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Rapidfire Questions Basic Buddhist Questions

Here’s an email that I received this morning. I get something similar every few months from someone taking a class somewhere. I’m not quite sure what the point of the assignment is, whether it’s to interview someone or to do actual research (this isn’t it!), but here are my answers.

Please add yours to the comments below, whether you agree with mine or not.

 

An Email asks:

I am researching the Buddhist religion for my World Religions class. I have many questions and was wondering if you could answer them. Your help would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

What has made you believe so fully in your religion?
Does your religion have political problems surrounding it?
Do you believe in abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and divorce?
Were you born into this religion or did you convert?
What do you believe to be the most incorrect and misunderstood belief of Buddhism?
Is the number of Buddhists continuing to rise?
How do Buddhists view warfare in the world?

Thank you again!

My Response, one point at a time:

What has made you believe so fully in your religion?

It’s the only one that makes any kind of logical sense. To be totally honest, there is a lot to Buddhism that I don’t especially believe. I also consider myself an Atheist, but I suspect that will only confuse the issue

 

Does your religion have political problems surrounding it?

There’s a whole flood of ongoing turmoil concerning the Dalai Lama and Tibet, which impacts Tibetan Buddhists, but overall, no, Buddhism is not overly embroiled in political controversy.

 
Do you believe in abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and divorce?

Generally, Buddhists do not agree with these ideas. All cause suffering in one manner or another, and that’s the big thing to avoid in Buddhism.

 

Were you born into this religion or did you convert?

Like most American Buddhists, I converted away from something else

 

What do you believe to be the most incorrect and misunderstood belief of Buddhism?

The idea that Buddhists worship Buddha. I get that a lot. Buddha was just a guy with some good ideas.

 
Is the number of Buddhists continuing to rise?

Yes, but perhaps not as fast as more evangelistic religions.

 

How do Buddhists view warfare in the world?

If you want to be strict about the rules, then war and killing is wrong, no matter what the reason. It’s better to lie down and die than fight. In real-life practice, however, there is often fighting and war; Buddhists have to deal with it like everyone else.

 

1 comment to Rapidfire Questions Basic Buddhist Questions

  • Michael

    To extend the thought regarding abortion, contraception, euthanasia, and divorce: Many of these ideas were borne out of situations already in a state of suffering. Right actions include ending suffering, not enduring them, no?

    As a society, we have enlisted (some of) these actions as a rule, not an exception, and herein lies the judgement and distaste (disgrace?) that is attached to them. We give up a lot of things in haste to pursue what we believe will lead to happiness (or at the very least, the avoidance of suffering). If only forethought was as clear as hindsight.

    None of these things are good or bad. They are simply tools of compassion. We can’t always travel down the ‘right’ road, but we can always find our way back to it, with or without these tools and a little perspective.

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