<Without and Within> Contents


  • The Buddha

1. Who was the Buddha? 20
2. What is enlightenment? 21
3. What does “Buddha” mean? 22
4. Was the Buddha a human being? 23
5. What proof is there that the Buddha existed? 26
6. Did the Buddha possess psychic powers? 28
7. How many Buddhas are there? 29
8. What was the nature of the Buddha’s relationship to his family? 32
9. Did the Buddha have a sense of humor? 34

  • The Dhamma

10. What does “Dhamma” mean? 39
11. What are the Four Noble Truths? 40
12. Please explain the Eightfold Path in more detail 42
13. What does taking refuge mean? 45
14. Why are the Buddhist teachings oftn referred to as the Middle Way? 46
15. What does Buddhism teach about the nature of happiness? 47
16. Why do so few people seem truly happy? 50
17. Buddhists talk a lot about being in the present moment.
Doesn’t that conflct with learning from past experiences and
planning for the future? 51
18. What is merit? 52
19. It is sometimes said that Buddhism is a science. What does that mean? 54
20. Is Buddhism a pessimistic religion? 56

21. But isn’t Buddhism all about suffring? 60
22. Is it correct that Buddhism teaches us to give up all desires? 61
23. What does it mean to “let go”? 62
24. How does one become a Buddhist? 64
25. What are defiements? 66
26. Is Buddhism a religion or a philosophy? 67
27. Are there any Buddhist scriptures? 70
28. What is the essence of Buddhism? 72
29. What is the ultimate goal of Dhamma practice? 72
30. Do Buddhists believe in God? 73
31. How much confience can be placed in the authenticity of the Buddhist texts, given
that for the fist few hundred years aftr the Buddha’s death they were transmitted orally? 74
32. Is Buddhism too focused on the individual and lacking in its social dimension? 76
33. How long does it take to get enlightened? 80
34. What, in a nutshell, is the law of kamma? 81
35. Is everything that happens in our life meant to be, or is there such a thing as free will? 82
36. Please illustrate the workings of the law of kamma 83
37. What does Buddhism say about rebirth? 84
38. How important is it for Buddhists to believe in rebirth? 86
39. What does Buddhism teach about heaven and hell? 87
40. Do Buddhists believe in spirits? 90
41. Why is impermanence given so much importance in Buddhism? 91
42. What is the meaning of not-self? 92
43. If there is no self, then what is reborn? 94
44. If there is no self, how can anybody be considered responsible for their actions? 95

  • Sangha

45. What does “Sangha” mean? 100
46. Why do Buddhist monastics shave their heads? 101
47. Why do monks wear robes of diffrent colors? 102
48. What is the Vinaya? 103
49. Is it not unnatural for monastics to be celibate? 106
50. What is the purpose of monastic celibacy? 107
51. What is the purpose of almsround? 108
52. Why did the Buddha allow monks to eat meat? 112
53. Is it necessary to join the monastic order to realize enlightenment? 114
54. What does “tudong” mean? What is a “tudong monk”? 115
55. Do monastics take lifetime vows? 116
56. What do monks do every day? 120
57. As monks lead such secluded lives, how qualifid are they to
give advice to lay people on their family and work problems? 121
58. Can women become monastics? 122
59. Has there ever been a Bhikkhunī order in Thiland? 123
60. Isn’t it better to work to make society a better place than to leave
it in order to become a monk or nun? 124
61. Why do monks in Thiland receive offrings from women on a
piece of cloth rather than directly from their hands? 125

  • Buddhist attitudes

62. Why has so much blood been shed in the name of religion?
Has Buddhism contributed to the carnage? 128
63. What is the Buddhist attitude to women? 130
64. What does Buddhism have to say about human sexuality? 132
65. How does Buddhism view love? 136
66. What is the Buddhist attitude to other religions? 137
67. Did the Buddha have any views on economic affirs? 138
68. What was the Buddha’s attitude toward politics? 140
69. What is the Buddhist attitude to entertainments like cinema and sport? 141
70. Can the creation and enjoyment of art be considered a spiritual path? 144
71. Buddhism teaches contentment. But if everyone was content
with their life, how would human progress ever be achieved? 146
72. What does Buddhism teach regarding our relationship with the
environment? 148
73. Is there a Buddhist approach to conflct resolution? 150
74. What is the best way to deal with stress? 152
75. In Buddhism, how important is it to help others? 154
76. What is the Buddhist attitude to vegetarianism? 156

  • Buddhism in Thailand

77. Thre are many schools of Buddhism: what is the kind of
Buddhism practiced in Thiland? 160
78. How did Buddhism arrive in Thiland? 161
79. To a visitor, the way that Thi Buddhists practice their religion
does not always seem to agree with classic Buddhist texts.
Why does such a disparity exist? 162
80. Thi Buddhists seem to bow a lot. Why do Buddhists bow to
Buddha statues? 164
81. Is chanting a kind of prayer? 168
82. What is the value of chanting? 169
83. What do monasteries contribute to society? 170
84. Are Buddhist monks allowed to be involved in politics? 172
85. Is there any diffrence between a temple and a monastery? 173
86. What are the benefis of visiting a monastery? 174
87. Th fie precepts are considered to be the basic moral code for
lay Buddhists. How is it that so few people who consider
themselves Buddhists seem to keep these precepts? 175
88. What is the present state of Thi Buddhism? 178
89. Does Buddhism play a part in the Thi education system? 180
90. What are the main Buddhist holidays? 182
91. Thre appears to be a signifiant amount of crime and corruption
in Thiland. How is this possible in such a thoroughly Buddhist
country? 184
92. This oftn seem to have a great fear of ghosts. Is this a product
of Buddhist teachings? 188
93. What is the purpose of the spirit houses that are found in people’s
gardens? 190

  • The path of practice

Dāna (Giving)
94. Where does the Buddhist path begin? 195
95. What determines the spiritual quality of giving? 196
96. Which is considered more praiseworthy: giving to monasteries
or giving to charitable institutions? 197
Sīla (Morality)
97. Is there a key feature of the Buddhist attitude to morality? 199
98. What are the fie precepts? 200
99. What are the similarities and diffrences between the Buddhist
moral code and those of the other main religious traditions of
the world? 202
100. Are violence or killing ever justifid? 206
101. Are Buddhist countries completely pacifit? 207
102. What is the relationship between keeping precepts and the
practice of meditation? 208
Bhāvanā (Mental cultivation)
103. Why meditate? 211
104. When is the best time to meditate? 213
105. What is the basic method of meditation? 216
106. What is the purpose of walking meditation and how is it practiced? 218
107. What are the chief obstructions to meditation? 220
108. How long should a session of meditation last? 224
109. What is mindfulness? 225
110. How are the hindrances to meditation overcome? 226
111. What is the meaning of samatha and vipassanā? 228
112. Is any one kind of meditation technique considered most effctive? 230
113. What is the key to a successful long-term meditation practice? 231
114. How important is it to have a teacher? 234
115. How useful is it to attend a meditation retreat? 235
116. Is it possible to meditate while listening to music? 236
117. Is it possible to meditate while jogging or swimming? 237
118. Can meditation be dangerous? 238
119. Are there any specifi spiritual goals for lay Buddhists? 239
120. Can meditation be practiced in daily life? 240

  • Buddhist resources

121. Can you recommend any good websites for learning about Buddhism? 246
122. Can you recommend any books for learning about Buddhism? 247
123. Discourses of the Buddha 248
124. General overview 248
125. Meditation 249


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