|Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Samma Sambuddhassa|
1.What is Buddhism?
Buddhism may be defined and explained from various standpoints as follows:
1.Buddhism, the teaching of the Buddha (the Enlightened One), proposes to develop humankind through purity(by means of morality),calmness(by means of concentration) and clarity (by means of wisdom).
2.Buddhism is a religion founded by the Buddha for the welfare of many, for happiness of many and for helping the word. People from all walks of life can apply the teaching to practice in accordance with their ability and free will.
3. Buddhism is a religion of reason and practice for self-help and self-reliance and for extending a helping hand to others others out of loving-kindness and compassion.
4. Buddhism is both philosophy and
practice. Though it accepts the existence of divine beings, it did not
put belief in a supreme being as a s significant part of the religion.
Instead it teaches the followers to have qualifications
such as moral shame and moral fear, making one divine in the Dhamma in this life; to be endowed with right faith, morality, learning, generosity and wisdom. Furthermore, Buddhism teaches that one who is free from defilements of greed, hatred and delusion is reckoned as superior.
5. General information about Buddhism is as follows:
Country of Origin
Data of Origin : Sixth Century B.C.
The Founder : The Buddha (The Enlightened One) previously Prince Siddhattha of the Gotama clan within the Sakya lineage.
Doctrinal Tenets : To avoid all evil, to do good and to purify the mind.
Type of Religion : Universal, spreading out to many countries of the world;
Atheistic, regarding no divine being ad the centre of the
Main Divisions : Theravada and Mahayana
Unity of Diversity : The World Fellowship of Buddhist is the world
organization for unity of all Buddhist throuout the world.
It has one hundred-twenty three regional centres in 37
countries (B.E.2539-1996). The permanent headquarters
of the World Fellowship of Buddhists is in Thailand.
2. What is the historical and geographical background of Buddhism ?
Buddhism came into existence in India some 2,600 years ago when an Indian Prince, Siddhattha, became enlightened and thence came to be known as the Buddha, meaning the Enlightened One. His teaching is preserved in Buddhist scriptures known as the Tripitaka, which literally means three baskets, namely the Vinaya or Vinaya-pitaka(monastic rules), Sutta or Suttanta-Tripitaka,(collection of the teaching of the Buddha and His disciples) and Abhidhamma or Abhidhamma-pitaka(higher philosophy).
is Atheistic; it does not give significance to divine beings. There are
two major Schools in Buddhism; Theravada, the teaching as preserved by
the elders and Mahayana, the later development. The former is practiced
in Sri Lanka, Thailand,
Burma(Myanmar) Laos, and Cambodia.The latter id more prevalent in China, Japan,
Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan and Tibet.
3. What are the purposes of the preaching of the Buddha ?
In the First Sermon, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta(the Discourse of the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma or Truth), the Buddha pointed out the Middle Way which gives vision, which gives knowledge, which is conducive to calmness, insight, enlightenment and Nibbana (the state of being free from all defilements and suffering).
of His discourses, the Buddha summarized His teaching with the words "Vimutti
or spiritual freedom from all defilements and sufferings is the Ultimate."
When sending His first sixth disciples on their preaching tour, the Buddha
I, now monks, am free from all bonds of gods and men. And you too, monks, are free from all bonds of gods and men. Travel, monks, for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for helping the world, for the good, welfare and happiness of gods and men.
the Buddha's words, above mentioned we can say that Nibbana or Vimutti
is the main purpose of the perching of the Buddha. He encouraged His disciples
to walk the Middle Way in order to eradicate all defilements and sufferings
and then, out of
compassion for all, lend a helping hand to others.
In brief, the Buddha taught people how to be happy and prosperous both
in a worldly as well as a spiritual sense. Those who follow His teaching
can select their way of life practicable for themselves.
4. What is the status of Buddhism among world living religions ?
World living religions can be classified according to their doctrinal tenets into various types such as:
1. Theistic religions: believing in the supremacy of a divine being or beings.
2. Atheistic religions: not believing in the supremacy of any divine being.
Buddhism belongs to the latter. It lays stress on virtuous qualities which every human being can develop. According to Buddhism, good knowledge and conduct (Vijja carana) make a person excellent among divine and human beings. Good knowledge and release from all defilements and sufferings(Vijja-vimutti)are Buddhist ideals.
