BuddhaSasana Home Page
English Section

FAQ -- Talk.Religion.Buddhism newsgroup

by John Kahila, June 1996


(*) Buddhism: Intro & Suggestions for newcomers to 
              talk.religion.buddhism (part 1/3)
(*) Buddhism: Common questions about Buddhism & glossary (part 2/3)
(*) Buddhism: Resources of possible interest to Buddhists (part 3/3) 


Buddhism: Intro & Suggestions for newcomers to talk.religion.buddhism (part 1/3)

Archive-name: buddhism-faq/intro
Posting-Frequency: monthly

                talk.religion.buddhism FAQ -- Part 1 of 3

Mind precedes its objects.  They are mind-governed and mind-made.
To speak or act with a defiled mind is to draw pain after oneself,
like a wheel behind the feet of the animal drawing it.

Mind precedes its objects.  They are mind-governed and mind-made.
To speak or act with a peaceful mind is to draw happiness after
oneself, like an inseparable shadow.

-- The Dhammapada (Richards' translation, see "resources" for info)


The FAQ is in three parts.  Part 1 gives a full table of contents.
The other two parts give only the contents for their sections.

Readers of this FAQ may also be interested in other FAQs mentioned in
the Resources section.


Subject: 1. Table of Contents, etc.

1. Table of Contents, etc.
        1.01 Introduction
        1.02 Significant changes in this edition of the FAQ
        1.03 How to obtain the most recent version of the FAQ
        1.04 How to suggest additions/corrections to the FAQ
        1.05 How to contact the FAQ maintainer
        1.06 Acknowledgments
        1.07 Disclaimer

2. Information for those new to the Net
        2.01 What are WWW, FTP, gopher, archie and veronica ...?
        2.02 About newsgroups
        2.03 Netiquette
        2.04 I am bothered by a person/topic.  What can I do?
        2.05 Ummm ... I'm afraid it's more serious than that.
        2.06 What is a killfile, and where can I get me one?
        2.07 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about crossposting?
        2.08 I only have email.  What can I do?
        2.09 My mailbox is unmanageable.  What can I do?
        2.10 Where can I find other FAQs?
        2.11 What's this "chat" thing I've heard about?

3. Occasionally asked questions
        3.01 Charter? What charter?
        3.02 What is the current flamewar about?
        3.03 Do Buddhists worship the Buddha as a deity?
        3.04 Do Buddhists believe in God?
        3.05 Do Buddhists believe in a soul?
                3.05.01 If there is no self, who am I talking to?
        3.06 Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?
                3.06.01 If there is no self, what is reborn?
        3.07 What does Buddhism say about sex?
        3.08 What does Buddhism say about homosexuality?
        3.09 What does Buddhism say about morality in general?
        3.10 Are all Buddhists vegetarians?
        3.11 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about not-self?
        3.12 What do you think of Hesse's _Siddhartha_?

4. Glossary
        4.01 Why don't you folks speak English?
        4.02 A note on spelling and usage
        4.03 A random selection of terms and names
        4.04 A random selection of abbreviations and smileys

5. Resources of possible interest to Buddhists
        5.01 Some Internet sites
        5.02 Online scriptures and related material
        5.03 Sites mostly devoted to specific practices
        5.04 Other sites of possible interest
        5.05 Mailing lists
        5.06 Electronic journals
        5.07 Newsgroups
        5.08 A random selection of books
        5.09 Bookstores, etc.
        5.10 Bulletin Boards, etc.
        5.11 Meditation Centers
        5.12 Overlapping interests
        5.13 Cults and other forms of abuse


Subject: 1.01 Introduction

This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) file for
talk.religion.buddhism.  It is posted monthly, on or near the first of
the month, to the following groups:
        alt.magick.tyagi (by request)

The purpose of the FAQ is to serve as a single source of (hopefully)
useful answers to common questions of several different types:
        "What does the term 'X' mean in Buddhism?"
        "Does Buddhism say anything about X?"
        "Are there Internet resources dealing with X?"
        "How can I do X on the Internet?"

It has finally been possible to check most of the links listed in the
FAQ.  They should once again be mostly current.  Still working on
getting the resource list up to date.


Subject: 1.02 Significant changes in this edition of the FAQ

Apart from section 3.02 (which is updated monthly), and apart from a
large number of updated URLs that it would be pointless to itemize,
the following changes have been made in the FAQ during the last month:

    * Four new occasionally asked questions
        3.05.01 If there is no self, who am I talking to?
        3.06.01 If there is no self, what is reborn?
        3.11 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about not-self?
        3.12 What do you think of Hesse's _Siddhartha_?

    * 5.01 Al Bloom's site now includes information about HAIB,
        an ecumenical Buddhist organization

    * 5.02 Bibliography of Buddhist scholarly works
    * 5.02 Much that is new and interesting at the IRIZ pages

    * 5.03 Kwan Um school of Zen

    * 5.04 Charley Muller's site now has more resources

    * 5.04 Indology home page

    * 5.07 Newsgroups
        ucb.org.chinese-buddhist-soc dropped from newsgroup list;
        we all make mistakes =8-O


Subject: 1.03 How to obtain the most recent version of the FAQ

The FAQ is archived, and is available by anonymous FTP from
rtfm.mit.edu /pub/usenet-by-group/talk.religion.buddhism/ and
rtfm.mit.edu /pub/usenet-by-group/news.answers/buddhism-faq/.
The FAQ is also archived at rtfm.mit.edu's mirror sites.

If you don't know what "anonymous FTP" is, see 2.01.  For information
on obtaining the FAQ by email, see 2.10.


Subject: 1.04 How to suggest additions/corrections to the FAQ

If there is a topic you would like to see covered in the FAQ, or if
you find any mistakes, please send email to the FAQ maintainer (see
next item).


Subject: 1.05 How to contact the FAQ maintainer

The current FAQ maintainer is John Kahila ([email protected])


Subject: 1.06 Acknowledgments

Many people have contributed to improving the FAQ -- more than can be
named (and some have asked not to be named).  Two people who deserve
special thanks are Hsuan Peng and Connie Neal, whose excellent
comprehensive resource list has made the FAQ maintainer's task easier.
See 5.01.


Subject: 1.07 Disclaimer

This is not an "official guide" (whatever that might be) to Buddhism.
It is only an effort on the part of the FAQ maintainer to provide
useful information.  Inevitably, both the selection and the
presentation of material is skewed by the FAQ maintainer's biases --
but hopefully not too much.

This FAQ does not represent the collective viewpoint of t.r.b.  There
may be errors.  You have been warned.


Subject: 2. Information for those new to the Net

This section is intended primarily for readers who are very new to
Internet services in general.  Many readers will want to just skim the
headings.  If your newsreader understands digest format (tin doesn't),
you should be able to do this painlessly (e.g., by using ^G in nn).


Subject: 2.01 What are WWW, FTP, gopher, archie and veronica ...?

If you are new to the Internet, please obtain a copy of FYI #4,
Answers to Commonly asked "New Internet User" Questions.  You may need
to "bootstrap" this process, by using one of the utilities you are
asking questions about.  This is not as mysterious as it sounds.

In what follows, the computer's side of the dialogue is indicated in
square brackets [].  Do not type that part in.  The indicated
dialogues are only approximate -- details may vary depending on

The rest is your side of the dialogue, which you *do* have to type in
(followed by pressing the Return or Enter key).  I have used my own
email address in the examples; you should substitute your own.

If you have a Web browser, set it to point at

If you have access to gopher, use the following
    gopher ds.internic.net [Connecting...Retrieving Directory...]
    cursor down to InterNIC Directory and Database Services (AT&T)/
        and press <Enter> [Connecting...Retrieving Directory...]
    cursor down to Internet Documentation (RFC's, FYI's, etc.)/
        and press <Enter> [Connecting...Retrieving Directory...]
    cursor down to FYI's (For Your Information RFC's)/
        and press <Enter> [Connecting...Retrieving Directory...]
    cursor down to fyi4.txt
        and press <Enter> [Connecting...Retrieving File...]
    Press s
    A form will pop up.  Just press <Enter>.
    Press q, followed by another q
    You will be asked if you really want to quit.  Answer y.

If you have access to FTP, use the following:
    ftp ds.internic.net
    [Connected to ds.internic.net]
    [A long welcome message.]
    [220 ds2.internic.net FTP server ready.]
    [Name (ds.internic.net:kahila):] anonymous
    [331 Guest login ok, send ident as password.]
    [Password:] [email protected]
    [230 Guest login ok, access restrictions apply.]
    [Remote system type is UNIX.]
    [Using binary mode to transfer files.]
    [ftp>] ascii
    [200 Type set to A.]
    [ftp>] cd fyi
    [250 CWD command successful.]
    [ftp>] get fyi4.txt
    [200 PORT command successful.]
    [150 Opening ASCII mode data connection for fyi4.txt (98753 bytes)]
    [226 Transfer complete]
    [101220 bytes received in 60.71 seconds (1.628 Kbytes/s)]
    [ftp>] bye
    [221 Goodbye.]

If you have only email access, send a message to
[email protected].  In the body of the message, put the line
    document-by-name /ftp/fyi/fyi4.txt
The document will be sent to you by an automatic mail server in two
pieces, which you will have to splice together yourself.

As of 27 March 1995, FYI4 had a size of 98753 bytes as a UNIX file and
101220 bytes as a PC file.  If you use the mail server, the two
received messages -- as of 27 March 1995, on UNIX -- have sizes of
67287 and 34803 bytes.  I don't know if the server is smart enough to
break them into smaller chunks for mail systems that require that; if
anybody knows the answer to this, please tell me.

FYI4 is sometimes cited by RFC number (currently RFC1594).  It is
possible to retrieve documents by RFC numbers, but you should not do
so in this case.  RFC numbers change if a document is revised, FYI
numbers do not.


Subject: 2.02 About newsgroups

If you are new to USENET newsgroups generally, please subscribe to
news.answers, news.announce.newusers and news.newusers.questions if
you have not already done so.  General questions about USENET (and
some other topics) are addressed regularly in these groups.  By
subscribing, you can learn a lot in a short time about how to use
Internet resources.

Other sources for information on USENET and the Internet in general
can be found at


Subject: 2.03 Netiquette

Consider reading "Emily PostNews Answers Your Questions on Netiquette"
if you haven't already done so.  It is available from many sites, e.g.
<https://www.clari.net/brad/emily.html>.  Besides being informative,
Emily is very funny (and becomes funnier as one learns more about how
news works).

Less whimsical guides can be found at various locations around the
Net, which you will probably see mentioned from time to time in
news.newusers.questions.  In particular, there is a more or less
"official" discussion of netiquette that can be found at
<https://ds.internic.net/fyi/> as FYI-28.  Recommended reading.

Please do not crosspost carelessly or broadly.  If you are replying to
something crossposted by somebody else, please ask yourself if the
original crosspost really needs to be preserved.

