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RELS 223 (19)

Buddhism Part 1

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Religious Studies
RELS 223
Peter Campbell

RELS 223 Buddhism Professor Ellen Goldberg Office hours – Tuesday 11:30-12:30, room 406, Theological Hall [email protected] Tues Jan 8/13  Buddha o “Awakened one”, enlightened  Indra’s Net  Interconnectedness of all things  Nonattachment  Awoke to the truth, “dharma” (modernist idea) o Siddartha Gautama o Everyone in Buddhism can become a Buddha  Philosophy, experience, meditation, follow life of Siddartha  Leads to enlightenment  Difficult, because must abandon attachments, renounce desires  Karma o Law of cause and effect o Become attached, karma is embedded  Attachment is emotional, biological  Meditation slows things down, allows us to understand who we are  Other issues o Mindfulness  Buddhist meditation practice  Pali – language eventually used to write canon of Buddhist teachings  Meditation = dhyana (Sanskrit), chan (Chinese), zen (Japanese)  Earliest conversion religion (6 c BCE)  The Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma (India) o Hinayana (Small vehicle)  Goes to southeast Asia o Mahayana (Large Vehicle)  China, Japan o Vajrayana (Thunderbolt or Diamond Vehicle)  North to Tibet  Read chapter 1, pg 2-21 Background  Inside the Neolithic Mind (book) o Images on cave walls o Spectrum of the human mind  Rational, problem solving on one end  Visionary mind on the other  Can enter into different states of consciousness if shown how  All people are capable of having a spectrum of human experience  But in modern day, value rational mind over visionary  Natural to have visionary experiences  Indus Valley civilization o Ca. 3000 – 1250 BCE o Existed along Indus river in present day Pakistan o Little is known about religion and civilization o Proto-Shiva seal may indicate yoga  But now known for sure  Vadic Civilization (1250-2 c BCE) o New people enter India, not sure where they are from o Vedas – oldest scriptures known to man, “knowledge” or “wisdom” that is heard of revealed  1000 years of religious thinking by Indo-Arian peoples  Orally transmitted tradition  Earliest was the Rg-Veda (hymns) (1250 to present)  World held together by prayer and sacrifice  Brahmin priest chants same hymns today as in 1250  Some female deities  Every hymn accompanied by musical notation (Sama-Veda, the music)  Sacred knowledge in Atharva-Veda  Intended to be heard, transmitted oral  Said to be revealed to them from the cosmos o Upanishads  800 BCE  Sets the stage for new philosophy  Changes in how people think about relationship to the universe  Transmigration o Belief in reincarnation, rebirth o Idea that life does not end in death was new o Karma brings us back, causes us to be reborn o The atman is reborn  The self (in text, translated as “soul”, but self is better)  Atma-vidya – self-knowledge, the removal of ignorance about the self  Sunyata – emptiness, nothingness o The self is not a thing, not a person o One, wholeness, singular before it is divided into parts  See the interconnectedness  Tat vam asi  “You are That”  Singular self  Enables the environment of the Buddha  Atman = brahman  Brahman – oneness, wholeness, totality of being Tues Jan 15/13 The Life of the “Historical” Buddha  The sramana (shramana) period in northern India, the Central Gangetic Plain, provided context for rise of early Indian Buddhism o 6 -5 century BCE o Revolutionary ideas and development, social upheaval  Urbanization  Use of iron technology (plough, instruments of warfare not seen in Indus Valley Civilization)  Rise in agriculture and surplus production (wheat, millet, barley, rice, lentils)  Development, expansion, and centralization of small scale republics governed by lords (power held by ksatriya or warrior caste) and large scale kingdoms (empires) supported by surplus food  Cultural innovation (new ideas including karma, rebirth, liberation)  Competing religious practices and early ascetic movements (sramanas)  Buddhism as experiential, not based in belief o Orthopraxy – practice and experience oriented, what you do over what you believe  Caste system, or Varna system  Brahmin (priests, ritual experts)  Ksatriya (warrior caste, vying with Brahmins for control)  Vaisya (merchant class, people who make money)  Shudra (everyone else, servant class) o Sramana (wanderers, ascetic orders) movements shared a way of life marked by:  Renunciation  Withdrawal from “worldly” or everyday life, and ultimately the entire cycle of rebirth  