5. What is the size of the Buddhist population in Thailand as compared to that of other religions ?
the report of the National Statistical Office, Office of the Prime Minister
B.E.2538 (1995 A.D.), the Thai population is distributed by religions as
Buddhists 56,016,758 (94.22%)
Muslims 2.396,198 (4.03%)
Christians 326,919 (0.55%)
Hindus,Sikhs 3,697 (0.01%)
Unidentified 716,810 (1.20%)
6. What is the official administration of the Thai Buddhist Order ?
is the state religion of Thailand. His Majesty the King is a Buddhist
and a patron of Buddhism and other religions in the country. Monastic
administration is according to the Sangha Act of B.E.2505 (1962), amended
in B.E.2535(1992) and the rules and regulations laid down in the code of
the Council of Elders headed by His Holiness the Supreme Patriarch. As
far as regional monastic administration is concerned. territorial jurisdiction
shall be exercised in hierarchical order as follows:
boundaries of those divisions shall be in accordance with what has been
determined in the rules and regulations laid down in the code of the Council
As far as the regional monastic administration is concerned, the following is the hierarchical order of Bhikkhu officers with reference to their territorial jurisdiction:
1. Regional Governor
2. Provincial Governor
3. District Officer.
4. Commune Headman
There shall be one abbot for a monastery. However, when it is deemed proper there can be a vice-abbot or an abbot's assistant.
7.What is the World Fellowship of Buddhists ?
The World Fellowship
of Buddhists (WFB) is an international Buddhist organization which was
founded in B.E. 2493 (1950) in Sri Lanka where representatives from
27 countries from Asia, Europe and North America met for the
first time in history.
delegates from all over the world representing various schools of
Buddhism, viz., Theravada, Mahayana and vajrayana traditions, were unified
under the six coloured flag. (Please refer to question and answer No.9)
Through this international Buddhist organization, unity and mutual understanding among the Buddhist communities of the world have been established. It can be said therefore, that the WFB has achieved its prime objective, that is unity
among world Buddhists which is fundamental in furthering cooperation for the progress and stability of Buddhism.
8. What role does Thailand play in the World Fellowship of Buddhists ?
participated in the very first conference which established the World
Fellowship of Buddhists in Sri Lanka in B.E.2493 (1950) and, as one of
its Founding members, actively attended all the conferences usually
two years. Thailand had upheld the aims and purposes of the organization which appear in the WFB constitution as follows:
1. to promote among the members strict observance and
practice of the teaching of the Buddha,
2. to secure unity, solidarity and brotherhood amongst Buddhists,
3. to propagate the sublime doctrine of the Buddha,
4. to organize and carry on activities in the field of social educational, cultural and
other humanitarian services, and
5. to work for happiness, harmony and peace on earth and to collaborate with other
organizations working for the same end.
Thailand was chosen by the WFB as the seat of the permanent headquarters
of the WFB on B.E.2512 (1969) with an International Secretariat working
full time for the benefit of the members of the WFB all over the
world. The reasons which prompted the WFB General conference to adopt this resolution unanimously were:
1. Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand.
2. His Majesty the King is, by virtue of the Constitution of Thailand, the patron and defender of the Buddhist faith, and
3. The Thai Royal Government has consistently given financial support to WFB Secretariat.
In this connection, it should be mentioned that the Thai Government has been providing an annual subsidy for the maintenance and effective services of the Headquarters up to the present.
9. What is the meaning of the Buddhist flag ?
flag, or the flag of Chabbannarangsi, as approved by the World Fellowship
of Buddhists at its inaugural conference in B. E.2493(1950) consists
of six colours. The first five colours are arranged vertically as
yellow, red, white, and orange. The sixth colour, called in Pali "Pabhassara", which means "brilliant" or "radiant", cannot be depicted but is symbolized by the combination of the first five colors arranged horizontally a narrow strip on the
This six-coloured flag was originally designed by Colonel Henry S. Olcottm an American Buddhist, and has been used by the Sri Lankan Buddhists ever since. However, it gained wider recognition when it became the official flag of the
World Fellowship of Buddhists at its inception in B.E.2493(1950)
The design was based on the belief that wherever the Buddha went, he spread the light of wisdom and bliss to the people all around in six directions, namely, east, west, north, south, above and below. This light was later symbolized
by the six colours in the Buddhist flag.
