FAQs

Questions, Questions, Questions…
Life is full of questions and if you are interested in buddhism you can find the answers to a few of them below.

Who was Buddha?
The Buddha who is the founder of the Buddhist religion is called Buddha Shakyamuni. ‘Shakya’ is the name of the royal family into which he was born, and ‘Muni’ means ‘able one’. Just as doctors give different medicine for people with different illnesses, so buddha gave different teachings and advice for people with different problems and capacities. All Buddha’s teachings are methods to solve daily problems and help people find peace within their lives. In general
‘Buddha’ means ‘awakened one’ – someone who has awakened from the sleep of confusion and doubt, and sees things as they really are. A Buddha is a person who is completely free from all faults and mental obstructions. There are many people who have become Buddhas in the past, and many people will become buddhas in the future.

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Where did Buddha come from?
Buddha was born as a royal prince called ‘Siddharta’ in 624 bc. The place where he grew up was called Lumbini, which was originally in Northern India, but is now part of Nepal.

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What do Buddhists believe?
Buddhist means ‘inner being’; therefore Buddhists believe that happiness and freedom from suffering depend upon the mind; and that through developing the mind we can find a deep sense of well being and lasting inner peace. Buddhists also believe in reincarnation, karma and enlightenment. All these beliefs are used in a practical way to find happiness for themselves and others.

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What do Buddhists do?
The main practice of a Buddhist is meditation. Meditation is a method for improving the quality of our life. The quality of life does not necessarily depend upon external development of material progress, but upon the inner development of peace and happiness.
Buddhists try to integrate meditation into their daily life in order to solve their inner problems and attain a truly peaceful mind. Through finding stability and peace themselves they work very hard to help others overcome their own suffering and problems, through teachings, advice and showing a good example.Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible. If we first establish peace within our own mind by training in meditation, outer peace will come naturally; but if we do not, world peace will never be achieved no matter how much we wish for it. To paraphrase a very famous Buddhist teacher, one must come come to rely on a happy mind alone and then adverse conditions are easily dealy with.

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What is meditation?
Meditation is a method for acquainting our mind with positive thoughts and feelings, and thus makes our mind calm and peaceful. If our mind is positive and peaceful we shall be free from worries and mental discomfort, and so we shall experience true happiness; but if our mind is not peaceful we shall find it very difficult to be happy, even if we are living in the very best conditions. If we train in meditation our mind will gradually become more and more peaceful, and we shall experience a purer and purer form of happiness. eventually we shall develop the ability to stay happy all the time, even in the most difficult circumstances.

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Do I have to be a Buddhist to meditate?
Meditation is practised by people from all different backgrounds, walks of life and religions. many people who come to the meditation classes would not necessarily call themselves Buddhists. When our spiritual teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso came to the west in 1977, he said his aim was not to convert people to Buddhism, but to help people find inner peace and overcome their daily problems. The philosophy of buddhism is to help people according to their needs and wishes regardless of who they are, or what their beliefs.

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How do I start?
There are many ways to start meditating. some people find a book from the library or local shop, and others attend meditation classes. Attending a basic meditation class is advised for those who have not meditated before. The meditations are guided by a qualified teacher, and any questions that may arise can be discussed either during or after the class. click here for meditation classes.

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