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Buddhists/Survey Regarding Buddhism

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Question
Hello. I have five relatively broad  questions to ask you regarding Buddhism.

1. First off, how would you describe the relationship between Buddhist philosophy compared to Taoist or Confucian philosophy? Can Buddhism be compared to Taoism and/or Confucianism?

2. What is your knowledge of the relationship between Buddhism and geography, especially outside of eastern Asia? Is Buddhism taking a foothold in the Western world?

3. In Buddhist teachings, how is theism approached, especially in light of the Buddhist belief in reincarnation? How and who do Buddhists consider the incarnations of their gods?

4. How has Buddhism evolved over the course of your time as a practicing Buddhist? Can Buddhism change?

5. What is your relationship with Buddhism? In short, what is it like to live a Buddhist lifestyle?

Answer
Hi Jackson,
As you are just doing a survey, I'll keep my responses brief and unsubtle:
1. None put much emphasis on the idea of an omnipotent creator god. Otherwise, there is not a huge amount in common.
2. Yes it is, but I don't see it becoming a majority religion in America or Europe anytime soon.
3. "Incarnation" is too subtle a concept to cover here. The idea of an omnipotent creator god is considered stupid. (Fortunately, as it's such a depressing thought.)
4, Everything changes, but I don't think the central teachings have changed over the last 40 years.
5. I do my best to practice. Better than any other.

I hope that helps a bit.

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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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