However, for Thai Buddhists, yellow flag with the symbol of the Wheel of Dhamma (Dhammacakka) has been in general use since B. E 2501(1958) when itwas officially proclaimed by the Thai Sangha Authorities.
10. What is the meaning of Buddhist symbol ?
symbol is in the firm of a wheel with eight spokes representing the
Noble Eight fold Path, which means the way leading to the cessation of
suffering. This Path consists of the following:
Right View, Right Motives, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Means of Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration.
This symbol is called "Dhammacakka" or the Wheel of Dhamma and has been adopted as the seal of the world Fellowship of Buddhists.
11. What are the differences between the two major Schools of Buddhism, i.e.Theravada and Mahayana?
means the School which maintains the original teaching of the Buddha. Its
root can be traced back to the First Council which was held soon after
the Buddha's passing away; hence it is considered the oldest
came much later, roughly speaking, about 600 years after the Buddha's time. Vajrayana or Tantrayana developed from the Mahayana approximately 400 years after the beginning of the Mahayana.
Geographically, Theravada is more prevalent in Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Cambodia and Laos while Mahayana is prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Nepal and Tibet.
Theoretically both Schools share the fundamental teachings of the Four Noble Truths, etc. but Mahayana developed many more Sutras as elaboration of the original teaching. Among the important Mahayana Sutras are Saddharmapundarika- Sutra, Vimalakirtinirdesa- Sutra, Bhaisajyaguru-Sutra, etc. However, the Vinaya (monastic disciplines) of both Schools remain very similar. The difference in primarily due to different sociological and geographical contexts.
12. How and what should the Buddhists believe ?
is the Enlightened One who discovered the Supreme Truth. He did not force
anyone to believe in His teaching with blind faith. The reasonableness
of the Dhamma. the Buddha's teaching, lies in the fact that it welcomes
any critical examination at all stages of the path to enlightenment.
To understand the nature of all phenomena, insight wisdom must
be operative throughout.
Once the Buddha
has instructed the Kalamas, who were inhabitants of Kesaputta, a town in
the Kingdom of Kosala, on an appropriate attitude towards the religious
beliefs. He said "Do not accept anything on mere hearsay, nor by mere tradition,
nor on account of rumours, nor just because it accords with your scriptures, nor by mere suppositions, nor by mere inference, nor by merely considering the appearances, nor merely because it agrees with your preconceived notions, nor merely because it seems acceptable, nor thinking that the recluse is our teacher." And then the Buddha had further instructed the Kalamas to consider everything by themselves carefully. He said " When you yourselves know that these things are bad; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to harm and ill; abandon them. And in contradiction, when you yourselves know that these things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; these things, undertaken and observed, lead to benefit and happiness, enter on and abide in them."
13. Is it true that Buddhists are taught to be tolerant of other's opinions, beliefs, customs or behaviour different from their own ?
Yes, Buddhists are taught to be broadminded but not to believe in anything easily before investigation or proper consideration. Moreover, Buddhists are taught to diffuse the Four Divine States of Mind: loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity towards all sentient beings who may be of different nationalities, religions and environments.
14. Could we live happily without believing in any religion ?
we can. If happiness means physical well-being, then a person can
be happy without believing in any particular religion but a human being
consists of two major aspects: body and mind. To have a fully developed
and happy life, one needs
to nourish both body and mind. In this case religion can provide the guidance and the path to develop the mind and spirit along with the body.
15. Is there any particular form of practice in Buddhism ?
to Buddhism, everyone is free to consider and investigate Buddhist teaching
before acceptance. Even after acceptance one is free to select any particular
part of the teaching to put into practice.
The Buddha has given various practical formats suitable to the people of different tastes and tendencies.
There are, however, some typical doctrines appropriate for Buddhists in general as follows:
1. Avoid all evils, fulfill good and purify one's own
2. Generosity and mind development. (Development of tranquillity and insight.)
3. Morality, concentration and wisdom. (Brief form of the noble path leading to the
cessation of suffering.)
