Sunday, July 29, 2012

Holy book


Question : (Unedited)
does buddhism have a holy book

My comment:
Hi H,

Buddhism is about universal truths and universal moral conduct.  They are universal because they transcend belief, race, nationality, and even time and space.  The most striking universal truth is that nothing in this world is permanent; everything is subject to change; nothing lasts forever.  The generally accepted universal moral conduct are honesty, love, compassion, forgiveness and decent conduct of living.

The Buddha preached these values and he encouraged intelligent analysis of his teachings.  He urged his followers to use their common sense and human intelligence to analyze his teachings and only to accept them if the followers found them to be beneficial.  His teachings were not from a third or "higher" source.  He is called a Buddha for the ability to discern, by himself, the true nature of existence.  Since there is no commandment, there is no "holy" book.  The teachings of the Buddha are compiled into three groups and are called the Tipitakka, meaning "three baskets".  The Tipitakka forms the complete teachings of the Buddha.  In this sense you may refer it as the "holy" books.  But in the theological sense, there is no "holy book" in Buddhism.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Meaning of life


Question : (Unedited)
What is the basis of happiness? and our place in the universe? what are we here for?

My comment:
 Hi A,

If you are very new to Buddhism, you will not be very happy with my answers, for we are used to the "heavenly" promises from other religions. Buddhist interpretations of existence and the universe are totally different from other religions.

What is the basis of happiness?  In common term, the basis of happiness is the presence of specific factors which make us happy.  The most classic example will be having lots of money.  Once this condition is present, the person will immediately feel a sense of happiness.  After a certain period, this condition of just having money is no longer the main factor for his happiness.  He will have to seek new factors to experience new happiness, like having a new house,  new cars, and other things.  Once these are fulfilled, the law of diminishing returns sets in.  These conditions which previously generate lots of happiness are now stale.  If no new conditions are satisfied, then the person will no longer experience the happiness again.  In short, "happiness" is a "conditioned" experience.  Without the prerequisite condition, happiness will not appear.  The Buddha warned that all conditioned things are transient, they cannot last forever.  Anyone who seeks or chases after happiness will be very disappointed in the end. However, this does not mean that a person should not be happy when conditions are right.  The warning is that at any time these happy conditions may change.  To an uninitiated person the absence of such happy conditions or the presence of negative conditions will trigger a state of unhappiness.  The wise Buddhist approach to life is to be contented with the things we have, be happy when conditions are right, and be careful when conditions are not right.  We have to ride through the waves of living conditions, the ups and the downs.  In so doing, we live a guarded contented life.

Our place in the universe is just like a minute speck of dust existing for just a fraction of a blink of the eyes.  If you go through a brief description on astronomy, you will know that the vastness of the universe is unimaginable; and the time frame is also beyond our reckoning.  We are here because of the phenomenon of attachment.  Just like a magnet, because of our ignorance to the real nature of our existence, we are bound by our desire to be attached to existence.  This existence actually has no real benefit.  The cycle of births and deaths keeps on repeating itself.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Will God forgive me?


Question :(Unedited)
Respected holy sir,
               Three years back, i was known that i had job given by god.I don't know what kind of job it is.But before three years when i was 13 years of old I was honest,free form carnal desires,the follower of eight fold path and always stand first in the class.But then after my true nature is corrupted.I feel i could die.I feel very uncomfortable.
                   I like to change to that mode before three years.I could not concentrate.I took low marks.I have wasted three years wandering here and there(that is a very long time).Will god forgive me?

My comment:
Hi S R,

First, I am no "Holy Sir".  I am just an ordinary person.  If you are familiar with Buddhism, Buddhists do not subscribe to the existence of a powerful creator God.  I am sorry not being able to provide you satisfactory answer or advice to your "problem".  But I shall try to say a few words.  I assume that you are now 16 years old.  Go and have fun with your friends and study hard.  Do what you enjoy and be positive.  Life is about growing up.  Give yourself time and all will be well.  You don't need anyone or any "power" to forgive you.  If you think you have done wrong then correct yourself.  You have all the power to take control of your life.
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