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12
votes
10answers
1k views

If Buddha stayed unanswered on this matter, why do his followers preach that soul doesn't exist?

Almost every Buddhist I've met sincerely believes in non-existence of self or soul. Especially, the vipassana practitioners say that scanning the body and finding no atman or self in it is proof that ...
12
votes
5answers
536 views

Did the Buddha speak Pali? Are the suttas his word verbatim?

Was Pali the language spoken during the time of the Buddha, and would he have spoken this language? Are the suttas contained in the Pali Canon verbatim what the Buddha said, or would things have been ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

What are the common buddhist practices to eliminate sleepiness?

I sleep the hours which are said to be needed, but I still feel sleepy. I've been drinking coffee recently to eliminate grogginess, and it does work for me. However, I was wondering if there are other ...
12
votes
8answers
11k 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
5answers
1k views

The object of meditation

I have been focused on the breath in meditation and I am interested in Vipassana, but I am confused about the object of meditation. I have read that you focus on the breath and as thoughts arise, you ...
12
votes
3answers
21k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a story or a mentioning about masturbation in the Buddhist teachings?

Is masturbation wrong? In what exact way is it wrong? I just need to know if the act of masturbation is wrong. This may include watching nudity while masturbating. Even though it's an addiction, I was ...
12
votes
12answers
3k views

Why is Buddha almost treated like a God in most Buddhist traditions?

While I find some buddhist ideas intriguing - mainly using meditation to find insights in oneself - I'm also quite irritated, why so many traditions are so full of dogma, i.e. things you just have to ...
12
votes
6answers
3k views

Giving up bad friends

The Buddha has spoken many times about giving up bad friends, we can find it in the Dhammapada, in the beautiful Maha Mangala Sutta and many other places. My first point is: If we abandon bad friends,...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Homeless but not a monk

Is it frowned upon in Buddhism to undertake homelessness without ordination? Let us presume that part of this homelessness also includes a focus on meditation, with mind and body able to work for ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

What is the difference between non-self and emptiness?

Non-self (anātman) and emptiness (śūnya or śūnyatā) are very similar aspects of the Truth of Suffering. So similar that they are hard to distinguish apart. What is the difference between them? (Or ...
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 ...
12
votes
4answers
565 views

What's the value or harm of a literal belief in rebirth?

Whenever I examine the concept of rebirth in Buddhism, I cannot help it but feel great skepticism. To put it in my own clumsy words, we have many fears and one of the greatest is to cease to exist. ...
12
votes
6answers
534 views

Compassion to friends: stepping in vs. letting them learn on their own

There is a story about how the Buddha will knock on your door if your house is on fire, but he will not kick it down because you have to answer the door yourself. This is analogous to the Four Noble ...
12
votes
6answers
736 views

Is technology making us less mindful?

In terms of availability of technology, the modern world is very different from the world in which Buddhism arose, and the Buddhist suttas were written As a result, these days, people do things ...
12
votes
8answers
7k views

Is it possible to have a romantic relationship without attachment?

Is it possible to have a romantic relationship without attachment? Just based on pure love and with equanimity?
12
votes
7answers
2k views

Methods for reaching Jhana

I have read some books and web resources that deal with reaching access concentration and from there the first Jhana. They all used mindfulness of breathing and mentioned but never described 'other ...
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Are Buddhists against abortion?

While other religions seem to have a definition position on abortion I've never come across the Buddhist view on this. From a naive perspective I would imagine that Buddhists would be prolife rather ...
12
votes
6answers
912 views

Meditation, compassion: How to handle people who dominate you in the office?

I have been doing meditation for long time and have felt a change in me. I have started developing strong compassion, and due to this I am speaking very politely to everyone and always agreeing with ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there any such thing as a bad meditation?

I've always been told that there is no such thing as a bad meditation. No matter what happens it is OK. In fact the meditator is a bad judge of the effectiveness and efficacy of any sit even if those ...
12
votes
6answers
1k views

Questions on the five Skandhas

I find that the five Skandhas can be very confusing at times, as the Western idea of mind and perception is very different to the Buddhist idea of mind and perception. On top of that, many ...
12
votes
1answer
626 views

Why would anyone ever want to go to the heavens?

References to a rebirth in the heavenly realms seems to be viewed in a positive light in Buddhism. It's easy to see why it would be considered more favorable than a rebirth in the hell realms of ...
12
votes
10answers
2k views

Ultimate Lack of Discipline

I noticed that despite all my resolutions and intentions, I am still not much better than when I attempted to change. Therefore, I ask the following: What could a person particularly lazy and ...
12
votes
4answers
448 views

Mindfulness in Everyday Activity

I have been practicing meditation, reading and listening to Buddhist teachings and I undertake the five precepts for about year now. This is the first time that I actually ask a question about my ...
12
votes
10answers
1k views

How and when should a child be introduced to Buddhism?

