i need help with an interview for school please help

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i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby adwalsh » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:44 am

What do you believe about god?


What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?


In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?


Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?


Please name the religious practices you engage in?


What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?


What drives you to continue with your faith?


Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?


Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?


What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?
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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:18 am

What do you believe about god?
There is no creator according to the Buddha.


What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?
The practice of morality, the development of self-mastery and the development of wisdom.


In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?
It doesnt. The meaning and purpose I find is through practicing the Dhamma.

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?
Without practice, religion is completely meaningless.

Please name the religious practices you engage in?
Maintenance of the precepts, meditation, generosity, study.

What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?
Define 'faith'
What encourages me is insight into the nature of reality gained from meditative experience.
The incremental improvement in the quality of my life.


What drives you to continue with your faith?

See above.

Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?
Some would say, yes.

Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?
There are no rituals in my practice.
I am not in a position to disagree with the Tipitaka or the ancient commentaries.

What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?
I don't have an opinion about people who do not practice Buddhism.
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby plwk » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:23 am

To the 'Elders' of Dhammawheel and the original poster:
Is this questionnaire open for Buddhists of other Traditions too or confined to Theravada only?
(Sometimes certain posters do not really choose the right forum category and end up posting in a specific one when the questions seems to be an open one)

Many :thanks:
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby Ben » Tue Mar 09, 2010 11:32 am

Greetings plwk

Its up to the OP. I imagine if it is a school project, he or she will be seeking the views of people from different religions and traditions. Having said that, he or she did place the questionnaire in 'discovering theravada'. If the OP indicates to me or my colleagues that he is interested in the views of non-theravada practititoners as well as theravadin practititoners, I'll move it to the appropriate forum.
Kind regards

Ben
"One cannot step twice into the same river, nor can one grasp any mortal substance in a stable condition, but it scatters and again gathers; it forms and dissolves, and approaches and departs."

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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:28 pm

What do you believe about god?
no power in regards to the path to of knowledge and vision.

What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?
?

In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?
it helps in may ways, which I will not be going into on a thread.

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?
no

Please name the religious practices you engage in?
The Dhammavinaya of Theravada

What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?
belief that there are still those who have reached the end of the path

What drives you to continue with your faith?
faith

Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?
varies

Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?
not that I can think of

What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?
depends on the individual.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby Fede » Tue Mar 09, 2010 6:37 pm

adwalsh wrote:What do you believe about god?

I believe that it was necessary for humans to invent God.....they had to have something to praise, or to blame.


What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?

This question doesn't make sense to me....
I don't think 'Characteristics' is the right word.
I think 'Aspects' might be more fitting. And the most important aspect of Buddhism, to me, is that it withstands and bears up to scrutiny.


In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?

Buddhism is a religion which is testable, and is rational and logical. It makes perfect sense.

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?

No, but I think that if you follow a specific calling, it makes sense to include action and practice. But it's an essence of the religion, not a meaning....


Please name the religious practices you engage in?

Daily living by the Dhamma, the Eightfold path and five precepts, is what I practise.


What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?

I would define Faith as Confidence.
And the fact that the Dhamma is testable and can be examined for its authenticity, and its workability, gives me great confidence in the teachings of the Buddha


What drives you to continue with your faith?

Confidence.


Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?

That's not for me to say.


Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?

Haven't come across any so far.
There is much that I do not understand. But that is due to my ignorance, and not-knowing, that is not a fault or defficiency in the teaching.


What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?

They are human beings deserving of compassion, not judgement or criticism. What they do is their choice. I have no feelings either way. They live as they wish.
"Samsara: The human condition's heartbreaking inability to sustain contentment." Elizabeth Gilbert, 'Eat, Pray, Love'.

Simplify: 17 into 1 WILL go: Mindfulness!

Quieta movere magna merces videbatur. (Sallust, c.86-c.35 BC)
Translation: Just to stir things up seemed a good reward in itself. ;)

I am sooooo happy - How on earth could I be otherwise?! :D


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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:57 pm

Greetings,

What do you believe about god?
It is inconsistent with the Buddha's teachings for there to be an uncreated creator, and if God was created, what makes him God?

What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?
Spiritual development and spiritual happiness.

