Thursday, November 29, 2012

Celebrating Christmas


Question : (Unedited)
Hi I like the Theravada tradition, I think I am a buddhist because I feel it in my heart all THE Buddha´s teachings, but I want to know Can we practice Xmas in a different Way?but How?

My comment:
Hi E, As you know Buddhism is about practising wholesome and harmless lifestyle; to experience contentment and inner peace. If you want to celebrate Xmas, then by all means do so. You don't have to invent new ways of celebrating, unless you want to. Only three things you need to consider: 1. Will the action harm you? 2. Will the action harm others? 3. Is the action beneficial? As Buddhists, we use our common sense and human intelligence to practise universal truths...the pristine teachings of the Buddha.


Follow-up question: (Unedited)
Thank you and Happy Xmas too. I dont like materialism (gifts)only a moment of PEACE with the family I think is the best way to celebrate it! Its funny all my family are Catholic but Im a proud Buddhist any other question I will let you now soon!

My comment:
Hi E,
Christmas is meant to be spent with family members, and friends. It is never meant for shopping frenzy and craving for presents. It is a time to show that you care for the ones you love and also to give joy to others. It is never meant for having wild parties and become crazily intoxicated. I remember when I was a student in New Zealand a long time ago, a very kind family always invited me to their Christmas dinner get-together. And I always remember the words of my host that it was a pleasure to invite me to be with them to let me feel at home. This was the joy that they shared with me during Christmas. We didn't talk about religion; they only need to show their genuine care for people.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What if a Buddhist monk asks you a Buddhist question?

Question : (Undited)
Ven, I'm a Theravada monk and a student of Mahayana Buddhist studies in Thailand. Sometime I have a thought of "Distinction between Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism. Do you think that Theravada or Mahayana alone can carry the whole teaching of the Buddha?....

My comment:


I am just an ordinary puthujana and I dare not acknowledge your salutation.  It is most unusual that a Theravada monk is asking me a question, for I have been learning the Dhamma from monks.  I am now in the most uncomfortable situation.  I feel I am very disrespectful to you to answer your question. You are a bhante, my teacher.  I pay my respect to you.

Be that as it may, to a follower of the Theravada tradition, the Theravada's text is the Tipitaka, then I would say, the complete teachings of the Buddha are to be found in it.

My respect to Bhante, bow.

Follow-up question (Unedited)
I asked you this question, because when we discuss two traditions of Buddhism sometime it brings lots of disagreement about certain teachings such as "lotus sutra". DO you think this teaching we have in Theravada? I have just started my buddhist study. So no matter who you are, you are representing Buddhism in your web. Hence, I do hope that you have some knowledge in Mahayana too.... thanks.

My comment:

Nowadays with the internet we are very fortunate to have comprehensive and reliable information on almost every subject.  I can easilly search for Mahayana materials especially through and www.wikepedia.

There are obvious differences between the two traditions.  If you study the historical development of Buddhism after the mahaparinibbana of the Buddha, you will have a clearer picture.  However, it is always a "sensitive" issue when we start comparing the two traditions and their differences.  My humble opinion is that we concentrate on the similarities such as the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, Tilakkana, Paticcasamuppada, and the Law of Kamma.

Mahayana suttas are distinct from the Tipitaka.  They were from different sources.  Again, which one do you want to refer?  In the final analysis, it is up to the person to decide.  No point indulging in debate and argument when we can practise the Dhamma in peace, which is the original purpose of practising Dhamma.  Petty discussions on this issue have been going on for thousands of years.  Do we want to be part of this foolish

May I humbly suggest Bhante discuss the "issue" with your Sangha brothers.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Buddhism and politics


Question : (Unedited)


I'm a college freshman doing a project for my world religion class, and it would be extremely helpful if you could answer some questions to the best of your ability.

In my class, we've talked briefly on the subject of worldviews and how the ideals of a certain religion influence its believers in aspects of normal life.  That said, in the context of Buddhism, what would be a buddhist's opinion of democracy, egalitarianism, or America's processes in general?  Do some of its practices clash with those of Buddhism?  What sort of criticisms would a buddhist likely have with America's operations?

Any answers to those questions is, again, greatly appreciated, and I apologize in advance if I said something in an offensive or ill-informed way.  Once again, thanks.
My comment:

Hi R,

Thank you for asking me.

Buddhist perspective on the conduct of worldly affairs reflects on the universal teachings of the Buddha.  "Universal" means applicable to all irrespective of belief or nationality.  Universal values such as honesty, compassion, non-violence and respect for life are universal ideals.  The freedom to form opinions and the freedom to be anaytical are also Buddhist ideals.  Any political dictate that goes against these ideals would mean going against Buddhist values.

“ What sort of criticisms would a buddhist likely to have on America's operations? “
I don't think there is a standard answer for all Buddhists.  But if you ask me, personally I would say the USA should stop behaving like a "Big Brother" because the world does not belong to it.
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