When responding to long posts (such as this one), please do not embed
the entire original post into your reply.  Preserve only what is
needed for context.  Many people pay for Internet service by the byte.

Newsgroups are public; email is private.  Many people consider it
extremely impolite, and an invasion of privacy, to post email to
newsgroups without the permission of all parties involved.  On the
other hand, remember that this is not a "rule"; it is only a
politeness guideline.  Don't say anything in email that you would not
want to have publicly displayed in a newsgroup, or your 15 minutes of
fame could be painful.

Please try to avoid debates of the "my religion is better than yours"
variety (is not! is too! not! too!).  If you feel like telling a
non-Buddhist what it is about the Dharma that enriches your life,
that's great.  But if you feel like ridiculing the person, please
think twice and reflect on the example that you will set.  If others
disparage your practice, try to respond with restraint and compassion.

Certain people in t.r.b. (including the FAQ maintainer) have been
known to modify the principle of the preceding paragraph when dealing
with missionaries.  Your conscience will have to be your guide.

Here are a few gentle thoughts on netiquette for Buddhists, adapted
from the Insight mailing list FAQ:

Keep discussions friendly.  View this newsgroup as an opportunity to
practice both ahimsa (harmlessness) and sati (mindfulness).  Let's use
the group as a means of offering encouragement and support to each
other in our shared exploration of Dharma.

Rule of thumb: When responding to a message to which you had a strong
emotional reaction -- irritation, ecstatic delight, anger, whatever --
wait a day or two to cool down a little before responding.  There is
no hurry.  Also keep in mind that silence often speaks louder than


Subject: 2.04 I am bothered by a person/topic.  What can I do?

If a post inspires an unpleasant (or even pleasant) feeling, it may be
instructive to examine how that feeling arises.  Phosphors on screens
have no independent power to influence thought.

Remember that newsgroups and email are very "flat."  There is very
little emotional context, unless somebody is flat-out raving.  Take a
few seconds to ask if the poster might have meant a remark humorously.

OK, you've read this far -- it's serious.  Your simplest choice is to
press the "next" key of your newsreader as soon as you recognize the
poster or the topic as an irritant.  If you aren't sure which key is
the "next" key for your newsreader, read the manual or ask someone who
works for your Internet service provider.  If you are tired of
pressing "next," or if that isn't an option for some reason, consider
using a killfile (see below).


Subject: 2.05 Ummm ... I'm afraid it's more serious than that.

There are three special cases that may require forceful action.

(1) If you are being personally harassed in some major way, and if the
offender does not respond to requests to stop, talk to your
administrator and communicate with the offender's administrator (your
administrator will know how to do this).  Persist until the problem is
fixed.  Most ISPs take a very dim view of having their systems used as
a platform for harassment.

(2) If somebody is crossposting 1700-line off-topic tracts to a large
number of unrelated groups including t.r.b., and does not respond to
requests to stop, talk to your administrator and communicate with the
offender's administrator.

(3) If spammers post off-topic ads to t.r.b. for things like
credit-rating repair services or legal "help" with Green Card
lotteries, consider putting them on the Advertisers Blacklist.
Information about the blacklist is available by anonymous FTP from
rtfm.mit.edu /pub/usenet-by-group/alt.answers/advertisers-blacklist
and also at <https://math-www.uni-paderborn.de/~axel/BL/>.  The latter
URL appears to be kept more current.

If you find it necessary to speak to a sysadmin other than your own,
remember that the sysadmin has a job and a life and -- at least in
case (2) -- may be trying to fend off dozens of complaints about the
same person all at once.  Be polite and clear in communications.
Provide supporting documentation where appropriate, but try to keep it
brief and readable.  If you submit examples of email messages or news
posts, *please include the complete headers* so that the sysadmin can
investigate the possibility of forgery.  Do not engage in dirty tricks
(like mailbombing) -- that will only increase the confusion, making
the original problem harder to solve and possibly getting you into
trouble.  Remember to consult your sysadmin -- two heads are better
than one, and you will be better protected against counter-complaints.


Subject: 2.06 What is a killfile, and where can I get me one?

Most newsreading software has some mechanism for filtering out
unwanted subjects and/or authors. For example, in tin you can press ^K
for pretty clear instructions.  In nn, the corresponding command is K.
For users of rn and trn, there is a FAQ on killfiles which should be
available at any FAQ site (e.g. by FTP from ftp.uni-stuttgart.de
/pub/doc/faq/news.newusers.questions/rn_KILL_file_FAQ).  For users of
Agent (an offline reader), version .99e supports killfiles.  For Mac
users, a newsreader that supports killfiles is available from

If you don't know how to set up a killfile, talk to your administrator
or someone else who is knowledgeable about how things are done at your
facility or on your system.  Please do not email the FAQ maintainer;
he can sympathize, but he knows less about your local setup than you do.


Subject: 2.07 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about crossposting?

Maybe so.  A well-planned crosspost does save resources (only one copy
of the message needs to be kept, instead of one per group).  And
velveeta is preferable to spam any day (see glossary).

However, a poorly-planned crosspost can cause problems even if the
original post was on-topic for all groups involved.  If a tree of
threads and subthreads develops, some of them will inevitably be
on-topic for only one group -- but all of the original groups will see
the thread unless someone remembers to change the addressing.

The problem just mentioned can be eliminated quite easily, by setting
the "Followup-To" line of a post so that it only points at one group.
This also has two nice side effects.  First, you won't have to look in
all of the original groups for replies that have gotten detached from
the thread.  Second, it identifies you as a non-newbie.  :-)

It's not a rule ... just a request to be thoughtful.


Subject: 2.08 I only have email.  What can I do?

A lot more than you think.

In the US, send email to [email protected].  Enter just
this one line in the body (not the subject line) of the message:

In Europe, send email to [email protected].  Enter just this one
line in the body (not the subject line) of the message:
   send lis-iis e-access-inet.txt

Elsewhere, use whichever site is closer to you.

You will receive the most recent version of the standard documentation
for accessing most Internet services (including newsgroups) by email.


Subject: 2.09 My mailbox is unmanageable.  What can I do?

Unix systems (and some others) support "mail filters."  These are
programs that can organize your mail into folders, so that it isn't
just one big jumble.  This can be a great blessing if you subscribe to
a large number of mailing lists.  The FAQ maintainer knows whereof he

Some popular Unix mail filters are "procmail", "mailagent" and
"filter".  Also, offline readers for PC users often support some form
of filtering.

Mail filters are sometimes also used to send unwanted mail from
specific senders to /dev/null (sort of the email equivalent of a
killfile).  Personally, the FAQ maintainer finds it easier to use the
'D' key in his mail reading program; but some people like the feature.

More info: <https://www.smartpages.com/faqs/mail/filtering-faq/faq.html>
Also available by anonymous ftp from ftp.ii.com

If you filter mail using Unix "filter", there is a very helpful guide
at <https://rohan.sdsu.edu/filter.html>.


Subject: 2.10 Where can I find other FAQs?

Here are a few locations for general FAQs:

In the last case, you can also use the symbolic link /usenet in place
of /pub/usenet-by-group.  Warning: symbolic links sometimes seem to
confuse Web browsers.  If Netscape (or whatever) gives you a cryptic
message like "URL not found", try using the actual link.

If the FAQ you want is archived at MIT, and if you know its name and
the full path needed to get to it, you can get a copy by email.  The
mail filter FAQ can be obtained by sending the message
        send usenet/news.answers/mail/filtering-faq
to [email protected].  The talk.religion.buddhism FAQ (all
three files at once) can be obtained by sending the message
        send usenet/talk.religion.buddhism/*
        send usenet/news.answers/buddhism-faq/*
to the same address.

A complete list of commands understood by the MIT mail server can be
obtained by sending the message
to the same address.


Subject: 2.11 What's this "chat" thing I've heard about?

Interactive Relay Chat (IRC) allows several users to send messages to
each other over a single "channel" in real time.  Some channels are
general free-for-alls.  Others are dedicated to specific topics.

There are two topic channels that may have special interest for
readers of t.r.b.  One is #tibet -- not sure when the channel operator
is around.  The other is #buddhist.  Try 'em out!

If you haven't used IRC before, here are some notes based on the Unix
IRCii client (if you use something else, consult the resource listed
in the next paragraph -- or better yet, consult someone who also uses
the same IRC client).  These notes are not entirely correct for
'advanced' users, but if you know what's wrong with them you don't
need my advice anyway. :-) Otherwise they will be good enough until
you know your way around.

If your system has an IRC client installed, just type IRC to get
started.  If your system does not have an IRC client installed, and
you want to know where to find one (or if you just want more info),
take a look at <https://www.kei.com/irc.html>.

IRC commands start with a forward slash (e.g., /help).  Anything typed
on a line that does not start with / will be sent to the channel(s)
you are on.

If you are new to IRC, it is *strongly* suggested that you look at all
of the following before doing anything else:
        /help intro
        /help newuser
        /help etiquette

Next, try something like /join #buddhist or /join #tibet followed by
/who * (note the asterisk) to find out if anyone other than yourself
is logged on.  If you are alone on the channel, try waiting around for
a bit -- if everybody just looked in and left, there would almost
never be two people on a channel at the same time!

To leave a channel, type /leave * (or just /join a new channel).  To
quit IRC altogether, type /exit or /quit or /bye.


(*) Buddhism: Intro & Suggestions for newcomers to 
              talk.religion.buddhism (part 1/3)
(*) Buddhism: Common questions about Buddhism & glossary (part 2/3)
(*) Buddhism: Resources of possible interest to Buddhists (part 3/3) 


Buddhism: Common questions about Buddhism & glossary (part 2/3)

Archive-name: buddhism-faq/questions
Posting-Frequency: monthly

                talk.religion.buddhism FAQ -- Part 2 of 3

                A centipede was happy quite,
                Until a frog in fun
                Said, "Pray, which leg comes after which?"
                This raised her mind to such a pitch,
                She lay distracted in the ditch
                Considering how to run.
                    - Anon (from Oxford Book of Verse for Children)


The FAQ is in three parts.  Part 1 gives a full table of contents.
The other two parts give only the contents for their sections.

Readers of this FAQ may also be interested in other FAQs mentioned in
the Resources section.


3. Occasionally asked questions
        3.01 Charter? What charter?
        3.02 What is the current flamewar about?
        3.03 Do Buddhists worship the Buddha as a deity?
        3.04 Do Buddhists believe in God?
        3.05 Do Buddhists believe in a soul?
                3.05.01 If there is no self, who am I talking to?
        3.06 Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?
                3.06.01 If there is no self, what reincarnates?
        3.07 What does Buddhism say about sex?
        3.08 What does Buddhism say about homosexuality?
        3.09 What does Buddhism say about morality in general?
        3.10 Are all Buddhists vegetarians?
        3.11 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about not-self?
        3.12 What do you think of Hesse's _Siddhartha_?