In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?
Spiritual development and spiritual happiness. Or put into familiar Buddhist terms, the path towards the cessation of suffering

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?
All action is either mental, physical, or verbal. All three should be aligned with the spiritual path.

Please name the religious practices you engage in?
The Noble Eightfold Path and Refuge in the Triple Gem of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.

What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?
That what I can test of the Buddha's teachings is true, and that which I'm yet in a position to test for myself, makes logical sense.

What drives you to continue with your faith?
A preference for peace, over suffering.

Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?
Different people have different standards. I try my best.

Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?
All texts should be evaluated against the Buddha's teachings that are recorded in the Sutta Pitaka (i.e. Dhamma) and Vinaya Pitaka (i.e. Vinaya), collectively known as Dhamma-Vinaya, or "the doctrine and the discipline". Here are some of the Buddha words on this very topic.

Extract from DN 16: Mahaparinibbana Sutta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html

7. And there the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Now, bhikkhus, I shall make known to you the four great references. 37 Listen and pay heed to my words." And those bhikkhus answered, saying:

"So be it, Lord."

8-11. Then the Blessed One said: "In this fashion, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu might speak: 'Face to face with the Blessed One, brethren, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a community with elders and a chief. Face to face with that community, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name live several bhikkhus who are elders, who are learned, who have accomplished their course, who are preservers of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with those elders, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation'; or: 'In an abode of such and such a name lives a single bhikkhu who is an elder, who is learned, who has accomplished his course, who is a preserver of the Dhamma, the Discipline, and the Summaries. Face to face with that elder, I have heard and learned thus: This is the Dhamma and the Discipline, the Master's Dispensation.'

"In such a case, bhikkhus, the declaration of such a bhikkhu is neither to be received with approval nor with scorn. Without approval and without scorn, but carefully studying the sentences word by word, one should trace them in the Discourses and verify them by the Discipline. If they are neither traceable in the Discourses nor verifiable by the Discipline, one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is not the Blessed One's utterance; this has been misunderstood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' In that way, bhikkhus, you should reject it. But if the sentences concerned are traceable in the Discourses and verifiable by the Discipline, then one must conclude thus: 'Certainly, this is the Blessed One's utterance; this has been well understood by that bhikkhu — or by that community, or by those elders, or by that elder.' And in that way, bhikkhus, you may accept it on the first, second, third, or fourth reference. These, bhikkhus, are the four great references for you to preserve."


What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?
I feel they would benefit from the wisdom of the Buddha, even if just as a complement to their existing belief structure (or lack thereof), though I have no intention of proselytizing the Dhamma.

I take guidance here from King Asoka, from the early Buddhist era, who commissioned the following engraving...

Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, honors both ascetics and the householders of all religions, and he honors them with gifts and honors of various kinds. But Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values this — that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. Growth in essentials can be done in different ways, but all of them have as their root restraint in speech, that is, not praising one's own religion, or condemning the religion of others without good cause. And if there is cause for criticism, it should be done in a mild way. But it is better to honor other religions for this reason. By so doing, one's own religion benefits, and so do other religions, while doing otherwise harms one's own religion and the religions of others. Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion. Therefore contact (between religions) is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions.

Those who are content with their own religion should be told this: Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not value gifts and honors as much as he values that there should be growth in the essentials of all religions. And to this end many are working — Dhamma Mahamatras, Mahamatras in charge of the women's quarters, officers in charge of outlying areas, and other such officers. And the fruit of this is that one's own religion grows and the Dhamma is illuminated also.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el386.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby Guy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:50 am

Hi adwalsh,

What do you believe about god?
I've never met Him/Her/It, so I try not to speculate.

What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?
Religion should at least help to increase long-term happiness and lessen suffering.

In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?
By giving me the tools to find out what is happiness and what is suffering and what are their causes.

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?
Religious ceremonies, such as bowing, are only as meaningful as the person's intention. If a person bows while thinking "I am a Buddhist, this is just what Buddhists do" then they might as well not bow at all. If a person bows while thinking "I really respect the Buddha as a teacher and I respect the Teachings that He gave to the world" then it is meaningful. The same principle applies to followers of other religions and the ceremonies of baptism, prayer, communion, etc.

