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Should I ‘Just’ Let My Negative Karma Ripen?

Apr. 6 | Question: Is it right to think that I should not take special care of my health, so that my negative karma can be allowed to ripen, to be depleted?  Answer: The Buddha’s teachings are not merely about trying to deplete negative...

Are Negative Karma And Negative Habits The Same?

Mar. 16 | Question: A friend mentioned that a mutual friend has negative karma, that prevents learning and practising the Dharma well. However, I think it is due to negative habits instead, leading to inattentiveness and lack of diligence in learning and practice....

Which Realm Has The Most Beings?

Mar. 9 | Question: Of the six realms of existence, which has the most sentient beings? Answer: Numbers in the scriptures were not encountered, probably as they fluctuate with rebirth. However, there is this ratio stated by the Buddha in the Nakhasikhā...

Is It Alright To ‘Focus’ On More Than One Enlightened Being?

Mar. 2 | Question: Although I usually practise mindfulness of the name of Amitābha Buddha (i.e. Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛), as I once felt very desperate, I then pleaded to both Āmítuófó and Guānshìyīn Bodhisattva (观世音菩萨) for help. Is this...

Is It Alright To Feed Deceased Animals To Living Animals?

Feb. 23 | Question: What do you think of feeding fish (and ‘standard’ canned pet food) to cats and dogs, while being vegetarian personally, with chanting of the Rebirth Mantra (往生咒) for the fish, in hope that they reach Amitābha Buddha’s...

How Should Buddhists See Birthdays?

Feb. 16 | Question: How should Buddhists view birthday celebrations? Answer: The term ‘birthday celebration’ viewed with the spiritual perspective is most ironic, as they are actually ‘rebirthdays’, occasions for repentance and reflection;...

How To Advise An Angry And Greedy Dying Person?

Feb. 9 | Question: How can I advise an angry and greedy person who is dying to let go of her grudges and greed for money? Answer: Remind her that as her angry state of mind will affect her next life adversely, possibly leading to an unfortunate rebirth,...

Will Speaking Of The Unfortunate Cause It?

Feb. 2 | Question: Will speaking of the unfortunate happening lead to it occurring? Answer: Not if there are no follow-up efforts to cause it to occur, or karmic conditions that allow so. The idea that mere speaking of the unfortunate will lead to...

What If I Forgot A Death Anniversary?

Jan. 25 | Question: I recently forgot about my late parents’ death anniversaries. However, I have been daily practising repentance (on the behalf of all, including them) and mindfulness of Buddha, with dedication of merits to all. Is this alright? Answer:...

What Is ‘Form Is Emptiness’?

Dec. 29 | Question: What is the meaning of ‘form is emptiness’ (色即是空)? Answer: ‘Form’ (色) refers to matter, (which is what has mass); the material, as summed by the Four Elements (四大) of earth, water, fire and wind...

Is Guānyīn A Bodhisattva Or Buddha?  

Nov. 10 | Question: If Guānshìyīn (Avalokiteśvara) Bodhisattva (观世音菩萨) is still a Bodhisattva as named, why do Buddhists commemorate her/his day of accomplishing the path to Buddhahood (成道日) on the 19th day of the 6th lunar month (农历六月十九)? Answer:...

Why Dread Karmic Retribution?

Sep. 22 | Question: Why should one be afraid of being reborn in a lower realm like hell if one does not remember anything from one’s past life? Answer: If one knows one is going to hell later, one will be terrified now. If one is in hell...

How Best To Have Sea Burial?

Sep. 8 | Question: For sea burial, is it better to scatter the ashes, which seems to express freedom, or to drop the ashes in the urn?Answer: Scattering of ashes does not lead to freedom of the deceased, just as keeping ashes together does not lead to being...

What Is This Certain Sutra About?

Aug. 27 | Question: What is this ___ sutra about? Answer: While this is a very good question, it is also very difficult to answer simply. It is especially difficult to answer due to the length of the scripture and its many important subjects covered.  The...

When Do Bodhisattvas Intervene To Help? 

Aug. 4 | Question: Some claim great Bodhisattvas do not intervene to help those with ripening negative karma. However, we know that all Bodhisattvas vow to help all beings. How should this ‘contradiction’ be understood? Answer: Great Bodhisattvas...
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