4. Glossary
        4.01 Why don't you folks speak English?
        4.02 A note on spelling and usage
        4.03 A random selection of terms and names
        4.04 A random selection of abbreviations and smileys


Subject: 3. Occasionally asked questions


Subject: 3.01 Charter? What charter?

Creation of a talk.religion.buddhism newsgroup was formally proposed
to news.announce.newgroups on 19 Aug 1994 by Than Vo ([email protected]).
The results of the vote were 386 YES and 31 NO, plus 1 abstention and
3 invalid ballots.

What follows is a lightly edited version of the charter as given in
Than's CFV of 21 Sep 1994. (The original can be found at ftp.uu.net


The newsgroup "talk.religion.buddhism" is open to the discussion of
all topics relating to Buddhism as a religion as well as a philosophy.

The objectives of this forum are:
    o To promote Buddhism as founded in India by Gotama Siddharta more
      than 2,500 years ago;
    o To promote the understanding of the teachings of Lord Sakyamuni
      Buddha, who, out of His great compassion towards all beings,
      showed the path to perfect enlightenment;
    o To propagate the Tipitaka teachings as found in the Pali Canon;
    o To collaborate with all schools and denominations of Buddhism in
      promoting the study and practice of Buddha's teachings;
    o To promote unity and solidarity of all Buddhists;
    o To promote mutual understanding, coordination and cooperation
      among Buddhists in all parts of the world;
    o To promote Buddhist traditions in developing spiritual values;
    o To promote the Buddhist virtues of Compassion, Wisdom and
      Courage for self-development;
    o To facilitate discussions on all aspects of Buddhism including,
      but not limited to, Buddhist schools and denominations, within
      and among Buddhist cultures.
    o To exchange and communicate understanding of the Buddha's
      teachings among the ordained, the laity and non-Buddhists;
    o To facilitate studies of Buddhist philosophy among scholars;
    o To facilitate dialogue in the form of questions and answers
      about Buddhism from non-Buddhist adherents of other religions.

All discussions shall be resolved in the spirit of Buddhism - in

Buddhism is one of the principal religions, with some 700 millions of
Buddhists all over the world.  There are also many scholars studying
Buddhism in universities.  There is a need for a channel of worldwide
communication for the Buddhist community -- a serious USENET newsgroup
dedicated to Buddhism in general -- so that lay people, ordained
Buddhists and non-Buddhists can communicate and exchange freely their
experiences and interests.  The newsgroup "talk.religion.buddhism" is
intended to provide such a needed facility.


Subject: 3.02 What is the current flamewar about?

Spring has sprung.  No time for flamewars.


Subject: 3.03 Do Buddhists worship the Buddha as a deity?

No.  The Buddha achieved perfect victory over the causes of rebirth.
His Parinirvana was 2500 years ago.  All that remain are relics and

Of course Buddhists have religious observances of many kinds,
including offerings of fruit and incense before Buddha-images.  These
practices are an expression of our shared faith and practice, and a
means of acquiring merit. They are not gestures of deference to a god.


Subject: 3.04 Do Buddhists believe in God?

Buddhism has been characterized as 'atheist' by the Pope and others --
but 'non-eternalist' is a more accurate term.  Deities are mentioned
many times in the scriptures.  People often interpret such references
metaphorically (especially in the West); but even if they are taken
literally, there is no conflict with the Teaching.

However, the idea of an eternal Creator God is contrary to the
Buddhist doctrines of anicca and anatta, and is flatly contradicted in
scripture (see, for example, the second section of the Brahmajala
Sutta, pp.75-83 of Walshe's translation of the Digha Nikaya).

Theists, agnostics and atheists are all welcome within Buddhism (and
in this group); Buddhists make up their own minds about the existence
or nonexistence of deities, if they get around to it.  Some people
find this question uninteresting, feeling that neither a 'yes' nor a
'no' answer contributes meaningfully to the elimination of suffering.
See also next item.


Subject: 3.05 Do Buddhists believe in a soul?

Some would say that questions like 3.04 and 3.05 are in the same
general category as "Does Nonexistence Exist?"  Such questions are
unanswerable.  But even if one does not take this stand, the semantics
of the questions are very difficult.

In both cases, someone who answers with a categorical "yes" needs to
reconcile the answer with the characteristics of conditioned
phenomena: unsatisfactoriness (dukkha), impermanence (anicca) and the
nonexistence of a substantial Self (anatta).  Those who answer with a
categorical "no" face a different set of problems, e.g. making sure
that what they are negating is the same as what is being affirmed by
the people to whom they are speaking. Suffice it to say that there are
ways to give a coherent sense to either answer, if one is so inclined.

Is there "something" that is experienced as a self having continuity
in time -- a self with will, and joy, and pain?  Of course there is,
there would be no need for the Buddha's teaching otherwise.  But is
there a permanent and substantial self?  Buddhist doctrine says no.

It is not possible to deal with this question adequately in a FAQ.
Those who are interested can try starting with _The Questions of
Milinda_, a classic Buddhist text in which the matter is considered in
some detail (see for instance 'The Distinguishing Marks' beginning at
page 34 of I.B. Horner's translation).


3.05.01 If there is no self, who am I talking to?

The word 'self' has a multitude of meanings in English.  Not all of
those meanings are relevant to the notion of self (//attaa//) that is
negated in the doctrine of anatta.

Sometimes 'self' is used in English to suggest a permanent identity
(or soul) of a type that would be foreign to Buddhist thought.  At
other times, 'self' is used only to denote a "conventional person" (as
in "make yourself at home"); this usage presents no problems.

Here is what the _Encyclopedia of Buddhism_ has to say on the subject
(from G.P. Malalasekera's article on anatta):

        Buddhism has no objection to the use of the words
        //attaa//, or //satta//, or //puggala//, to indicate
        the individual as a whole, or to distinguish, one
        person from another, where such distinction is
        necessary, especially as regards such things as 
        memory and kamma which are private and personal and
        where it is necessary to recognize the existence of
        separate lines of continuity (//santaana//).  But, 
        even so, these terms should be treated only as labels, 
        binding-conceptions and conventions in language, 
        assisting economy in thought and world and nothing 
        more.  Even the Buddha uses them sometimes.


Subject: 3.06 Do Buddhists believe in reincarnation?

People who ask this question usually mean transmigration of souls.
People who answer it sometimes mean rebirth.  This can lead to

Buddhism does not teach transmigration of souls, nor does it teach
against it (see 3.05).  As long as the 'soul' is regarded as just a
bundle of transient phenomena, subject to arising and passing away,
transmigration is not objectionable.  Of course, that gives both
'soul' and 'reincarnation' meanings quite different from the ones
usually intended by people of other faiths, which can lead to
miscommunication; thus it is probably best to avoid this usage.

If 'soul' is taken in its usual popular sense -- an eternal unchanging
something, or a spark of an eternal unchanging perfect Someone -- then
the scriptures and commentaries are unanimous in denying its

        For there is suffering, but none who suffers;
        Doing exists although there is no doer;
        Extinction is but no extinguished person;
        Although there is a path, there is no goer.
                -- Buddhaghosa, Visuddhimagga XIV 90 (tr. Nanamoli)

Usually, someone who uses the word 'reincarnation' means the
"re-instantiation" of a substantial and permanent personal essence of
some kind -- an atman, or a soul in the sense of some Western
religions.  The existence of such a thing is rejected in the suttas
(except as a convention), and is categorically denied in the
Abhidhamma.  Discussion of the transmigration of something that
doesn't exist is pointless.

Buddhism *does* teach liberation from rebirth.  Rebirth in this
context means bondage to the causes of suffering, not renewed physical
embodiment of a permanent spiritual substance in the form of an animal
or human.


3.06.01 If there is no self, what is reborn?

One traditional view is that karma and its results "belong" to a
particular life continuum, not to the "person" identified with that
life continuum in our minds at any particular time.  The standard
comparison is to a candle: if the flame from one candle is transferred
to another, the second flame is "neither the same nor different"; it
may have different fuel, but it is still causally connected to the
first flame.


Subject: 3.07 What does Buddhism say about sex?

Monks, nuns and other ordained persons may (or may not) be expected to
observe strict celibacy, depending on the sect they belong to.

The laity of most traditions are expected to observe the Precepts,
which call for *nonharmful* sexual behavior.  At a minimum, this means
refraining from sexual behavior that is a cause of non- mindfulness
and suffering, our own or anyone else's.  In some Buddhist countries
it may mean other things as well, reflecting the prevailing values of
the cultures involved.  Such cultural overlays vary from country to

If your interest is primarily cultural, you may be able to find a
knowledgeable person in a pertinent soc.culture.* group.  Please do
not crosspost soc.culture.* messages to t.r.b.  If you receive
information from soc.culture.* that you feel would be of general
interest to readers of this newsgroup, please post a separate summary
to t.r.b. instead.


Subject: 3.08 What does Buddhism say about homosexuality?

Homosexual behavior is off-limits to ordained persons in traditions
that follow traditional monastic rules (Vinaya).  However, *all*
sexual behavior is off-limits in this case; homosexuality is merely
one of the forms of proscribed behavior that is explicitly mentioned.

Where lay people are concerned, Buddhism says nothing about
homosexuality.  Individual Buddhists or Buddhist cultures may have
views on the subject, but such views are not germane to this FAQ.  A
good historical overview can be found in _Buddhism, Sexuality and
Gender_ (Jose Ignacio Cabezon, ed.); see booklist in Part 3.

As a general rule, Buddhists of most major traditions do not regard
sexual orientation as being terribly relevant to practice as long as
one's sexual behavior is in line with the precepts (see 3.07).


Subject: 3.09 What does Buddhism say about morality in general?

In Buddhism, unwholesome behavior is not a sign of defection to the
camp of a sinister being.  Nor is it a "sin" that brings upon us the
wrath of a vengeful God.

"Immoral" behavior is a product of mistaken view.  It is wrong not
because it violates some external set of laws handed down from on
high, but because it strengthens the bonds of clinging and engenders
suffering.  In Buddhism, unwholesome impulses are not things to be
violently suppressed by a schizoid act of will; they are to be noted
and understood.  As we come to recognize how mental defilements give
rise to unwholesome attitudes, we will be able to work on developing
wholesome attitudes instead.

If our behavior does harm, we can try to avoid the twin pitfalls of
self-protection and self-flagellation; both reinforce the myth of a
substantial self.  We can acknowledge errors, try to make amends, and
try to have compassion for ourselves as well as others.

So much for unwholesome behavior -- what about wholesome behavior?
For Buddhists, morality (sila) is behavior that is consistent with the
Eightfold Path (see glossary) -- in particular with those parts of the
Path that are concerned with body, speech and livelihood.

The moral code of Buddhism is summarized in the Precepts (see
glossary).  The Precepts are not "commandments" in the sense of some
Western religions.  They are rules of training, intended to help us
move closer to liberation and compassionate action.


Subject: 3.10 Are all Buddhists vegetarians?