Mendicancy (wanderers)  Celibacy  Cultivation of mind and body  Through simple (yoga) meditation practices  A semi-communal hermit life in the forest  Associated with the cult of the dead  Through renunciation, dead to worldly life o Purpose of sramana lifestyle was the pursuit of liberation from samsara (cycle of birth, death, rebirth of the atman, the self, because of accumulated karma)  To obtain nirvana, liberation, freedom  Samsara seen as a kind of suffering  Subject to continuous rebirth and death  Important cities: o Kushinagara, Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sarnath/ Varanasi  Became pilgrimage sites  Part of the Buddha’s hagiography  Sacred biography, often told by insiders to the group  “Buddha” – “awakened one” o Once he attained Buddhahood he becomes a paradigmatic figure (someone who changes the way we see the world) o Awakened to the eternal Laws of Dharma  “The eternal laws that transcend all conditionality of time and space” o How did he awaken?  By “his own effort”  He was a heroic (ksatriya) human being  Main characters of Buddha’s story o Siddhartha Gautama (aka Sakyamuni Buddha), Asita (soothsayer, prophet), Suddhodana (Siddhartha’s father), Maya (Siddhartha’s mother), Prajapti (Siddhartha’s aunt and stepmother), Yasodhara (Siddhartha’s wife), Rahula (Siddhartha’s son), Kanthaka (Siddhartha’s horse), Channa (charioteer, manservant), Arada Kalama (first guru), Uraka Ramaputra (second guru), 5 mendicants, Sujata (after fasting, fed Siddhartha), Ananda (cousin, disciple, protector, important in propagation of Buddhism after death), Mara and his 3-5 daughters (desire, clinging, greed)  Important events o Birth (foothills of present-day Nepal in Lumbini, ca. 6 -5 c BCE, date debated) o Renunciation (age 29, Great Departure) o Forest life and the practice of austerities o The awakening (Bodhgaya) o First sermon (Deer Park near Sarnath, outside Varanasi) o 40 years as teacher of dharma, death (parinirvana in Kusinagara)  Jain leader Mahavira created notion of non-violence that inspired parts of Buddhism and other religions  Monks live on alms, so cannot be choosy in what they eat (not vegetarian)  Buddha was a real historical figure o Life story has historical events, but writing about his life occurred 400-500 years later o Goal of the ascetic is radical reshaping or transformation of the individual at a profound level  For Buddha, entailed developing systematic techniques for bringing about “cessation” (stopping, nirodha) of the mind-body (including breath) through meditation  Includes cultivation of ethics (shila or sila) and expanded states of consciousness (brahma-viharas) through all stages of mediation of jhanas o Meditation as a “practical” or applied method  Leads to visionary experience, deep psychological insight into the workings of one’s body-mind  Buddha teaches 2 things o The causes of suffering o The way to end suffering  At birth, Siddhartha was a bodhisattva o Buddha-to-be o Forestalls own enlightenment to help other trapped in samsara  When he leaves the city, sees the 4 sights o Old age o Sickness o Death o Sramana, ascetic  When sees peacefulness of the sramana, wants to attain that  Shielded by a cobra – kundalini, sign of awakening o Represents human life force, which was awakening through meditative practices  Cut hair, gave away his horse, renounced his life and left o Great Departure  Elephants awake while all other court members slept when he left o Animal with a high state of consciousness in the animal realm o Life as we know it is an illusion that we are not aware of until we wake up  Crossed the river (samsara) to reach the forest  Mendicants became his disciples when they saw his concentration o Sramanas following ascetic practices  The middle way as the true path o If the string is too tight, it will snap; if too loose, it will not play  Sat under banyan (Bodhi) tree and went deeply into dhyana, states of consciousness o Eyes open in meditation o Mara sent to disturb his meditation  Internal visions, distractions  Metaphor of distractions and temptations of life shown in the 5 daughters of Mara  When does not work, Mara, the ego, becomes more enraged o Have to preserve sense of self at any cost o Offers to make Siddhartha a god if will stop meditating o Buddha tells Mara “builder, you will build no more”  Ends the cycle of samsara Tues Jan 22/13 Dharma and Sangha  The teachings of the Buddha o Cosmic laws, true for all time and all places, eternally True  Sangha – the community of practicing Buddhists o 4 components to the community  Bhikhus – monks  Ordained disciples of the Buddha  Sangha was initially 5 disciples o Told to go out and spread the word, convert others to the dharma  Bhikhunis – nuns  Lay men and women  Ordinary people who work and support the monastic community  Buddha, Dharma, Sangha – the 3 Jewels (or Gems) of Buddhism  “Refuge” as conversion o Take refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha.  