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How To Not Follow Customs Blindly

Mar. 20 | Question: Some are very particular that red packets (angbaos) given must be with amounts of money ending with 8 (which sounds in a Chinese dialect like ‘huat’, which means ‘prosper’), and not 4 (which sounds like ‘die’)....

Can Ancestors Bless Survivors?

Mar. 14 | Question: Many pray for their ancestors to bless them. Does this work? Answer: They are not able to bless us, unless they have been reborn with greater blessings, or have become Bodhisattvas and Buddhas, and are looking after us. Also, merely asking...

Can I Commit To The Precepts If I Sometimes Eat Meat & Drink Alcohol?

Mar. 6 | Question: As I work in the food and beverage industry, I occasionally have to eat meat and drink wine when doing food tasting. Beyond work, I do not do these. Is it alright for me to commit to the Five Precepts then?  Answer: As the first of the Five...

What Language To Chant In To Help The Deceased?

Feb. 27 | Question: If there is sutra-chanting for a deceased Chinese person, with dedication of merits, both using a non-Chinese language, will the deceased be able to benefit? Answer: The power from sutra-chanting and dedication comes from the power of the...

Are You Upsetting The Global Environment?

Feb. 25 | Question: Will liberated animals upset the ecosystem? Answer: As the answer, below are some points for reflection… [1] Some liberated animals are protected in well-managed sanctuaries. Some are liberated in the open, able to move around, not in...

How To Handle Unwanted Lay Robes?

Feb. 20 | Question: If the owner of a set of Chinese lay Buddhist robes, one black (海青) and the other brown (缦衣) had passed away, how should they be handled?    Answer: Perhaps the temple through which refuge and precepts were taken can be enquired,...

Do We Rejoice Over All Kinds Of Happiness?

Feb. 12 | Question: If one cheats us, we should see this as the ripening of our negative karma and not get upset. Beyond this, if the cheat is happy for his gain, should we also rejoice for him?  Answer: The practice of rejoicing should never be for anyone’s...

Does Buddhism Promote Medium Practice?

Jan. 29 | Question: A medium said a friend’s problems from seeing of ghosts is because he is chosen by Guanyin Bodhisattva to ‘work’ – I guess to help spread the Dharma? Is there such a practice? Answer: No, there is no such practice in...

Can Animal Experimentation Be Alright?

Jan. 23 | Question: If one’s job uses sentient beings such as animals for research to find cures for human diseases, this creates negative karma due to the animals’ imprisonment, torturous experimentation and death. However, if there is no research done,...

How Should Buddhist Images Be Worn?

Jan. 16 | Question: Is it alright to wear images, names and mantras of Buddhas or Bodhisattvas on clothes, socks, shoes and such? Answer: it is best not to wear prominent Buddhist imagery in the above ways, as we are far from holy, thus possibly tarnishing the...

Can I Offer Dead Animals To The Buddhas?

Jan. 8 | Question: Is it alright to offer food with meat to the Buddha?  Answer: It is not a good idea to offer any dead sentient being to any Buddha, as each Buddha loves each sentient being like an only child, such that he would never wish anyone to have...

Can We Take Refuge On Behalf Of The Deceased?

Jan. 1 | Question: Can we take the Threefold Refuge and receive the Five Precepts on behalf of deceased loved ones? Answer: While going through the above ceremonies, we can think of ourselves as doing so with departed loved ones (or even all beings). However,...

Does The Donor Or Deceased Gain Merits From Post-Death Donations?

Dec. 26 | Question: Who benefits from the merit-making when a donation is made to the temple which accommodates the deceased’s niche – the donor or the deceased? Answer: If the donor has no intention to benefit anyone else, all the merits go to the donor. If...

Is It Bad Karma To Report Inconsiderate Parking?

Dec. 19 | Question: When I see inconsiderate drivers parking at lots reserved for the handicapped, I consider reporting their cars. If they get fined, will I have negative karma? Answer: If you will create negative karma for doing so, all parking attendants will...

What Does ‘Tathāgata’ Mean?

Dec. 12 | Question: What is the meaning of ‘Tathāgata’? Answer: ‘Tathāgata’ is Sanskrit for ‘Thus Come One’ (如来), which means ‘as if came; also as if gone’. This is an alternative term for addressing Buddhas....
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