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12 Metaphysical Questions and Answers

Q. Does God exist?

A. If there is a god, he, she, or it, or neither he, she, nor it, would not exist. A god could never be caught within the fabric of existence as we are. A god is Reality, unborn, uncreated, undying, and therefore could not exist, and therefore since we exist, we cannot be real.

Q. Is it possible to know the truth about God?

A. We cannot "know" God, or Reality with our material minds; God is a separate reality from existence. We, on the other hand, are merely matter, dust in the wind, grounded in existence. Therefore, there can be no relationship as we commonly define relationship, between us and God; no direct communication. Once God is touched, however, our lives change, and this is how we can know God, or Reality, indirectly.

Q. Will science and religion ever become one?

A. Everything that we can know of is within existence. Therefore, science could eventually unlock all knowledge and all the mysteries of a corporeal universe that follows physical laws. The part of religion that delves into Ultimate Reality, however, can never be known from this side of existence. We can touch Ultimate Reality or God, but since it is beyond experience, as we know it, we can never speak about God because God would never register in our minds other than vague, ephemeral images.

Q. Is the Bible divinely inspired, or merely myths?

A. The Bible is a record, written by scores of people about many diverse events over long periods of time. One can only imagine how a story might change over thousands of years when it is passed along, generation by generation by word of mouth, and with each person telling the story at a different level of understanding and perhaps with a different agenda. Then, when the stories are further distorted by many different editors over hundreds of years, adding, subtracting, and organizing things that they think are important, we can be certain that any stories from antiquity have been altered enormously.

Q. Would morality exist without religions?

A. Morality is virtue, and virtue is order. Therefore, religion attempts to create order, which should be virtue. But since religion usually creates order by intimidation and fear, the result is repressed anger, and repressed anger can turn into violence. Ergo; religious wars! This is the opposite of order. Order without religion, therefore, is possible, and perhaps the only eventual way to an authentic morality that does not involve fear, guilt and anger, and does not establish competing groups that become divisive, which results in the opposite of order.

Q. Why are we here?

A. Nobody is here. The ego is an illusion. Our bodies are but elements of mother earth, and mother earth is here because of cause and effect; the flux between matter and energy.

Q. Are there really miracles, or can they all be explained scientifically?

A. All obvious miracles are grounded in existence. The only true miracle is that human beings can transcend existence and touch reality. When we transcend existence, however, we cannot talk about it, because when we transcend existence, we touch a Reality that cannot be understood by existence. Existence and Reality are separate levels. All that we know is that we have changed in some way.

Q. What part of us continues after death?

A. No part of us. We do not own any of our parts; they are all simply pieces of the earth and will return to the earth when we die. Everything that we know about ourselves will disappear upon death. But something does continue, and that something is called karma.

Q. Is the universe eternal or not eternal?

A. Both. The forms that alternate back and forth between energy and matter are not eternal, but energy can never be destroyed. Therefore, the universe itself is both eternal and not eternal. "In emptiness there is form, in form there is emptiness."

Q. Is the universe finite or infinite?

A. The universe is existence, and as such is finite. The Reality, which holds the universe in its hands and is the source of all consciousness in the universe, is infinite.

Q. Are the body and the "self" the same?

A. The self is a construction of the mind, which is part of the body. Self and mind die with the body.

Q. After death, do we continue to exist or not exist?

A. Both. We no longer exist as a body or mind. Karma continues however, and is reborn into an appropriate existence that fits the karmic tendencies. At that time, the new existence will appear to be real, as had the last, and that existence will reap the results of the old body's karma, good and bad. The string of these existences is held together by karma, and each new entity will feel the results of the old entity's karma. It will all seem real again, and we will feel the pain and pleasure of our past actions, which are our karma.

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E. Raymond Rock of Fort Myers, Florida is cofounder and principal teacher at the Southwest Florida Insight Center, http://www.SouthwestFloridaInsightCenter.com His twenty-eight years of meditation experience has taken him across four continents, including two stopovers in Thailand where he practiced in the remote northeast forests as an ordained Theravada Buddhist monk. His book, A Year to Enlightenment (Career Press/New Page Books) is now available at major bookstores and online retailers. Visit http://www.AYearToEnlightenment.com

35,296 - 192 - 9 - US
E. Raymond Rock (anagarika eddie) is a meditation teacher at DhammaRocksprings Theravada Buddhist Meditation Retreat Center: http://www.dhammarocksprings.org and author of “A Year to Enlightenment: http://www.amazon.com/Year-Enlightenment-Steps-Enriching-Living/dp/1564148912

He lived at Wat Pah Nanachat under Ajahn Chah as a Buddhist monk (novice) and at Wat Pah Baan Taad under Ajahn Maha Boowa and Wat Pah Daan Wi Weg under Ajahn Tui as a fully ordained Buddhist monk (bhikkhu). He was a postulant at Shasta Abbey, a Zen Buddhist monastery in northern California under Roshi Kennett; and a Theravada Buddhist anagarika at both Amaravati Monastery in the UK and Bodhinyanarama Monastery in New Zealand, both under Ajahn Sumedho. The author has meditated with the Korean Master Sueng Sahn Sunim; with Bhante Gunaratana at the Bhavana Society in West Virginia; and with the Tibetan Master Trungpa Rinpoche in Boulder, Colorado. He has practiced at the Insight Meditation Society and the Zen Center in San Francisco.

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