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Hi, I am currently taking an eastern and western thought class and we are learning about Buddhism. I was wondering if you could answer a couple questions that I still have on it. Thank you

Seeing as there is no god or gods, do buddhists have a creation story?
How does meditation intertwine with Buddhism and does it enhance your spirituality and how?

After reading about the four noble truths I am still curious as to what role suffering plays and how this can be applied to everyday life?

Is there certain diets buddhists are supposed to abide by? Such as certain foods that are not allowed?

Answer
Hi Maddison,

> Do buddhists have a creation story?

Not exactly. There are a few descriptions of what we might call a "mythical prehistory", much of which is shared with Hindu and other cultures. But fundamentally, the beginnings of things are usually said to lie hidden in the mists of beginning last time. It is not a terribly important question, as far as Buddhists are concerned. Buddhists are more concerned with the question of how *we* came to be the way we are now, with all our problems and mental poisons, rather than with some long-ago process of the emergence of worlds. Even that is really only of interest in as much as it sheds light on how we can fix it.

> How does meditation intertwine with Buddhism and does it enhance your spirituality and how?
Meditation is one of the key practices of Buddhism, as I guess you know. Since Buddhism is concerned first and foremost with the process of changing, you might say purifying, ourselves, meditation is an important part of that. A full answer would go far beyond the scope of messages like this.

You ask what part suffering plays - it is unavoidable. It is the problem. Sooner or later we all suffer, sometimes terribly. If freedom from suffering were guaranteed forever (or at least until we become truly and finally dead), there wouldn't be much point in Buddhism or anything else of that sort. Everyday life is the place where we have to start acting differently, thinking differently, and coming to understand ourselves.

Special diets? Basically, no. Too much alcohol is frowned on for monks and nuns it is forbidden. And vegetarian eating is highly admired and encouraged, but is not usually made a rule.

I hope that helps a bit.

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Alex Wilding

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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.

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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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