Please name the religious practices you engage in?
(In no specific order) Trying to be generous, trying to be kind, trying to stay out of trouble and trying to develop the mind.

What encourages your faith? What gives you faith?
The fact that the Teachings of the Buddha have helped me immensely (more so than anything else) and I am confident that the Buddha was indeed Fully Awakened.

What drives you to continue with your faith?
See above.

Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?
I try to find the right balance between being over-zealous and too slack since in my experience neither are conducive to the development of the mind.

Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?
No.

What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?
At a fundamental level they have the same goal as me (i.e. to be happy), so I respect them for that and wish them the best in their pursuit. May all sentient beings be happy and free from suffering!
Four types of letting go:

1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

- Ajahn Brahm
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Re: i need help with an interview for school please help

Postby plwk » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:15 am

What do you believe about god?

'God(s), also known as 'deva' (click here)
On one level: it is a mind related state of existence
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nypo.html
So too, monks, when the mind is defiled, an unhappy destination [in a future existence] may be expected.
So too, monks, when the mind is undefiled, a happy destination [in a future existence] may be expected.

On another level: they are merely another group of sentient beings, like us humans, with flaws (at their level) and still subject to samsara
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Monks, in those who look up at the top of the standard of Sakka, lord of the devas; in those who look up at the top of the standard of Pajapati the deva-king; in those who look up at the top of the standard of Varuna, the deva-king; or in those who look up at the top of the standard of Isana, the deva-king, any fear, terror, or horripilation they may have might be abandoned, or it might not. Why is that? Because Sakka, lord of the devas, is not free of passion, free of aversion, or free of delusion. He can be frightened, terrorized, cowardly, quick to flee.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#iti-071
"I have seen beings who — endowed with bodily good conduct, verbal good conduct, & mental good conduct; who did not revile Noble Ones, who held right views and undertook actions under the influence of right views — at the break-up of the body, after death, have re-appeared in the good destination, the heavenly world.

And on this level: there is no discernible Begining/First Cause/Creator as proposed by other systems of belief
THE BUDDHA ON THE SO-CALLED CREATOR-GOD
The God Idea
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
There the Blessed One said: "From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration.
A beginning point is not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving are transmigrating & wandering on.

http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Patika_Sutta
There are, Bhaggava, some ascetics and Brahmins who declared as their doctrine that all things begin with the creation by a god, or Brahma. I have gone to them and said: "Reverend sirs, is it true that you declare that all things with the creation by a god, or Brahma?"
"Yes," they replied
"In that case, how do the reverend teachers declare that this came about?" But they could not give an answer, and so they asked me in return and I replied:
"There comes a time, monks, sooner or later after a long period, when this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly reborn in the Abhassara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious - and they stay like that for a very long time."
Wrong view number 5: "But the time comes, sooner or later after a long period, when this world begins to expand. In this expanding world an empty palace of Brahma appears. And then one being, from exhaustion of his life-span or of his merits, falls from the Abhassara world and arises in the empty Brahma-palace. And there he dwells, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious - and he stays like that for a very long time."
"Then in this being who has been alone for so long there arises unrest, discontent and worry, and he thinks: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ And other beings, from exhaustion of their life-span or of their merits, fall from the Abhassara world and arise in the Brahma palace as companions for this being. And there they dwell, mind-made, … and they stay like that for a very long time."
"And then, monks, that being who first arose there thinks: "I am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. These beings were created by me. How so? Because I first had this thought: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ That was my wish, and then these beings came into this existence!" But those beings who arose subsequently think: "This, friends, is Brahma, Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. How so? We have seen that he was here first, and that we arose after him."
"And this being that arose first is longer-lived, more beautiful and more powerful than they are. And it may happen that some being falls from that realm and arises in this world. Having arisen in this world, he goes forth from the household life into homelessness. Having gone forth, he by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attains to such a degree of mental concentration that he thereby recalls his last existence, but recalls none before that. And he thinks: ‘That Brahma, … he made us, and he is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, the same for ever and ever. But we who were created by that Brahma, we are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, fated to fall away, and we have come to this world.
That, reverend sirs, is how it comes about that you teach that all things began with the creation by a god, or Brahma."
And they said, "We have heard this, Reverend Gotama, as you have explained." But I know the first beginning of things… and not being under the sway of what I know I have come to know that quenching by the realization of which the Tathágata cannot fall into perilous ways.

