In Buddhism, the goal of the Buddhist path is to reach enlightenment, a state free of mental suffering and characterized by bliss, peace and happiness. But what if enlightenment was only possible if you were willing to become a monk or nun? This would mean only a small minority of Buddhists could ever find happiness, since the vast majority of Buddhists are lay practitioners.
In this video, I explore whether lay people can become enlightened, and if so, what are some of the steps we need to do to ensure that we achieve it.
It may still be debatable whether eating meat is living in accord with the Buddha’s teachings (see Are Buddhists Vegetarian or Vegan?). However, there seems to be a growing sentiment that a vegetarian or vegan diet is more in line with keeping with the Buddhist values of non-violence and wanting to reduce the suffering of the world. Many prominent Buddhist teachers are now actively encouraging their followers to adopt a vegetarian diet. Even Tibetan Buddhist teachers, who have grown up almost exclusively on meat, are inspiring others to eat more vegetarian food.
If you’re considering changing to a vegetarian diet, often the most daunting task is deciding what meals to make to replace your non-vegetarian ones. Most of us have grown up on a non-vegetarian diet, with the meat making up the majority of the meal. So what are we meant to eat if we remove the centerpiece of the meal and the portion that normally fills us up? Being confined to eating only salads for the rest of our life is usually not very appetizing. (more…)
The grand Maitreya Buddha statue and stupa currently being built in Mongolia
There is a very significant day approaching in the Buddhist calendar. It’s the day that celebrates the Buddha’s birth, death and Enlightenment. All three events occurred on the exact same day of the year, which makes this day very special and sacred to Buddhist followers. The day is known by different names depending on the country you reside, the language you speak and which Buddhist tradition you follow. Perhaps the three most common names for this day are Vesak, Buddha Purnima and Saka Dawa. And not only does the name differ, but different Buddhist traditions honor this day according to the calendars they follow, which can mean that sometimes they don’t even celebrate it in the same month! However, most countries this year (including India, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Nepal) are celebrating it on the same day, May 21st 2016. The exceptions are Thailand, which will celebrate Vesak one day earlier (20 May) and Indonesia on 22 May. (more…)
What is the Buddhist view of people with a disability? The answer will depend on who you talk to. Unfortunately many people misunderstand suffering as being a kind of punishment for one’s previous bad karma. Then, whenever we have the notion of punishment, it may seem justified for us to look down on others as being ‘bad’. But all these ideas are based on judgments, which highlights a common misunderstanding about karma.
This video discusses this issue of karma and disability and how the correct response can only ever be compassion. (more…)
Buddhism offers a smorgasbord of different meditation techniques we can practice to achieve everything we could possibly wish for: from developing peace, eliminating our anger, cultivating compassion, to meditations that will bring us to ultimate, ever-lasting happiness and wisdom (also known as achieving Enlightenment in Buddhism).
Below I’ve listed the most common meditation techniques that can be found across a variety of different Buddhist schools and traditions. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it can be used as a framework to help you understand how these different meditations can be used, and may assist you in choosing which ones you might like to try and explore further. (more…)
Hi everyone, recently someone asked whether it was possible to attend only the first 13 days of our pilgrimage (without adding the caves to the itinerary) as they were planning to return to Bodhgaya after our trip to spend more time there. After I had a look at the flights and accommodation costs involved in traveling to the caves, I realized we could make our pilgrimage quite a lot cheaper for people who only want to do the main Buddhist sector and see the four holy sites associated with the Buddha’s life. (more…)