Frequently Asked Questions

Vegetarianism carries three vital messages. The first one, in sequence of importance, is the respect for life. All life is equal, has the same right to live, to co-exist in this world. If one has no respect for life, being a vegetarian loses its significant meaning. The second one is to maintain a sustainable bio-eco-system for mother Earth and for our own survival. The human population is growing exponentially and the supply of meat requires an enormous amount of natural resources along with huge soil and water pollution as compared with vegetation. The third one is for health reasons which have proven to offer many benefits. Buddhists do not need to be vegetarians but they must respect life. All nuns and monks are vegetarians with few exceptions of some Tantric practitioners.

When the Buddha attained full enlightenment under the Bodi Tree, he understood in completion why and how the links, normally known as the twelve links of Dependent Origination, influence and interact with each other in the circle of life and death. The reverse of the cycle will lead us back to purity, tranquility which is liberation and nirvana. Thereafter, the Buddha condensed his realisation and grouped his teachings of the Dependent Origination into the Four Noble Truths which he preached for the first time to his 5 disciples in Deer Park, the first sermon or the first turning of the Dharma Wheel.

Buddhists do not bow nor pray to a statue but to the Dharma that the statue represents. Dharma is the law of nature, and Buddhism is a way of life. What the Buddha taught is not just the law of nature but how we live by it. As a matter of fact, one of the principles in a discourse by the Buddha called the Three Reliances states that a Buddhist practitioner should rely on the Dharma and not on a person. The term “worship” is seldom used if not at all in Buddhism because it may cause confusion with its generic meaning by other faiths such as Christianity. Worship is a total submission to a master or a creator and Buddha is not our master nor a creator. He just our supreme and most respectable teacher, one who is fully enlightened. When we pray, we are praying to the Dharma, represented and taught by the Buddha.