1. Is Buddhism a religion?
Buddhism is neither a religion nor not a religion.


2. What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the teachings of Buddha. It shows humanity how to avoid suffering, attain happiness, unfold our wisdom, become enlightened and in this way benefit self and others.


3. Who is Buddha?
Sakyamuni Buddha. He was born Prince Siddartha in Lumbini near Kapilavathu, northen India, (present day Nepal) about 2,500 years ago. He attained the Supreme Enlightenment and thus became the "Awakened One". He was born in this world because humanity needs a teacher of the Truth - the natural order of all things in the universe.


4. What is the meaning of the word "Buddha"?
It means "Awakened One".


5. What are Buddha’s teachings?
Buddha teaches one to be free from all illusions and to view things as they truly are. He teaches one to avoid all evils, do all that are good, and to purify one’s mind.


6. Do Buddhists believe in God?
If the meaning of God is one who is the creator of all things, then Buddhism neither share this belief nor teach this concept.


7. Why do Buddhist practise Buddhism?
They do so because they wish to avoid suffering and attain happiness, unfold their wisdom, eradicate their undesirable conduct, seek liberation and lessen the hindrances of their negative Karma.


8. What is Karma?
Karma are actions created by one’s body, speech and mind. There are two kinds of karma - virtuous karma and evil karma.


9. How do Buddhists practise Buddhism?
Buddhists practise Buddhism by Being With Buddha at all times in the course of their daily lives, because Buddha is compassionate, wise, has eradicated all evils and cultivated all that are good, and the Buddha mind is calm and pure


10. Why do Buddhists worship the image of Buddha?
Buddhists do not worship Buddha. The image of the Buddha is to enable Buddhists to pay their respects to the great teacher, Buddha. Since the Buddha has great compassion, wisdom and a pure mind, the image of Buddha also serves to remind Buddhists to remember, learn and emulate these virtuous qualities.


11. What is a Bodhisattva?
An awakened being, who has feelings, enlightens self and others, and benefits self and others. A Bodhisattva can become a Buddha through observing the six Paramitas (Giving, observing the Precepts, endurance under insults, zeal and progress, meditation on Zen & Samadhi, wisdom), but vows to remain in the realm of incarnation to save others.


12. What does "Three Treasures" mean?
The Dharma is taught by all Buddhas of the past, present and future. If not for the sublime and wonderful teachings of the Buddhas, all sentient beings will never be able to receive the benefits of the Dharma. If not for the selfless efforts of the great past, present and future Bodhisattvas and Sangha who shoulder the responsibility of spreading the Dharma and continuing the Buddha-wisdom life, it would not be possible for the Dharma to remain in this world for long. The "Buddha" who is capable of expounding on the Dharma, the "Dharma" that is expounded by the Buddha, and the "Sangha", the community of monks and nuns spreading the Dharma, are of value which cannot be measured with money. They are therefore called "treasures" and, the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are called the Three Treasures.


13. What are the "Five Desires"?
The five desires arise from the objects of the five senses: things seen, heard, smelled, tasted or touched. They also refer to the five desires of wealth, sex, food-and-drink, fame and sleep.


14. What does "Root" mean in Buddhism?
Root means a source which is capable of producing or growing something. The six-sense organs of a human being, namely, eye, ear, nose, tongue, body and mind, are the six roots. Through these six roots, the distinguishing senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch and thoughts are produced.


15. What is an "Arahat"?
The highest level of attainment in the cultivation of Hinayana Buddhism. An Arahat has completely eradicated all illusions and is described as having slain the enemy of mortality, that is, completely liberated him/herself from the cycle of birth and death, and arising and cessation, and therefore has been liberated from transmigrating in the six realms of existence.


Copyright 2001. Jen Chen Buddhism Centre