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16
votes
13answers
2k views

If Rebirth is not taken literally then why seek Enlightenment?

I've read that some Buddhists do not believe in the literality of rebirth. As someone who is new to the study of Buddhism, this is confusing to me. My understanding, which perhaps is incorrect, is ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Have any Buddhist thinkers responded to the critique of the Brahma Sutras?

By far the most popular school of Hindu philosophy, which almost all Hindus nowadays belong to, is the Vedanta school, which is based on an ancient Hindu work called the Brahma Sutras or Vedanta ...
15
votes
16answers
9k views

If I start doing Vipassana now, how long will it take me to achieve Nirvana?

Call me an over-enthusiast but presently, the highest priority in my life is to achieve the object of Nirvana or moksha. By performing Vipassana, I want to achieve Nirvana and in this lifetime only. I'...
15
votes
7answers
12k views

Why isn't there a Buddhist Bible?

Why is it that Buddhism never compiled a reasonably concise set of canonical texts like the Bible? Buddhism itself has universal beliefs such as the 4 Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path and the notion ...
15
votes
11answers
4k views

Should a Buddhist feel offended by misuses of Buddha's name or image?

I have just found out that there is a person producing and selling a beer in my town called "Buddha Beer" with Hotei's picture on it. Initially I found it offensive and disrespectful (marketing ...
15
votes
8answers
4k views

Life of Buddha, to be taken seriously?

I've been studying Buddhism for the past few months and part of it entails reading about Siddartha's life story, including his path to enlightenment. What's been confusing to me is whether or not ...
15
votes
14answers
2k views

If anatta is a reality, then how do you explain Volition or Will?

I'm just trying to understand the concept of anatta better here. Buddhism tells me there is the concept of no-self (anatta), and even the so called conditional self is actually an illusion that arises ...
15
votes
10answers
2k views

Can you attain stream entry without meditation?

Venerable sir, Lately I have been wondering if there is a proper technique that can be used in order to attain stream entry rather than meditating. I have a few experiences with loving kindness ...
15
votes
11answers
4k views

If there's nobody to get enlightened, why bother?

It seems the goal of Buddhist practice is to become an Arahant - someone who won't take a rebirth, and therefore will be eternally relieved from suffering. But WHO is this someone who doesn't get ...
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 ...
15
votes
6answers
934 views

How compatible are the beliefs of atheists and Buddhism?

I looked around and found a couple of questions and answers on the site that discuss atheism in Buddhism, What is the difference between learning the Buddhist way and simply learning from life? & ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

What is it like to experience enlightenment?

What is it like to expereince enlightenment? Does it change a person and if so, how?
15
votes
8answers
2k views

Polyamory in Buddhism

What does Buddhism say about polyamory? By polyamory I mean a consensual romantic relationship that involves more than two adult people, which may or may not involve sexual contact. Is it wholesome, ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

Does Zen Buddhism have canonical texts?

I'm aware that Theravada, Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism have a canon of texts. However I have never heard of a canon for Zen Buddhism. Does it have a canon or does it just not bother with such a thing? ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

Purpose of touching tongue to roof of mouth during meditation

While researching forms of meditation involving concentration specific to the Tibetan school of Buddhism, the meditation instruction tells one to touch their tongue to the roof of their mouth when ...
15
votes
10answers
1k views

What is Buddhism?

To be precise, can anyone provide a one page summary of Buddhism as a whole, suitable to distribute to someone who knows nothing about the religion? (Yes, this is a "please do my homework for me" ...
15
votes
8answers
3k views

Do you have to follow a monastic lifestyle to attain enlightenment?

How do the different groups/sects of Buddhism view attaining enlightenment and living a common life? In other words, do they think it is possible to be a common person and achieve enlightenment? Even ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

As a Buddhist with a Muslim family, community, and background… how do you integrate/cope?

Coming from an Islamic background and having a community/Sangha that is loyal to the religion of Islam, how do you harmoniously integrate yourself and your Buddhist study and practice with the ...
15
votes
5answers
262 views

Why should one develop compassion?

Maybe a strange question, because for some people it's obvious that you should be compassionate. I'm just interested in knowing why. Hatred is unskillful, but why should one develop compassion ...
14
votes
7answers
5k views

How to deal with bad past karma that makes my current life miserable?

Before I practice Buddhism,I've made mistakes and hurt other. Sometimes I thought what happen to me now is the effect of what I did. I try to keep doing positive things but sometimes I could not ...
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?
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Is it okay to seek financial gains as a layman?

I work in a highly competitive market, and often people around me only talk about money or finances or the global economy day in and day out. A few of my friends/interns were attracted to Buddhism ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Meditation and 'not trying to change anything'

I've been practicing mindfulness meditation for around three months now. I've heard many times that a key aim for meditation is to be with whatever thoughts and feelings are present, without trying to ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Chronological or other sequence for beginners

At least one of the "introductions to Buddhism" that I read included elements from, some biography of, the life of the Buddha, including: Early life Searching for enlightenment Sermon at Benares (a.k....
14
votes
11answers
48k views

What is the meaning behind different robe colors?

