Paul

Waukesha, WI

#1 Oct 1, 2013
I am a student who needs to write a paper based on interviewing a Buddhist. If anyone would be so kind to respond to this, I would greatly appreciate your help.

How did you learn your faith? Was it through school, family, anywhere else?
How do you feel as a Buddhist in the world's society? What makes it unique and how do you feel being a practitioner?
What religious obligations do you have?
Are there any obligations you do not believe in and if so, why?
Do you challenge any religious teachings or traditions?
In what ways were you shaped as a person by your religious upbringing and experiences (looking for 4 minimum)?
How does your religion provide your ethical standards (two examples if possible)?
Are there any other traditions or practices not yet mentioned?

Feel free to add anything else that is important to you. Again, I am immensely thankful to anyone who takes the time to respond.

Paul
Hello

Flushing, NY

#2 Oct 2, 2013
I am a student who needs to write a paper based on interviewing a Buddhist. If anyone would be so kind to respond to this, I would greatly appreciate your help.
How did you learn your faith? Was it through school, family, anywhere else?
I tried to learn about Buddhism from the books written by monks, etc. Buddhism just did not impress me. I was a very staunch Hindu, although not against Buddhism. Strangely enough I was going through an extremely rough patch in my life along with my family. I had a dream of a statue of the Buddha reclining. I thought, you know what I will learn Buddhism. I was lucky enough to find donated copies of the Tipitika in NY public Library--actual words of the Buddha. This time when I started to read I could not put the books down. I was convinced if God ever came to earth, this was His teachings. I wanted read more and more, study and practice. As soon as I got convinced I took refuge in the Triple Gem with all my heart.
How do you feel as a Buddhist in the world's society?
Initially I felt quite alone. There are not too many Buddhists you can discuss your love and faith in the Buddha with. Many Buddhists who claim to be Buddhists were atheistic, Buddha was a man etc. but my meditative experience was exactly the opposite. But after a while I fought with them and I found many theistic Buddhists who shared the love of the teachings.
What makes it unique and how do you feel being a practitioner?
Every religion starts with there is God is truth, then they have stories about how the world began, etc.
But the question is what is truth? Here Buddhism is unique. If you can't tell the truth, how can you find it? If you can't be truthful all the time, a person of integrity, how do you know you have the truth? God is an easy way to defer your own responsibility towards truth.
Also other religions believe their religious books cannot be questioned-- they are words of God, period. In Buddhism we have The KALAMA Sutta, which actually says you should question any teachings and discuss them with wise men and women.
Buddha asks us to begin with a "fast" into truth. Buddhism begins with an Algorithm known as the 4 Noble Truths.
This fast begins with what we know to be relative truths known as the first Noble Truth, which is The Noble Truth Of Suffering. Are you suffering now, yes, no, maybe? It doesn't matter if you are or not -- you understand that at some point you have suffered-- read the Buddha's words you will agree on the relative truth.
We than move on to more analytical truths, which you must investigate as to the cause of suffering, this requires an inward journey-- meditation--is desire the cause of suffering? What is desire?
We than confirm the 2nd Noble Truth of the Cause of Suffering.
Now the 3rd Noble Truth or The End Of Suffering is an ABSOLUTE truth. So we have moved from relative truths to a declaration of the end of suffering!
4th Noble Truth, The Path to End Suffering Forever! The Noble Eightfold Path. This requires training the mind to abandon unskillful and immoral behavior an states and to procure skillful and moral states so that it reaches one pointed concentration.
Hello

Flushing, NY

#3 Oct 2, 2013
What religious obligations do you have?
To on a daily basis cultivate, make strong skillful moral states and loving states, to abandon unskillful, evil states.
This is helped by studying Buddha's teachings daily.
1)to minimally live by the 5 Sila or 5 Precepts, 4 Divine Abidings(aka Brahma Viharas--loving all beings, compassion to all beings, happiness at others success, healthy detachment with knowledge that all beings are owners of their karmas)
2) to be mindful throughout the day of the arising/departure of skillful or unskillful states-destroying any unskillful states.
3)to practice being mindful through meditative techniques on a daily basis to increase and cultivate skillful states.
4) intensify precepts and meditation on Uposatha days which fall once or twice a week.
Are there any obligations you do not believe in and if so, why?
In Buddhismas Buddha taught rituals are tertiary to moral living and loving kindness is primary for merit. Many Buddhists these days practice rituals more.
Do you challenge any religious teachings or traditions?
Buddha actually tells you to challenge the teachings. Buddhists have to ensure the teachings are purified through correct practice and understanding. We have to constantly challenge the teachings.
In what ways were you shaped as a person by your religious upbringing and experiences (looking for 4 minimum)?
1) Buddhism teaches to respect your ancestral traditions but to understand them correctly-- this helped me to break away from any fundamentalist notions. So That's why you see Buddhist Christians, Buddhist Hindus and Buddhist Taoists. Buddhism only has conflicts with ignorance.
2
How does your religion provide your ethical standards (two examples if possible)?
In Buddhism you don't just take refuge in God, you also take refuge in the Law or dharma and the saints or Sangha.
The Law is the Noble Eightfold Path, 5 Sila, 10 Precepts, 4 Divine Abidings.
The most minimum is the 5 Sila, or 5 precepts.
1) learn to refrain from interfering/suppress the life breath of beings.( this not only means not killing, but not making beings angry or stressed or being hurtful since all these things depress the breathing and kill or shorten the life span of beings)
2) learn to refrain from taking what is not given.
3) learn to refrain from misconduct caused by sensory/sexual desire.
4) learn to refrain from false speech.
5) learn to refrain from taking intoxicants.
Are there any other traditions or practices not yet mentioned?
There are so many, please check the Access to Insight web page for more information.
-----
Feel free to add anything else that is important to you.