No.  The First Precept admonishes us to refrain from killing, but meat
eating is not regarded as an instance of killing, and it is not
forbidden in the scriptures. (We are speaking here mainly of the Pali
scriptures.  Some of the Mahayana scriptures, notably the Lankavatara
Sutra, take a strong position in favor of vegetarianism.)

As recorded in the Pali scriptures, the Buddha did not prohibit
consumption of meat, even by monks.  In fact, he explicitly rejected a
suggestion from Devadatta to do so.  In modern Theravada societies, a
bhikkhu who adheres to vegetarianism to impress others with his
superior spirituality may be committing an infringement of the
monastic rules.

On the other hand, the Buddha categorically prohibited consumption of
the flesh of any animal that was "seen, heard or suspected" to have
been killed specifically for the benefit of monks (Jivaka Sutta,
Majjhima Nikaya 55).  This rule technically applies only to monastics,
but it can be used as a reasonable guide by devout lay people.

To understand this "middle path" approach to meat-eating, we have to
remember that there were no "Buddhists" in Shakyamuni's time.  There
were only mendicants of various kinds (including the Buddha's
disciples), plus lay people who gave them alms out of respect without
necessarily worrying about the brand name of the teachings.

If meat was what a householder chose to offer, it was to be accepted
without discrimination or aversion.  To reject such an offering would
be an offense against hospitality and would deprive the householder of
an opportunity to gain merit -- and it could not benefit the animal,
because it was already dead.  Even the Jains may have had a similar
outlook during the same period of history, despite the strict doctrine
of ahimsa.

Vegetarianism could not become a source of serious controversy in the
bhikkhu sangha until the rise of fixed-abode monastic communities in
which the monks did not practice daily alms-round.  Any meat provided
to such a community by lay people would almost certainly have been
killed specifically for the monks.  That may be one reason for the
difference in Mahayana and Theravada views on meat eating -- the
development of monastic communities of this type occurred principally
within Mahayana.

The issue of meat eating raises difficult ethical questions.  Isn't
the meat in a supermarket or restaurant killed "for" us?  Doesn't meat
eating entail killing by proxy?

Few of us are in a position to judge meat eaters or anyone else for
"killing by proxy."  Being part of the world economy entails "killing
by proxy" in every act of consumption.  The electricity that runs our
computers comes from facilities that harm the environment.  Books of
Buddhist scriptures are printed on paper produced by an industry that
destroys wildlife habitat.  Worms, insects, rodents and other animals
are routinely killed en masse in the course of producing the staples
of a vegetarian diet.  Welcome to samsara.  It is impossible for most
of us to free ourselves from this web; we can only strive to be
mindful of entanglement in it.  One way to do so is to reflect on how
the suffering and death of sentient beings contributes to our comfort.
This may help us to be less inclined to consume out of mere greed.

All of that having been said, it cannot be denied that the economic
machine which produces meat also creates fear and suffering for a
large number of animals.  It is useful to bear this in mind even if
one consumes meat, to resist developing a habit of callousness.  Many
Buddhists (especially Mahayanists) practice vegetarianism as a means
of cultivating compassion.  The Jivaka Sutta hints that one could also
make a good case for vegetarianism starting from any of the other
brahmaviharas (see Glossary).  Interestingly, it is loving-kindness
rather than compassion that is mentioned first in the Jivaka Sutta.

If you are considering trying out vegetarianism for the first time, we
suggest discussing it with someone who has experience.  There are a
few issues that ought to be considered regarding balanced diet, etc.


3.11 Aren't you being a bit obsessive about not-self?

Maybe so.  It is possible to get carried away with the doctrine of
anatta, seeing it as justification for a view that is very close to
scientific materialism.  Suffice it to say that this is not how most
Buddhists see things.  It would be very difficult to put together any
kind of coherent doctrine of moral responsibility if a person was just
a disaggregated assemblage of momentary phenomena.  However, the
doctrine of anatta tends to receive strong emphasis among Buddhists
for several reasons.

First, many people who seek to understand Buddhism come from religious
backgrounds in which it is customary to speak of a permanent soul.  Of
course it is not necessary to be a Buddhist to study Buddhism, and
disbelief in a soul is not a "requirement" for intellectual
understanding (any more than belief in one is a requirement for an
intellectual understanding of Christianity).  But understanding is not
likely to be furthered if one attempts to find an "esoteric" soul
doctrine of some kind in the teaching.

Second, although Buddhism does not agree with the moral nihilism that
some persons see in science (or at least in positivism), it seems that
scientific scepticism is more easily reconciled with anatta than with
at least some of the religious alternatives.

Finally, anatta is proclaimed in the scriptures as one of the two
distinctive teachings of the Buddhas (the other being the Four Noble
Truths, see Majjhima Nikaya 56.18 [I.380]).  Much of Buddhist thought
is consistent with other systems of Indian religion and philosophy;
but these two doctrines are unique.


3.12 What do you think of Hesse's _Siddhartha_?

This is a nice book that says a lot about Hesse's views about
spirituality and freedom.  But it does not say a whole lot about
Buddhism, nor did Hesse intend for it to do so.  The main character in
_Siddhartha_ is *not* the Buddha -- in fact, the Siddhartha of the
title meets the Buddha and ultimately decides to follow a different

_Siddhartha_ has about the same relationship to orthodox Buddhism that
Nikos Kazantzakis' _The Last Temptation of Christ_ has to orthodox
Christianity -- which is to say, it's a good read but not exactly
canonical.  :-)


Subject: 4. Glossary

The following glossary is offered to help with words sometimes seen in
posts in t.r.b.  This list is not intended to be comprehensive or
doctrinally precise -- the definitions given here are only intended
as a rough guide, to orient readers who are unfamiliar with the

If you believe important terms are missing, feel free to email the FAQ
maintainer with suggestions.

NOTE:  Some proper names and sects are included here.  Most are not.
Inclusion in the glossary does not reflect the FAQ maintainer's
opinion (or anybody else's) of the importance of a person or sect.  At
most, it only reflects the history of discourse in t.r.b.  If you want
a glossary entry for Vairocana, start a thread and it may happen.

The abbreviation guide is for those who haven't yet gotten used to
BTW, IMHO, etc.


Subject: 4.01 Why don't you folks speak English?

Buddhism has several canonical languages.  The chief ones are Pali
(the main language of the Theravada canon) and Sanskrit (the main
language of the Mahayana canon).  Other languages that are sometimes
encountered: Sinhalese (Sri Lanka), Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan.
(These are not all of the languages of Buddhism -- they are only the
languages of the earliest versions of key scriptures and commentaries.)

Terms transliterated from Asian languages have an undeniable in-group
appeal -- but there are other (and better) reasons for using them.

One reason is simply that these "foreign" terms have the authority of
2500 years of tradition in many cases, and are understood by members
of all Buddhist traditions (even if their first language is something
like Finnish or Swahili).

Another reason is that the words that would have to be used to render
a Pali or Sanskrit technical term into English (or any other living
language) are inevitably freighted with unintended meanings.  The
advantage of using a "dead" language is that semantic precision
becomes less of a moving target.


Subject: 4.02 A note on spelling and usage

In cases where more than one choice for a word is available, the FAQ
maintainer has a tendency to favor Pali.  Some attempt has been made
to indicate equivalent terms in other languages, but this has not been
done in all cases.  If you find another spelling more natural, send
email to the FAQ maintainer so that the alternative spelling can be

No attempt has been made to preserve diacritical marks.


Subject: 4.03 A random selection of terms and names

Note:  A number of the following definitions are adapted from
Nyanatiloka's _Buddhist Dictionary_.  Readers who are looking for
(Pali) terms not defined here, or who need more precise definitions or
references to the scriptures, are encouraged to consult Nyanatiloka.
The Nanamoli/Bodhi translation of the Majjhima Nikaya also contains
discussions of many terms.  (See book list in section 5 for more info.)

aggregate(s) - See khandha.

alaya-vijnana - Usually rendered 'storehouse consciousness'.  In
Yogacara philosophy, this is the underlying stratum of existence that
is 'perfumed' by volitional actions and thus 'stores' the moral
effects of kamma.  Note that it is regarded as a conditioned
phenomenon, not as a 'soul' in the sense of Western religion.  The
theory is most fully elaborated by Vasubandhu in
//Vij~napti-maatrataa-tri.msikaa// and by Dharmapala in
//Vij~napti-maatrataa-siddhi-"saastra//.  The doctrine of
alaya-vijnana greatly influenced Chinese Buddhism and sects derived
from it (e.g. Zen).  See also bhavanga.

Amitabha Buddha (Jap. Amida butsu) - 'Limitless Light.'  In Mahayana,
the Buddha of the Western Paradise (the Pure Land).  Also encountered
in the aspect of Amitayuh (or Amitayus), 'Limitless Life.'  Pure Land
Buddhists practice recitation of the name of Amitabha.

anatta (Skt. anatman) - No-self. One of the Three Characteristics (q.v.).

anicca (Skt. anitya) - Impermanence.  One of the Three Characteristics.

antinomianism - The idea that the Elect are above the moral law (as in
some versions of 'justification by faith not by works').

arahant (Skt. arhat) - One who has attained enlightenment.

asava - a 'taint' that obstructs progress toward enlightenment.  The
Abhidhamma lists four asavas (perhaps for convenient identification
with the four supramundane paths?): sensual desire, desire for eternal
existence, speculative opinions and ignorance.  The Suttas usually
list only three asavas, omitting explicit mention of the taint of
speculative opinions (but it is referred to implicitly, e.g. at MN 2).

Avalokiteshvara (Tib. Chenrezi, Chin. Kwan-Yin or Guanyin, Jap. Kannon) -
Mahayana Bodhisattva of Compassion

avijja (Skt. avidya) - ignorance

bhavanga - Sometimes rendered 'life-stream'.  In Theravada Buddhism,
this is the underlying stratum of existence that is used to explain
memory and other 'temporal' phenomena such as moral accountability.
It is described by Buddhaghosa and others as the natural condition of
mind, bright and shining and free from impurity.  Note that it is
regarded as a conditioned phenomenon, not as a 'soul' in the sense of
Western religion.  (The Sarvastivadin/Mahayana treatment of bhavanga
is different.)  See also alaya-vijnana.

bhikkhu, bhikkhuni (Skt. bhikshu, bhikshuni) - monk, nun

bodhisattva (Pali bodhisatta) - A future Buddha.

brahmaviharas - Four "sublime abidings" (lit. 'abodes of Brahma') that
accompany spiritual development, consisting of compassion, loving
kindness, sympathetic joy for others, and equanimity toward the
pleasant and the unpleasant.

Buddha - The Enlightened (or Awakened) One.  The First Refuge of the
Triple Gem.

