All Questions

10
votes
5answers
491 views

Is it useful (and polite) to ask a potential meditation teacher about their attainments?

In another question, it was discussed whether it's possible to recognize if someone is an arahat. I'm interested in something slightly less formidable, namely the "attainments" that may lead to ...
13
votes
3answers
570 views

What is the meaning of “dhammā” in the context of the four satipaṭṭhāna?

I've been struggling with this one for quite a while now. The fourth foundation of mindfulness is called 'dhammānupassana' - vision in regards to the dhammas. The old translation I was given when I ...
25
votes
5answers
12k views

Is drinking coffee or tea against the fifth precept?

The fifth precept most directly guides us to abstain from alcohol. Coffee is a stimulant and probably so is tea. Drinking either beverage affects our mental calm and makes us behave in ways that we ...
9
votes
3answers
406 views

Was Buddha one man?

On Wikipedia Buddha redirects to Gautama Buddha, but there is also a List of the twenty-eight Buddhas Was Buddha a single human man? Or is Buddha a concept or maybe a spirit often reborn?
28
votes
3answers
5k views

Where is the Buddha quoted as saying do not believe anything I say until you can prove it by yourself?

If I remember rightly the Buddha is quoted as saying something along the lines of: Do not believe anything I say until you can prove it by yourself In what text(s) of the Buddhist cannon is this ...
5
votes
1answer
127 views

What does enlightenment actually entail in Shugendo?

We already have some questions about enlightenment, but this is going to be a bit more... esoteric. What I would like to know is what enlightenment entails in Shugendo, which is a particularly ...
5
votes
1answer
84 views

What distinguishes Japanese Shingon Buddhism from other types?

How is Japanese Shingon Buddhism different from other forms of Buddhism such as Zen?
12
votes
9answers
905 views

In meditation, should one pursue tranquility first, prior to looking for insight?

On the one hand this question has been asked to death on the internet (and yuttadhammo's videos even try to handle it). On the other hand, I personally still don't feel I have a clear answer (and I ...
13
votes
4answers
585 views

Is it possible to “over-train” in samatha meditation?

Every morning I set aside one hour for meditation -- primarily just counting breaths, but occasionally abdominal noting. My overall aim is to achieve some kind of basic tranquility so I can then ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Why does the Buddha appear androgynous in some depictions?

In quite a few depictions of the Buddha in artwork, he appears androgynous. Does this represent something significant in terms of a Buddhist message or ideal, or is this just an artistic style?
21
votes
6answers
508 views

How can I assess the quality of a local Buddhist group?

I'm located in the West, and, in my local area, there are several Buddhist groups. I would like to join one of them to be more formal in my commitment to learn about Buddhism. My question is, how do I ...
12
votes
4answers
378 views

Please explain when and where to use the terms Theravada and Hinayana

I understand that Hinayana as a term is generally pejorative when referring to Theravadin practitioners. Where is the use of the term Hinayana proper, and why is it still used if it's considered ...
11
votes
8answers
7k views

What is the difference between relative and absolute truth in Buddhist philosophy?

Many Buddhist texts and teachings make a distinction between absolute and relative truth. Please explain the difference and give some examples.
8
votes
8answers
561 views

Is it only humans who can understand Buddhism?

If Buddhism is a general theory of understanding the cycle of attachments, is it possible that any other 'wise' enough creature could achieve the same thing? In the Visuddhimagga English translation,...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

How does making merit affect karma?

I believe I understand the basics of karma as the effects of our intentions and actions (good & evil) which will play some role in this and future lives. But how does merit making affect karma? If ...
7
votes
2answers
265 views

Does enlightenment mean achieving purity?

Usually, the word enlightenment is not directly understandable; a newcomer might understand incorrectly. In the Visuddhimagga (Path to Purification, p. 6), Nibbana is illustrated as follows: "...
7
votes
5answers
288 views

Differences of Ultimate Realities in different traditions

In Theravada Abhidhamma Pitaka there are four Ultimate Realities (paramattha dhammaa) mentioned, Citta Cetasika Rupa Nibbana Is there any variations in these realities in other traditions of ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What practices are included in (daily lay) life for a Buddhist? [closed]

There are a number of Buddhist traditions, each with different teachings and practices. What are the daily practices lay people normally live by? For instance, living by five or eight precepts, in ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What type of Buddhist monks are only allowed to eat two meals per day and why?

