RELS 223 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Neuropathology, Vedic Period, Upanishads

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Lecture 1
Introduction to course Background and Context,
Chapter 1 pp. 2-21
Preceding the Buddha
-3000 BCE Indus Valley Civilization (disappeared for unknown reason)
-Vedic Civilization: religious teachings of what have come to be Hindus.
-Upanisads. Most critical part of Buddhism.
-Sramana movement
Buddha – Siddartha Gautama
-The awakened one
-Awakened to what? Indra net - interconnectedness of all things
-Non attachment
-Truth: Buddhism is both modern and post-modern in that it has a Truth and no
truth.
Truth
Truth, though we cant pinpoint what that is, is what the Buddha awakened to. You
can become a Buddha. This is important, because one day Siddartha Gautama woke
up and decided to be Buddha. Its ‘performative’ as well – the great departure, its
been re-enacted by millions of people who want to become a Buddha. It’s become a
template. He is not a saviour per say – he can’t save anybody else, but his actions set
in motion a paradigm that will help you save yourself.
SO why doesn’t everyone just do this? The non-attachment is scary… at the heart of
this is desire. Renouncing desire is difficult. The human mind is capable, it is
possible, but it is not common.
Karma
-Law of action and reaction. We become attached because we build neuropathways
around repetitive behaviors. Our karma becomes embedded in our neuropathology.
Attachment is not just emotional - it may also be biological. This is what Buddhism is
all about. Slowing things down, through meditation, to understand who we are. And
who we think we are, is not necessarily who we really are, according to the Buddha.
Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharma
We begin by looking at the Three Turnings of the Wheel of Dharmh. This is the
beginning.
Maha- great. Yana – Vehicle
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