Chogye (alt. Jogye) - largest Buddhist sect in Korea

conditioned phenomena - Phenomena (dhammas) constituted of the five
khandas (Skt. skandhas), objects for paticcasamuppada (Skt.
pratityasamutpada), subject to arising and passing away.  With a
handful of exceptions (notably Enlightenment itself), all phenomena
fall into this category.

daimoku - The practice of chanting "Nam (or Namu) Myoho Renge Kyo" in
Japanese Lotus Sutra Buddhism.  Myoho Renge Kyo is the sutra's name in

(His Holiness the 14th) Dalai Lama - Leader of the Tibetan people in
exile.  Vajrayana Buddhists regard him as the living embodiment of
Avalokiteshvara (q.v.).  Most other Buddhists, including Theravadins,
revere him as a teacher of very high spiritual attainment who works
tirelessly for peace and goodwill.

dana - The practice of giving to accumulate merit.

defilement - see kilesa

dependent arising, dependent origination - See paticcasamuppada.

dharma (Pali dhamma) - When spelled this way (not capitalized), means
roughly "phenomenon."

Dharma (Pali Dhamma) - When spelled this way (capitalized), refers to
the Teachings of the Buddha.  The Second Refuge of the Triple Gem.

dukkha - Often rendered as "suffering," but can span the whole range
from excruciating pain to not-getting-what-I-want.  One of the Three
Characteristics (q.v.).

(Noble) Eightfold Path - The Path of the Fourth Noble Truth: Right
Understanding, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Attitude, Right
Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.

epistemology - In philosophy, the study of the nature and limits of

fetter - See samyojana.

Five Aggregates - See khandha.

Four Noble Truths - Suffering.  Suffering has a cause.  Suffering has
an end.  There is a path that leads to the cessation of suffering (see
Eightfold Path).

Gautama (alt. Gotama) - Family name of the Buddha.

Heart Sutra - The Prajnaparamita Hridaya Sutra, one of several
"perfection of wisdom" sutras in the Mahayana scriptures.
Calculatedly paradoxical in its language ("there is no suffering,
cause, cessation or path").  Central to most Mahayana schools.

hermeneutics - The science of interpretation or exegesis of Scripture.

Hinayana - Lesser Vehicle.  According to Walshe, this term was
originally coined by Mahayana polemicists to distinguish their path
(seen as a 'greater vehicle' with room for all) from the path of the
Sarvastivadins (seen as a 'lesser vehicle' with room for only one at a
time).  Over time, it came to be applied to the only surviving member
of the original 'eighteen schools' of Southern Buddhism, Theravada
(q.v.).  Many Buddhists prefer the term Theravada, because 'Hinayana'
is perceived to have negative connotations.

hindrance - see nivarana; not to be confused with nirvana. :-)

insight meditation -- See vipassana.

Jodo - Japanese Pure Land Buddhism.

Jodo Shinshu - The largest Jodo sect in modern Japan (in fact, the
largest Buddhist sect of any kind in Japan, as far as the FAQ
maintainer knows).  See Shinran Shonin.

karma (Pali kamma) - Literally, "action."  Often translated "cause and

karuna - Compassion.  One of the brahmaviharas.

khandha (Skt. skandha) - One of the Five Aggregates of Clinging:
matter (rupakhandha), sensations (vedanakhandha), perceptions
(sannakhandha), mental formations (sankharakhandha), consciousness
(vinnanakhandha).  A starting point for Buddhist psychology.

kilesa (Skt. klesha) - one of ten 'defilements' that are to be
overcome through training, viz. greed, hate, delusion, conceit,
speculative views, skeptical doubt, mental torpor, restlessness, lack
of shame, and lack of moral dread.  (A related term, upakkilesa, is
also sometimes translated as 'defilement' but 'impurities' may be
preferable in that case.  Nyanatiloka's dictionary has a discussion.)

Lotus Sutra - The Saddharmapundarika Sutra, one of the Mahayana
scriptures.  Lotus Sutra Buddhists sometimes practice recitation of
the title of the sutra.  See daimoku.

mappo - A prophesied end time of decadent Dharma in Japan.  Several
Buddhist traditions that arose in 12th century Japan (notably the
practices of Nichiren and Shinran) are historically unintelligible
unless seen against the backdrop of this prophecy.

Mahayana - Greater Vehicle.  The northern branch of Buddhism.  More
doctrinally liberal than Theravada (recognizes several non-historical
sutras as canonical -- it should be noted, however, that even
Theravada gives canonical authority to some non-historical works, such
as the Jatakas or the Abhidhamma for that matter).  Strong focus on
alleviation of suffering of all sentient beings.

metta - Loving kindness.  One of the brahmaviharas.

mettabhavana - A meditation practice that develops loving kindness
toward all sentient beings.

mindfulness - See sati.

mudita - Sympathetic joy.  One of the brahmaviharas.

nembutsu - The practice of chanting "Namu Amida Butsu" in Japanese
Pure Land Buddhism.  See Amitabha.

Nichiren Daishonin - Twelfth-century founder of a practice that is the
basis of a number of Lotus Sutra (q.v.) sects in Japan.

Nichiren Shoshu - A Nichiren sect founded in Japan in the foothills of
Mt. Fuji in the 13th century.  Its head temple is Taisekiji Temple.

Nichiren Shu - A Nichiren sect founded in Japan at Mt. Minobu in the
13th century.  Its head temple is Kuonji Temple.

nirhoda - Cessation.  (Specifically, the cessation of suffering in the
Third Noble Truth.)

nirvana (Pali nibbana) - Absolute extinction of suffering and its causes.

nivarana - One of five 'hindrances' that obstruct the development of
concentration and insight: sensual desire, ill will, sloth-and-torpor,
restlessness and skeptical doubt.  The scriptures compare them
respectively to water mixed with colors, boiling water, water covered
by moss, water whipped by wind, and muddy water.

ontology - In philosophy, the branch of metaphysics that deals with
the notion of Being per se, as opposed to specific instances of it
(such as God).  Buddhist philosophy is somewhat allergic to the
notion of Being in the sense of Western and/or Hindu philosophy, so
most of what passes for ontological discourse in other philosophies
would be considered unintelligible in Buddhism.

parinirvana (Pali parinibbana) - The end of the Buddha's physical
existence (i.e., his death).

paticcasamuppada (Skt. pratityasamutpada) - Dependent origination.
The twelve-stage process that leads from ignorance to rebirth.

pratyekabuddha (Pali paccekabuddha) - A 'solitary awakened one'.
Sometimes used as a term of reproof, to refer to students who get
entangled in personal striving for illumination.  One of the
characteristic marks of pratyekabuddhas is that they do not teach.

Precepts - A basic set of standards for moral conduct:  to refrain
from killing, stealing, harmful sexual behavior, lying and the use of
intoxicants.  These are the five "normal" precepts for the laity; more
extensive sets may apply to persons in special circumstances, e.g. the
monastic community.

Pure Land - See Amitabha.

samadhi - Concentration (as in the 'right concentration' of the
Eightfold Path).  A state of one-pointedness of mind achievable
through certain forms of meditation.

samatha (Skt. shamatha) - 'Calmness' meditation, a set of techniques
for developing one-pointedness of mind.  Cf. samadhi and sati.

samsara - (lit. 'wandering together')  The wheel of suffering and

samyojana -  one of ten 'fetters' that tie beings to the wheel of
birth and death.  They are:  belief in a substantial self, skeptical
doubt, clinging to rules and ritual, sensual craving, ill will,
craving for fine-material existence, craving for immaterial existence,
conceit (mana), restlessness and ignorance.  The first five are the
'lower' fetters; the second five are the 'upper' fetters.  In the
Stream Enterer the first three fetters have been destroyed; in the
Once-Returner the next two are weakened, and in the Non-Returner they
are destroyed; in the Arahant all fetters have been destroyed.

Sangha - A word with several associations.  One meaning refers
specifically to the Aryasangha (Pali Ariyasangha -- those who have
attained to the supramundane Path).  Another meaning is the patimokkha
sangha -- the community of ordained monks and nuns.  Western
Mahayanists sometimes use the word in yet a third sense, to refer to
the "mahasangha" -- the community of all believers.  The Sangha that
is referred to in the Triple Gem is the Ariyasangha; from an orthodox
viewpoint (whether Theravada or Mahayana), beings who have not cut off
the defilements are not a satisfactory object of refuge.

sati (Skt. smrti, Jap. nen) - Mindfulness (as in the 'right
mindfulness' of the Eightfold Path).  Consciousness of/attention to
experience here and now.  Cf. vipassana and samadhi.

Satipatthana Sutta - The Discourse on the Basis of Mindfulness, a
fundamental Buddhist scripture describing methods of meditation.
(Also cited by its Digha Nikaya title: Mahasatipatthana Sutta = the
Greater Discourse on the Basis of Mindfulness.)

sensei - Teacher.  Title of respect in Japan.

Shakyamuni - Sage of the Shakya clan.  Common epithet of the Buddha.

Shingon - A Japanese Vajrayana sect.

Shinran Shonin - Twelfth-century founder of Jodo Shinshu.

skandha - see khandha.

skillful means - Creating good causes for sentient beings to enter
onto the Path.  This includes practicing the five perfections,
explaining the Dharma in language a hearer can understand, etc.

Siddhartha (Pali Siddhatta) - Personal name of the Buddha.

Soka Gakkai International (SGI) - A Buddhist lay organization founded
in the 20th century and formerly affiliated with Nichiren Shoshu.
Its headquarters is located in Tokyo.

soteriology - The study of salvation.

spam - Usenet slang for posting the same message (separately) to a
large number of groups, usually ones for which the message is totally
off-topic.  Frequently combined with trolling (q.v.) in order to
maximize the effect.  Also popular with mass advertisers.  Not to be
confused with velveeta (q.v.).

sublime abidings - See brahmaviharas.

sutra (Pali sutta) - In Theravada, a historical discourse of the
Buddha as passed down by oral tradition and ultimately committed to
writing (the Suttapitaka was not actually compiled in written form
until circa 80 B.C.E., around the same time as the earliest Mahayana
sutras were set down in writing).  In Mahayana, the set of canonical
sutras is enlarged to include some nonhistorical sermons -- the Heart
Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, etc.

taint - see asava.

Tathagata - The Thus-Gone One.  An epithet of the Buddha.

thera, theri - elder monk, elder nun.

Theravada - The Way of the Elders.  The southern branch of Buddhism.
More doctrinally conservative than Mahayana (narrower conception of
what is canonical).  Strong focus on correct practice and right conduct.

Thich Nhat Hanh - A contemporary Vietnamese Zen monk and campaigner
for peace.  Among other things, he has suggested a 'positive'
interpretation of the Precepts: Reverence for Life, Generosity, Sexual
Responsibility, Deep Listening and Loving Speech, and Mindful

Three Characteristics - All conditioned phenomena are unsatisfactory,
impermanent and devoid of Self.

Three Poisons - Used as a synonym for the three unwholesome roots
(q.v.).  We are not aware of any use of this precise expression in the
Pali Canon, but the English usage is fairly well established.  Not to
be confused with the 'taints' (see asava).

