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Readers Respond: Tell Us What You Wish People Knew About Buddhism

Responses: 72


re enlightenment

Hi Barbara, I read/heard Pema Chodron say that the Buddha himself described enlightenment as a feeling of tenderness, even sadness. This she went on to explain, was because the protective layers built up around the heart vanish...or are dismantled through practice. It could also be described as an ache or longing. Its neither acting that out nor repressing it, but knowing that such feelings are experienced by six billion others atleast...and knowing what is going on! What we are up against. The feeling after a good cry, a healthy grieving. for example, is like landing! So bliss is not as airy fairy or clownish, and neither is resolution, committment or tolerance. The bliss is the feeling on landing, sitting and feelings of tenderness/a twinge of sorrow and profound care. : ) Bodhiboots
—Guest bodhiboots

More about meat-eating monks

I posted this article on Facebook and a friend commented: According to the Dharmapada (pre-mahayana texts and way before Tibetan buddhism) the Buddha specifically gave permission to his monks to eat fish and animal flesh as long as it has passed through a certain number of hands before being offered to a monk. Further evidence of this is that when Devadatta (the Buddha's cousin) attempted to cause a schism by starting his own sangha he made vegetarianism a rule because he believed that would make his sangha appear holier than the Buddha's sangha. Source: The Way of Siddhartha: A Life of the Buddha, by David J. Kalupahana & Indrani Kalupahana. Came out in 1982 on Shambhala Press and you will only find it used. This is a wonderful book, based on Pali texts and written in the form of a western novel. In the back is an index that gives the textual sources for each chapter.

Profound Awakening

Hi, thank you Barbra very well put. For me reading the following and bringing it to complete understanding placed me on the path. "In the case of mind and body, although one can affect the other, one cannot become the substance of the other .. Mind and matter, athough dependent on one another, cannot serve as substantial causes for each other". Realizing this statement opened my eyes and heart to the nature of this human exsistance.
—Guest Buckley


Bliss-out? When you know how the cosmos works and your surrounded by people who cling to inherited false views that they work hard to enforce on others causing pain for both themselves and the people they are tryin g to manipulate,bliss-no,great sadness-yes. You have to want to know the truth more than feeling secure to have a chance of awakening. It's a no BS zone.
—Guest vlrkoko

Many Buddhisms

I wish people knew that there are many different Buddhisms and that Buddhists would stop talking about Buddhism when they mean a particular form of Buddhism.
—Guest John Willemsens

We are all on our way to enlightenment

Depending on our "individual" consciouness (vinnana) we travel on different paths with different views through sansara to our ultimate goal of deliverence. It has nothing to do with east, west etc "i think". But what we have to do is not hurt anybody or anything so that vinnana gets used to non hurting and every day make at least one person happy. This will make the journey happy and less troublesome. May you all be well, happy, and peaceful filled with contentment and joy.
—Guest Susantha Peeris

What the Buddha Taught

Justin, the name of the author is Walpola Rahula. I'm on my third copy now, because I use it all the time. It's a great resource.


Anyone interested in the knowing more about Buddhism go out and get a book by the title of -- What The Buddha Taught . . . I've given away every copy I've ever owned or I'd give you the name of the author. Anyway, look it up. Great beginning book.
—Guest Justin

Thank you for everything

You do an excellent job explaining complex and different thought processes.

Thank you, Barbara!

I have to say it over and over. Your articles are the best way for me to understand the basics of Buddhism in a simple, direct, and well founded way. I am still reading them, and the links always lead ino more insights and open better understandings. Thank you! I am still not a Buddhist but these articles are all worth reading them.


Very well said, Barbara! 3. Buddhists Believe in Reincarnation If you define reincarnation as the transmigration of a soul into a new body after the old body dies, then no, the Buddha did not teach a doctrine of reincarnation. For one thing, he taught there was no soul to transmigrate. However, there is a Buddhist doctrine of rebirth. According to this doctrine, it is the energy or conditioning created by one life that is reborn into another, not a soul. "The person who dies here and is reborn elsewhere is neither the same person, nor another," Theravada scholar Walpola Rahula wrote. However, you don't have to "believe in" rebirth to be a Buddhist. Many Buddhists are agnostic on the matter of rebirth.

Thanks for this list

This list of misconceptions is so useful, I might print it out and hand it to people. Thank you! I might add one more misconception: Buddhists are always terribly serious people. The truth, of course, is that Buddhists are ready to see the absurdity of the human condition and, if anything, laugh more than most people--that is, laugh with people, not at them.

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