31. What does going to the monastery mean?
There are two kinds of monasteries: the external and the internal.
The external monastery means a place where monks live as a community under religious vows and lay people go to attend a sermon or religious practice.
The internal monastery means one's serene mind. If one tries to make his or her mind clean, calm and clear with morality, concentration, and wisdom, one may also be considered as regularly going to the monastery.
The Buddhists should aim at both external and internal monasteries in accordance with the appropriate occasion.
32. Is it compulsory for lay Buddhists to go to the monastery regularly?
There are no strict rules or regulations for lay Buddhists to go to the monastery regularly. If spiritual progress is needed it is suggested that Buddhists should go to the internal monastery (see question and answer No.31) even for a short moment. If any Buddhist tries to diffuse loving-kindness, compassion or other benevolent wishes to living beings or tries to clean, calm, and clear one's mind then he or she is considered a good Buddhist and regarded as going to the monastery regularly.
33. In Buddhism, can women attain enlightenment?
The Buddha was the first religious leader to accept equal spiritual potentiality of men and women. The nature of enlightenment transcends gender difference, which otherwise tends to limit women in their social contexts. For this reason women were accepted into the Order (Sangha), and proved themselves worthy of the Buddha's recognition. Some of them were individually praised by the Buddha, such as Bhikkhuni Patacara who was foremost in Vinaya, and Bhikkhuni Khema who was foremost in wisdom. Among lay women, Visakha was foremost in offering dana and Samavati was foremost in loving-kindness. In brief, women showed equal capability in practicing and propagating Buddhism in early Buddhist history. Even now both men and women who practise the Buddhist teachings can undoubtedly attain enlightenment.
34. Is it true that in some countries women can be ordained?
The Buddha allowed women full ordination in His time. They were called Bhikkhuni (Bhisuni in Sanskrit). The Bhikkhuni lineage in India lasted more than a thousand years and disappeared together with the Bhikkhu Sangha when India was invaded in C.11th.
A group of Bhikkhunis from India led by Sanghamitta Their, King Asoka's daughter, were invited by King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka to establish the Bhikkhuni lineage in B.E. 236. This Bhikkhuni Sangha in Sri Lanka also lasted for more than a thousand years before they were uprooted by foreign invasion.
However, a group of Sri Lanka Bhikkhunis were invited over to China in B.E. 976 where they established a Bhikkhuni lineage there. This lineage has been kept alive until today.
Afterward, they spread to many neighbouring countries, i.e. Japan, Korea, etc. Bhikkhuni strongholds can now be found in Taiwan monastery and Korea. In B.E. 2531 (1988) His Lai Temple, a Chinese monastery in Los Angeles, U.S.A., provided ordination for 200 women from various traditions and countries to strengthen the institution of fully ordained Buddhist women. In the last two decades, Buddhist women have expressed clearly their desire to participate at all levels in Buddhism. Considering that women from half of the world population, this trend should have a positive effect towards the development of Buddhism.
35. What is the Buddhist attitude towards prostitutes?
Since Buddhists are taught to extend their good wishes to human and other living beings, Buddhists should sympathize with prostitutes and should not despise them, whether they may be compelled or voluntary. It is an appropriate deed to help release them from the status of being looked down upon.
The procedure to solve this problem might be carried our through the educational system, economic management, social welfare, etc., as the case may be.
36. Is the Buddha's teaching dynamic?
The Buddha's words in THE GRADUAL SAYINGS, THE BOOK OF TENS clarify this as follows:
"I do not speak in praise of the stand still in righteousness, not to say about the decline therein. I do, monks, speak in praise of the prosperity, not of the stand still, not of the decline in righteousness."
From this passage we can say that the Buddha's teaching is dynamic, which is the moral force that produces activity or change.
37. How does Buddhism praise gratitude?
One who is grateful and does something in return for kindness to those who have done a favour such as parents, teachers, and other benefactors, is praised by Buddhism as a precious person who is difficult to find in the world.
This teaching helps much in bringing harmony and concord to the family and society.
