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7
votes
4answers
296 views

Is there a historical connection between Buddhism and martial arts?

Are kung fu monks and all related Hollywood stereotypes based on any actual historical connection between Buddhism and martial arts? Or is it just a fun movie concept? :)
7
votes
2answers
18k views

What would one encounter at a Buddhist temple service?

With the understanding that there are many different traditions and cultures within Buddhism, I wonder if it is possible to describe what a newcomer might encounter if they went to a temple service ...
4
votes
3answers
823 views

What are Buddha-fields and Dharma-fields in Buddhism? What roles do they play in various lineages?

Recently, I heard the terms Buddha-fields and Dharma-fields. It was explained as a place to do good deeds for gaining good karma. However, I'm not sure about the explanation or what it means. What ...
17
votes
4answers
10k views

How is sexual misconduct explained in regards to the five precepts?

The 3rd precept is: I undertake the training rule to avoid sexual misconduct. How is this precept explained? Marriage is defined differently in different cultures, so are the commonly accepted ...
29
votes
14answers
9k views

Are all Buddhists vegetarian?

Most if not all Buddhists I know are vegetarian or vegan. Thinking about the precepts this is not surprising - one should abstain from killing. However is this universally true in all Buddhist ...
9
votes
4answers
19k views

Significance of touching forheads in Tibetan Buddhism (Karma Kagyu)?

I have visited a local group of Karma Kagyu practitioners once, hearing a Dharma talk and participating in the mantra, rituals, and meditation. At this occasion, the members of the Sangha greeted ...
3
votes
1answer
194 views

Would a world full of good Buddhists seeking enlightenment would never have developed technology? [closed]

If realizing the true nature of mind is the ultimate goal that drives us to enlightenment, constant blizz and the end of suffering, what would be the interest of developing technology? Technology ...
8
votes
5answers
174 views

Is action a form of discontent?

I know Buddhism stresses the importance of being a content person, but I can't help thinking that any action such as walking or even shifting my foot is a form of dissatisfaction for current moment. ...
4
votes
5answers
946 views

Does not keeping a promise violate the precept on lying? What if I promised myself?

In my opinion, if you promise something to someone and don't keep it, it is equivalent to lying. But what if the promise is to myself and I don't keep it; is it violating the precept on lying? Does ...
12
votes
9answers
3k views

Do all Buddhists abstain from alcohol?

I've been to a nice restaurant (pictured below) where the bar was decorated with statues of the Buddha. Given the 5th precept and all; this seemed a bit odd. Would it be correct to surmise that the ...
5
votes
4answers
147 views

Scheduling Formal Meditation

Is it considered better practice to stick to a strict schedule of walking/sitting meditation even if doing so will involve trying to settle into meditation while being plagued with hindrances (pañca ...
6
votes
7answers
1k views

What is gained by learning Vipassana meditation in long retreats?

My understanding of S.N. Goenka's method for learning Vipassana meditation is that the student is introduced to meditation in a 10 day retreat in which he or she sits in silent meditation for almost ...
9
votes
7answers
12k views

What was the historical Buddha's ethnicity?

Gautama Buddha is traditionally regarded as having a noble body with 32 signs of a Great Man and one of those signs are deep blue eyes. I came across many online discussions about Buddha's ethnicity ...
5
votes
2answers
283 views

What is the overall Buddhist taxonomy?

Building from this question, I'd be really interested in seeing an overall view of the Buddhist taxonomical system. I don't mean the actual names "Therevada", "Mahayana" and so on, or "Soto", "Rinzai" ...
7
votes
2answers
768 views

Buddhist Holidays & Gifts

Are any Buddhist holidays associated with gift giving? If so, which holidays and what types of gifts are customarily given?
2
votes
2answers
604 views

What is the reason for attributing Lord Buddha's statues to days the of week?

Image courtesy of ThaiSmile.jp Visiting Buddhist temples, I often notice several statues of Lord Buddha. As far as I understand, they represent different Boddhisattvas. However, these statues are ...
10
votes
5answers
494 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
642 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 ...
26
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
4answers
438 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?
29
votes
3answers
6k 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
129 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
87 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
925 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
600 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
514 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
388 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
585 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
271 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
291 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
181 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 ...
30
votes
12answers
14k 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
818 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
493 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
465 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
343 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
184 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
819 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, ...

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