History o Sri Lanka is the first place Buddhism spreads to, then east to China, Korea, Japan, west to Afghanistan o Maya = illusion  Buddha born from/into illusion  Mother dies 7 days after birth, Buddha lives beyond Maya o Dhyanas (jhanas)  Siddhartha passed through 4 stages of levels of meditation called dhyanas that coincide with the 3 watches of the night  The first watch, he obtained the ability to see his past lives o Based on the workings of personal karma  The second watch, he saw the coming into being and passing away of the karma of other beings and understood the universal law of karma  The third watch, he awakened to the dharma, including the 4 noble truths, the 8-fold path, the 3 marks of existence, 5 skandhas, and the 12 links in the wheel of interdependent origination o Called matrikas, lists  Oral culture, had to be passed on in a concise manner o Always depicted with a third eye in his forehead  Divine eye, had insight  Turning the Wheel of Dharma sermon (Dharma-cakra) o Given to the 5 ascetics o The dharma is not static or permanent, it is always changing  Fixed views cause suffering o The Dharma as the middle way  Path between extreme luxury, pleasure, and extreme deprivation o Tathagata – thus one gone  One who has gone beyond suffering o Gradual progression that leads to enlightenment and Nirvana o Aryan = noble o Noble Truth of Suffering (dukkha)  Everything is suffering, we suffer because of attachment, separation, desire; the Five Components or Aggregates (skandhas) of existence are suffering o Noble Truth concerning the Arising (origin or cause) of Suffering (samudaya)  Suffering originates in craving (trishna) for pleasure, life, senses, which is never satisfied, which causes rebirth o Noble Truth concerning the Cessation of Suffering (nirodha)  Complete cessation of craving so that no passion remains o Noble Truth concerning the Way (marga)  Leads to the cessation of suffering  Noble Eight-Fold Way  Right view o See the world as the Buddha, as it truly is  E.g. the 4 noble truths, 3 marks, skandhas, wheel of interdependent origination  Right thought o Intention, resolve  Right speech o Refrain from lying, idle speech, gossip  Right conduct/action o World of causality and samsara, born again because of karma  Right means of livelihood o Livelihoods that do not cause harm or use violence  Ahimsa = non-injury, vow not to harm any living creature  Right effort  Right mindfulness  Right meditation (Samadhi) o In the human realm, there is just enough suffering to turn the mind towards the dharma  3 Marks of Existence o Impermanence o Suffering (dukkha) o No-Self (anatman) o Everything in the universe that comes into being due to causes and conditions has these three marks or traits  Absolutely no-thing exists on its own  Everything is interdependent o There is absolutely nothing that can be seen to be permanent  Understood as having any permanent (or real) substance o The picture of reality (based on these 3 traits deriving from the enlightenment teachings of the Buddha) structures the entire meaning and pursuit of (Buddhist) life  The Thangka o Tibetan o A painted, pictorial map, used as an object for meditation o The wheel of samsara, held by Mara o Universal and personal pattern o The 12 links in the Wheel of Independent Origination (the wheel of cause and effect)  Ignorance  Blind man on a journey  Everyone comes into this world blind, caught in a web of illusion, ignorance (avidya – not-see) o Always focused on one thing, seeing either this or that  Build up karmic propensities for the next life  Karmic Formations  Potter making a pot  Samskaras  Deep-seated impressions, karmic patterns repeat o Reborn according to karma  (New) Consciousness  Monkey picking fruit o The mind jumps from one thing to another, hard to tame  To become aware o Vijnanna  Conditioned by karmic formations  Name and Form  Body-mind, individuality, man on a journey  The personal me, conditioned by new consciousness  6 Sense Spheres  House with 6 windows o Contact the world through these windows  Includes the mind  Senses are conditioned, and help us contact the world at large o Form and condition how