These are FAQs about Buddhism. Below are listed a whole bunch of other FAQs about the seminary, ministry in general and a wide variety of religious beliefs. We also have a course on Buddhism available through the seminary.
General FAQs - If you want general information about what the can and cannots are about being a minister, this will fill the bill. More the legalities than the specifics.
Ministry FAQs - This is a general list of question about conducting a ministry. It's less about the legalities and more about the nuts and bolts of having a ministry.
Seminary FAQs - This section has frequently asked questions about our seminary, how it works and what you can expect.
Gnostic FAQs - Gnosticism is an interesting religion. This section has FAQs about it and we also offer a course on this interesting religion.
Wedding FAQs - Along with our wedding training section, we also have this section on wedding FAQs so you can have a few more questions answered about how to do a wedding.
Humanist FAQs - Humanists are people who don't believe in God, but still believe in being human. Here are some answers to your questions. Feel free to send more info. if you have it.
Wiccan/Pagan FAQs - We have a wonderful course on both Wicca and Paganism, but this section will give you some basic answers to determine your interest and whet your appetite.
Druid FAQs - The Druids are fascinating. We have a wonderful courses on Druidism and this course will answer some basic questions about Druidism and get you excited to learn more.
Pantheist FAQs - Many people have not even heard of Pantheism, so these questions will help you learn about this interesting belief system.
Methodist FAQs - This is a more 'mainstream' religion, but there are differences between this denomination of Christianity and others. This explains it.
Buddhist FAQs - We have a wonderful course on Buddhism, as well as these questions to help you get a glimpse of what Buddhism is all about.
Dianic FAQs - These questions deal with a specific area of Wicca, known as Dianic. There are many areas of Wicca, so these questions wil clarify things.
Baptist FAQs - The Baptists are another denomination of Christianity with the core beliefs of Christians, but with their own distinctions that make Baptists unusual.. This will clarify some of the differences.
Mormon FAQs - The Mormon religion is something that holds fascination for a lot of people, like 'do Mormons drink coffee?', among others. Many questions are answered here about this unusual variation on Christianity.
1) Can a Buddhist believe in Jesus?
Many Buddhists do believe in Jesus. Nestorian Christians have assimilated
much of Buddhism into their religion. However Indian and Tibetan
Buddhists consider Jesus a great Guru and Bodhisattva (a redeemer).
2) Can Buddhist eat meat?
A Buddhist should refrain from harming all sentient beings as much
as possible but not to the point of starvation. In Tibet and Mongolia
there are many Buddhists who must eat meat, as there is very little
agricultural land. Monks in these countries eat mostly ‘ tsampa',
a nutritious grain meal made of dried meat, barley flour and whatever.
It is mixed up, rolled into balls and baked or fried into cakes
or boiled on top of soup. Most Buddhists are vegetarian. Buddhists,
who eat meat, honor the being they must eat, ask its forgiveness
and offer a prayer before eating. Much as American Indian hunters
would do to bring the meat home free from the violence of the necessary
act (the Karma of killing).
3) I'm a "Catholic" (Baptist, Protestant,
Anglican, Christian Orthodox, Moslem, Mormon, Jew), and I know of
the Bible, but what is the book of Buddha, and where can I find
it in English?
The Four Noble Truths;
1- Life and Happiness are impermanent
and our attachment to this causes us great suffering;
2- It is possible to end the suffering
in this lifetime.
3- The Buddha brought us the ways and
means to end the suffering
4- It is possible for all beings to achieve
Nirvana, and the Vows of Refuge;
take Refuge in the Buddha,
take Refuge in the Dharma,
take Refuge in the Sangha-(all monks, nuns and other Buddhists)
are the only
know of in Buddhism although this vow is taken with these 5 precepts
1. I undertake the precept of abstaining from destroying living creatures.
2. I undertake the precept of abstaining from taking anything not freely
3. I undertake the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.
4. I undertake the precept of abstaining from false speech.
5. I undertake the precept of abstaining from taking intoxicants, which
Another group of Precepts called ‘The Eightfold Path’
further codifies the Buddhist point of view. These are the original
and most basic teachings (see the link at bottom for more on the
basic texts). There is no Bible as there is no Dogma and no absolute
truths. There is however a TON of commentary. There is something
called The Discourses or the Dhammapahada. It is a question and
answer session between the Buddha Sakyamuni and his number one disciple
Annanda. This is considered the bedrock document. The Pali Cannon,
the main text on Buddhism for the Theravadian Buddhists is the oldest
surviving text on Buddhism.
And there are several styles of Buddhism that has grown out of the
many cultures that Buddhism has found a home in. The best thing
is to find a style that appeals to you (a starting point) and start
reading and practicing the meditation techniques. There is Zen-and
a classic in book in English called 'Zen Flesh, Zen Bones' by D.T.
Suzuki or anything by Allen Watts. Shambala Press, in Boulder, Colorodo,
is associated with Naropa Buddhist University, also in Boulder,
now has some books on Chinese Buddhism. Also there is the Poetry
of Wu Wei. For Tibetan-Mongol style I recommend 'The Dharma' by
Kalu Rinpoche and 'The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying' by Sogyal
Rinpoche. It is NOW AVAILABLE IN SPANISH! Cool eh? The Tibetans
have preserved Indian Buddhism but Northern Hinduism remains 70%
of India's earlier Buddhist tradition. I highly recommend a new
book called the 'Accidental Buddhist' by Dinty W. Moore, it is only
2 years old. He is a westerner who explored these different styles
and writes about it, and it is well worth reading for a new explorer.