Three Unwholesome Roots - three conditions that determine the moral
quality of unskillful volitional actions, viz. greed (lobha), hate
(dosa) and delusion (moha).  Sometimes translated in other ways,
e.g. lust, ill-will and ignorance.  See also kilesa.

Three Wholesome Roots - three conditions that determine the moral
quality of skillful volitional actions, viz. non-greed, non-hate and

Tipitaka (Skt. Tripitaka) - The Three Baskets of Buddhist scripture,
comprised of the Suttapitaka (the discourses), the Vinayapitaka (rules
governing the monastic order) and the Abhidhammapitaka (Buddhist
psychology).  There are significant differences between the Theravada
and Mahayana canons.

Triple Gem - The Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

trolling - Usenet slang for the act of posting something incendiary,
with the intent of provoking argument.

upekkha - Equanimity.  One of the brahmaviharas.

Vajrayana - Sometimes translated Thunderbolt Vehicle (or Diamond
Vehicle).  A development of Mahayana Buddhism that includes several
features of Indian philosophy not found elsewhere (e.g., tantric
yoga).  Strong emphasis on teacher-student relationship.

velveeta - A product that is rumored to resemble cheese.  Also Usenet
slang for the practice of crossposting a message to a large number of
unrelated groups.

vetulyavada - This term or one of its cognates (vetulyaka, vetullaka,
vaipulyavada, etc.) is found in a few Theravada sources, e.g. at
Kathavatthu XXIII.  Originally, the terms designated a pre- (possibly
proto-) Mahayana doctrine that was regarded as heretical by the more
orthodox.  Later, some Theravada writers may have adopted it as a
polemical label for Mahayana per se -- which is reminiscent of the
history and use of the word 'hinayana' by certain Mahayana writers.
See hinayana.

vipassana (Skt. vipashyana) - Insight, seeing things as they are.
Also used to refer to insight meditation, a technique that develops
attention to the arising and passing away of conditioned phenomena
(Theravada) or attention to the emptiness of conditioned phenomena

Zen (Chin. Ch'an) - A Buddhist tradition founded in China as a result
of the teaching of Bodhidharma, circa 475 C.E.  Found today mostly in
Vietnam, Japan and Korea (and of course various centers in the West).


Subject: 4.04 A random selection of abbreviations and smileys

Some common abbreviations found in all newsgroups:

AFAIK   As far as I know
(O)BTW  (Oh,) By the way
FAQ     Frequently Asked Question (or a document addressing such)
FWIW    For what it's worth
        In my (((ever/not/oh) so) humble) opinion
ng      newsgroup (often uncapitalized)
OTOH    On the other hand
RO(T)FL Rolling on (the) floor laughing
YHBT    You have been trolled (i.e., you have fallen for a provocative
        post from somebody who was out to create a bit of mischief)
YMMV    Your mileage may vary

Some common abbreviations on the Buddhist newsgroups:

BCE     Before current (or common) era; synonymous with B.C.
CE      Current (or common) era; synonymous with A.D.
DN      Digha Nikaya, one of the collections of suttas in the Sutta
        Pitaka (see tipitaka in glossary; also book list)
HH(DL)  His Holiness (the 14th Dalai Lama)
MN      Majjhima Nikaya, one of the collections of suttas in the Sutta
        Pitaka (see tipitaka in glossary; see also book list)

Some smileys:

<g>     short for <grin>, indicates humorous intent
:-)     "normal" smiley (humorous intent ... look at it sideways)
;-)     "winking" smiley (somewhat more impish intent)
:-(     unsmiley (regret)
:)  ;)  :(
        same as the preceding, for people who don't know where the '-'
        key is on international keyboards :-)
=8-O    Yikes!

More comprehensive lists of abbreviations and smileys are available at
various places on the Net.  One good source for smileys (and many
other things) is the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
        <https://www.eff.org/> (EFF home page)
        <https://www.eff.org/papers/eegtti/eeg-286.html> (smileys)


(*) Buddhism: Intro & Suggestions for newcomers to 
              talk.religion.buddhism (part 1/3)
(*) Buddhism: Common questions about Buddhism & glossary (part 2/3)
(*) Buddhism: Resources of possible interest to Buddhists (part 3/3) 

Buddhism: Resources of possible interest to Buddhists (part 3/3)

Archive-name: buddhism-faq/resources
Posting-Frequency: monthly

                talk.religion.buddhism FAQ -- Part 3 of 3

                Intimacy in the society of the holy,
                Conversation in the society of the learned,
                And friendship with the unselfish.
                These will cause no regrets.
                                -- Nagarjuna


The FAQ is in three parts.  Part 1 gives a full table of contents.
The other two parts give only the contents for their sections.

Readers of this FAQ may also be interested in other FAQs mentioned in
the Resources section.


5. Resources of possible interest to Buddhists
        5.01 Some Internet sites
        5.02 Online scriptures and related material
        5.03 Sites mostly devoted to specific practices
        5.04 Other sites of possible interest
        5.05 Mailing lists
        5.06 Electronic journals
        5.07 Newsgroups
        5.08 A random selection of books
        5.09 Bookstores, etc.
        5.10 Bulletin Boards, etc.
        5.11 Meditation Centers
        5.12 Overlapping interests
        5.13 Cults and other forms of abuse


Subject: 5. Resources of possible interest to Buddhists

Much of the information that follows is a condensed version of Hsuan
Peng's excellent (and much more comprehensive) "Buddhist Internet
Pointers" list.  See 5.01.

The FAQ maintainer attempts to visit listed Net sites once in a while
to be sure that links are still valid, but it is not possible to
monitor all listed sites on a regular basis.  If you become aware of
changes, please send email to the FAQ maintainer so that the FAQ can
be updated.

This list is offered mainly as a service to those who do not have (or
have not yet learned how to use) the powerful search capabilities
available through some resources on the Internet.  If you have a Web
browser, you are better off generating a list yourself; it will be
more focused and more up to date, and you will not be constrained by
the FAQ maintainer's tastes.  There are many good free search services
available.  Three of them are:
        Lycos           <https://lycos.cs.cmu.edu/>
        WebCrawler      <https://netcrawler.com/>
        InfoSeek        <https://www2.infoseek.com/>

Note: InfoSeek runs two services.  The one listed here is free; the
other is not.  If any problems arise because of inadvertent confusion
of the two services, send an email note to InfoSeek and they will be
happy to straighten things out.


Subject: 5.01 Some Internet sites

The Number One nifty site has to be the Coombs Virtual Library, at the
Australian National University.  It has links to all sorts of stuff,
plus a wealth of information of its own related to a vast range of
traditions and topics.

Access To Insight/DharmaNet Home Page

Australian BuddhaNet Home Page

Buddhist Internet Pointers (Hsuan Peng/Connie Neal resource list)
<ftp://ftp.louisville.edu/pub/it/listfiles/buddha-l/> text version

Buddhist scholarly resources

CEAL Buddhism page
Nicely organized, includes links to sources on China and other stuff.

A bunch of stuff in Chinese, including some sutra texts.  Some
nice GIFs.  Most of this needs special software (the cognoscenti
tell me it's in BIG-5).  For info on Chinese language, see 5.04.
<https://www.ee.ntu.edu.tw/~b83050/> slow link

Cornell AsiaLink
The /teaching/AAR_courses/ subdirectory contains materials related to
courses taught at Cornell on Zen and the Lotus Sutra.

Dharma Electronic Files Archive (DEFA)

HAIB - Ecumenical Buddhist site

Journal of Buddhist Ethics resource list

Mind Only Cafe

Schedules for a large number of dharma centers

Sitting meditation sites

Tiger Team Buddhist Information Network

Zen centers (a good worldwide list)


Subject: 5.02 Online scriptures and related material

Heart Sutra
Mahamangala sutta
(Should be all on one line.  Sorry for splitting it, but wrapping
seemed even worse.)

Parinirvana Sutra
A condensed version of the much longer Mahaparinibbana Sutta.

A variety of miscellaneous items (e.g., several sutta translations in
the BPS Wheel series) are available from DEFA.  See section 5.01.

Claude Huss has made a number of Jodo Shinshu texts available at his
White Path Temple site <https://www.mew.com/shin/>.
Material in English, Japanese and Chinese (last two require special
display software).  Includes an English translation of the Tannisho.

For the serious specialist, the entire Tipitaka and Atthakatha (plus
a few miscellaneous items such as the Milindapanha) are available on
CD-ROM in Thai and Romanized Pali, via Mahidol University in Thailand
and its American representatives.  This material is *not in English*.
Package includes software for display and cross-referencing.
More info: <https://www.mahidol.ac.th/budsir/budsir-main.html>.

Some Tibetan materials are available on CD-ROM from the Asian Classics
Input Project at Princeton.  More info: <https://acip.princeton.edu/>.

A collection of Shin Buddhist texts (Shinshu Seiten) is now available
on 8mm mini CD-ROM.  In Japanese, and in Sony DataMan format (special
software will be needed both for display and for format handling).
More info: FAX +81-75-341-7753.

EiHeiJi Temple plans to issue a commemorative Dogen CD-ROM (in
Japanese, special display software needed).  More info:
FAX +81-776-63-3894.

A number of transcription projects are associated with the Electronic
Buddhist Text Initiative.  There is an EBTI Web page at the
International Research Institute for Zen Buddhism (IRIZ):

Sri Lanka Buddhist Canon Project
In collaboration with the Journal of Buddhist Ethics, the
International Buddhist Research and Information Center (IBRIC) in Sri
Lanka has made available on the Web a downloadable version of the Buddha
Jayanti edition of the complete Pali scriptures.  Supplied in both Mac and
PC versions, in romanized Pali *without English translations*.  Translations
and search software are being considered for a later time.  Nice fonts
supplied also.


