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13
votes
8answers
13k views

Why does the Buddha call himself the Tathāgata?

Questions in the title. What is the significance of this term and how it is used by the Buddha in the suttas?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the oldest text/sutra of the Mahayana tradition?

I'm often interested in the history of Buddhist texts and, being a Theravadan, I'm not very familiar with the Mahayana texts. Please help to educate me in this manner.
4
votes
1answer
160 views

What is the source of these “Lay Bodhisattva Vows”?

Okay, I'm well familiar with the regular Bodhisattva vows from the Brahma Net Sutra. That set of vows is open to both lay and monastic followers. I just found another set on Dharma Realm Buddhist ...
7
votes
6answers
758 views

If I undergo suffering now, will my next birth be better?

This answer points out that Karma is not something which is accumulated. Hence considering karma as just cause & effect, if I undergo suffering now, like disease, disability, etc, will my future ...
9
votes
2answers
692 views

Buddhism in the Middle East

It is said, Buddhist missionaries made it to Alexandria Egypt and else where in the Mediterranean circa 200 BCE. Have any scholars and/or archeologists found any evidence of Buddhism being practiced ...
6
votes
2answers
465 views

Sutras in Western Buddhism?

How should western practitioners approach the sutras? What are the most important sutras from the main Buddhist traditions for westerners to study? When studying the sutras should that be considered a ...
6
votes
1answer
256 views

What is a Vajrasattva?

I recently heard the term Vajrasattva and wondered if that is another term for a Bodhisattva? How does the Vajrasattva path differ from the path of a Bodhisattva?
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How do you repent in Chinese Buddhism?

Repentence is often mentioned in Mahayana texts. Outside of my knowledge of the meaning of the English word, which is colored by Christian concerns, I'm not sure what's involved. What is done during ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

What/Who is 'Mara' in Buddhism?

Is there any definition for 'Mara' in Buddhism? Islam has a concept called Shayṭān. They explain it as the devil inside a human (Islam explanation). There is something like this in Christianity too. ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Does Theravada believe in feeding food to hungry ghosts?

Certain Buddhist schools perform rituals to offer food to hungry ghosts. And I've heard and read stories that psychic mediums at the rituals saw hungry ghosts came eating the food. Some also reported ...
8
votes
3answers
445 views

How did Buddha's teachings about samsara differ from earlier Indian tradition?

Even before the Buddha, the wheel of birth and death was a common teaching in India, with the six stages or realms. This is something that has passed down into Buddhism (even today). What did the ...
6
votes
2answers
950 views

Dualism of mind and matter in Buddhism

From a source which I don't remember any more (some rather scientific book on Buddhist philosophy) I have made a note, that the psyche in Buddhism is seen or can be seen (by certain schools?) as ...
14
votes
16answers
2k views

Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy?

A claim which is often heard in connection with Buddhism is that it is not a religion. From a scientific point of view, is it a religion, or is it not?
8
votes
1answer
388 views

Nine Purification Breaths and Channels in Genderqueer and Intersex Individuals

When performing the Nine Purification Breaths (I have it from a separate source, but it is close to the one described by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche in Healing with Form, Energy, and Light) the position ...
11
votes
8answers
2k views

Do Buddhists believe in gods?

As far as I know, many Buddhists believe in multiple gods. Doesn't this contradict the idea that the world is governed by the law of karma? Is praying to gods allowed?
5
votes
1answer
178 views

What is the equivalent scientific term for samsedaja? What kind of beings on earth are born from samsedaja?

Are there any beings on earth that are samsedaja (born or arisen from moisture)? Are bacteria samsedaja?
6
votes
1answer
359 views

How much should one eat when following the not-eating-after-noon precept?

In my understanding, there are a few ways to follow the not-eating-after-noon precept. Here are what I know of: Two meals per day + juice/sugar water: breakfast and lunch, juice or sugar water for ...
5
votes
4answers
264 views

The danger in lying

"For the person who transgresses in one thing, I tell you, there is no evil deed that is not to be done. Which one thing? This: telling a deliberate lie." Also The person who lies, who ...
4
votes
1answer
243 views

How is Uposatha practiced in non Buddhist countries?

Uposatha (a.k.a. Poya Day) is the traditional Buddhist observance day. Observances vary but one traditional pattern is to celebrate this day on the lunar calendar on each of four moon events; the new ...
5
votes
4answers
788 views

Is Jhana Required For Awakening?

I've found this to be an interesting question with highly respected monastics falling on both sides of the answer.
8
votes
5answers
902 views

Why do monastics in certain Buddhist traditions take new names?

In the Theravada tradition, and perhaps others, monastics take a new name when becoming bhikkhus/bhikkhunis. Where does this tradition come from, and what is its significance? Others don't - what's ...
10
votes
6answers
6k views

Proper way to address a bhikkhu?

I have seen many ways to address a bhikkhu, and I'm wondering about the proper way to address a bhikkhu, in writing?
4
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is Kwan Yin riding a sea turtle?

And maybe to save two related questions, why does Samantabhadra ride an elephant and Majursri ride a lion? I was meditating with Kwan Yin statute and that was the main distraction, I had no idea why ...
3
votes
3answers
189 views

Conflict between theistic religious belief and Buddhist practice?

From the Buddhist perspective, is there an inherent conflict between being a believer in a theistic religion and a practitioner of Buddhist meditation?
4
votes
6answers
4k views

Can one take rebirth as an insect?