16. What are the results of the practice of the Five Precepts ?
Precepts are not laws but they are self-training rules that lead to moral
practices and right behaviour. Since one does not live alone,
living in society requires self-awareness, self-control, adaptability,
non-violent attitude and good-will.
The Five Precepts are to abstain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct,
false speech, and intoxicants which cause carelessness. One should be kind, honest and mindful. Then our society will reach the goal that persons can live together peacefully and in mutual trust.
17. How should one live the Buddhist way of life ?
the Buddhist way of life one should avoid doing evil, perform wholesome
acts and purify one's own mind.
The "don't and do" moral principles of the Buddhist way of life are as follows:
1. To abstain from killing, and develop loving-kindness
and compassion to all living
2. To abstain from stealing . and develop right means of livelihood.
3. To abstain from sexual misconduct, and develop restraint of the senses.
4. To abstain from lying, and develop truthful speech.
5. To abstain from intoxicants, and develop restraint and mindfulness.
one can observe the above Five Precepts and Five Virtues, the more happy
and peaceful life one will achieve.
Furthermore, trying to purify one's own mind from greed, hatred, and delusion step-by-step in daily life is the ideal way for all Buddhists.
18. Is there any Buddhist teaching that monks should have a role of serving society in addition to teaching Dhamma ?
history of Buddhism tells us that when the Buddha convened his first group
of 60 disciples before sending them on missionary work, He instructed
them to go separately on a journey for the gain of the many,
for happiness of the many, and
for helping the world. This shows that the Buddha advised His disciples to serve society . The serving should be done appropriately to the status of the monk. To put the teaching into practice, to make oneself an exemplar, and to teach the people are the main functions of Buddhist monks. Usually monasteries are the centres of communities and social welfare. In case of various disasters, monks will extend their helping hands to the people as much as possible. To serve society in the way of charity or other social work is also allowed for monks, providing it does not contradict the monastic rule.
19. Is it justified for a Buddhist to believe that he could be a real Buddhist only through meditation, and to discard all concerns about serving society ?
To be a real Buddhist is just to take the Triple Gem as one's guide, that is to say, if anyone puts his or her faith in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, he or she is regarded as a Buddhist. This is according to the answer of to the Buddha to Prince Mahanama's question about being a Buddhist. There is advice for the progress in practice called the Basis of merit making as taught by the Buddha as follows:
1. Charity or generosity (Dana)
2. Morality (Sila) and
3. Development of meditation which is of two kinds, namely: tranquility of the mind and spiritual insight (Bhavana).
From the above mentioned principle it is clear that charity and serving society in the way of giving a helping hand and other spiritual practices are regarded as the additional practices of being a Buddhist.
20. Why do monks wear patched robes ? Does a darker brown robe signify strictness of the wearer ?
monks are homeless and do not have any valuable
personal belongings. Originally they had to collect discarded pieces
of cloth wherever they could be found, and wash and sew them together.
Then the robe was dipped in natural dye from bark or the pith
of a tree. The robes were mostly brownish in colour. The different
shades of the colour did not signify the strictness of the
wearers at the time of the Buddha, nor do they
Venerable Ananda, the Buddha's cousin and personal attendant, designed the robe at the request of the Buddha. The pattern of the robe was taken from the pattern of the paddy fields in the Magadha Kingdom. It was accepted by the Buddha and had become standardized since then.
In Thailand, usually the darker robed monks tend to be forest monks. However, there are some monks living in the city who also prefer wearing darker brown robes responsibilities. The reason why the Buddha accepted a patched robe
was to distinguish monks' robes from lay people's clothing and to discourage thieves.
21. Why do monks go on alms round in the morning ?
to appreciate this act, one needs to have a background understanding of
Buddhist society, Buddhist society consists of four groups of people: monks,
nuns, laymen and laywomen. Monks and nuns have left household life
and have gone forth to spend time fully in the study and practice of Buddhist
teaching. Once they are well fortified with study and practice, they are
expected to teach the lay people and provide them with spiritual comfort
Lay people, on the other hand, are householders who are still engaged in worldly activities, It is expected that able Buddhists should support the ordained ones by providing them with material requisites such as food, clothing etc. Buddhist societies are expected to work out this compromise division of responsibilities.