What do you think are most important characteristics of religion?

As how the Dhammapada states it:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.

In what why does religion provide meaning and purpose for you?

That is how I view and hope to practice in meaning and purpose.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
'How this world has fallen on difficulty! It is born, it ages, it dies, it falls away & rearises, but it does not discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death. O when will it discern the escape from this stress, from this aging & death?'
"In the same way I saw an Ancient Path, an Ancient Road, traveled by the Rightly Self-Awakened Ones of former times.
And what is that Ancient Path, that Ancient Road, traveled by the Rightly Self-Awakened Ones of former times?
Just this Noble Eightfold Path: Right View, Right Aspiration, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration.
That is the Ancient Path, the Ancient Road, traveled by the Rightly Self-Awakened Ones of former times. I followed that Path.
Following It, I came to direct knowledge of aging & death, direct knowledge of the origination of aging & death, direct knowledge of the cessation of aging & death, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of aging & death.
I followed that Path. Following it, I came to direct knowledge of birth... becoming... clinging... craving... feeling... contact... the six sense media... name-&-form... consciousness, direct knowledge of the origination of consciousness, direct knowledge of the cessation of consciousness, direct knowledge of the path leading to the cessation of consciousness. I followed that Path.

Do you see religious action or practice as an important meaning of being religious?

Religious practices are seen by myself as likened to an expedient/aid and not meant/confused as the final goal. It should be centered around the tripod of morality, concentration and wisdom (sila, samadhi, panna). The Noble Eightfold Path and its connection with sila/samadhi/panna: http://sureshvarma.com/Eight_Fold_Noble_Path_3.gif
Again, from the Dhammapada:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
Month after month a fool may eat his food with the tip of a blade of grass, but he still is not worth a sixteenth part of the those who have comprehended the Truth.
Just as a storm cannot prevail against a rocky mountain, so Mara can never overpower the man who lives meditating on the impurities, who is controlled in his senses, moderate in eating, and filled with faith and earnest effort.
Much though he recites the sacred texts, but acts not accordingly, that heedless man is like a cowherd who only counts the cows of others — he does not partake of the blessings of the holy life.
Little though he recites the sacred texts, but puts the Teaching into practice, forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, with true wisdom and emancipated mind, clinging to nothing of this or any other world — he indeed partakes of the blessings of a holy life.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Therefore your duty is the contemplation, 'This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress.' Your duty is the contemplation, 'This is the path of practice leading to the cessation of stress.'"
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.026.than.html
"And to what extent, Lord, is one a virtuous lay follower?"
"Jivaka, when one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying, and from fermented & distilled drinks that lead to heedlessness, then to that extent is one a virtuous lay follower."
"And to what extent, Lord, is one a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit & the benefit of others?"
"Jivaka, when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction and encourages others in the consummation of conviction; when he himself is consummate in virtue and encourages others in the consummation of virtue; when he himself is consummate in generosity and encourages others in the consummation of generosity; when he himself desires to see the monks and encourages others to see the monks; when he himself wants to hear the true Dhamma and encourages others to hear the true Dhamma; when he himself habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to remember the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself, knowing both the Dhamma & its meaning, practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma and encourages others to practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma: then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and for the benefit of others."

Reading Links:
Prayer, Meditation and Religious Practices
The Path to Peace
Please name the religious practices you engage in?

1. Upholding the basic Five Precepts and on special days, taking up The Eight Precepts
2. Varied Meditation practices
3. Daily recitation of scriptural texts and traditional liturgies
4. Joining in Dhamma Assemblies (i.e temples/Dhamma center) on special days like the New/Full Moon Days and other observances/events
5. Getting involved in no.4's social welfare and Dhamma related activities
What encourages your faith? What gives you faith? What drives you to continue with your faith?

