Asking The Real Questions

We sometimes attend Q&A sessions with a deeply experienced meditator or highly qualified teacher, such as a Geshema, Geshe, or Lama. As part of the Q&A sessions the Dharma practitioners have the ability to ask questions about the Dharma teachings.

We find that the questions are at times about how being in the animal realm achieve a rebirth in the human realm:

If a seagull shits on your foot then how does the seagull attain a precious human rebirth?

At other times the questions they might probe the esoteric aspects of the Dharma:

If a Dharma practitioner is on level 9 of the 10 Bhumis, close to achieving full Enlightenment, and a seagull shits on their foot … ?

Finally, the questions might be about assisted death, euthanasia, or other unusual medical cases:

If a Dharma practitioner is in a coma and reliant on life support with no chance of recovering and a seagull shits on their foot … ?

We often find these lines of questioning to be almost irrelevant because they are theoretical scenarios that are incredibly unlikely to occur. In other words, little can be done with this information and it seems like an intellectual exercise. Little can be done with knowledge of how a being in the animal realm achieves a rebirth in the human realm. Little can be done with knowledge of the subtle differences of the 10 Bhumis – we imagine that from the ‘Path of Seeing’ then things are already pretty awesome for the Dharma practitioner.

Very few people will ever need to consider unusual medical cases and the answer that the teacher or meditator will provide will depend on specific details of the theoretical situation. These specific details will not be known, making the answer largely irrelevant in the event that the unusual medical case actually occurred. When trying to make real medical decisions about a Dharma practitioner that is the time to speak with a highly qualified teacher or a deeply experienced meditator with the specific details of the medical situation in hand. To us at @happyops it seems far more important to approach a medical situation and the person in the situation with kindness and compassion. All medical decisions should be made from a position of that kindness and compassion.

Instead of using Q&A sessions with a highly qualified teacher or a deeply experienced meditator to ask the types of questions described above, at @happyops we would like to warmly encourage Dharma practitioners to ask about applying the Dharma to the situations that they regularly face every day. By asking these types of questions then it means that the Dharma practitioner can put the Dharma into action because the Dharma is something that you “do”. These lines of questioning might include:

I feel lonely and worthless. What should I do with these feelings?

I think of my ex-partner every day and I miss them so much. How should I move forward with my life?

How can I be more comfortable about my role as a parent when I wish I did not have children?

How should I raise my child Buddhist, without overwhelming them with technical Dharma terms and without making them an easy target for school bullies?

I do not know whether to raise my child Buddhist, because the label will separate them from other children at school. How should I raise my child Buddhist without isolating them?

What should I do when a situation that has irritated me keeps replaying in my head again and again? I just can’t stop it and the flood of emotions that follow.

How do I deal with the anger that arises during meetings with managers when they are being unfair to other staff members?

How truthful should I be in the workplace when there are so many gray areas or gaps in information from the interview process to sales and marketing through to some formal reports?

Does compassion mean that I should really be willing to give up my seat on the subway, let that person merge in traffic, have lunch with the irritating  person at work?

How do we apply wisdom to our compassion so that our kindness is not taken advantage of?

If I am trying to make the most of this precious human rebirth should I really spend so much time on social media, reading the news, or at long hours at work?

How should I develop certainty about the law of cause and effect (karma)?

My behaviour and daily addictions makes me feel fake like a false Buddhist. Am I really Buddhist?

We hope this helps other Dharma practitioners to have confidence in asking these more mundane but more real questions in Q&A sessions.

Love, @happyops