1. Does the story of Siddhartha Guatama, particularly in the years before he became the Buddha, ring true? Yes
Is it legend or hearsay? Both
Does it matter? No
2. What does enlightenment mean to you?
To me enlightenment means having true compassion without limitations to sex, creed, caste or sexual orientation. There are good in all and through work and practice we all can achieve this higher state of being.
3. Do you believe that enlightenment is possible?
Enlightenment is possible for all through rigorous work and practice regardless of sex or caste.
Is there more than one way to be enlightened? Yes
If so, what?
1) Enlightenment comes from work and practice.
2) It can also comes from knowing yourself with no external refuge.
3) Combine raja yoga with rigorous thought and concentration, find new strength in food and comfort and vow to attain relief from all suffering.
Rev. Val Frederick
1. Which of these guidelines do you think is the most important?
Why? The cause of suffering is desire and desire is the root to all violations of Ethical Conduct, i.e. Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.
2. What is the unifying concept of these guidelines?
To attain perfect enlightenment
3. What do you think the Buddha would have to say today about "Right Livelihood?"
He would know this to be someone on the path to enlightenment.
Can you think of any positions in today's workforce that he might use as an activity one should avoid?
Corporate executive, car salesman, lawyer, armed forces, raising animals for slaughter... etc In other words, avoid deception and do not violate the principles of Right Speech or Right Action.
1. Could the fact that the Dharma wasn't written by the Buddha himself be problematic?
Some interpretations would say yes.
If so, in what ways?
It is asked, "How much of the Buddha is left and how much of the writer is placed in the Dharma for their own gain?" These are the ways.
2. Imagine you are preparing to go for refuge. What necessary changes would you need to make in your life first?
My only change would be continued commitment in taking refuge to pursue enlightenment. I will remain on the path of the ten grave precepts and add to this way of life the three pure precepts.
3. When going for refuge, are you relying on forces outside of yourself for peace of mind, or are the Three Jewels ultimately found inside yourself?
Though it is true that the Three Jewels are found outside one's self, ultimately these are found inside yourself and taking the Three Jewels inside yourself is a commitment to reorient your life around them. The principle person one must go to for salvation is his or herself. "Be lamps unto yourselves," the Buddha said.
1. Why do you think Buddhism resonated so deeply with so many kings and rulers?
It was a common factor that resonates accross borders and opened up lines of communication toward peace. Their eyes were finally open to the death and carnage left by their conquests before the decision to rule according to Buddhism.
2. What elements were necessary for the spread of Buddhism?
a. Recitation & Translation; Dao-an translated much of the dharma into written Chinese and are responsible for much of the spread of Buddhism throughout China.
b. Kings decided to rule their kingdoms according to Buddhism.
c. Missionaries were assigned to travel the known world, preaching the dharma.
d. Buddha's teachings were finally written down for the first time in Sri Lanka.
e. Sutras written in Sanskrit, the true account of the life and teachings of the Buddha, are said to be a turning point in the spread of Buddhist thought.
3. What, if anything, could rulers of today's world learn from the dharma?
They could learn from the dharma how to rule their kingdoms with kindness, compassion, charity, and tolerance.
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