Subject: 5.03 Sites mostly devoted to specific practices

Pure Land
<https://www.mew.com/shin/>   (White Path Temple -- Jodo Shinshu)
<https://www.aloha.net/~rtbloom/shinran/> (Shin Buddhist Network)
<https://www.well.com/user/shinshu/SBRC/> (Shin Buddhist Resource Center)
  (Enmanji Buddhist Temple, Sebastopol California)

<https://www.pacifier.com/~neilmike/> (Nichiren Shu)
<https://www.concentric.net/~fufufuse/hokkekai.html> (Hokke Kai Intl)
<https://www.primenet.com/~martman/ns.html> (Nichiren Shoshu)
<https://www.sgi-usa.org/Ichinet/> (Soka Gakkai International)
[email protected] (email for alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren FAQ)


Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (Sangharakshita)

  (NCF Buddhism Home Page in Ottawa)
  (Vipassana meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka)
[email protected] (email for info on Theravada Buddhist Ministries)

  (Asynchronous School of Buddhist Dialectics)
  (Ligmincha Institute - Bon and Dzogchen)
<https://www.dzogchen.org/> (Dzogchen Foundation/Lama Surya Das)
<https://www.nyingma.org/> (Nyingma Centers)
<> (Karma Kagyu home page)
  (Tsurphu Foundation -- the other Karma Kagyu home page)
  (Shambhala Community home page - Trungpa Rinpoche)
  (Osel Shen Phen Ling -- Missoula MT -- mandala screensaver for DOS)

<ftp://ftp.portal.com/pub/ss/Usenet/FAQs/> (alt.zen FAQ)
<https://sunsite.unc.edu/zen/> (zen@sunsite - includes faq for alt.zen)
<https://www.well.com/user/btanaka/dw.html> (DharmaWeb)
<https://oac11.hsc.uth.tmc.edu/zen/index.html> (Chogye Zen home page)
  (Dongguk University Buddhist Web Page)
<https://www.well.com/user/devaraja/index.html> (Zen Hospice Project)
  (International Research Institute for Zen at Hanazono U., Kyoto)
<https://www.kwanumzen.com/> (Kwan Um school of Zen)


Subject: 5.04 Other sites of possible interest

alt.buddha.short.fat.guy - here, have a cigar
El Dupree's Tex-Mex Cantina and Sports Bar home page

Asian Art

Asian WWW resources

China -- some online resources
<https://www.urz.uni-heidelberg.de/subject/hd/fak8/sin/> (the country)
<https://herb.biol.uregina.ca/liu/> (the language)

Classical Chinese and Chinese Buddhist dictionaries and other stuff
Dictionaries mainly intended for translators, and thus organized by
radical.  However, with a lot of patience it can be used to find
Chinese equivalents for Buddhist terms in other languages.  Many
other useful things at this site.

Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL)
Has a list of East Asian Internet resources by country.

<https://babel.uoregon.edu/Yamada/guides.html> (Klingon fonts!)
        /Teaching/ILM/fonts.ilm> (should be all on one line)
  especially the asian-computing/ and tibetan-archive/ subdirectories.
In particular, the asian-computing/ subdirectory contains WPSKRIT2.EXE,
a self-extracting ZIP file with bit-mapped HP Laserjet-compatible
Times Roman fonts w/diacritics for Sanskrit and Japanese, and drivers
for Word Perfect 5.0, 5.1 and 6.0 (warmest thanks to Jamie Hubbard for
making this resource freely available on the Net).

Human Languages Page

International Institute for Asian Studies
<https://iias.leidenuniv.nl/> (Web page is in English)
<gopher://oasis.leidenuniv.nl/> (gopher menu is in Dutch)

Internet -- some online resources
(not for the faint of heart)

Japanese-English and Japanese-German dictionaries for various platforms
There's a lot of interesting stuff at this site.  Read the INDEX file
first (it's annotated) to get a feel for what's available.

Japanese-language Internet usage issues (FAQ)

Japanese Translation
<https://www.realtime.net/~adamrice/> (Honyaku home page)

Mac newsreader that supports killfiles (freeware)

Philosophy -- some online resources

Various things in Sanskrit, mostly non-Buddhist (e.g. the Mahabharata)
Usually no indices -- you'll have to feel your way around based on
filenames, which tend to be fairly informative.

<https://www.manymedia.com/tibet/index.html> (Free Tibet home page)

Tibetan dictionary for DOS
Be patient; this FTP site (in St. Petersburg!) allows only 5 anonymous
users at a time.  Issue the following FTP commands to download the two
dictionary-related files:
        get t.arj
        get t.readme
Read t.readme before doing anything else.  To un-archive t.arj, get a
copy of ARJ242B.EXE from <ftp://ftp.pht.com/pub/msdos/arcutils/> or
another site.  This is a self-extracting version of the ARJ archive
utility; just type ARJ242B and it will set itself up (it is preferable
to do this in a separate subdirectory).  The dictionary *must* be
installed in a directory named \T (note that this directory is 'off
the root' -- you will need to create \T if a directory of that name
does not yet exist, and you may need to move files if you already have
a directory named \T).  Type
        arj e c:\t\t.arj \t *.*
to extract the complete set of dictionary files (this assumes that you
are installing the dictionary in c:).  Note: this dictionary is
shareware, *not* freeware; if you plan to use it, Jim Valby asks for a
contribution of $15.  His address is in the t.readme file.


Subject: 5.05 Mailing lists

A few mailing lists have "live" moderators who handle subscriptions;
in these cases, one usually sends a short email request to join the
list.  Most lists with subscription addresses ending in -request are
of this type.

More often, subscriptions are "automated" by programs like listserv or
majordomo.  In these cases, it is usually necessary to send an email
message with a special syntax in order to subscribe.  Typically,
listserv wants you to provide a name, while majordomo wants you to
provide a designated address for email.  Most of the "automated" list
processors will send you a summary of available commands in response
to the message

Please remember that messages to "automated" list processors should
normally be placed in the body of the text, not in the email subject
line.  Exceptions, if any, will be noted below.

In the instructions below, "your_firstname your_lastname" should be
replaced with your own first name and last name.  For example, if I
wanted to subscribe to the Jodo Shinshu forum I would send the command
        sub a-shinshu-forum John Kahila
to [email protected].  Similarly, "your_email_address" should be
replaced with your own email address.  For example, if I wanted to
subscribe to Universal Zendo I would send the command
        sub zendo [email protected]
to [email protected].

NOTE!  If you decide to stop reading a mailing list, *please* do not
send the "unsubscribe" request to the list itself unless you are sure
that that is the normal procedure.  Normally the correct procedure is
to send the request to the list processor (in the case of listserv or
majordomo) or to the -request address or other address for the list
moderator (in the case of "live" moderators).  The message normally
looks a lot like a subscription request, except with "unsub" in place
of "sub".

Bodhi News - Buddhism Study Group at Urbana-Champaign
To subscribe, send a short message to [email protected].

Buddha-L - An academic Buddhism discussion group
To subscribe, send the command: sub buddha-l your_firstname your_lastname
to [email protected].

Buddhist - An academic Buddhism discussion group
To subscribe, send the command: sub buddhist your_firstname your_lastname
to [email protected].

buddhist-philosophy - For general discussions of Buddhist philosophy
To subscribe, send the command: sub buddhist-philosophy your_firstname
your_lastname to [email protected].

DailyZen - A daily dose of Zen wisdom
To subscribe, send a message with your full name to [email protected].
Include the word "DailyZen" in your subject line.

Dharma-talk - Forum for discussions, information, announcements
To subscribe, send the command: sub dharma-talk your_email_address
to [email protected].

Indology - An academic discussion group on early Indian language etc.
To subscribe, send the command: sub indology your_firstname
your_lastname to [email protected].

Insight - A practice-oriented vipassana list
To subscribe, send the command: sub insight to [email protected].

Jodo Shinshu
To subscribe, send the command: sub a-shinshu-forum your_firstname
your_lastname to [email protected].

To subscribe, send a short email message to [email protected]
(Iain Sinclair).  Familiarity with mikkyo (Japanese vajrayana) is a
prerequisite for joining the list.

To subscribe, send the command: sub tibet-l your_firstname
your_lastname to [email protected].

Transpersonal Psychology - dialogue between Eastern and Western paradigms
To subscribe, send the command: sub transpsych-L your_firstname
your_lastname to [email protected].

Universal Zendo
To subscribe, send the command: sub zendo your_email_address
to [email protected].

World Tibet News
To subscribe, send the command: sub wtn your_firstname your_lastname
to [email protected].

To subscribe, send the command: sub zen your_firstname your_lastname
to [email protected].

To subscribe, send the command:  sub zenbuddhism-l your_email_address
to [email protected].


Subject: 5.06 Electronic journals

Electronic Journal of Korean Buddhist Studies

Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies & International Journal of Tantric Studies

Forest Sangha Newsletter (Ajahn Sumedho)

GASSHO - Electronic Journal of DharmaNet International
This is a general Buddhist journal -- not dedicated to a specific practice
Journal not currently offered in electronic format; site has back copies

Journal of Buddhist Ethics
To subscribe to the Journal Abstract, send e-mail to [email protected]
specifying "JBE Subscription" in the Subject Line (NOT Mail Body!).

Still Point (online newsletter of Dharma Rain Zen Center)

Winds (online newsletter of the Shin Buddhist Resource Center)


Subject: 5.07 Newsgroups

There are many USENET newsgroups that deal with political, religious,
interfaith, philosophical and other topics that a reader of t.r.b.
could conceivably be interested in.  Here is just a small selection,
with the newsgroup's self-description where known, chosen from the list
of newsgroups offered by the FAQ maintainers's Internet service provider
(the list of groups available from your own ISP may be different):

Some more or less Buddhist newsgroups:

alt.philosophy.zen               Meditating on how the alt.* namespace works.
alt.religion.buddhism.nichiren   Nichiren believers unite.
alt.religion.nichiren.shoshu.news (some sites carry as a.r.buddhism.n.s.n.)
alt.religion.buddhism.tibetan    The teachings of Buddha as studied in Tibet.
alt.zen                          It is.

and of course
talk.religion.buddhism    All aspects of Buddhism as religion and philosophy.

Some geographically specialized Buddhist newsgroups:

nctu.club.buddhism (in Taiwan)
tnn.religion.buddhism.shinshu (Japanese Jodo Shinshu NG available at some US sites)
tw.bbs.soc.religion.buddhism (in Taiwan)

Some groups that are not specifically (or at least not exclusively) Buddhist,
but that might be of interest:

alt.buddha.short.fat.guy  Religion. And not religion. Both. Neither.
alt.magick.tyagi          Magick as revealed by Mordred Nagasiva.
alt.meditation            General discussion of meditation.
alt.philosophy.taoism     All aspects of Taoism.
soc.culture.china         About China and Chinese culture.
soc.culture.japan         Everything Japanese, except the Japanese language.
soc.culture.korean        Discussions about Korea & things Korean.
soc.culture.laos          Cultural and Social Aspects of Laos.
soc.culture.nepal         Discussion of people and things in & from Nepal.
soc.culture.sri-lanka     Things & people from Sri Lanka.
soc.culture.taiwan        Discussion about things Taiwanese.
soc.culture.thai          Thai people and their culture.
soc.culture.vietnamese    Issues and discussions of Vietnamese culture.
soc.religion.eastern      Discussions of Eastern religions. (Moderated)
soc.religion.gnosis       Gnosis, marifat, jnana & direct sacred experience. (Moderated)
talk.politics.tibet       The politics of Tibet and the Tibetan people.
talk.religion.misc        Religious, ethical, & moral implications.
talk.religion.newage      Esoteric and minority religions & philosophies.

If you can't find a group on your local system, you may still be able
to find a publically accessible news server.  (Try the MSU gopher.)

If you want to have a newsgroup carried on your local system, talk to
the news adminstrator for the local system.  Do not email the FAQ
maintainer; he can't help.


Subject: 5.08 A random selection of books


Buddhist Dictionary: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines, by
Nyanatiloka (3rd revised and enlarged edition).  Colombo: Frewin
(1972).  An edition is also published by AMS Press (1983).  A
Net-accessible version is currently being contemplated; more info
when available.

