English Section

      Buddhism Today 

Vietnamese Section


...... ... .  . .  .  .
Tibetan master says conversion is never instant
The Dallas Morning News 1st September 2001

Logo for Radiant Heart Tibetan Prayer Flags and Dharma Prints.Question: Is Buddhism growing in America both through Buddhist immigrants moving here, as well as Westerners becoming interested?

Answer: Every year, Buddhism in America is growing more. Interest in Buddhism is growing as Americans become more educated and study the philosophies and practices of Buddhism. Many books have been translated [into English] that give the history of Buddhism as well as the teachings. As other lamas travel in America, and as Easterners relocate to the West, they talk about the purpose and benefits of Buddhism. But our growth may be slower than some religions because we have no sense of converting anybody, and no sense of "taking over" and gaining power. The growth will come with each individual's desire to know more.

Question: Do you believe that people can adopt parts of Buddhism, or should you adopt all aspects?

Answer: People who decide to become Buddhists do not become Buddhists instantly. As they learn and study more, they adopt more parts fully into their life. Part of being a Buddhist is to learn more and more and gain more and more understanding all the time. With more study, your beliefs become deeper and more profound. Keep studying, keep learning, keep growing.

Question: Why do most Americans have such a tough time finding time for meditation?

Answer: America is a country with much education, as well as busy schedules and the desire for more and more material things. Many Americans say they are too busy for meditation. But as you learn more about meditation and its benefits, you will find it invaluable to your life, and you will spend more and more time in meditation. Those who study the Dharma teachings experience peace and happiness.

Materialism does not necessarily create an obstruction to peace and happiness, but those who spend all their time and energy on materialistic goals cannot find peace and happiness.

Question: What is your own meditation routine?

Answer: In general, when I was younger, I spent much more time in meditation, sometimes an entire day at a time. But with all my responsibilities and activities, I meditate now and then, when I have time.

Question: What is the key to clearing the mind of bad karma?

Answer: We all receive or even accumulate bad karma, or negative energy, in the cycles of life. The mind is the most important thing in our well being, and you must clear it out when negative energy comes. The key to clearing the mind is through ongoing, regular prayer and meditation, as well as studies [in Buddhism]. You should create your own mantra and use it to focus and recenter yourself. You must beautify the negativity.

Question: How does food affect the body mentally? Do you follow certain food and eating practices?

Answer: In general, I try to avoid food whose background involves a lot of negative or violent action, such as the killing of an animal. One of the most important parts of my practice is to not have an intense attraction to food like that. If you think vegetarian eating means less killing, think about the chemicals they spray [on the crops] to kill the insects. When you drink a glass of water, you are killing some of the organisms in the water. But everyone knows you have to eat or die. In general, I try to find food that has as little harm and killing behind it as possible.

Question: Have you gained power over most common irritations, such as waiting in line, getting bitten by a mosquito, waiting for someone who is late?

Answer: Irritations are a part of the cyclic existence in this world. We all suffer irritations, and there is no way to get rid of them. Trying to be more relaxed is the best way. If we create so many thoughts in our mind, based on irritations, we create a kind of sickness. We must get rid of those thoughts, relax and beautify the negativity through meditation, mantras and study.

Question: Most Americans would probably understand the need to be kind and loving to other human beings. Explain why it is important to show love and respect to animals, insects and other living beings as well.

Answer: In the Buddhist teachings, there is the philosophy that we are to act as a loving parent to all ascendant beings born into the world, including all animals and insects. We need to generate compassion for all of them.

Question: What do people most misunderstand about Buddhism?

Answer: It is possible to have misunderstandings that come from not having a deep enough understanding of Buddhism. If you go only to the surface of Buddhism, and you think you're a master after a little bit of knowledge, you are misunderstanding the whole premise of Buddhism. Buddhism requires study on a deeper level, and applying all aspects of one's mind to the study and practice. If your ego is still present, you haven't studied enough. The essence of Buddhism is to try to get rid of self-attachment and ego. You must continue on your spiritual path by studying the Dharma teachings.

With study and practice comes humility, politeness and loving kindness to all ascendant beings.


Updated: 1-9-2001

Return to "Buddhism around the World"

Top of Page