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Good Questions & Answers/ We are One from Dharma Master Andrew

Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams

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GOOD Q&A TO BE COMPASSIONATE

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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Question: “Every morning when I read the news, there are so many reports on war and destruction happening all over the world. This sometimes leads me to feel overwhelmed, helpless and somewhat guilty for the relatively peaceful life I have. How do I transform these feelings of sadness, anger and helplessness into something a lot more productive and constructive?”

Answer: “Firstly, I must say that it is very good and commendable that you are concerned for the welfare of others. Although do your very best to replace your feelings of sadness, anger, helplessness and guilt with compassion, love and a sense of responsibility based on understanding.

Peace must firstly be developed internally, in our own mind and then expressed outwardly through our actions and words. We must live by example. Thinking, acting and speaking with the motivation to cause and maintain peace, harmony and understanding. Then peace can be caused and realised, and the lack of peace can be overcome.

When a pebble is thrown into a pond, the ripples that are created cover all parts of the pond, likewise every thought, action and word effects everything.

So we should think, act and speak with universal love, compassion, joy and equanimity. This way we can contribute to peace in the world and have a positive influence on others to do likewise.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

GOOD Q&A TO BE AT PEACE
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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Question: “Can you recommend some useful and practical strategies on how to overcome things such as panic and anxiety attacks? Can you offer some strategies on how to deal with a situation when these feelings arise, and some tips on how to minimise these feelings and situations from arising?”

Answer: “Firstly, may I suggest that you read my article ‘Meditation And It’s Benefits – Getting To Know Your Mind’, which is easily accessible. You should definitely practise meditation to calm your mind and body. There is some meditation instruction within the article. This will help for sure.

You can also consider that we are intimately connected with all of nature. It is most important to realise this. For if we know this fact then we are more likely to coexist with all living beings and all of nature in a more peaceful and harmonious way. Many of our worries, discontent, agitation and feelings of being disconnected arise due to not realising this natural truth.

In addition, we should open our minds and be less self-centred. For the more we open our mind and the less self-centred we are, the more calm, peaceful and content we will be, the more we will allow ourselves the opportunity to develop genuine insight into ourselves, others and all of nature, and be at peace and in harmony with ourselves and all that surrounds us.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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GOOD Q&A TO TRANSCEND EXTREMES
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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Qusetion: “Why is there pain in life?”

Answer: “Pain and suffering are caused by our ignorance, greed, hatred, arrogant pride, doubt and wrong views, these are known as the six root delusions, and they give rise to all of our many mental afflictions. They are the cause of all the suffering in the world. If we want to be free from pain and suffering, we must do our very best to abandon the causes of pain and suffering.

All of us wish to experience happiness and wish to avoid suffering. But so often we live contrary to these wishes. We greedily chase after happiness as if it were something we can acquire, and get angry when we experience some form of suffering.

We need to change the way we think and behave. We need to study, contemplate and understand the universal Law of Karma, of cause and effect. If we want to be happy and not unhappy, we must maintain a mind that is free of delusion, greed and anger, a mind that is wise, open and loving.

We should avoid all extremes, practice the middle path, which consists of perfect understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration.

Transcend the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. Practise the eight-fold path. Train yourself in morality to live a pure and sacred life. Train yourself in meditation to develop awareness, attention and focus. Train yourself in wisdom to perceive things as they are.

Morality training consists of right speech, action and livelihood. Right speech means speech free from lying, slandering, using harsh language and gossip. Right action means actions free from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. To act with respect for life, generosity and care. Right livelihood means to abstain from trading in anything that would bring harm to ourselves and others. Our virtue should always out-weigh material gain.

Meditation training consists of right effort, mindfulness and concentration. Right effort means to do ones best diligently toward the right direction. The effort to overcome and avoid unwholesome thoughts, and to develop and maintain only wholesome thoughts. Right mindfulness means to maintain a pure and thoughtful mind, mindfulness in regards to body, feelings, mind and mind objects. Right concentration means to keep the mind clear and tranquil for its concentration, seeking to realise the minds pure essence.

Wisdom training consists of right understanding and intention. Right understanding is the wisdom of clear vision. Seeing things as they are, to thoroughly understand the four noble truths, the law of karma and not to be deceived by appearances and desires. To look at ourselves and the world without delusions or distortions about reality. Right intention means the resolution not to cherish desires, be greedy or angry, and not to do any harmful deed. Intentions free from ignorance, attachment and aversion.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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GOOD Q&A TO TRANSCEND EXTREMES
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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Question: “Why is there pain in life?”

Answer: “Pain and suffering are caused by our ignorance, greed, hatred, arrogant pride, doubt and wrong views, these are known as the six root delusions, and they give rise to all of our many mental afflictions. They are the cause of all the suffering in the world. If we want to be free from pain and suffering, we must do our very best to abandon the causes of pain and suffering.

All of us wish to experience happiness and wish to avoid suffering. But so often we live contrary to these wishes. We greedily chase after happiness as if it were something we can acquire, and get angry when we experience some form of suffering.