When the monks go for alms round, from the monk's point of view, they are to make available the opportunity for the lay people to make offering to the ordained ones who are a "field of merit" worthy of offering. Also taking care of the material
needs of the ordained ones is a way to reinsure the stability of Buddhism and its institution on the one hand and also to uplift the lay peoples' own practice on the other.
22. How is universal loving-kindness taught in Buddhism ?
(Metta) means extending good-will or benevolence which is opposite
to ill. Buddhism teaches that loving-kindness should be diffused
to all sentient beings, be they human or non-human. If the world follows
the teaching of
diffusion of universal loving-kindness, conflicts may be solved not by confrontation but through peaceful means.
23. What is the Buddha's teaching about caste and colour ?
is no division of caste and colour in Buddhism. In some country,
the caste system is a very important social structure. However, Buddhism
is free from caste, racial, and gender prejudices. Everyone is equal in
The Buddha explained that a man's virtues or vices depend on his deeds, not his birth or wealth. One who comes to be ordained in Buddhism had equal rights such as the right to vote in meetings. The only difference of the order of
seniority which goes according to the precedence in ordination.
Buddhism lays stress on human equality by pointing to the importance of knowledge and good conduct. Lord Buddha taught that one who is endowed with knowledge and good conduct is excellent among divine and human beings.
24. What is the Buddhist attitude towards ecological problems ?
It is well known that more than 2,500 years ago the Buddha had laid down rules and regulations for His disciples to take care of the environment. Examples may be given as follows:
1. Not to throw the rinsings of the bowl mixed
wit lumps of boiled rice into the house compound,
2. Not to ease oneself or spit on grass and green.
3. Not to ease oneself or spit into water.
4. Not to cut any living plant.
5. Not to burn the forest.
6. Not to throw waste through the window.
7. Not to leave the toilet dirty without cleaning it or asking others to do so.
are encouraged to maintain the balance of nature and material development.
Recycling of used material was already mentioned in the Buddha's
time. In Buddhist teaching, life is a apart of nature. Everything is interdependent.
the concepts of natural conservation and ecological awareness can be found in the teaching of Buddhism in the early period.
If we now take a trip to rural villages, we could visit the Buddhist monasteries and enjoy the feeling of serenity, fresh air, the beauty of flowers and trees, pets and tame animals living happily together with human beings.
25. Is it true that Buddhism is pessimistic ?
The belief that Buddhism is pessimistic derives from the misunderstanding of the First Noble Truth which teaches that all sentient beings are subject to the suffering of birth, old age and death, etc. Only when one accepts the truth of this suffering will one begin to investigate the cause of suffering, the cessation of its cause and practice the path leading to its cessation.
In this sense we will see that Buddhism is neither pessimistic nor optimistic; it is rather realistic. The Buddha may be compared to a medical doctor who diagnoses that human beings do have a severe disease, but he did not stop there. He pointed out that it can be overcome and further prescribed medicine to remedy it. Buddhism seeks to overcome human suffering. Each individual needs to develop morality, concentration, and wisdom in order to solve the problems of life. Buddhists are taught to face the world in its reality and try to overcome its binding forces and ultimately arrive at spiritual freedom which is known as Nirvana or Nibbana.
26. What is the purpose of Buddhists in worshipping and making ?
cast Buddha images and statues as reminders of the Buddha.
People of various countries designed national flags to represent each of their own countries which are held as paying a respect to the cloth or its colour but to the highest national institution. In the same manner, Buddha images and statues also
are objects of respect. Our respect does not aim only at wood or metal which Buddha images are made of but mainly at the 3 qualities of the Buddha, namely: wisdom, purity, and compassion. A Buddhist paying respect to a Buddha image is a way of
reminding oneself that one needs to improve one's own wisdom, purity, and compassion in order to follow the Buddha's triple quality at the same time
27. What is the real meaning of "merit making" ?
speaking, the word 'merit' is translated from Pali Punna
which means 'cleaning' or 'purification'. To make
merit is to cleanse greed, hatred and delusion from one's
mind. The Buddha taught His followers to
make merit by
means of charity (Dana), morality (Sila) and spiritual development (Bhavana). When we know the real meaning of 'merit making' in Buddhism as described above we can decide for ourselves that there are many ways and means to make
merit. At any moment in one's daily life, even while sitting comfortably on a chair, trying to cleanse greed, hatred, delusion or other mental defilements from one's mind is also reckoned as making merit.
