How to Decrease My Fear of Dying, How to Reduce Attachment to a Sports Team and more… (Q&A Session July’23)

Duration 1:24:26

Questions answered during our Q&A session:

3:29 I wonder how you would distinguish true dharma from false dharma?

21:59 My question is about passion and how once we start seeing thoughts more in terms of anicca and the self more and more in terms of anatta, many of the old passions, which are ingrained in our conditioning, often since childhood weaken or in this case below remain quite powerful. There is also a bit of confusion as to where we ‘should’ be around these things. A simple example is my passion for a footy team I’ve followed since around 6 or 7 years old. I get overly alert, even anxious when my team is playing especially when the game is close. I recognize it’s an anxiety born from a young, and relentless continuing fear that I must win at all costs illusion (even though I’m not playing nor can influence the outcome). I also realise this passion is clinging craving, and solidifies this notion of a self. So my question is should I try to dissolve this clinging, craving and if so is meditation the answer and how, specifically, in meditation would I go about weakening this ‘win at all costs’ conditioning.

32:29 It is said, that it is very rare to gain a human life. Like the story of the turtle tells. How can you explain when someone is reborn within a short time, and maybe close to where the person lived before she died, and who maybe has had no knowledge of Buddhism at all or no training in focusing on gaining a human life again after death? And still gets a second chance within a short time to be human again?

36:30 I’ve been practicing this new technique I came up with during my meditation to help combat lust- specifically, lustful thoughts. Whenever I start fantasizing about doing unwholesome things with a particular person, I instead try imagining myself teaching them the dhamma and sharing the Buddha’s insights. It took a lot of practice but eventually it became natural for me to have a more wholesome perspective on this person instead of placing them straight into a romantic situation in my mind. In a way, I’m hoping to cultivate more positive karma with this individual and if given the opportunity I would love to share the dhamma with them. What are your thoughts on this technique and do you have any others you can share?

43:35 When a young man tells you that he will commit assisted suicide if he does not get any better in his health condition within a year and needs help to get better and a quiet place to stay and you know, that he would probably get better if he had the right environment (which I have) but you are not sure about this and you do not have the means to support the young man. How can one live with the knowledge of what will come or what can one do in this situation to prevent this suicide? I already told the man more than once that life is a rare gift but he seems to be deaf regarding this.

57:51 I have this operation looming that could be quite life threatening. I have practiced self-love during Metta meditation along with spreading Metta to an ever expanding circle of humans, and even other animals, trees and plants. Appreciation of myself and others has worked pretty well. I still have a preference for myself over others though! My question is, how does one decrease one’s fear of dying and dissolving into nature if one has too strong a feeling of self love? I feel that only when love for others and nature exceeds love for oneself is one able to accept the idea of dissolving into that larger nature.

1:08:07 I’m going to try and keep my questions simple. 1) Where exactly does Zen fall? Theravada? Mahayana? Vajrayana? 2) A Zen Center (one of only a few Buddhist Centers/Sanghas near me, an hour and a half away) specifically says during meditation the left hand should sit on top of the right. I have been sitting with the right on top of the left. What is the difference in these two hand mudras, if any? 3) Karma. I believe in Karma 100000 %. Can two individual beings be linked through some past Karma, brought together now in the present? Kind of like when you meet someone and feel like you have known them before and then they play a significant role in your life?

1:19:42 I’m interested in how we think during meditation when we want our health to improve. Do we clear our mind or concentrate on the help we need?