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Buddhists/Buddhism for self

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Question
Hi Stuart,

I was curious about seeing how Buddhism could be implemented in daily life. I also wanted to ask about some trends that I see in Buddhism. If you could please take a minute to answer some of the questions I have below, that would be greatly appreciated.

1. What is the importance of going to temple for Buddhism?
2. What are some specific methods that I can use to adopt the Eightfold Paths?
3. Does meditation serve any specific purposes in Buddhism? If so, how can I use it to follow the Eightfold Paths? And how would I actually meditate? Do I have to hold my hands in certain positions? Do the different hand gestures mean different things?
4. What would a normal everyday person following the teachings of Buddha look like? Would they have to completely detain themselves from all material possessions?
5. Why are Buddhists bold?
6. What are the purposes of Buddhist symbols like bead necklaces and incense and Buddhist statues?

Answer
1. This very moment is your temple. Whatever situation is in front of you right now is your temple.

2. The best way to adopt the Eightfold Path is to forget about the Eightfold Path, forget about Buddhism and everything else. Only ask strongly and sincerely, "What am I?" This sincere questioning will lead to a clear, before-thinking mind. It's like a mirror that reflects each moment just as it is. Then, use this clarity in each situation in a compassionate way. That is, always try to use your clarity to help whatever beings you encounter.

3. The purpose of meditation is to cut off thinking. When there's no thinking, there's no I/my/me. When there's no I/my/me, then there's nothing to hinder meeting this moment with clarity and compassion. There are thousands of ways to meditate. Pick whichever one works to quiet your mind. The particular technique you choose isn't so important, what's important is WHY you're doing it. So meditate with the intention of letting go of I/my/me, finding clarity, and helping all beings.

4. A normal everyday person following the teachings of Buddha would look like a normal everyday person. He would use all material possessions, as well as everything else in the universe, for the purpose of understanding himself and helping others.

5. What gives you the idea that Buddhists are bold? What does that even mean?

6. The only purpose of anything in this world is to encourage you to keep a big question, find clarity, and use this very moment to understand yourself an help others.

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Stuart Resnick

Expertise

I'm a long-time practitioner in a Korean-style Zen school. I can answer questions regarding Zen, formal sitting meditation, self-inquiry, the practice of "koan" transmission, and offer the particular perspective of this school on the great life questions.

Experience

18 years of formal practice with the Kwan Um School of Zen, currently with the Empty Gate Zen Center of Berkeley, currently a "Senior Dharma Teacher" at this center, I give periodic talks and informally answer questions of students interested in Zen practice and teaching style

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