My son will be four soon. I would like to introduce him to Buddhist philosophy, and some meditation practices. However, stillness is, at this point, completely foreign to his personality :) My wife ...
12
votes
9answers
932 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
393 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
459 views

How sacrosanct is the “source material” of Buddhism?

In this answer to my question about why we keep referring to antiquated old parables and similes, Inzenity wrote, "The scriptures are part of the teachings, the source of the teachings. It makes ...
12
votes
5answers
828 views

Can Buddhism be viewed as a threat to the capitalist way of life?

As capitalism depends on the desire to consume (the more you consume the better), is it fair to say that Buddhism goes against capitalism? Or does anyone thinks that Buddhism can coexist very well ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

Can one learn meditation on their own?

Can I learn Vipassana meditation or other Buddhist meditation techniques like Shamatha on my own using books and online videos? This is because it is sometimes hard to find good genuine teachers. Or ...
12
votes
4answers
825 views

What is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation?

In my readings of Buddhist commentary there is a distinction drawn between rebirth and reincarnation. But to me it is unclear what is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation--the explanations ...
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. ...
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.
12
votes
4answers
481 views

Found items and the Second Precept

There was a crumbled up dollar bill on the stairs when I was coming out of work today. I looked around and didn't see anyone who might have dropped it. I picked it up and walked away. Pretty soon I ...
12
votes
7answers
4k views

Buddhist view on Art and being an Artist

I am wondering what is the buddhist view on Art and especially being an Artist? Meaning someone who creates something with an aesthetic quality that may or may not reflect the reality and express ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is it hard to breathe naturally when meditating?

For me it is rather hard to breathe naturally while doing Samatha meditation. It makes it harder to concentrate because I'm always controlling my breath. Do you have any suggestion how to overcome ...
12
votes
3answers
144 views

Question about how to generate more motivation to meditate.

I just wanted to hopefully get some ideas on how some of the fellow users of this site motivate themselves to meditate on a more frequent basis. What ultimately motivates each one of you to continue ...
12
votes
4answers
355 views

What is the proper understanding of “taking refuge” in Buddhism?

Many years ago, a Zen Roshi said in a class that "nobody else is your boss except for you. Only you can make the decision and apply yourself to practice, nobody else can." So, I've heard this many ...
12
votes
2answers
655 views

Relation to Jainism

I've read that Jainism is one of the oldest Indian traditions, that Buddhism somewhat derived from it and that at some time they rivaled (I'm not sure if this was a political thing). Can you explain ...
12
votes
1answer
339 views

How does Dating work in Buddhism

What does the Buddha say about dating, in general? This is a fairly open-ended question, and any scriptural references would help. I would have lustful thoughts when I look at a pretty girl (though I ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Last thought before death?

I read somewhere (perhaps in an unreliable introduction to Tibetan beliefs) that rebirth is conditioned by the last thought before death (or perhaps affected by a thought or desire that you have after ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How concentrated is access concentration and how would one recognise it?

A meditation teacher I once had said that access concentration (the stage before the jhanas) is the same level of concentration that one has when reading a good book or when fully engaged in ...
12
votes
3answers
531 views

How was the Buddha Jayanti edition of the Tripitaka derived?

I've read that the three Theravada countries Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar all three have their own version of the Tripitaka. I've also read that in 1956 they held the Sixth Buddhist convention with ...
11
votes
8answers
1k views

Why can't private buddhas just tell people what they did to achieve enlightenment

I mean I don't know if they do but apparently private buddhas don't put forth a teaching, so my question is why can't they just tell people what they did to attain enlightenment.
11
votes
5answers
1k views

Anapanasati Buddhist meditation

So I thought I really need to ask this question about Buddhist meditation specifically, Anapanasati. Basically I sit cross legged and count breaths for 15 minutes as advised on the Internet for ...
11
votes
12answers
3k views

Can one practice meditation to gain knowledge about the universe?

The Buddha knows everything in this universe via his mind alone. Can I do the same? I want to know what is inside a black hole.
11
votes
8answers
4k views

I don't like people but I like buddhism

I'm a bit confused. I had a rather crappy childhood. Very disfunctional family and lots of bullying and abuse both at home and at school. It kind of made me very distrusting of people. I learnt at a ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

What dietary practices are most helpful for reaching enlightenment?

Gandhi, a Hindu ascetic, was adamant that the spiritual well being of a person was not disconnected from one's diet. He said "The body was never meant to be treated as a refuse bin, holding all the ...
11
votes
13answers
1k views

If there is no self, why do anything?

My limited understanding of Buddhism has already helped me in many ways and I am very glad to have found it. With that said, I have always wondered about this title question. If there is no 'I', ...
11
votes
11answers
2k views

Doubts about Karma and/or Rebirth

I have been a staunch follower of the Buddha's words for the past 1.5 years. I do believe in the Buddha in so far as the Denial of God, Creationism, Destiny is concerned but considering the events in ...

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