Category Archives: Generals Q & A

This category contains various questions and answers. About buddhism and the teaching of the Buddha.

20 Q/A about Buddhism

  1. What are the Three Jewels or Three Refuges in Buddhism?
    • Answer: The Three Jewels are the Buddha (the awakened one), the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community of practitioners).
  2. What is the significance of the Buddha’s life story in Buddhism?
    • Answer: The life story of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, serves as an inspiration and example for followers, illustrating the path to enlightenment through wisdom, compassion, and self-realization.
  3. What is the significance of the lotus flower in Buddhism?
    • Answer: The lotus flower symbolizes purity, spiritual awakening, and the potential for enlightenment. It grows from muddy water but remains unstained, representing the journey from ignorance to enlightenment.
  4. What is the purpose of chanting in Buddhist practice?
    • Answer: Chanting serves various purposes in Buddhist practice, including focusing the mind, expressing devotion, cultivating mindfulness, and transmitting teachings orally.
  5. What is the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?
    • Answer: Theravada Buddhism emphasizes individual liberation and follows the teachings preserved in the Pali Canon. Mahayana Buddhism, on the other hand, emphasizes the altruistic ideal of the Bodhisattva and includes a broader range of scriptures.
  6. What are the Six Perfections (Paramitas) in Mahayana Buddhism?
    • Answer: The Six Perfections are generosity, ethical conduct, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom. Practicing these virtues leads to the attainment of enlightenment.
  7. What is the significance of the Bodhi Tree in Buddhism?
    • Answer: The Bodhi Tree is where the Buddha attained enlightenment. It symbolizes the site of spiritual awakening and is revered as a sacred symbol of enlightenment.
  8. What is the role of merit-making in Buddhist practice?
    • Answer: Merit-making involves performing virtuous deeds, such as acts of generosity, morality, and meditation, to accumulate positive karma and progress towards enlightenment.
  9. What are the Five Aggregates (Skandhas) in Buddhist philosophy?
    • Answer: The Five Aggregates are form (rupa), feeling (vedana), perception (sanna), mental formations (sankhara), and consciousness (vinnana). They represent the components of sentient existence and the basis of suffering.
  10. What is the concept of dependent origination (pratityasamutpada) in Buddhism?
    • Answer: Dependent origination explains the interdependent nature of all phenomena, illustrating how causes and conditions give rise to suffering and the cycle of rebirth.
  11. What is the role of mindfulness in Buddhist practice?
    • Answer: Mindfulness, or sati, is the practice of maintaining awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings in the present moment. It is essential for developing insight and wisdom.
  12. What is the significance of the Kalachakra (Wheel of Time) in Tibetan Buddhism?
    • Answer: The Kalachakra teachings and practices are associated with cycles of time, cosmology, and the pursuit of enlightenment. It symbolizes the transformation of impure perception into pure awareness.
  13. What is the purpose of prostrations in Buddhist practice?
    • Answer: Prostrations are physical expressions of reverence, humility, and devotion to the Three Jewels. They are performed to purify negative karma, accumulate merit, and cultivate humility.
  14. What is the meaning of the term “Dharma” in Buddhism?
    • Answer: Dharma has multiple meanings in Buddhism, including the teachings of the Buddha, the natural law or order of the universe, and the path to liberation from suffering.
  15. What is the significance of the color yellow in Buddhist iconography?
    • Answer: Yellow is often associated with renunciation, humility, and the monastic tradition in Buddhism. It represents the saffron robes worn by monks and nuns and symbolizes the pursuit of spiritual liberation.
  16. What are the Five Hindrances in Buddhist meditation?
    • Answer: The Five Hindrances are sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt. They are mental obstacles that hinder progress in meditation and spiritual practice.
  17. What is the concept of emptiness (shunyata) in Mahayana Buddhism?
    • Answer: Emptiness refers to the lack of inherent existence or inherent essence in all phenomena. It is a central teaching in Mahayana Buddhism, emphasizing the interdependent and conditioned nature of reality.
  18. What is the significance of the Heart Sutra in Buddhist philosophy?
    • Answer: The Heart Sutra is a concise scripture that encapsulates the essence of Mahayana philosophy, particularly the concept of emptiness. It is recited and studied widely in Buddhist traditions.
  19. What is the role of compassion (karuna) in Buddhist ethics?
    • Answer: Compassion is a fundamental ethical principle in Buddhism, emphasizing empathy, kindness, and the alleviation of suffering for oneself and others. It is cultivated through practices such as loving-kindness meditation.
  20. What is the significance of the “Middle Way” in Buddhist teachings?
    • Answer: The Middle Way refers to the balanced approach to life and practice, avoiding extremes of indulgence and asceticism. It was taught by the Buddha as the path to enlightenment and liberation from suffering.

10 general questions about Buddhism

What is the goal of Buddhism?

Answer: The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to attain enlightenment or nirvana, which is a state of liberation from suffering and the cycle of birth and death (samsara).

What are the Four Noble Truths?

Answer: The Four Noble Truths are the foundational teachings of Buddhism:
The truth of suffering (dukkha).
The truth of the cause of suffering (samudaya).
The truth of the cessation of suffering (nirodha).
The truth of the path leading to the cessation of suffering (magga).

What is the Eightfold Path?

Answer: The Eightfold Path is the path to liberation from suffering and consists of eight interconnected principles: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

What is karma in Buddhism?

Answer: Karma refers to the law of cause and effect, where actions (karma) have consequences, either in this life or future lives. Positive actions lead to positive outcomes, while negative actions lead to negative outcomes.

What are the Three Universal Truths?

Answer: The Three Universal Truths are fundamental principles in Buddhism:
Impermanence (anicca): All things are transient and subject to change.
Suffering (dukkha): Life inherently involves suffering, dissatisfaction, or stress.
Non-self (anatta): There is no permanent, unchanging self or soul.

What is the significance of meditation in Buddhism?

Answer: Meditation plays a crucial role in Buddhism as a means to cultivate mindfulness, concentration, and insight. It is central to the path of self-discovery and awakening.

What are the Five Precepts?

Answer: The Five Precepts are ethical guidelines that Buddhists strive to uphold:
Refrain from killing.
Refrain from stealing.
Refrain from sexual misconduct.
Refrain from false speech.
Refrain from intoxicants that cloud the mind.

What is the significance of the Bodhisattva ideal?

Answer: The Bodhisattva ideal represents the aspiration to attain enlightenment not only for oneself but also for the benefit of all sentient beings. Bodhisattvas vow to postpone their own nirvana until all beings are liberated from suffering.

What is the role of a teacher or guru in Buddhism?

Answer: A teacher or guru in Buddhism serves as a guide who imparts teachings, offers guidance on the path, and serves as an inspiration for students to cultivate wisdom and compassion.

How does Buddhism view the concept of attachment?

Answer: Buddhism teaches that attachment (or clinging) to impermanent phenomena leads to suffering. By cultivating detachment and letting go of attachment, one can attain inner peace and liberation from suffering.