“Ask a Buddhist” is a recurring column on SpokaneFāVS, an online newspaper covering religion, spirituality and ethics in the Inland Northwest, where the Abbey is located. Readers can send in questions on Buddhist faith and meditation and receive responses written by Abbey monastics and longtime Abbey supporter Sarah Conover, a Dharma student of nearly three decades. Articles address everyday topics like romance, mental health, and grief as well as questions concerning traditional Buddhist teachings and the monastic life. Sarah began hosting the “Ask a Buddhist” column in 2013.

Click on the links below to read articles published in 2018.

Have a question of your own about Buddhism? Submit it by clicking here.

How Do I Know If I’m Buddhist?

Buddhism is a spiritual path based in reasoning and validated by experience, so it’s important to investigate the teachings critically to see if they make sense for you.

On Forgiveness

Does being Buddhist mean that one must forgive pain brought on by others and if yes, should one allow the hurt to be repeated?

Nuns’ Lifestyle

Generally speaking, the lifestyle of a Buddhist nun is simple and disciplined, involving study, meditation, and service. As we mature into our ordination, this lifestyle makes our lives rich with meaning and joy.

Meditation Techniques

The Buddha taught many ways to meditate, each with its own purpose and intended outcome. But there are two main types of meditation: stabilizing meditation and checking meditation.

Buddha’s Miracles

What are some of the miracles the Buddha performed? How come these don’t make him a god?

On Grieving

Everyone grieves in their own way and there’s no “right way” to do it.

Marriage and Attachment

Both love and conflict are far more of an inside job than external—as the Buddha said, “The mind is the forerunner of all things.”

Shrines in My Home

The purpose of a Buddhist shrine or altar is to remind us of our objects of refuge—the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha— and also of our potential to attain Buddhahood.

A Buddhist View of Spirits

Do Buddhist schools of thought view spirits as a form coming from the mind consciousness or are such things only seen by an awakened mind?

Living a Good Life with Mental Illness

As we learn to observe our experience in meditation, we learn how negative emotions and behaviors are harmful to us and positive emotions are helpful.