Sex and Religion

Human beings are the only living beings that do not have periods ofnatural sexual inactivity during which the body can recover THE sex impulse is the most dynamic force in human nature. So far-reaching is the sexual force that some measure of self-control is necessary even in ordinary existence. In the case of the spiritual aspirants, for those who want to bring their mind under complete control, a still greater measure of self-discipline is necessary. Such a powerful force in human character...

Why is there no Peace

Humans have forgotten that they have a heart. They forget that if they treat others kindly, others will treat them kindly in return. WE are living in a world of really amazing contradictions. On the one hand, people are afraid of war on the other hand, they prepare for it with frenzy. They produce in abundance, but they distribute miserly. The world becomes more and more crowded, but people become increasingly isolated and lonely. They are living close to each other as in a big family, but each...

Two Main Schools of Buddhism

The real followers of the Buddha can practise this religion without adhering to any school or sect. A few hundred years after the Buddha's passing away, there arose eighteen different schools or sects all of which claimed to represent the original Teachings of the Buddha. The differences between these schools were basically due to various interpretations of the Teachings of the Buddha. Over a period of time, these schools gradually merged into two main schools Theravada and Mahayana. Today, the...

Are Buddhists Idol Worshippers

Buddhists are not idol worshippers but ideal worshippers. ALTHOUGH it is customary amongst Buddhists to keep Buddha images and to pay their respects to the Buddha, Buddhists are not idol worshippers. Idolatry generally means erecting images of unknown gods and goddesses in various shapes and sizes and to pray directly to these images as if the images themselves are the gods. The prayers are a request to the gods for guidance and protection. The gods and goddesses are asked to bestow health,...

Fortune Telling and Charms

ALTHOUGH Buddhism does not refute belief in deities, spirits, astrology and fortune-telling, the Buddha's advice was that people should not be slaves to any of those forces. A good Buddhist can overcome all difficulties by knowing how to make use of intelligence and will-power. The above mentioned beliefs have no spiritual significance or value. A person must overcome all problems and difficulties by his or her own efforts and not through the medium of deities, spirits, astrology or...

How Does Rebirth Take Place

When this physical body is no more capable of functioning, energies do not die with it, but continue to take some other shape or form, which we call another life. The karmic force manifesting itself in the form of a human being can also manifest itself in the form of an animal. This can happen if a person has no chance to develop his or her positive karmic forces. This force, called craving, desire, volition, thirst to live, does not end with the non-functioning of the body but continues to...

Law of Dependent Origination

' No God,, no Brahma can be found No matter ofthis wheel oflife Just bare phenomena roll Depending on conditions all.' THE Law of Dependent Origination is one of the most important teachings of the Buddha, and it is also very profound. The Buddha has often expressed His experience of Enlightenment in one of two ways, either in terms of having understood the Four Noble Truths, or in terms of having understood the nature of Dependent Origination. However, more people have heard about the Four...

Miraculous Power

If a wicked man can become a pure, religious man, this is a real miracle in action. IN every religion we know of miracles being performed by either the founders of these religions or by some of their disciples. In the case of the Buddha, miracles occurred from the day of His birth until His passing away into Nirvana. Many of the psychic powers of the Buddha were attained through His long and intense training in meditation. The Buddha meditated and passed through all the highest stages of...

Rebirth

Unsatisfied desire for existence and sensual pleasures is the cause ofrebirth. BUDDHISTS regard the doctrine of rebirth not as a mere theory but as a verifiable fact. The acceptance of the truth about rebirth forms a fundamental tenet of Buddhism. However, the belief in rebirth is not confined to Buddhists it is also found in other countries, in other religions, and even among free thinkers. Pythagoras could remember his previous birth. Plato could remember a number of his previous lives....

The Buddhist Concept of Heaven and Hell

Wise people make their own heaven while foolish people create their own hell here and hereafier. THE Buddhist concept of heaven and hell is entirely different from that in other religions. Buddhists do not accept that these places are eternal. It is unreasonable to condemn a person to eternal hell for his or her human weakness but quite reasonable to give a person every chance to develop him or herself. From the Buddhist point of view, those who go to hell can work themselves upwards by making...

