Author: pesala

Six Kinds of Speech Used by the Buddha

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Buddhism

Prologue Prince Abhaya was a disciple of the Naked Ascetics (Nigaṇṭhā), who were vehement opponents of the Buddha. The Abhayarājakumāra Sutta relates how their leader sent Prince Abhaya to the Buddha with a formulated question to ask him, that he hoped would confound him. Prince Abhaya invited the Buddha with three other monks to his house for alms Prince Abhaya, served and satisfied the Blessed One with superior hard and soft foods by his own […]

The Right to Cause Offence

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Current Affairs

There has been much debate in the media recently about free speech and the offence it may cause to others. In an article by Boris Johnson MP in the column that he writes for the Daily Telegraph he said that he felt “fully entitled” to expect women to remove face coverings when talking to him at his MP surgery, and expressed his opinion that the burka is oppressive and that it is absolutely ridiculous that […]

The Simile of the Good Car

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Buddhism / Insight Meditation

If one wishes to reach a distant destination such as the Cairngorms National Park, from London, one will need several things: A car with five good wheels, some fuel, and some money to buy more fuel on the way. One will also need to know how to drive, and study the route. Similarly, to reach a distant destination such as nibbāna from one’s current location in saṃsāra, wherever that might be, one will need several […]

The Kāma Sutta

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Buddhism

A Discourse on Sensual Pleasures Introduction The Buddhist Kāma Sutta is poles apart from the infamous Kāma Sutra, an ancient Hindu text on sexuality. Buddhists are not generally puritanical about sexuality, but the Buddhist texts advise treating it with great caution, as one treats a fire in one’s own house. The third precept to abstain from sexual misconduct (kāmesu micchācārā verāmaṇi sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi).  In particular, kāma refers to sexual relations, but the word covers sensual pleasures of all types. […]

Apostasy in Buddhism

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Buddhism

Apostasy is defined as “The state of having rejected your affiliation, religious or political beliefs, or principles (often in favour of opposing beliefs or causes)” (WordWeb). Buddhism encourages a sceptical attitude, and does not demand blind faith. One becomes a Buddhist by the simple act of taking refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha, which is an expression of one’s confidence in the teachings. One becomes a virtuous Buddhist by undertaking and observing the five […]

A Question of Balance

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Buddhism / Insight Meditation

Understanding the Middle Path On the full-moon night of Vesākha, the Bodhisatta become the Buddha after meditating the entire night at the culmination of a six year struggle to find the right path. Thereafter, he spent forty-five years propagating his “Middle Path” guiding others along the unique way that he had discovered. In fact, he had been searching much longer than six years to find this middle path. Since the time of his vow at […]

The Law of Kamma Explained

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Buddhism

The following passage occurs in several places: All beings are the owners of their actions (kamma), heirs of their actions, born from their actions, related to their actions, and have actions as their refuge. Whatever action they do, whether good or evil, they will inherit its results. Owners of their actions In this world, one is said to be the owner of property that one has paid for, but at death we have to leave […]

Is there any difference between Reincarnation and Rebirth?

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Buddhism

The reality is the same for all of us. Even those who are neither Buddhists, nor Hindus, are reborn, whether they believe it or not. At least they cannot deny that they have been born, can they? So the difference between Rebirth in Buddhism, and Re-incarnation in Hinduism is a matter of concepts. Hindus believe in an immortal soul that is transferred from one existence to the next. Buddhists do not believe in an eternal soul, but they do […]

The Holy Quest

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Buddhism

After his enlightenment the Buddha uttered the following spontaneous verse: Through many births I wandered, Seeking, but not finding, the builder of this house. Painful is repeated existence. Oh housebuilder, you are seen now. You shall build no house again. All your rafters are broken, Your ridgepole is shattered. To dissolution goes my mind. Achieved is the destruction of craving. (Dhammapada, verses 153,4) The Buddha-to-be, or bodhisatta, began his quest for enlightenment at some far […]

How do you know what is right?

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Buddhism

Good question. Short answer is, you don’t, at least not to begin with. The Pali words for the eight factors of the noble path all begin with sammā- e.g. sammā-diṭṭhi (right view), sammā-saṅkappo (right thought). However, sammā doesn’t just mean right. How do we usually translate “Sammāsambuddho?” You never see it translated as the Rightly Enlightened Buddha, do you? The usual translation is the Fully or Perfectly Enlightened Buddha. So our view has to be […]