In this answer, user yuttadhammo described that monks are only permitted two meals per day during the morning hours, from dawn to noon. What type of Buddhist monks are permitted only two meals per ...
20
votes
5answers
3k views

How should Buddhists handle prayer requests?

Fairly regularly people ask me to pray for them or their family members. In my understanding, Buddhist don't generally pray for things to be different than what they are. But it never seems ...
13
votes
2answers
178 views

What are the texts that contain words which can be attributed directly to the Buddha?

If I understand correctly, the Buddha never wrote anything but some Buddhist texts quote him by describing meetings or situations where he was present. Is there a comprehensive list of all scripts ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Health Risks of Meditation?

One hears a lot about the benefits of meditation; everything from calming yourself and lowering your blood pressure to working towards purifying your mind and finding freedom from suffering. Even as a ...
28
votes
12answers
13k views

How does stream entry occur?

When a person becomes a stream enterer/Sotapanna, I understand they no longer have the first 3 fetters of belief in a self, doubts about the Buddha, his teachings or the noble sangha, or attachments ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Why did physical representations of the Buddha only start to appear a few centuries after his death?

Prior to around the 1st century CE, Buddhist art tended not to depict the Buddha himself, instead preferring to depict relics/symbols of the Buddha, such as his footprints, or the Bodhi tree. That ...
12
votes
12answers
1k views

Attachment is a poison. Why is attachment to the Buddha and to Buddhist philosophy not a problem?

Attachment (aka craving or greed) is one of the Three Poisons. Why is attachment to Buddha not a poison? Perhaps it's related to the Tibetan Buddhist lojong "Don't make gods into demons"?
9
votes
10answers
784 views

Should Buddhist teachers get rich?

In recent years in "Western" culture, teachings derived from Buddhist practices have been increasingly common. These teachings are often of a secular nature and are about compassion, meditation and ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

Does the concept of evil spirits occur in Buddhism?

Some of the western religions have evil spirits like devils and demons. Does the concept or belief in evil spirits occur in Buddhism?
11
votes
5answers
490 views

How can I know that I am clear of thoughts while I am meditating?

While meditating, one might try to be aware of their surroundings, to be present in the moment. But how can we become aware of it without thinking that we are aware? Another example is when one can ...
10
votes
2answers
446 views

Does Buddhism have a concept of avatars?

Avatars are a Hindu concept as far as I know, but I have noticed that many of these religions (from places like India) have similar things in common, whether they be symbols, names, beliefs, or ...
8
votes
1answer
4k views

What is meant by Namu Amida Butsu and also Nam-myoho-renge-kyo?

In two schools of Buddhism, an important part of the practice is the repetition of special mantras which sound like simple expressions of honor or gratitude to those of us outside of the sects, but ...
6
votes
2answers
341 views

The Seven Factors of Enlightenment

Are the Seven Factors of Enlightenment understood to happen as specific phases in a linear progression in one's journey or are they understood to happen in a circular manner with ever deepening ...
13
votes
2answers
183 views

Can environmental degradation be used as a justification for the culling of an invasive alien species?

We have a lot of feral foxes in Australia which decimate the local wildlife. Foxes are not native to Australia but where introduced by humans. Local wildlife is not adapted to these predators and are ...
13
votes
12answers
3k views

Is it possible to recognize a person who has achieved Arhatship?

As per the Wikipedia article "Arhat": In Theravada Buddhism, an Arhat [...] is a "perfected person" who has attained nirvana. And I saw somewhere that one is not allowed to say one is an Arhat. ...
6
votes
6answers
803 views

What are “Supernatural mental abilities” in relation to Buddhism?