28. What is the real meaning of dana (giving) ?
Giving is an expression of generosity.
It is one of the three means of merit making: Giving (Dana). Morality
(Sila) and Development of meditation (Bhavana), which is of two kinds:
development of tranquility (Samatha-bhavana) and that of
insight (Vipassan-bhavana). There are three kinds of giving, as follows:
1. Giving to the needy, e.g. helping
the poor. giving to orphans, etc.
2. Giving to equals, e.g.giving to our friends or neighbors to build up
3. Giving to people to whom we want to show our gratitude or respect, e.g.
parents or monks.
In the real sense, a Buddhist should give without expectation of return. In other words, to give is to lessen one's own selfishness. Hence giving is a way of decreasing craving and attachment.
29. What does it mean when a Buddhist take refuge in Triple Gem ?
requirement for a person to become a Buddhist is to take refuge in the
Triple Gem, namely the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha.
There are levels of taking refuge in the Buddha. At one level the Buddha simply means the Budda image which may be taken as a reminder or indicator of of the historical Buddha who provides inspiration for all Buddhists to follow
the path He has taken to enlightenment. The Buddha at a deeper level would mean Buddhahood, the highest spiritual quality which is available to all of us, if we follow the path the Buddha has shown.
Dhamma also may be understood in different levels. It is often understood to mean the canonical body of the teachings of the Buddha. However, more profoundly, it means the highest truth realized by the Buddha, who said that "One who sees Dhamma sees me, and one who sees me sees Dhamma". That is to say, when one realizes Dhamma one becomes enlightened. The Sangha could again be understood on different levels, generally it means ordained Buddhists: monks and nuns. In a deeper sense, it means the enlightened persons, ordained or lay, who are spiritual guides for human beings.
To take refuge in the Triple Gem is to accept the qualities embodied in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha and to try to develop such qualities within one's life.
30. What are the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha ?
a Buddhist, one is expected primarily to take refuge on the Triple
Gem: the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
Buddha means the Enlightened One.
Dhamma means Truth realized and taught by the Buddha.
Sangha means the Buddha's disciples who behave and practice righteously. The
ideal Sangha means those who attain the Four States of Noblehood.
The meaning of the Triple Gem or the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha may be
understood on three different levels as follows:
(1) First Level
The Buddha : the Enlightened One represented by His replica or
Dhamma : Truth realized and taught by the Buddha, represented
by Tripitaka or the Buddhist scripture.
Sangha : the Buddha's noble disciples represented by Buddhist
bhikkhus (monks) and bhikkhunis (nuns) in general, who have not yet attained the
Four States of Noblehood. The Sangha in this level is called Conventional Sangha or Sammati Sangha.
(2) The Second Level
The Buddha : The Enlightened One, who was formerly Prince Siddhattha of the Sakya clan. He renounced the worldly life in search of Truth and after His Enlightenment established Buddhism.
Dhamma : Truth realized and taught by the Buddha, learned and put into practice by the Buddhists, both ordained and lay people.
Sangha : the Buddha's noble disciples who have attained the Four States of Noblehood.
(3) The Third Level
The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha become one. The Buddha in this level is identical with Dhamma as it was stated by Him that "One who sees Dhamma sees me; one who sees me sees Dhmma" This shows that Buddhahood is Dhamma and Dhamma is Buddhahood .The ideal Sangha is the embodiment of the realized Dhamma.
31. What does going to the monastery mean ?
are two kinds of monasteries: the external and the internal.
The external monastery means a place where monks live as a community under religious practice.
The internal monastery means one's serene mind. If one tries to make his or her mind clean, calm and clear with morality, concentration, and wisdom. one mayalso be considered as regularly going to the monastery.
The Buddhists should aim at both external and internal monasteries on accordance with the appropriate occasion.
