Trouble with Certain Phrases in Metta Meditation, How Should Rapists and Murderers be Dealt with in Buddhism and more… (Q&A Session August’19)

Duration 1:23:59

Questions answered during our Q&A session:

2:46 What is the largest obstacle to taking refuge, especially if one has been practicing another faith?

8:01 What can we do if we have trouble with certain metta meditation phrases like: “May you be safe” and “May you be healthy“? I have type 1 diabetes, so I find something like “May I be at peace with my diseases” more constructive. Also, why do we wish things like health, wealth, success, etc., for ourselves and others, when they fly in the face on the teachings of impermanence and the truth of not finding happiness in external realities?

24:44 From the Buddhist perspective what is happiness? What brings happiness; what is the root of happiness?

30:25 First, in a theoretically 100% Buddhist society, what sort of jurisprudence would there be? How would rapists and murderers be dealt with?? Second question; what are your thoughts about Buddhist monks who practice self-immolation? This makes no sense to me, since as Buddhists one of our primary goals is to do no harm, including to ourselves.

43:15 How do we reconcile money and spirituality? Should spiritual art or sacred objects, like Buddha statues, really cost so much money?

49:54 Drugs, genetic predisposition, blood flow, brain plaques, physical accidents or even a virus causing brain damage can change a personality and consciousness completely. Does consciousness then recover full capable intelligence and mind after death of a damaged or drugged body?

54:09 I sometimes wonder whether the term ‘consciousness’ was properly or fully translated, and ‘generic program’ or ‘programed driving force’ is a more full translation in modern English – particularly for ‘craving’ as it relates to Dependent Origination. The man and woman crave each other (mental and instinct), the sperm ‘craves’ the egg (genetically programmed action), the zygote ‘craves’ to divide, embryo craves to form structure, and develop. We know that mental training can eventually quell conscious craving as the Buddha teaches, and affect consciousness as it carries on – and can in some ways guide unconscious craving, but I wonder if it MAY in limited ways be able to affect some non-conscious programmed ‘craving’ in the sense just described.

1:00:24 Can I do the Tibetan Buddhist visualizations if I’ve never met a Lama?

1:03:50 Can you please talk about stream entry and tell us how to do it? Also, what did the Buddha say about coping with illness and death? Could you please recommend sutras on stream entry and how to deal with incurable illness and death?

1:12:50 What conditions or meditation practices are required to recall past rebirths?

1:17:33 Can you explain the concept of Mu/Wu (Japanese or Chinese) and “nothing” in the Zen tradition. It’s easy to think of it in literal terms as the absence of “something” but I think it has a deeper meaning than just “nothing” or “non-being.”