- Tibetan master says conversion is never
- The Dallas Morning News 1st September 2001
Question: Is Buddhism growing in America both through Buddhist
immigrants moving here, as well as Westerners becoming interested?
Answer: Every year, Buddhism in America is growing more.
Interest in Buddhism is growing as Americans become more educated and study the
philosophies and practices of Buddhism. Many books have been translated [into English]
that give the history of Buddhism as well as the teachings. As other lamas travel in
America, and as Easterners relocate to the West, they talk about the purpose and benefits
of Buddhism. But our growth may be slower than some religions because we have no sense of
converting anybody, and no sense of "taking over" and gaining power. The growth
will come with each individual's desire to know more.
Question: Do you believe that people can adopt parts of
Buddhism, or should you adopt all aspects?
Answer: People who decide to become Buddhists do not
become Buddhists instantly. As they learn and study more, they adopt more parts fully into
their life. Part of being a Buddhist is to learn more and more and gain more and more
understanding all the time. With more study, your beliefs become deeper and more profound.
Keep studying, keep learning, keep growing.
Question: Why do most Americans have such a tough time
finding time for meditation?
Answer: America is a country with much education, as well
as busy schedules and the desire for more and more material things. Many Americans say
they are too busy for meditation. But as you learn more about meditation and its benefits,
you will find it invaluable to your life, and you will spend more and more time in
meditation. Those who study the Dharma teachings experience peace and happiness.
Materialism does not necessarily create an obstruction to peace
and happiness, but those who spend all their time and energy on materialistic goals cannot
find peace and happiness.
Question: What is your own meditation routine?
Answer: In general, when I was younger, I spent much more
time in meditation, sometimes an entire day at a time. But with all my responsibilities
and activities, I meditate now and then, when I have time.
Question: What is the key to clearing the mind of bad
Answer: We all receive or even accumulate bad karma, or
negative energy, in the cycles of life. The mind is the most important thing in our well
being, and you must clear it out when negative energy comes. The key to clearing the mind
is through ongoing, regular prayer and meditation, as well as studies [in Buddhism]. You
should create your own mantra and use it to focus and recenter yourself. You must beautify
Question: How does food affect the body mentally? Do you
follow certain food and eating practices?
Answer: In general, I try to avoid food whose background
involves a lot of negative or violent action, such as the killing of an animal. One of the
most important parts of my practice is to not have an intense attraction to food like
that. If you think vegetarian eating means less killing, think about the chemicals they
spray [on the crops] to kill the insects. When you drink a glass of water, you are killing
some of the organisms in the water. But everyone knows you have to eat or die. In general,
I try to find food that has as little harm and killing behind it as possible.
Question: Have you gained power over most common
irritations, such as waiting in line, getting bitten by a mosquito, waiting for someone
who is late?
Answer: Irritations are a part of the cyclic existence in
this world. We all suffer irritations, and there is no way to get rid of them. Trying to
be more relaxed is the best way. If we create so many thoughts in our mind, based on
irritations, we create a kind of sickness. We must get rid of those thoughts, relax and
beautify the negativity through meditation, mantras and study.
Question: Most Americans would probably understand the
need to be kind and loving to other human beings. Explain why it is important to show love
and respect to animals, insects and other living beings as well.
Answer: In the Buddhist teachings, there is the philosophy
that we are to act as a loving parent to all ascendant beings born into the world,
including all animals and insects. We need to generate compassion for all of them.
Question: What do people most misunderstand about
Answer: It is possible to have misunderstandings that come
from not having a deep enough understanding of Buddhism. If you go only to the surface of
Buddhism, and you think you're a master after a little bit of knowledge, you are
misunderstanding the whole premise of Buddhism. Buddhism requires study on a deeper level,
and applying all aspects of one's mind to the study and practice. If your ego is still
present, you haven't studied enough. The essence of Buddhism is to try to get rid of
self-attachment and ego. You must continue on your spiritual path by studying the Dharma
With study and practice comes humility, politeness and loving
kindness to all ascendant beings.