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RELG 1681 Lecture Notes - Bodhi Tree, Buddhism In Japan, Bodhi

Religious Studies
Course Code
RELG 1681
Sam Borsman

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What Does "Enlightenment" Mean?
Buddhist term "nirvana" derives from root meaning "to extinguish" or "to blow out" and
refers to the extinction of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Continual rebirth in samsara
(meaning "to wander") also ceases
Buddhist term "bodhi" means "awakening", and is the root of the word "Buddha"
o The Buddha sat beneath a bodhi tree during his meditation towards Enlightenment
In Japanese Buddhism, the term "satori" means "understanding; and more specifically,
"kensho" refers to understanding one's true nature
In Hinduism, "moksha" means liberation and "mukti" means release
How is Enlightenment Achieved?
Bodily Discipline (ie yoga)
Intoxicants (drugs)
the arts (ie. Japanese tea ceremony; calligraphy)
devotion (ie. to Krishna)
What Happens to the Enlightened?
liberation from birth/death cycle (samsara)
o 6 Realms of Samsara (illustrated in the Bhava Chakra- Wheel of Life)
2. Deva-gati, Realm of Devas (Heavenly Beings): Devas live in splendor and
pleasure, but are not immortal. Their wealth and privilege makes them unable to
see the suffering of others
3. Asura-gati, Realm of Asuras (Titans): Asuras marked by jealousy.
4. Preta-gati, Realm of Preta (Hungry Ghosts): Beings with huge empty bellies and
very thin necks, characterized by insatiable hunger and craving, associated with
addiction, obsession, compulsion
5. Naraka-gati, Realm of Hell: Extremely aggressive, angry beings
6. Tiryagyoni-gati, Animal Realm: marked by stupidity, ignorance, complacency
7. Manusya-gati, Human Realm: only realm from which beings can escape samsara,
also, an eternal, loving relationship with Krishna (sometimes taking an erotic form)
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