Encyclopaedia of Buddhism.  [note spelling] Government of Sri Lanka:
various years.  An ongoing scholarly project, started about 40 years
ago and still not finished (due mostly to resource constraints one
suspects).  The editorial vision of the project has changed somewhat
over the years, so the first volumes are microscopically detailed
(v.1, A-Aoki Bunkyo) while recent ones are not (v.5, Earth-Japan).
Hard to find in the U.S., but well worth the effort; a large library
might have a copy.  Orderable from Sri Lanka (send an email note to
the FAQ maintainer if you want the address to order from).  A very
good reference for many obscure topics starting with A-J.  :-)

Entering the Stream: An Introduction to the Buddha and his Teachings,
ed. by Samuel Bercholz and Sherab Chodzin Kohn.  London: Rider
(1994).  This is the companion volume to the film "Little Buddha."  A
superb anthology of short writings from a number of different
viewpoints.  Very accessible to those who have only a casual interest
in Buddhism, while also containing much of value for serious students
of the teaching.

Freedom in Exile, The Autobiography of the Dalai Lama, by Tenzin
Gyatso.  New York: Harper Collins, 1990.  ISBN 0-0603-9116-2.

How the Swans Came to the Lake: a narrative history of Buddhism in
America, by Rick Fields (3rd edition, revised and updated).  Boston:
Shambhala (1992).  ISBN 0-8777-3583-2.  An excellent and highly
readable account of the transmission of Buddhist teachings to the West
(with particular attention to the USA).

Mindfulness in Plain English, by Henepola Gunaratana.  Boston: Wisdom
(1993).  ISBN 0-8617-1064-9 (paperbound).

Old Path, White Clouds: the life story of the Buddha, by Thich Nhat
Hanh.  London: Rider (1991).  ISBN 0-7126-5417-8.  Editions also
published by Random House and Parallax Press (Berkeley).  A biography
of the founder of Buddhism, written in modern language by a Vietnamese
monk who is a long-time activist for peace and human rights.  A
favorite book of many of us here in talk.religion.buddhism.

A Path With Heart, by Jack Kornfield.  London: Rider (1994).  ISBN
0-7126-7430-6.  A warm and compassionate book on developing meditative
awareness in the midst of everyday life.

A Survey of Buddhism: Its Doctrines and Methods through the Ages, by
Sangharakshita (6th edition).  London: Tharpa (1987).  A rich and
wide-ranging study written by someone who is familiar with all of the
major schools (as well as the Western intellectual tradition).

What the Buddha Taught, by Walpola Rahula.  A beautifully clear
introduction to Buddhist doctrine, written by a Sri Lankan scholar.
Very intelligible, even to non-Buddhists.

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki.  New York: Weatherhill
(1970), reprinted in 1980.  Also abridged and anthologized in
_Entering the Stream_.

Scripture translations and related materials:

The Middle Length Discourses of The Buddha (Majjhima Nikaya), trans.
by Bkikkhu Nanamoli and Bhikkhu Bodhi.  Boston: Wisdom Publications
(1995).  ISBN 0-8617-1072-X.  Those living in Asia can get the Asian
Edition from the Buddhist Publication Society in Sri Lanka.

The Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga), by Bhadantacariya
Buddhaghosa, trans. by Nyanamoli (3rd edition).  Kandy, Sri Lanka:
Buddhist Publication Society (1975).  An edition is also published by
Shambhala.  This is still probably the best meditation text ever
written for someone who wants a comprehensive overview of orthodox
Buddhist meditation techniques.  (Warning: this book is not a casual
read.)  The FAQ maintainer suggests starting with Vol. 2, unless you
want to be an expert on kasina disks.

The Sutta-Nipata, trans. by H. Saddhatissa.  Richmond, Surrey (UK):
Curzon Press (1994).  ISBN 0-7007-0181-8.  A modern English
translation of the discourses contained in one of the more influential
sections of the "Miscellaneous Collection" (Khuddaka Nikaya) of the
Pali Canon.  A great improvement on earlier translations.

Thus Have I Heard: The Long Discourses of The Buddha (Digha Nikaya),
trans. by Maurice Walshe.  London: Wisdom Publications (1987).
ISBN 0-8617-1030-4.

Special topics:

Buddhism After Patriarchy: a feminist history, analysis and
reconstruction of Buddhism, by Rita M. Gross.  Albany: SUNY Press,
1993.  ISBN 0-79141-404-3.

Buddhism, Sexuality and Gender (Jose Ignacio Cabezon, ed.).  Albany:
SUNY Press, 1992.  ISBN 0-79140-758-6 (paperbound).  This is the only
source we are aware of that examines Buddhist scripture in detail for
evidence of the attitudes of different early writers on these topics.

A Buddhist Critique of the Christian Concept of God, by Gunapala
Dharmasiri.  Antioch, California (USA): Golden Leaves Publishing Co.
(1988).  ISBN 0-9423-5300-5.  A careful analysis of Christian theology
from the standpoint of Buddhist philosophy, written by a philosopher.
A very good book, but also fairly demanding in what it expects readers
to know already about both theology and philosophy; not for everybody.

Transformations of Consciousness: Conventional and Contemplative
Perspectives on Development, by Ken Wilber, Jack Engler and
Daniel P. Brown.  Boston: Shambhala (1986).  ISBN 0-87773-309-0.
Not about Buddhism per se, but has a very interesting treatment of
meditation and spirituality from the perspective of Transpersonal
Psychology.  Includes descriptions of psychological studies of
transformative effects of long-term meditation.

Madame Blavatsky's Baboon: A History of the Mystics, Mediums and
Misfits Who Brought Spiritualism to America, by Peter Washington.  New
York: Schocken Books (1995).  ISBN 0-8052-1024-5.  Not about Buddhism,
but contains a lot of fascinating history related to personalities
who are identified (rightly or wrongly) with the New Age movement,
such as Blavatsky, Besant, Leadbeater, Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff,
Ouspensky, Steiner and others.  Many of these names come up in t.r.b.
from time to time -- and as a bonus, the book is a good read.


Subject: 5.09 Bookstores, etc.

Buddhist Book Service
P.O. Box 9677
Washington, DC 20016
Phone 01-946-7560, or 202-832-9393

The Buddhist Bookstore (good source for Jodo Shinshu)
1710 Octavia Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone 415-776-7877

Buddhist Publication Society (mainly Theravada)
P.O. Box 61
54, Sangharaja Mawatha
Kandy, Sri Lanka

Pali Text Society
73 Lime Walk
Oxford OX3 7AD
Phone +44-1865-742125  Fax +44-1865-750079
PTS is "the" source for critical texts and translations of many works
in the Theravada canon.  U.S. distributor:  Wisdom Publications.

Shambhala Sun: Creating Enlightened Society (bimonthly)
1345 Spruce St.             or: 1585 Barrington St, Suite 300
Boulder, CO 80302-4886          Halifax, Nova Scotia
USA                             Canada B3J 1Z8
email: [email protected]  Phone: 902-422-8404  Fax: 902-423-2750

Snow Lion Publications

South Asia Books
P.O. Box 502
Columbia MO  65205
Phone 314-474-0116  Fax 314-474-8124

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review
[email protected]

Vihara Book Service (good source for Theravada)
5017-16th St. NW
Washington DC  20011
Phone 202-723-0773
Ajit Wettasinghe has created a text file version of the VBS book list.
If you would like a copy, send an email message to [email protected].

Wisdom Publications (good source for Vajrayana)
361 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02115
Phone 800-274-4050, 617-536-2305, FAX 617-536-1897
U.S. distributors for Pali Text Society


Subject: 5.10 Bulletin Boards, etc.

Access To Insight
Pepperell, MA
[email protected]

Bodhi-Line phone service
A telephone information service providing information about Buddhist
centers in New York area, including centers' locations, schedules of
classes and meditation sessions, and a list of books, tapes and other
materials.  All services offered by the Bodhi- Line are free of charge.
Just dial (212) 677-9354.  For more information about Bodhi-Line, contact
Michael Wick at Buddhist Information Service of New York, 331 E 5th
Street, New York, NY 10003. Tel: (212) 777-3745.  Fax & voice mail: (212)

The Bodhi Tree
Boise, ID

Body Dharma Online
Berkeley, CA
Barry Kapke, sysop
[email protected]

Mount Kailas
Cambridge, MA

Tiger Team Buddhist Information Network
1920 Francisco, Suite 112
Berkeley, CA 94709
[email protected]


Subject: 5.11 Meditation Centers

California Vipassana Center
P.O.Box 1167, North Fork, CA 93643
Telephone (209) 877-4386     Fax (209) 877-4387

Cambridge Insight Meditation Center
331 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone (24hr info): (617) 491-5070

Northwest Vipassana Center
c/o Scott Corley
17045 - 33rd Avenue NE
Seattle, WA 98155
Telephone (206) 367-9336

Southwest Vipassana Meditation Center
c/o Cathryn Lacey
P.O.Box 190248, Dallas, TX 75219
Telephone (214) 521-5258

Vipassana Support Institute
4070 Albright
Los Angles CA 90066
310 915-1943

Vipassana Meditation Center
P.O.Box 24, Shelburne Falls, MA 01370
Telephone (413) 625-2160     Fax (413) 625-2170

Washington Buddhist Vihara
Ven. Dhammasiri
5017-16th St. NW
Washington DC  20011
Phone 202-723-0773

Zen Center of Los Angeles
923 S. Normandie Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90006-1301


Subject: 5.12 Overlapping interests

        International Buddhist Meditation Center in Los Angeles
        sponsors various services.  Email [email protected] for info.
        Maitri Dorje is an association of Gay & Lesbian Buddhists and
        practitioners of other meditation traditions in NYC.  Email
        Bill <[email protected]> for info.

        There are conferences on Women and Buddhism, on both BodhiNet
        and DharmaNet.  For info on BodhiNet (and Tiger Team Network),
        send email to [email protected].  For info on DharmaNet,
        send email to [email protected] (Barry Kapke).

Buddhists in 12-step programs:
        The email address previously provided appears not to be valid
        at the moment; we are looking for an alternative.
        If you are on AOL, see the folder AA and Buddhism.

If anyone knows of other resources appropriate for listing here,
please send email to the FAQ maintainer.


Subject: 5.13 Cults and other forms of abuse

<https://www.virtumall.com/mindcontrol/> (Steve Hassan's cult page)
 (page maintained in collaboration with the newsgroup alt.support.ex-cult)
<https://www.algonet.se/~teodor/Cults/welcome.html> (good set of links)
 (open letter from 22 Western teachers in collaboration with HHDL)

(*) Buddhism: Intro & Suggestions for newcomers to 
              talk.religion.buddhism (part 1/3)
(*) Buddhism: Common questions about Buddhism & glossary (part 2/3)
(*) Buddhism: Resources of possible interest to Buddhists (part 3/3) 

[Back to English Index]