I have always wondered if insects belongs to the animal realm in Buddhism, and I have yet to read stories about rebirth as an insect, such as a butterfly, a mosquito, or a praying mantis.
5
votes
13answers
6k views

How compatible are Buddhism and Communism?

Despite communism as practiced (as opposed to what Marx might have had in mind) being the source of some of the largest slaughter of lay and monastic Buddhists ever (except maybe the Imperial Chinese)....
3
votes
4answers
137 views

What are the canonical texts for the Buddhisms of the world?

And as a follow up, what institutions are charged with expanding the list of canonical works, if any?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Are dark night problems a common thing? It worries me that if I practice they might happen

Are dark night problems a common thing? It worries me that if I practice they might happen: http://m.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/the-dark-knight-of-the-souls/372766
15
votes
2answers
912 views

Why are Jhanas controversial?

I have heard that some teachers do not teach the Jhanas, others do. Yuttadhammo mentions the great debate about Jhanas. What is the controversy about? Whether they are useful towards realizing Nibbana/...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the twelve aspects of the Four Noble Truths?

For each of the Four Noble Truths, there are three aspects. The three aspects for each Noble Truth follows a pattern of Recognition (understanding it), Encouragement (what is to be done), and ...
1
vote
4answers
398 views

How do you identify the 5 factors associated with Jhana?

How do you recognise the different factors associated with Jhana and the level of Jhana you are in? (Not necessarily when you are in Jhana.) More particularly how do recognise the factor of applied ...
0
votes
3answers
371 views

How does Dependent Origination relate to Vipassana Meditation?

How does Dependent Origination relate to Vipassana meditation as taught by different schools / interpretations of Buddhism? More particularly how do you break the links of dependent origination as ...
4
votes
1answer
417 views

Where are the Eight Worldly Winds and how to deal with them described?

To refresh your memory, the Eight Worldly Winds are: Pleasure Pain Praise Blame Gain Loss Fame Ill-repute
4
votes
3answers
16k views

What did the Buddha teach about aliens?

What are the teachings of the Buddha about aliens or other planets that have lives? Is this the only place that can have life or human beings? Is it possible to be born a Buddha in some other ...
1
vote
2answers
244 views

The hidden cycle: dying, death, rebirth [closed]

I am looking for an explanation for my wife about what happens during the dying-death-rebirth cycle according to Buddhist teachings as well as any background readings we can locate. I was ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the motivation for Torma?

Torma are sculpted butter and flour cakes set on mandalas and on altars during Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies. Does anyone know what the story is with Torma and why are we doing offerings anyhow? Is ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the Avatamsaka Sutra about?

I'm not really expecting a short summary, but I'd be happy to get one. This is a 1600 page sutra in English (and cost over $100 on Amazon). It gets reference a lot in the Brahma Net Sutra and Huayan ...
15
votes
6answers
2k views

What teachings do all schools of Buddhism share?

Among the many schools and traditions, what core teachings are shared by all Buddhists?
3
votes
3answers
629 views

Anger management - How to manage bad temper?

Is there any meditation techniques that we can used to manged Bad Temper. As I know it is possible to manage angers by observing it as "feeling angry.., feeling angry!". However the problem is with ...
14
votes
12answers
4k views

What determines whether actions are good or bad?

In a large number of religions, 'good' and 'bad' are defined by some all-powerful diety who either sends a representative or himself to tell us about what exactly they want us mortals to do. In ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the Four Immeasurables (aka Four Noble Abodes)?

Also known as the Four Noble Dwellings or the Buddhist Virtues or the Brahmaviharas. Where in the Pali Canon are these described?
7
votes
3answers
211 views

What is the Noble Eightfold Path?

Where is the Noble Eightfold Path found in the Pali Canon? Are there significant differences among the traditions in its interpretation?
10
votes
6answers
1k views

What are the Four Noble Truths?

What are they? Where are they found in the literature? Are there any significant differences in them among the traditions?
6
votes
2answers
316 views

What concordances are there for the Pali Canon?

I am amazed at how quickly folks on this SE find detailed quotes from the canon. Are folks using a concordance? (That's what Christians call it for the Bible--it's a dictionary of topics cross-...
5
votes
2answers
278 views

What is the relevance of Pratityasamutpada in Nagarjunas system?

In his philosophy, Nagarjuna uses the Pratityasamutpada to prove, that everything is empty and without reality. In the end, however he proves not only the emptiness of that very Pratityasamutpada but ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

What are the Five Precepts?

And where are they found in the Pali Canon? I realize that this is a Straw Man question for the group but I would like to raise our visibility on the Web and perhaps start our community wiki.
17
votes
11answers
2k views

Is a belief in rebirth a necessity for Buddhist practice?

Can someone be a wholehearted Buddhist practitioner if they entirely reject rebirth? Or is anyone that follows the Buddhist path while not subscribing to rebirth only getting half the story? Or is the ...
8
votes
6answers
617 views

So many Buddhist schools!

Why does Buddhism have so many variations, like Zen, Nembutsu, True world, Nichiren Buddhism, etc.? Why is Buddhist philosophy not uniform?
8
votes
4answers
4k views

How does Shambhala differ from traditional Vajrayana Buddhism as it is practiced in Asia?

How is Shambhala Buddhism as founded by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche and continued by folks like Pema Chodron different from traditional Tantric Buddhism such as that practiced by the Dalai Lama? Does ...
10
votes
8answers
2k views

What does Buddhism literature and tradition say about transgender folks?

This may seem like a question that is far too modern for an ancient tradition, but when I traveled in Thailand I learned that katoeys (male-to-female) are a legal gender in Thailand. What does ...

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