SIT COMFORTABLY ERECT, without leaning forward or backward, left or right. Close your eyes and think thoughts of good will. Thoughts of good will go first to yourself, because if you can't think good will for yourself—if you can't feel a sincere desire for your own happiness—there's no way you can truly wish for the happiness of others.
Yae-Hong Hsu, better known by his Buddhist name Chin Kung Shi, was born in February of 1927 in Lujiang County, Anhui Province of China. He attended the National Third Guizhou Junior High School and Nanjing First Municipal High School. In 1949, he went to Taiwan and worked in the Shijian Institution.
In the year 563 B.C., on the border of modern day Nepal and India, a prince was born to a ruler of a minor kingdom, the Sakyan. His name was Siddhartha Gotama and, at the age of thirty five, he attained, after six years of struggle and through his own insight, full enlightenment or Buddhahood. The term 'Buddha' is not a name for a god or an incarnation of a god, despite Hindu claims to the contrary, but is a title for one who has realised through good conduct, mental cultivation and wisdom the cause of life's vicissitudes and the way to overcome them. Buddhism is, perhaps, unique amongst the world's religions in that it does not place reliance for salvation on some external power, such as a god or even a Buddha, but places the responsibility for life's frustrations squarely on the individual.
This handbook, Buddhism 101—Questions and Answers, is a selected collection of Buddhist basic teachings for beginners. While composing this book, we thought in particular about those Buddhists who just initiatively started to study and practice Buddhism in environments of multiple religions and multiple cultures. Therefore, the basic themes introduced here serve to provide readers with a general view of the Buddha’s teachings in regard to both theory and practice. Given the limitations of a handbook, we dare not go further into intensive issues of Buddhist philosophy as doing so may lead to difficulties for beginners. However, the selected questions discussed here are the core teachings of Buddhism. As a beginner, you need to master these teachings firmly and precisely before going further into the Buddhist studies. We hope that this handbook will be a useful ladder to help you along the way in your learning and practicing.