we see the world  Contact  Lovers touching or arrow in the eye  Conditioned by the senses o Engenders feelings  Feelings  3 feelings o Pleasure, displeasure, neutrality  One of the five skandhas (vedana)  Craving  Trishna or Tanha, couple falling in love or eating and drinking  The second noble truth o There is a cause for suffering  Crave pleasurable experiences, addiction based on pleasure  Grasping (attachment)  Man picking fruit  Want to have the experience again and again o Attachment to having it, even if it is not wholesome  Becoming  The instinct or drive to be (re)born, pregnant woman  Birth (or re-birth)  Woman bearing child  Old age and death  Corpse o Divisions of the wheel  Past causes  Ignorance  Mental formations  Present causes  Consciousness  Name and Form (mind and body)  Six Senses  Contact  Feelings  Later Present Causes  Craving  Grasping  Becoming  Future events  Birth  Old Age and Death o Buddha does not speculate about a creator god o Middle wheel, Six Realms  Formless God realm  Gods with Forms Realm  Animal realm  Human realm  Realm of Hell  Hungry Ghost Realm  Ghosts with great hunger but very small mouths o Never satisfied Tues Jan 29/13  3 watches – movement from darkness to light, to enlightenment  5 Skandhas (5 aggregates/heaps) o Things that the Buddha saw in himself during his meditation o The Five Skandhas  Bodily Form (rupa)  Body tends toward destruction, but the body is not the self  On the Wheel of Dependent Origination  Feeling (vedana)  Sensations tend toward destruction, but feeling is not the self  On the Wheel of Dependent Origination  Perception (sanna)  Perceptions tend toward destruction, but perception is not the self  Mental (karmic) Formations (samskara)  Mental constructions tend toward destruction because they are not the self  Want to repeat pleasant experiences  On the Wheel of Dependent Origination  Consciousness (vijnana)  Consciousness tends toward destruction because it is not the self  On the Wheel of Dependent Origination o Gives the illusion of an “I”, the sense of something whole  This sense of ego is an illusion o The heaps are made of tiny pieces, creating the illusion of a larger being  No eternal, ever-lasting self in this image  All things can be broken down into their dependent origination o All things depend on something else for its existence  The self is made of 5 aggregates o Meditation as a technique to begin to break down the causes of suffering  Once you begin to see your own suffering, you can have enormous compassion  Suffering is not personal  Will reveal that all phenomenon are not-self  Happens when one “trains in mindfulness” o Produces concentration, discernment, insight, awareness of body, speech and mind  Meditation on the skandhas is a mediation on what is not-self  Ask: how do formulations come into being (e.g. reactions, views, perceptions, feelings, mental formations, etc)? What is perception? Feeling?  Begin to see that we are (interdependent) patterns, “I” reactions, feelings of pleasure and pain, of solidity, memories, etc.  These are “conditions” or perhaps you could say “conditionings” based on grasping for a self o There is only cause and effect  The Centre of the Wheel of Dependent Origination o A rooster, a pig, and a snake o The fuel of the wheel  Passion is a flame, the three animals represent the passions  Snake represents hatred  Pig represents delusion (or illusion)  Rooster/bird represents greed  Fueling samsara  Samsara is not nirvana o Nirvana is liberation from the wheel of rebirth o Nirvana – “without flame”, “blowing out”  Blows out the flame, the passion, of samsara o Sila (shila) = ethics, “to cool”  By living a right life, one begins to cool the karmic effects of the unwholesome fueling of samsara o Allegory of greed, delusion, hatred as the fuel of the karmic realm, causing suffering  Tendency towards one type over the others  Affect each other  3 bowl theory  Greed person is depicted by a bowl o At the bottom of the beautiful bowl is a tiny hole o Anything put in the bowl leaks out of the bottom o Always an antidote  Understand the causes of suffering, the bowl will close the hole  Need meditations on compassion and loving kindness  Helps to cool the passion of greed  Hatred bowl has a tiny drop of poison at the bottom o Always a flaw, always a drop of hatred o If flipped, has discriminating awareness  Can help in meditation, analyze cause and effect  Delusion bowl is upside down o Cannot put anything into the bowl  It is completely cl
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