In this question How to help non-Buddhists understand a young person's desire to be ordained as a monk?, one of the "selling points" listed was: 5) Supernatural mental abilities (astral travel, ...
13
votes
4answers
409 views

Days of Worship

I understand Buddhists don't technically worship, but pray to the Buddha or meditate (apologies for any mistakes). My question is: do Buddhists have a certain number of times a day to worship/pray/...
9
votes
1answer
253 views

What does it mean to 'advert' to the factors of jhana after emerging from jhana?

I think this all comes from the Visudhimagga's explanation of jhana. I'm not sure there's any references to a term similar to "advert" in the Canon, but I keep running into the term advert without any ...
14
votes
6answers
412 views

How concerned should Buddhists be with the actions of others?

Even as I find peace and contentment in observing the 5 precepts and following along the 8 fold path, I realize I sometimes unintentionally benefit from those who don't live in this manner. For ...
12
votes
2answers
20k views

Can someone explain about children monks?

I've seen pictures online of young children dressed in monks robes in Buddhist countries. Does someone make the decision on behalf of the child that they will become a monk? Do they eat only one meal ...
8
votes
2answers
299 views

How to help non-Buddhists understand a young person's desire to be ordained as a monk?

Many non-Buddhists do not understand the appeal or the benefits of becoming a monk. They may not be able to understand why one would want to live such a simple life, and they may not take the decision ...
5
votes
1answer
241 views

Hamstring issues when in a five-point-meditation posture

Most days when I sit in a five-point meditation posture on a cushion there isn't a problem when sitting for the duration of a meditation session, but for particularly long sessions or on some days, ...
8
votes
1answer
174 views

Nibbāna in The Progress of Insight

I was wondering if anyone could help to clearly explain the phenomenology of what happens in this passage from Mahasi's The Progress of Insight, specifically the bolded section: 12. Insight Leading ...
6
votes
1answer
106 views

What Buddhist texts describe the doings of syncretized Hindu deities?

Some Vedic/Hindu deities are recognized as being part of Buddhist cosmology. For example, Indra, who is the chief god of the Vedic pantheon, is syncretized into Buddhism as Śakra, which is another ...
12
votes
6answers
8k views

Relationship between Buddhism, Hinduism and Yoga?

All these 3 philosophy/religions are born across Tibet/Nepal/India and they all share numerous concept and practice. Some points of connections could be: Noble Eightfold Path are very similar to ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Syllables and Prayers During Guru Yoga

A while back I was at a workshop by a Yungdrung Bön abbot who taught Guru Yoga using a visualization of the Master with a crystalline body where you visualize being purified first by fire, then wind, ...
7
votes
3answers
174 views

Buddhist teachings on nation building & politics

From what I have read, Buddhism seems provide a practical path to follow in everyday life for a commoner to lead a life with lesser Dukkha and a rigorous path aimed at Monks seeking nirvana. But do ...
10
votes
3answers
277 views

What is it that is re-incarnated ? [duplicate]

I have been reading Mahayana philosophy. It proposes non-self and that self does not exist in the 5 aggregates. If the self/atman does not exist, what is that is re-incarnated? How can nothing ...
4
votes
4answers
282 views

What is the role of karma in rebirth?

Rebirth is not reincarnation. How then does the karma of an individual affect their rebirth? In reincarnation, an individual's karma results in a better or worse next life for their soul. But in ...
10
votes
5answers
246 views

Are there any differences in karma?

Is there a difference in karma of giving someone $ 1 and giving someone $ 1000, or its same for anything given? and Is there a difference in karma of killing a small animal (like mosquito or small ...
6
votes
9answers
2k views

Why should we worship statues of Lord Buddha?

Why should we worship Lord Buddha statues with flowers, lights and food, even when we know Lord Buddha is not alive and does not exist? Did Lord Buddha instruct us to do so or is there any other ...
32
votes
10answers
13k views

Is killing vermin and insects justifiable?

The first precept goes something similar to I undertake the training rule to abstain from killing. Now, I understand that, for instance, eating meat is allowed, but what about, for instance, ...

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