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2022-05-21 07:04

The questions and answers in this FAQ were extracted from the Buddhist Questions and Answers pamphlet published by Wat Mongkolratanaram (Wat Tampa). WatTampaInEnglish is not the official Wat Mongkolratanaram web site and the content below should be considered unofficial.

What is the real meaning of "merit making"?

Literally speaking, the word ‘merit’ is translated from Pali Punna a which means "purification": To make merit is to cleanse greed, hatred and delusion from one’s mind. The Buddha taught His followers to make merit by means of charity (Dana), morality (Sila) and spiritual development (Bhavana). When we know the real meaning of "merit making" in Buddhism as described above we can decide for ourselves that there are many ways and means to make merit. At any moment in one’s daily life, even while sitting comfortably on a chair, trying to cleanse greed, hatred, delusion or other mental defilements from one’s mind is also reckoned as making merit.

 

What is the Buddha's teachings about caste and colour?

There is no division of caste and color in Buddhism. In some countries, the caste system is a very important social structure. However, Buddhism is free from caste, racial and gender prejudices. Everyone has equal spiritual potential to attain enlightenment.

The Buddha explained that a man’s virtues or vices depend on his deeds, not his birth or wealth. One who comes to be ordained in Buddhism has equal rights such as the right to vote in meetings. The only difference is the order of seniority which goes according to the precedence in ordination.

Buddhism lays stress on human equality by pointing to the importance of knowledge and good conduct. Lord Buddha taught that one who is endowed with knowledge and good conduct is excellent among divine and human beings.

How is universal loving-kindness taught in Buddhism?

Loving-kindness (Metta) means extending goodwill or benevolence which is opposite to ill-will. Buddhism teaches that loving-kindness should be diffused to all sentient beings, be they human or non-human. If the world follows the teaching of diffusion of universal loving-kindness, conflicts may be solved not by confrontation but through peaceful means.

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