38. What is the concept of Anatta (non-self), how can our understanding of this concept direct us in our daily life?
Anatta or non-self is an essential tenet in Buddhism. It can be realised through insight. The concept of Anatta or non-self may be classified into two levels:
At the lower level, Anatta or non-self can be understood through rational thinking and we can use such understanding in our moral development. If we remain mindful of non-self, it will help us to be free from craving, conceit, and the idea of self. In this way we can rid ourselves of attachments and become unselfish.
At the higher level, Anatta or non-self is the truth of all that is, of all that exists. The truth of all that is not what we perceive through our ordinary senses unless we have attained enlightenment. When one attains full enlightenment, one's attachment and craving absolutely stop.
The following principles are essential to the application of the Anatta concept to our daily life:
1. Do nothing only for one's own benefit or to satisfy only one's own needs and wants.
2. Do everything to decrease one's self-importance.
3. Do not hold one's own ideas above the views of others.
In our interactions with others we should be open-minded and perceive things according to the principle of cause and effect rather than according to our own desire. However, attachment to non-attachment is still a kind of attachment which is also to be avoided. Along the middle path, detachment needs to be accompanied by wisdom.
39. If there is no Atta or the permanent soul, how could Kamma [Karma], good or bad actions, give its result to the doer?
Buddhism denies Atta or the permanent soul to be attached to, but admits the continuity of life from one to another, as long as one does not reach Nibbana or the utter extinction of the fire of defilements and he fire of suffering.
Whenever human or animal beings continue to transmigrate in the cycle of life from birth to death and from death to rebirth, kamma still continues to give its result to the doer.
40. How can one be a divine being in this life?
To be a divine being in this life is to be with one of the following categories of appropriate qualifications:
1. To be accompanied by moral shame (Hiri) and moral fear (Ottappa) for doing wrong or immoral acts, or
2. To be accompanied by
Reasonable faith (Saddha)
Sacrifice or generosity (Caga) and
3. To be endowed with these Four Divine States of Mind:
Loving-kindness (Metta), wishing happiness to others as opposed to ill-will,
Compassion (Karuna), wishing others to be free from suffering as opposed to violence,
Sympathetic Joy over others' achievement (Mudita), as opposed to jealousy,
Equanimity (Upekkah), being impartial as opposed to prejudice.
41. How many categories of divine beings are mentioned in Buddhism?
There are three as follows:
1. A divine being by convention (Sammati deva) means a king a and royal family.
2. A divine being by birth (Upapatti deva) means a born deity.
3. A divine being by absolute purity (Visuddhai deva) means a Buddha and Arahanta (the Worth One) whose mental defilements (greed, hatred and delusion) are utterly done away with. This kind of divine being is classified as the highest.
There is the Buddha's saying that a person who is endowed with "knowledge" and "conduct" is superior to divine and human beings.
The word "knowledge" here means the Insight which puts an end to all defilement and suffering, while "conduct" means high moral and spiritual standard.
42. What are the advantages or benefits concerning which the Buddha taught the practice ways and means to achieve?
There are three levels of advantages including ways and means to achieve them as told by the Buddha:
1. The Present Benefit (Economic and social profit) or Ditthadhammikattha.
(1) An effort in earning livelihood
(2) Protection of what one had acquired
(3) Having good companions
(4) Moderate way of living
2. The Future Benefit (The profit based on morality and virtues) or Samparayikattha.
3. The Absolute Benefit (The highest profit through freedom from defilement and suffering) or Paramattha.
In detail these three practical method for the Absolute Benefit are explained as the Noble Eightfold Path:
 Right View
 Right Motives
 Right Speech
 Right Action
 Right Means of Livelihood
 Right Effort
 Right Mindfulness
 Right Concentration.
43. What is the triple study or education taught by the Buddha?
According to Buddhism the triple study or education is:
1. The study of morality or good conduct [Silasikkha]
2. The study of mind or mental tranquillity [Cittasikkha]
3. The study of knowledge or spiritual insight [Pannasikkha].
The practice of this triple study will lead one to deliverance.
44. What are the main doctrinal tenets of Buddhism?
The main doctrinal tenets of Buddhism can be summarised as follows:
(1) To refrain from evil
To do good
To purify the mind
The cause of suffering
The cessation of suffering
The way leading to the cessation of suffering
(3) Morality, Concentration, and Wisdom leading to Deliverance
(4) Nothing is appropriate to cling to
(5) Nibbana or Extinction of all defilement and suffering