Buddhists/Buddhism

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Question
Hello Justin,

My name is Taylor, I am a high school senior working on a project focusing on world religions, specifically, Buddhism.  I was hoping you could take some time to answer a few questions today.  I am having a tough time finding a reliable source and your feedback would be much appreciated!  Thanks in advance!

What are some requirements of being a member of Buddhism?

What are some major holidays for Buddhism?

What was it like to be raised in the Buddhist faith, compared to other faiths you may know of?

As a Buddhist, what do you believe about the afterlife?

How do you believe the universe was created?

Is the purpose of your life to attain enlightment?

Answer
Hi Taylor,

What are some requirements of being a member of Buddhism?
Buddhism is not like Christianity or Islam.  There is no special requirement.  If you agree with the teachings of the Buddha, and wish to follow his teachings, you can call yourself a Buddhist.  The term "Buddhist" is just a man-made label.  It is one's conduct in life that is important.

What are some major holidays for Buddhism?
The most significant holiday is Wesak day.  It was this day that the Buddha was born, gained enlightenment, and passed away.  It is the full moon day in May.  This year 2013 is May 24.

What was it like to be raised in the Buddhist faith, compared to other faiths you may know of?
Depends on the nationality.  The Burmese, Thai, Tibetan and Sri Lankan Buddhists have absorbed Buddhism into their cultures and way of life.   

As a Buddhist, what do you believe about the afterlife?
More important is how to live a wholesome and harmless life here and now.  Nobody knows about after life.  Those who claime they "know" are not based on their experience because it is a fact that nobody knows for sure with concrete proof.

How do you believe the universe was created?
If one understands the nature of existence, one does not have to belief.  Just read any book on the universe, and you will know that there cannot be a beginning or an end.  Every process in the universe is a cycle of formation, expansion, degeneration and extermination.  Then the process starts all over again.

Is the purpose of your life to attain enlightment?
Life is part of the above phenomenal process of formation, expansion, degeneration and extermination.  In more specific term; birth, old age, sickness and death.  There is no purpose in life.  However, since life is not of the perfect existence, there is this wish not to exist in this world again, in Buddhist parlance, to work towards liberation of not having to be reborn again; in a way you can call it working towards "enlightenment".


Regards and be happy.  Hope this helps.

Justin Choo  

Buddhists

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Justin Choo

Expertise

All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.

Experience

I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

Organizations
I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Publications
YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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