4) Is there any superior God (like in Catholicism),
in Buddhism, and if yes, how is it called?
Strictly speaking the Buddha said there is no God. Or not in the
way the west or even the Hindu's think about God. Over time this
is a distillation of the Buddhists attitude about God: Everything
that exists is the body of God and the only consciousness that actually
exists is Buddha consciousness or the consciousness of God. There
is nothing else. We are like the cells of this being, most of us
ignorant that we are actually God and we have this huge consciousness
that is everything. We live the life of a cell but we don't have
to. We can be God and claim our true consciousness if we want to.
You are God. God is named –YOUR NAME- and the best person you
know and the worst person you know as well as your cat, a worm everything.
5) Where can I find a Buddhist temple near my
If there is a temple in your area it is probably south Asian and
you will feel like a fish out of water there. You may ultimately
prefer this branch of Buddhism but first get familiar with Buddhism
generally and with the culture of the temple community before going
there. The best thing for a westerner is to join a Buddhist meditation
group and find out if there is a local group of monks or nuns who
perform Puja (a weekly or twice monthly chanting/meditation with
a ceremony) for a drop in community. This is becoming very popular
and common in western cities.
6) How many times a day a does a Buddhist have
to pray and at what time of the day?
Pray any time you want to in any way you want to. One does not pray
TO anyone or thing. One prays for balance, clear consciousness,
compassion and empathy. The Buddha or another spiritual model may
be invoked for the qualities one intends to strengthen through prayer.
Buddhists use chanting but it isn't a hard rule. Whatever works.
Getting a mantra from a teacher you have spent some time with (quality
of time matters more than length of time) is a VERY strong prayer.
7) Is it necessary for a Buddhist to have an
image of Buddha in their home?
No image at all is needed. The importance of the statues of the
meditating Buddha is to remind us that He did it, we can do it and
that meditation and liberation is the whole and entire point. Humans
are rather artistic and like to express themselves especially about
what we feel deeply. Therefore religious art is a good form of expression.
8) Can Buddhist drink beer and alcohol?
According to the Buddha Sakyamuni, it is better not to alter your
consciousness in anyway except through meditation. That is the simplest
answer. Also according to the Buddha one must not become enslaved
to attraction or aversion. If you can drink coffee in moderation
without negative effects, go ahead. That goes for beer or anything
else. JUST DON'T GET ENSLAVED. Many prominent Buddhists have and
do drink beer. Tibetans make a delicious barley beer. The monks
of Sera seminary in Lhasa are known to be quite fond of it.
9) What should rich Buddhists do with their money?
Is giving to charity an obligation, or a personal act?
All good deeds are personal. Give to those that you can but do not
make people who depend on you suffer for it. Should someone with
an alcohol problem want money from you, even just to borrow, it
is more compassionate to say no. But offer to make them dinner.
There is no concept of impersonal charity. One's good deeds improve
your Karma, your community's Karma and the other persons Karma,
and heck the other person is really you anyway. It's very personal.
10) How does one officially become a Buddhist?
To become an official Buddhist you 'Take Refuge'. This probably
happens once a year or so in the largest city near you. That is
where the local Buddhist ashram or community (of Buddhists also
called the Sangha) can schedule it for the most number of people
to take advantage of it. No one who asks can be denied this ceremony.
However, if you can, it is proper to bring a donation or a valuable
to donate that can be used in fundraising. The ceremony is nice
but it is not necessary. It is a solemn vow but you can do it by
yourself or with other Buddhist friends. Create your own ceremony
and dedicate it to your present or future Guru (your eternal spiritual
big brother or sister) and commit oneself to this;
I take Refuge in the Buddha (messenger of freedom/liberation).
I take Refuge in the Dharma (the teachings).
I take Refuge in the Sangha (the community of all Buddhists).
Think about what this means as you say each vow. Although with time
the meanings you find will continue to open up, this is basically
all that is needed to become an official, committed Buddhist.
11) What is the perfect physical pose for meditation?
Sit down in a comfortable position, one that you can maintain for
a while. If you need to move or stretch a little, go ahead. Allow
the body to move without moving the mind. Pay no attention. Once
you get comfortable with this try the 1/2 Lotus posture and then
the Full Lotus posture, hands resting lightly on your knees. It
greatly benefits a Buddhist to learn Hatha Yoga. It is a perfect
compliment to meditation.
12) What Ceremonies should be practiced without
exception, when and where?
Ceremonies are not important but people enjoy them and they can
have psychological value. Buddhism is so focused on meditation that
the Buddhist community likes to have spiritual things people can
do together. So there are ceremonies and some theatrical and musical
religious ceremonies but they are not important to practice.
13) Can you get married to a non-Buddhist?
A Buddhist can marry anyone they like. But it is recommended that
you don't marry someone who cannot respect your world view or religion
and visa versa.
14) If there's no Buddhist temple near my hometown,
what should I do?
I've been a Buddhist 30 years and never been to a temple. A temple
is a quiet space and the local community probably uses it for ceremonies
and weddings etc. Your backyard can be your temple.
15) Who are the persons that can help me follow,
or even with time teach Buddhism?
This is wide open. Buddhism is spreading in the West and going through
a phase that has probably occurred before when it spread across
Asia. We are teaching each other. Also many very experienced teachers
are traveling and teaching. There is no definitive Buddhism. There
are teachings that WILL NOT WORK for everyone. Your job is to sift
what you learn and exercise it. Then make up your own mind.