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Buddhists/A couple Questions

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Question
I have five questions for you regarding your practice and your perception of modern Buddhism in general. Here are my five questions:
1. Do you take the teachings of Buddhism literally? For example that after death you will be reincarnated?
2. Do you expect to achieve enlightenment?
3. How do you practice Buddhism daily? What do you do differently from a non-Buddhist?
4. How long have you been practicing Buddhism? Did you start as a child or as an adult?
5. If you started as an adult, what drew you to Buddhism? If you started as a child, did you ever rebel against your Buddhist upbringing? And if so, what brought you back?

Answer
1. Do you take the teachings of Buddhism literally? For example that after death you will be reincarnated?
By and large - not all, of course.

2. Do you expect to achieve enlightenment?
Eventually.

3. How do you practice Buddhism daily? What do you do differently from a non-Buddhist?
I have certain formal practices - liturgy, you might say. The key difference is in the understanding and orientation, however. Buddhists may well look to "the Buddha" for some kind of blessing, but the essence of the practice is to purify the mind, both in terms of conceptualisation and of motivation. Buddha can help us, but cannot save us. If he (or she) could, he (or she) would, naturally.

4. How long have you been practicing Buddhism? Did you start as a child or as an adult?
40 years. As a youth, though I was an adult before I formally "took refuge".

5. If you started as an adult, what drew you to Buddhism? If you started as a child, did you ever rebel against your Buddhist upbringing? And if so, what brought you back?
I was interested through books, but the big thing is meeting a genuinely realized master. Then your hesitations are blown away.

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Alex Wilding

Expertise

I have practiced and studied Tibetan Buddhism in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions since the early 1970s, and have a good knowledge of theory, history and of the struggles of trying to practice the teachings, including meditation, while leading a normal, modern life. I am also available to provide background information for journalists.

Experience

I have been a practitioner since the early 1970s; have run a small Buddhist centre in the English Midlands and was vice-president of Kagyu Benchen Ling e.V. in Germany, for whom I managed three large Buddhist summer-camps. More importantly, I maintain a habit of personal practice. I am the "owner" of the Kagyu list at Yahoo.

Education/Credentials
My first degree was an M.A. from Oxford. I later obtained a Master of Philosophy degree for a research thesis in "Initiation in Tibetan Buddhism" from Leicester University. I also have engineering and educational qualifications.

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