What is Vinaya

Vinaya is the disciplinary code for self-training laid down by the Buddha for monks and nuns to observe. Vinaya plays a pivotal role to ensure their pure religious way oflife. THE Buddha did not formulate the code of discipline in a single exercise. However, He instituted certain rules as and when the need arose. Vinaya Pitaka and its commentary contain many significant stories about how and why certain rules were laid down by the Buddha. According to the Buddha the best form ofVinaya was to...

Dreams and Their Significance

ONE of mankind's greatest unsolved problems is the mystery of dreams. From the very earliest of times people have tried to analyse dreams and have tried to explain them in prophetic and psychological terms, but while there has been some measure of success recently, we are probably no nearer the answers to the baffling question 'What is a dream ' The great English Romantic poet William Wordsworth had a startling concept that this life we live is merely a dream and that we will 'awake' to the...

Classification of Karma

Karma is classified in four ways according to 1. the time in which effects are worked out 4. the place in which the karmic effects transpire. There are moral and immoral actions which may produce their due effects in this very life. They are called Immediately Effective Dittha Dharma Vediniya Karma. If they do not operate in this life, they become ineffective Ahosi. There are some actions which may produce their effects in a subsequent life. They are termed Subsequently Effective Upapajja...

Salvation Through Arahantahood

Attaining Nirvana through Arahantahood is not selfish. CERTAIN Buddhists believe that to seek salvation by becoming an Arahant is a selfish motive because everyone, they claim, must try to become a Buddha in order to save others. This particular belief has absolutely no ground in the Teaching of the Buddha. The Buddha never mentioned that He wanted to save every living being in this whole universe. He offered His help only to those who were spiritually mature and willing to accept His Noble way...

What is Buddhism

All the other religions claim to have originated in heaven and descended to earth. Buddhism originated from an Enlightened mind on this earth and transcended the heavens. Buddhism is too vast and too profound to be neatly placed in any single mundane category. Of course, Buddhism includes philosophy and religion and a way of life. But Buddhism goes beyond these categories. The categories or labels given to Buddhism are like signboards that indicate the contents of what is available. If we...

Is Rebirth Simultaneous

Another difficult thing to understand about rebirth is whether rebirth occurs immediately upon the ending of the present life. This has been a controversial issue even amongst prominent Buddhist scholars. According to Abhidharma, rebirth (conception) takes place immediately after the death of a being without any intermediate state. At the same time, some others believe that a person, after death, would evolve into a spirit form for a certain number of days before rebirth takes place. Another...

The Significance of Paritta Chanting

Paritta chanting is the recital ofsome ofthe Sutras uttered by the Buddha in the Pali language for the blessing and protection ofthe PARITTA Chanting or Sutra Chanting is a well known Buddhist practice conducted all over the world, especially in Theravada Buddhist countries where the Pali language is used for recitals. Many of these are important sutras from the basic teachings of the Buddha which were recorded by His disciples. Originally, these sutras were recorded on ola leaves about two...

Nature of the Buddha

'Understood are the things to be understood, Cultivated are the things to be cultivated, Eradicated are the things to be eradicated, Therefore Brahmin, I am the Buddha.' As long, brethren, as the moon andsun have not arisen in the world,, just as long is there no shining forth a great light of great radiance. There prevails gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment. Night is not distinguishable from the day, nor the month, the half-moon andthe seasons ofthe years from each other.' 'But,...

Soul Theories

WITH regard to the soul theory, there are three kinds of teachers in the world The first teacher teaches the existence of an eternal ego-entity that outlasts death He is the eternalist. The second teacher teaches a temporary ego-entity which becomes annihilated at death He is the materialist. The third teacher teaches neither an eternal nor a temporary ego-entity He is the Buddha. The Buddha teaches that what we call ego, self, soul, personality, etc., are merely conventional terms that do not...

His Renunciation

The renunciation of Prince Siddhartha was the boldest step that a man has ever taken. It was night. Siddhartha could no longer find peace. He strode through the halls of the palace and finally went to the king. He bowed and said to him 'Father, grant the request I have to make. Permit me to leave the palace to follow the path to deliverance, for all earthly things are changing and of short duration. So we must part, father.' 'Son, give up this idea. You are still too young for a religious...