then let them go because you know you have already taken positive actions. There is no need to worry anymore. Keep on repeating this response whenever such thoughts appear.  After some time the mind will get tired of these worry thoughts because you refuse to dwell on them.  In no time you will be free from this worry.  The thoughts will return to haunt you, but each time you just note and let them pass...Period...Fullstop.

Of course if you believe in chanting, then some chanting will give you confidence and peace of mind.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

And some more questions!

Question : (Unedited)
Hi again my dear friend,
I hope you are fine. Now I have understood the difference between a begger and a monk, to some extent. Now there come some new questions for you:

You have said
The Dhamma cannot be destroyed.  It is Universal Truth, which transcends race, nationality, belief, time and space.
Could anybody besides the Buddha find spiritual liberation and ultimate release? If your answer is positive, what`s TTB`s idea about them? 
It is "very easy". When that person is COMPLETELY rid of greed, hatred and delusion.

When a Buddhist becomes a Buddha, will he himself experience the Dhamma straightly?
Do Buddhists think that it is only their way that leads to the Truth? Or they think that other ways like Jainists` way (Just as an example) may lead to the Truth too?
And my unanswered question
Don`t you think that the Dhamma was taught once by the Buddha, and it doesn`t need to be taught again? (Unless you believe that Buddha was not a fine teacher.) Everyone who is interested in Dhamma can study the Tipitika and learn the way to reach Nirvana. (With no need to a teacher.)

Anyway, I really THANK YOU for your answers.

My comments:
Hi A,

"When a Buddhist becomes a Buddha, will he himself experience the Dhamma straightly?"

The appearance of a Buddha is very very rare.  When the Dhamma or universal truth is lost, then a Buddha will appear and re-discover it.  This will take an unimaginable long period of aeon or several aeons.  To be liberated, one need not have to become a Buddha.  As I said if one is completely rid of greed, hatred and delusion, then the person has cut away the craving of attachment, there is no more rebirth.  During this period where the Dhamma has been revealed, there will not be any Buddha.  We need only to practise his teachings to gain  liberation; such a person is called an arahat (arahant), in English for lack of a better term, "a saint".  The Buddha had revealed the way to liberation.  It is up to the person whether to practise it or not.  Whether it is the only way, if the person understands the Dhamma, he will know the answer.  It is not necessary for anyone to insist that it is the only way , and others are wrong.  You see, we have to melow our mindset a bit to be more flexible and accommodating in our thinking, even when practising the Buddha's teachings.  

"And my unanswered question
Don`t you think that the Dhamma was taught once by the Buddha, and it doesn`t need to be taught again? (Unless you believe that Buddha was not a fine teacher.) Everyone who is interested in Dhamma can study the Tipitika and learn the way to reach Nirvana. (With no need to a teacher.)"
It is not that I have not answered your question.  If you read all my comments, the answer is in them.  So long as the Dhamma is still here, I don't see any need for anyone to "rediscover" and repeat what is already there.  However, I would say, we still need teachers to teach us and guide us through.  It's just like say, learning the English language.  Anyone can learn it by himself.  But you would agree with me that everyone will want to find an English language teacher to teach him.

Hope you are happy with the answers.  Please come back if need be.
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