I have seen the same monk in two different color robes and am wondering why. They were dark red and of course orange. Ihave also seen brown, but that was zen, and if any other colors have relevance i ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the differences/similarities in the concept of faith as used in Buddhism and Christianity?

There is the concept of faith (śraddhā) in Buddhism. There is also the concept of faith found in Christianity. Both concepts have been translated into the English word faith but in what ways are the ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

How to disambiguate between various meditation practices?

From what I understand, different schools of Buddhism teach different subsets of meditation techniques, or different variations of the same techniques. However, many meditation resources don't specify ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

What are examples of identity-view?

Identity view (sakkāya-diṭṭhi) is the first of the ten fetters. The "eradication" of identity-view is important towards enlightenment. Presumably, "eradication of identity-view" is more than simply ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

Was Vipassana discovered by the Buddha (Siddhartha)?

I read somewhere that samatha (and jhana) was discovered by the Buddha, but how about vipassana? Is there any evidence either way (i.e. suttas)? The reason I'm asking is because I am more proficient ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What exactly is Jhana?

What exactly is the theory of jhana, how does it come about and how does it relate to the buddhist practice and everyday life? feel free to answer in depth.
14
votes
12answers
4k views

Is Buddhism “opposed” to striving, or working towards a goal that you really want

I've found that it is pleasant and exciting to work towards a goal, for example: wanting to run a 21km race, imagining the crowds, imagining the personal accomplishment. This requires a certain amount ...
14
votes
6answers
2k views

Explaining non-attachment to the very attached

I've been told by someone close to me that my meditation and desire to let go are very threatening to her. She sees sense desires, ego and attachments as very natural and wholesome, and my way of life ...
14
votes
10answers
699 views

Is Enlightenment a misleading ideal?

Is Enlightenment a misleading goal? Is it more of a thought-form than just an experience? I am asking because there is a lot of discussion of awakening, enlightenment, satori, differences, levels, etc....
14
votes
8answers
2k views

Anapanasati: Mindful Breathing Concentration Point

I have been practicing mindfulness of breathing for some time. But I am having doubt regarding my practice. When I focus on a single point on nostril and keep attention there, and note natural ...
14
votes
2answers
745 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/...
14
votes
5answers
7k views

Are there any living enlightened people?

Is there any person who is widely believed to be enlightened by Buddhists, and who confirms that himself/herself?
14
votes
6answers
10k views

What is Buddhism's view on divorce?

In some religions, marriage is perceived as eternal and is a bond that can not be broken. I believe I have read that marriage in Buddhism is not a formal or well-defined institution as it is in ...
14
votes
12answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
413 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
940 views

English (or other European) translations of Pali Canon

Perhaps this should be closed as a 'shopping' question, but maybe translations take a long time to make and therefore there are not too many of them, and they don't go out of date quickly. The ...
14
votes
2answers
541 views

Modern vs traditional Zen

According to David Chapman, modern Zen was basically invented by D.T. Suzuki, and doesn't have much to do with original Zen or even with Buddhism in general. Is this true? Is modern Zen closer to ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

Strange feelings after meditation and mindfulness practice?

I started to meditate half a year ago with my first Vipassana retreat in Bodhgaya. I'm trying to meditate every day since then. Around two months ago I started to practice mindfulness and try to bring ...
14
votes
5answers
647 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 ...
13
votes
14answers
4k views

Is Buddhism just Hinduism stripped for export?

I was listening to a podcast featuring Alan Watts and he stated that Buddhism was Hinduism stripped for export. He also says it at more length in his book Buddhism the Religion of No Religion .... ...
13
votes
11answers
2k views

Can I practice Buddhism without meditating?

If it's possible to do it, how should such practice look like? Will it be inferior to the practice of those who meditate?
13
votes
11answers
11k views

What is the precise meaning of anatta?

This is focusing in on one specific aspect of what was asked here: What are the three marks of existence? I often hear "anatta" explained as being an expression of the non-existence of the self. ...
13
votes
9answers
3k views

Is practicing Buddhism to be happy a wrong view?

One of my teachers has said that practicing Buddhism isn't about having a good time. That's always struck me as a bit harsh. If I practice Buddhism to feel a bit better about myself and to be happy is ...
13
votes
10answers
3k views

Does God exist in Buddhism?

I'm new to this site. So I'd like to ask a question about God. Do Buddhists believe in the existence of a God? Does Lord Buddha mention anything about this?
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Emotional Support without God in Theravada

In religions with God, the believer or devotee can call on God for help during distress, pray to God to seek emotional relief, find a virtual shoulder to cry on and sing God's praises or glories for ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Isnt the desire for giving up the desires, a desire?

It looks like a loop. We know desires cause us suffering, however the desire to abandon desire looks like a desire too, right? I'm sure there is a trick, something to explain why it is different, so.....

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