MatthewMartin
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How to explain what Buddhism is?
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17 votes

1) It's hard to summarize Buddhism in brief without resorting to one of sometimes inaccurate or misleading summaries. A summary that starts with the Hindu-style cosmology, imho, misses the point. Also ...

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Is rebirth a delusional belief?
15 votes

I'm a secular Buddhist who takes Mahayana as my starting point. What you are discussing is the cosmology-- the idea that there are six realms, maybe one or more pure lands, and places you can go after ...

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Plants may be sentient beings like animals so how do you decide what to eat?
14 votes

Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhists (Tibetan, SE Asian) and Japanese Mahayana Buddhists are not vegetarian. So if you don't want to be a vegetarian, there are plenty of traditions that don't bother with ...

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Are there Goddesses in Buddhism? If yes, who are they?
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11 votes

I'll answer in two parts-- what sort of looks like a god in Buddhism and which of those are female. Early Buddhism didn't see gods as important to solving their fundamental problem of ending ...

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Secular Buddhism and Suicide
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10 votes

I used to think much the same thing. I thought that the main problem according to Buddhism is suffering. But the Buddhist resolution to suffering isn't extinction or happiness, but is more like an in ...

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How are Buddhists supposed to spread Buddhism?
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10 votes

It varies by sect. These questions generally attract a bunch of people who think you are advocating in-your-face Christian style evangelism. The patterns I'm going to describe appear to be true for ...

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If Dalai Lama is enlightened, why he keeps coming back?
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10 votes

This is a fundamental premise of Mayayana, that the goal is not to be extinguished and leave samsara like an Arhat, but to stick around until everyone is enlightened. Here is the zen formulation of ...

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Are there any cultural or religious guidelines for Buddhist tattoos?
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10 votes

Japan- tattoos are taboo in general, since the assumption only criminals, prostitutes and other low class sorts have tattoos. I think it would be hard to distinguish a religious from a classist ...

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Modern vs traditional Zen
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9 votes

Someone else will answer this better than me, but I'll get the ball rolling. Chan is the form of Buddhism that came to dominate Buddhist life in China up to the time of the communist revolution. It ...

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Are Vajrayana and Tibetan Buddhism the same thing?
7 votes

Vajrayana was practiced in China, Vietnam and Korea. This is often called esoteric Buddhism. Kukyo brought esoteric Buddhist to Japan and founded the Shingon sect. In Russia (well, Kalmykia and ...

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A good website for Mahayana texts?
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6 votes

I use Fodian.net a lot. There are two categories of Mahayana texts, the ones that made it to China and the ones that made it to Tibet. Within a specific sect or tradition, some sects have fantastic ...

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Why do Buddhists believe there is no creator?
6 votes

For completeness, there isn't one Buddhism, there are many Buddhisms. The other questions already address the Buddhisms with either no god or no interesting and relevant gods. By a process of ...

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The Buddha who knew there were 31 realm but didn't mention anything about a round earth
6 votes

The basic project of Buddhism is solving the problem of suffering (or sometimes some other variation of the fundamental problem), usually through a realization about who we really are. In addition to ...

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Are Amitabha and Sakyamuni the same?
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6 votes

This is a Mahayana question and I'll answer it as such. The cosmology of the Amitabha Buddha is described as something akin to an infinite number of parallel universes (or galaxies, the cosmology isn'...

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Can one practice meditation to gain knowledge about the universe?
6 votes

The Therevada stand has been covered. The details of a black hole are metaphyiscal speculations, which in general discouraged, or at least set aside as irrelevant to the Buddhist path. In Mahayana, ...

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Is Jesus considered to be a buddha?
6 votes

(I'm writing this in the spirit of providing a factual answer instead of preaching how people should strive to get along by seeing similarities in religions that may or may not be there.) No. That's ...

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Why not kill animals to hasten their rebirth?
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6 votes

It is clear that some Buddhist realized there was something unfair and unethical about the realms and that something should be done about it. Off the top of my head, I can't remember any that suggest ...

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How does Buddhism describe God?
6 votes

Which Buddhism? In Theravada, the gods are less important, and if they exist, are subject to all the same problems we are, being mortal, petty, flawed, etc. In Mayahayana, the Buddhas have a lot of ...

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Why is Kwan Yin riding a sea turtle?
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5 votes

Okay, I did my own research and here is what I've come up with so far. Interestingly, the artist is making a reference to this Pali suttra: "Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally ...

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What did the Buddha teach about aliens?
5 votes

The traditional Mahayana cosmology allowed for multiple parallel universes, each with at most one Buddha at a time, six realms each. In the pure land system, a pure land is like a parallel universe ...

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Can you meditate too much as part of a daily routine?
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5 votes

I'm sure you've heard the phrase "Practice like your hair is one fire" However, one researcher was looking for people who had so-called "Dark Nights of the soul" experience, i.e. unpleasant ...

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

Rebirth and reincarnation only make sense with the full cosmology. The forms of Buddhism that take the full cosmology as literally true, either don't put much emphasis on annata, or do handwaving (...

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How and when should a child be introduced to Buddhism?
5 votes

The typical cut off for meditation class at a meditation center is about 4 (just checked google). Traditional Buddhists said a child could become a monk if he was old enough to scare crows away, ...

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Buddhas of The Ten Directions
5 votes

Firstly, what are the 10 directions: "Specifically, the ten directions are the eight directions of the compass—north, south, east, west, northwest, northeast, southeast, and southwest—plus up ...

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Are all Buddhists vegetarian?
5 votes

Entire books have been written on the topic, "The Great Compassion" is a good one to start with-- it is written from the pro-vegetarian standpoint. Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese Buddhists are all ...

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Is the Buddha God?
4 votes

Is the Buddha God? No. Although in Mahayana, the Buddha gains qualities of a God such as immortality and superpowers. But these are the same immortality and qualities than anyone who successfully ...

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Celebrate Christmas
4 votes

Directly answering your question: Buddhist texts are more upset at following the wrong sort of Buddhism than for practicing two unrelated religions. Buddhist text tend to suggest that practicing other ...

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Does "empirical evidence" challenge "scriptural authority"?
4 votes

I think the Dalai Lama is making a tactical retreat on issues he doesn't care about. He isn't claiming he's a modern secular Buddhist. I'm looking for a Donald Lopez quote but can't find one. Anyhow, ...

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Are Buddhists happier than average?
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4 votes

Bhutan is a Buddhist country famous for its Gross National Happiness metric. So far, poverty is a drag on that metric: Bhutan Happiness Index: Buddhist Country Fails On Its 'Gross National Happiness' ...

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What is struggle?
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4 votes

Regarding right livelihood- taking care of the sick is one of the few areas of social responsibility that are regularly mentioned in the oldest Buddhist texts. By this, I mean, they hadn't started ...

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