32. Is it compulsory for lay Buddhists to go to the monastery regularly ?
There are no strict rules or regulations for lay Buddhists to go to the monastery regularly. If spiritual progress is needed it is suggested that Buddhists should go to the internal monastery (see question and answer No.31) even for a short moment. If any Buddhists tries to diffuse loving- kindness, compassion or other benevolent wishes to living beings or tries to clean, calm, and clear one's mind then he or she is considered a good Buddhists and regarded as going to the monastery regularly.
33. In Buddhism, can women attain enlightenment ?
was the first religious leader to accept equal spiritual potentiality
of men and women. The nature of enlightenment transcends gender difference,
which otherwise tends to limit women in their social contexts. For this
women were accepted into the Order (Sangha), and proved themselves worthy of the Buddha's recognition. Some of them were individually praised by the Buddha, such as Bhikkhuni Patacara who was foremost in Vinaya, and Bhikkhuni Khema who was foremost in wisdom. Among laywomen. Visakha was foremost in offering dana and Samavati was foremost in loving-kindness. In brief , women showed equal capability in practicing and propagating Buddhism in early Buddhist history. Even now both men and women who practice the Buddhist teachings can undoubtedly attain enlightenment.
34. Is it true that in some countries women can be ordained ?
allowed women full ordination in His time. They were called Bhikkhuni (Bhikshuni
in Sanskrit). The Bhikkhuni lineage in India itself lasted more than a
thousand years and disappeared together with the Bhikkhu Sangha when India
was invaded in B.E 17th.
A group of Bhikkhunis from India led by Sanghamitta Theri, king Asoka's daughter, were invited by King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka to establish the Bhikkhuni lineage in B. E. 246. This Bhikkhuni Sangha in Sri Lanka also lasted for more than a thousand years before they were uprooted by foreign invasion.
However, a group of Sri Lanka Bhikkhunis were invited over to China in B.E. 976 where they established a Bhikkhuni lineage there. This lineage has been kept alive until today.
Afterward, they spread to many neighbouring countries, i.e. Japan, Korea, etc. Bhikkhuni strongholds can now be found in Taiwan and Korea. In B.E. 2531 (1988) Hsi lai Temple, a Chinese monastery in Los Angeles,U.S.A. provided ordination
for 200 women from various traditions and countries to strengthen the institution of fully ordained Buddhist women. In the last two decades, Buddhist women have expressed clearly their desire to participate at all levels in Buddhism. Considering that women form half of the world population, this trend should have a positive effect towards the development of Buddhism.
35. What is the Buddhist attitude towards prostitutes ?
Buddhists are taught to extend their good wishes to human and other living
beings, Buddhists should sympathize with prostitutes and should not
despise them, whether they may be compelled or voluntary. It is an
appropriate deed to help release them from the status of being looked down
The procedure to solve this problem might be carried out through the educational system, economic management, social welfare, etc., as the case may be.
36. Is the Buddha's teaching dynamic ?
The Buddha's words in THE GRADUAL SAYINGS, THE BOOK OF TENS
clarify this as follows:
"I do not speak in praise of the stand still in righteousness, not to say about the decline therein. I do, monks, speak in praise of the prosperity, not of the stand still, not of the decline in righteousness."
From this passage we can say that the Buddha's teaching is dynamic, which is the moral force that produces activity or change.
37. How does Buddhism praise gratitude ?
One who is
grateful and does something in return for kindness to those who have done
a favour such as parents, teachers, and other benefactors, is praised by
Buddhism as a precious person who is difficult to find in the
This teaching helps much in bringing harmony and concord to the family
38. What is the concept of Anatta (non-self). how can our understanding of this concept direct us in our daily life ?
Anatta or non-self
is an essential tenet in Buddhism. It can be realized through insight.
The concept of Anatta or non-self may be classified into two
At the lower level, Anatta or non-self can be understood through rational thinking and we can use such understanding in our moral development. If we remain mindful of non-self, it will help us to be free from craving, conceit, and the idea of self. In this way we can rid ourselves of attachments and become unselfish.
At the higher level, Anatta or non-self is the truth of all that is, of all that exists. The truth of all that is not what we perceive through our ordinary senses unless we have attained enlightenment. When one attains full enlightenment, one's
attachment and craving absolutely stop.
The following principles are essential to the application of the Anatta concept to our daily life:
1. Do nothing only for one's own benefit
or to satisfy only one's own needs and wants.
