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  • Number 2

    Q:When you pray, do you pray to the Buddha statue itself, or do you pray to something behind the statue?

    A: If you think that the Buddha is external, when you pay homage to the Buddha, you are honoring the Buddha outside. When you begin to understand that you own the Buddha nature and the potential of becoming a Buddha yourself, you will know that paying homage to the external Buddha is honoring the inner Buddha nature of yourself. When you see your own true nature, you will understand that the external realm is actually a phantom projected by your mind.

  • Number 1

    Q: If in samsara we transmigrate from one physical body to another like changing clothes, what remains unchanged as our true identity?

    A: Nothing remains constant over cycles of birth and death. In Buddhism, alaya - the level of consciousness where ones karmic forces reside - persists at death and continues with the remaining karmic imprints into the next life.

    Alaya is different from the soul believed by other religions. A soul stays unchanged. But alaya is empty of intrinsic existence. It is merely like a storehouse of karmic causes and conditions, and changes constantly by the working of karma. In this context, alaya of this life is not exactly the same as that of the next life. However, they are not unrelated either, as alaya is in a state of continuing flux under the karmic forces of the past, present and future. It is like a river, where water downsteam becomes different even though it flows from the upsteam of the same river.