Actually, one more thing that makes Buddhism unique is the tradition that as children of Buddha, we too can become Buddhas as we grow up. In other traditions except Hinduism, you are always to remain a child of God, never to grow up to be god yourself.

Again, I am immensely thankful to anyone who takes the time to respond.
If you have any more questions about any of my responses feel free to ask! Good luck!
Hello

Flushing, NY

#4 Oct 2, 2013
What religious obligations do you have?
To on a daily basis cultivate, make strong skillful moral states and loving states, to abandon unskillful, evil states.
This is helped by studying Buddha's teachings daily.
1)to minimally live by the 5 Sila or 5 Precepts, 4 Divine Abidings(aka Brahma Viharas--loving all beings, compassion to all beings, happiness at others success, healthy detachment with knowledge that all beings are owners of their karmas)
2) to be mindful throughout the day of the arising/departure of skillful or unskillful states-destroying any unskillful states.
3)to practice being mindful through meditative techniques on a daily basis to increase and cultivate skillful states.
4) intensify precepts and meditation on Uposatha days which fall once or twice a week.
Are there any obligations you do not believe in and if so, why?
In Buddhismas Buddha taught rituals are tertiary to moral living and loving kindness is primary for merit. Many Buddhists these days practice rituals more.
Do you challenge any religious teachings or traditions?
Buddha actually tells you to challenge the teachings. Buddhists have to ensure the teachings are purified through correct practice and understanding. We have to constantly challenge the teachings.
In what ways were you shaped as a person by your religious upbringing and experiences (looking for 4 minimum)?
1) Buddhism teaches to respect your ancestral traditions but to understand them correctly-- this helped me to break away from any fundamentalist notions. So That's why you see Buddhist Christians, Buddhist Hindus and Buddhist Taoists. Buddhism only has conflicts with ignorance.
2
How does your religion provide your ethical standards (two examples if possible)?
In Buddhism you don't just take refuge in God, you also take refuge in the Law or dharma and the saints or Sangha.
The Law is the Noble Eightfold Path, 5 Sila, 10 Precepts, 4 Divine Abidings.
The most minimum is the 5 Sila, or 5 precepts.
1) learn to refrain from interfering/suppress the life breath of beings.( this not only means not killing, but not making beings angry or stressed or being hurtful since all these things depress the breathing and kill or shorten the life span of beings)
2) learn to refrain from taking what is not given.
3) learn to refrain from misconduct caused by sensory/sexual desire.
4) learn to refrain from false speech.
5) learn to refrain from taking intoxicants.
Are there any other traditions or practices not yet mentioned?
There are so many, please check the Access to Insight web page for more information.
-----
Feel free to add anything else that is important to you. Again, I am immensely thankful to anyone who takes the time to respond.
If you have any more questions about any of my responses feel free to ask! Good luck!
Hello

Flushing, NY

#5 Oct 2, 2013
Sorry for the double posts, for some reason the posts were not showing up!

Here is some more on Buddhist Commandments:

The Ten Grave Precepts are from the Sutra of Brahma's Net The Ten Grave Precepts along with the 48 secondary precepts are called the Mahayana perfect immediate precepts because they offer a direct possibility of immediately becoming a Buddha to the one who is able to realize them completely.
The following is followed by Zen Buddhists:
1-Affirm life; Do not kill
2-Be giving; Do not steal
3-Honor the body; Do not misuse sexuality
4-Manifest truth; Do not lie
5-Proceed clearly; Do not cloud the mind
6-See the perfection; Do not speak of others' errors and faults
7-Realize self and other as one; Do not elevate the self and blame others
8-Give generously; Do not be withholding
9-Actualize harmony; Do not be angry
10-Experience the intimacy of things; Do not defile the The Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
Paul

Waukesha, WI

#6 Oct 2, 2013
Again, I am very greatful for your response with some excellent information! I chose to interview a Buddhist as I am very interested in it myself. There is definitely a lot I would like to look into with Buddha's teachings. I have one last little favor as well to just put a name (first name is fine) to the interviewee. You can even make it up if you are not comfortable with it. Thanks again!
Hello

Flushing, NY

#7 Oct 3, 2013
Paul wrote:
Again, I am very greatful for your response with some excellent information! I chose to interview a Buddhist as I am very interested in it myself. There is definitely a lot I would like to look into with Buddha's teachings. I have one last little favor as well to just put a name (first name is fine) to the interviewee. You can even make it up if you are not comfortable with it. Thanks again!
You can call me Uposatha. Good luck on your research.
Vinamese

Las Vegas, NV

#8 Oct 3, 2013
That was very good reading. I learn quite a bit myself even though I'm a life long Buddhist. Thanks.

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