2. Do everything to decrease one's self-importance.
3. Do not hold one's own ideas above the views of others.
In our interactions with others we should be openminded and perceive things according to the principle of cause and effect rather than according to our own desire. However, attachment to non-attachment is still a kind of attachment which is also to be avoided. Along the middle path, detachment needs to be accompanied by wisdom.
39. If there is no Atta or the permanent soul, how could Kamma[Karma],good or bad actions, give its result to the doer?
denies Atta or the permanent soul to be attached to, but admits the continuity
of life from one to another, as long as one does not reach Nibbana or the
utter extinction of the fire of defilements and the fire of suffering.
Whenever human or animal beings continue to transmigrate in the cycle of life from birth to death and from death to rebirth, kamma still continues to give its result to the doer.
40. How can one be divine being in this life ?
a divine being in this life is to be with one of the following categories
of appropriate qualifications:
1. To be accompanied by moral shame (Hiri) and moral fear (Ottapa)
for doing wrong or immoral acts, or
2. To be accompanied by
Reasonable faith (Saddha)
Learning (Suta )
Sacrifice or generosity (Caga) and
3. To be endowed with these Four Divine States of Mind:
Loving-kindness(Metta), wishing happiness to others as opposed to ill-will,
Compassion (Karuna), wishing others to be free from suffering as opposed to violence,
Sympathetic Joy over others' achievement (Mudita), as opposed to jealousy,
Equanimity (Upekkha), being impartial as opposed to prejudice.
41. How many categories of divine beings are mentioned in Buddhism ?
There are three as follows:
1. A divine being by convention(Sammati deva) means a king and royal family.
2. A divine being by birth (Upapatti deva) means a born deity.
3. A divine being by absolute purity (Visuddhi deva) means a Buddha and
Arahanta (the Worthy One) whose mental defilements(greed, hatred and delusion) are utterly done away with. This kind of divine being is classified as the highest.
There is the Buddha's saying that a person who is endowed with "knowledge" and "conduct" is superior to divine and human beings.
The word "knowledge" here means the Insight which puts an end to all defilement and suffering, while "conduct" means high moral and spiritual standard.
42. What are the advantages or benefits concerning which the Buddha taught the practical ways and means to achieve ?
are three levels of advantages including ways and means to achieve
them as told by the Buddha:
1. The Present Benefit (Economic and social profit) or Ditthadhammikattha.
(1) An effort in earning a livelihood
(2) Protection of what one has acquired
(3) Having good companions
(4) Moderate way of living
2. The Future Benefit (The profit based on morality and virtues) or Samparayikattha
3. The Absolute Benefit (The highest profit through freedom from defilement and suffering) or Paramattha
In detail these three practical methods for the Absolute Benefit are explained as the Noble Eightfold Path:
 Right View
 Right Motives
 Right Speech
 Right Action
 Right Means of Livelihood
 Right Effort
 Right Mindfulness
 Right Concentration.
43. What is the triple study or education taught by the Buddha ?
According to Buddhism
the triple study or education is:
1. The study of morality or good conduct [Silasikkha]
2. The study of mind or mental tranquility [Cittasikkha]
3. The study of knowledge or spiritual insight [Pannasikkha]
The practice of this triple study will lead one to deliverance.
44. What are the main doctrinal tenets of Buddhism ?
The main doctrinal tenets
of Buddhism can be summarized as follows:
(1) To refrain from evil
To do good
To purify the mind
The cause of suffering
The cessation of suffering
The way leading to the cessation of suffering
(3) Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom leading to Deliverance
(4) Nothing is appropriate to cling to
(5) Nibbana or Extinction of all defilement and suffering.
45. Is Nibban or Nirvana attainable in this lifetime ?
Certainly, there are many passages in the Tripitaka, the Buddhist
Scripture, some of which mentioning Nibbana in this lifetime that
Dhamma which can be seen in this life is timeless, inviting one to come
and see, appropriate to be brought into practice and realizable for
themselves by the wise. Anyone who can free oneself
from clinging to egotism is sure to attain
Nibbana or Nirvana here and now.
Yarnna Rangsee Buddhist Monastery
21950 Shaw Road Sterling, Virginia 20164-9318 USA.
Tel. 703-406-8290, 703-406-2509