One Buddhist definition... saddha
This is how I view it...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch, in the same way this Doctrine and Discipline (dhamma-vinaya) has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual progression, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Monks, I do not say that the attainment of gnosis is all at once.
Rather, the attainment of gnosis is after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice.
And how is there the attainment of gnosis after gradual training, gradual action, gradual practice?
There is the case where, when conviction has arisen, one visits [a teacher].
Having visited, one grows close. Having grown close, one lends ear. Having lent ear, one hears the Dhamma.
Having heard the Dhamma, one remembers it. Remembering, one penetrates the meaning of the teachings.
Penetrating the meaning, one comes to an agreement through pondering the teachings.
There being an agreement through pondering the teachings, desire arises.
When desire has arisen, one is willing. When one is willing, one contemplates. Having contemplated, one makes an exertion.
Having made an exertion, one realizes with the body the ultimate truth and, having penetrated it with discernment, sees it.

And the results for a lay person like myself?
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"For a lay person, there are these five rewards of conviction. Which five?
"When the truly good people in the world show compassion, they will first show compassion to people of conviction, and not to people without conviction.
When visiting, they first visit people of conviction, and not people without conviction.
When accepting gifts, they will first accept those from people with conviction, and not from people without conviction.
When teaching the Dhamma, they will first teach those with conviction, and not those without conviction.
A person of conviction, on the break-up of the body, after death, will arise in a good destination, the heavenly world.
For a lay person, these are the five rewards of conviction.
"Just as a large banyan tree, on level ground where four roads meet, is a haven for the birds all around, even so a lay person of conviction is a haven for many people: monks, nuns, male lay followers, & female lay followers."

Are you a very strict practicer of your faith?

I try my best...some of my daily reflections below...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower. Which five?
He/she has conviction;
is virtuous;
is not eager for protective charms & ceremonies;
trusts kamma, not protective charms & ceremonies;
does not search for recipients of his/her offerings outside [of the Sangha], and gives offerings here first.
Endowed with these five qualities, a lay follower is a jewel of a lay follower, a lotus of a lay follower, a fine flower of a lay follower."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... index.html
If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself. Let the wise man keep vigil during any of the three watches of the night.
One truly is the protector of oneself; who else could the protector be? With oneself fully controlled, one gains a mastery that is hard to gain.
If by renouncing a lesser happiness one may realize a greater happiness, let the wise man renounce the lesser, having regard for the greater.
You yourselves must strive; the Buddhas only point the way. Those meditative ones who tread the path are released from the bonds of Mara.
The idler who does not exert himself when he should, who though young and strong is full of sloth, with a mind full of vain thoughts — such an indolent man does not find the path to wisdom.
Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked, where it wished and according to its pleasure, but now I shall thoroughly master it with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus an elephant in rut.
One by one, little by little, moment by moment, a wise man should remove his own impurities, as a smith removes his dross from silver.
Delight in heedfulness! Guard well your thoughts! Draw yourself out of this bog of evil, even as an elephant draws himself out of the mud.

Are there any rituals or sacred texts in your religions which you do not agree with or think could be worded better?

I look at this this way...as I am an evolving person, what mattered to me once upon a time, may not now, and what of now, may not be later.
With daily practice and realizations, it is hoped that I am able to mature in wisdom and rise above mind discrimination with regards to the greater facets of life itself, and yes, rituals/texts included.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
People give according to their faith or regard.
If one becomes discontented with the food and drink given by others, one does not attain meditative absorption, either by day or by night.
But he in who this (discontent) is fully destroyed, uprooted and extinct, he attains absorption, both by day and by night.

What are your opinions of those whom do not practice your faith?

On one level...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .budd.html
Hard is it to be born a man; hard is the life of mortals.
Hard is it to gain the opportunity of hearing the Sublime Truth,
and hard to encounter is the arising of the Buddhas.

On another...
Kalama Sutta
Tolerance and Diversity
Nature, Value And Choice Of Religious Beliefs
Bhikkhus, if you develop and make much this one thing,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.
What is it? It is recollecting the Enlightened One.
If this single thing is recollected and made much,
it invariably leads to weariness, cessation, appeasement, realization and extinction.

Anguttara-Nikaya: Ekanipata: Ekadhammapali: Pañhamavagga
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