On May 14, six weeks after the English Jungto Dharma School began, Jungto International Division organized a live online Dharma Q&A with Ven. Pomnuyn Sunim for the students enrolled in the course. With thirty-two students, twenty-one volunteers, and many observers in attendance, it was possible to witness people’s strong interest in the Dharma Q&A. Ven. Pomnyun Sunim took five questions selected among the twelve questions submitted by the students prior to the event.
Before the Dharma Q&A, Rafael, a student of the English Jungto Dharma School, played a self-composed song with his guitar. Thanks to his performance, the event started off in a relaxed atmosphere.
Ven. Pomnyun Sunim began the Dharma Q&A emphasizing the importance of learning based on experience and practice in studying Buddhism.
To fully understand the Bhuddha’s teachings,
First, you have to understand the principles, and second, you need learn through experience and practice. That way, you develop a belief in the Buddha’s teachings. My Dharma talks help you understand the principles and sharing enables you to experience them. If you only listen to the Dharma talks and don’t do the sharing, you end up only obtaining knowledge.
Suffering arises from the mind, and the mind is influenced by your subconscious. Thus, accumulating knowledge is not enough to affect the subconscious. After you understand the Dharma talks by listening to them two to three times, you should practice the teachings and share your experiences with fellow students to internalize them.
In the process of doing practice, you need to meet with your teacher and fellow students and be inspired by their character and experience positive changes. It’s because the Dharma is transmitted from one person’s mind to another’s. However, since it is difficult to meet others in person these days, it is the more important to share your feelings with one another albeit online.
The following are the five questions the students asked during the Dharma Q&A:
- How can I experience non-self and have less suffering?
- How can avoid looking indifferent when my loved one expresses emotional suffering? How can I show that I’m not disrespecting their feelings?
- I learned that I have to practice the Middle Way to eliminate the cause of suffering. How can I better understand the Middle Way, which means the most appropriate way?
- Jungto Society gives food to the hungry, treats the sick, educates children, and protects the environment. Isn’t doing these things following your desire?
- The Principle of Cause and Effect and the Law of Dependent Origination are core teachings of Buddhism that seem quite similar. What are the differences between them?
Since it was a Dharma Q&A for the students of the Jungto Dharma School, Sunim’s answers to the questions posed by the students were quite profound. As a result, the event ended later than planned. The following are comments of the questioners after listening to Sunim’s answers.
- I was comforted by Sunim’s words that you don’t necessarily have to suffer just because you have physical pain. The explanation about the three kinds of desire was also helpful.
- I liked the explanation on non-self and the explanation about the earth and the sun.
After the Dharma Q&A, the participants were divided into small groups and had a sharing session.