We need to change the way we think and behave. We need to study, contemplate and understand the universal Law of Karma, of cause and effect. If we want to be happy and not unhappy, we must maintain a mind that is free of delusion, greed and anger, a mind that is wise, open and loving.

We should avoid all extremes, practice the middle path, which consists of perfect understanding, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration.

Transcend the extremes of eternalism and nihilism. Practise the eight-fold path. Train yourself in morality to live a pure and sacred life. Train yourself in meditation to develop awareness, attention and focus. Train yourself in wisdom to perceive things as they are.

Morality training consists of right speech, action and livelihood. Right speech means speech free from lying, slandering, using harsh language and gossip. Right action means actions free from killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. To act with respect for life, generosity and care. Right livelihood means to abstain from trading in anything that would bring harm to ourselves and others. Our virtue should always out-weigh material gain.

Meditation training consists of right effort, mindfulness and concentration. Right effort means to do ones best diligently toward the right direction. The effort to overcome and avoid unwholesome thoughts, and to develop and maintain only wholesome thoughts. Right mindfulness means to maintain a pure and thoughtful mind, mindfulness in regards to body, feelings, mind and mind objects. Right concentration means to keep the mind clear and tranquil for its concentration, seeking to realise the minds pure essence.

Wisdom training consists of right understanding and intention. Right understanding is the wisdom of clear vision. Seeing things as they are, to thoroughly understand the four noble truths, the law of karma and not to be deceived by appearances and desires. To look at ourselves and the world without delusions or distortions about reality. Right intention means the resolution not to cherish desires, be greedy or angry, and not to do any harmful deed. Intentions free from ignorance, attachment and aversion.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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GOOD Q&A TO REALISE FREEDOM

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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My brief answer follows below.

Question: “In the west capitalism dictates that our free will is determined by how much money we have. For example if we had more money we can pay for our tuition fees and college courses. Basically wisdom in western society is accessed by those who can afford it and are fortunate. Even free will itself is an illusion for a person can go left or right, downstream, but in that river we cannot swim back, we are determined to go one way regardless of our material, financial choices. What is freedom then? When the power to choose is either redundant or negligible?”

Answer: “Of utmost importance is our intention. The one thing we can control is our state of mind, no matter what the external conditions are in relation to our studies, chosen career path, hobbies and so forth. 

While it is true that we need money to achieve our goals in life, what is of more importance is having good intentions and having a clear vision of and insight into how we can achieve our goals, as well as making enthusiastic effort in the right direction towards fulfilling these goals. 

When it comes to inequality in relation to important aspects of life, such as education, may I add that equality and equal opportunity for all is essential to a peaceful and harmonious environment.

For us all to have peaceful and harmonious homes, communities, regions, countries and world, all people need to have equal opportunity to have access to the essentials in life. For there to be equality everywhere, all of the time.

All people have the basic right to have clean air to breath, water to drink, food to eat and sufficient shelter to protect us from the elements.

We all have the right to have equal opportunity in regards to education, medical assistance, work, transport and the like, as well as to have freedom of thought, speech and action. The right to live.

It is life that all people treasure the most, knowing this, how can we harm each other or deprive each other of the basic and essential rights and freedoms.

Inequality breeds frustration, confusion and conflict, whilst equality breeds contentment, peace and understanding.

So let’s create and maintain homes, communities, regions, countries and a world of equality and equal opportunity for all, and a peaceful and harmonious environment for us all to live in.

I hope your goals are achieved as swiftly as possible, based on pure intentions.

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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GOOD Q&A TO UNDERSTAND REBIRTH
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“A little while ago I was asked the following good question by a very thoughtful and conscientious young student, following a Dharma class. My very brief answer follows below.

Question: “How does reincarnation (rebirth) work in Buddhism?”

Answer: “All of our experiences, both mental and physical, including this life, as well as previous and future lives, are caused by our actions (karma) of body, speech and mind, in the past and present. Good actions produce desirable results, a good rebirth and good life conditions. Whereas bad actions produce undesirable results, a bad rebirth and bad life conditions. We are continually reborn, according to the results of our karma, in samsara (cyclic existence), until we realise the ultimate truth of enlightenment.”

I hope that these words, both the question and the answer, are somewhat helpful to you on your path to enlightenment.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

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WE ARE ONE
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“People have been migrating to and visiting many countries around the world for a very long time, and even more so these days with easier access to international travel, and with globalisation.

We are all human beings with the same potential to be compassionate and wise. In a multicultural society, if we are wise, we can learn from each other, widen our view of the world and the ways of the world.

We should be kind and friendly, and engage in peaceful and harmonious interaction, based on understanding.

Take for instance, to have a balanced and nutritious diet we need many different ingredients to provide us with the nutrients that we need to sustain our body and satisfy our tastes.

We can also consider how a beautiful garden has a variety of different flowers and plants, colours and fragrances.

Another example is that of an orchestra, which comprises many different musical instruments that need to be played in tune and in time with each other to make beautiful melodic and harmonious music.

So wherever we live it is most important to be virtuous, kind, friendly, harmonious, peaceful and understanding. May we all be well and happy.”

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~Dharma Master Andrew. J. Williams~

 

 

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