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February 12 Notes.docx

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Angela Brkich

RELIGIOUS STUDIES Lecture Notes February 12 What role do cultural expressions play in Jainism? BECAUSE IT CAN CAUSE "THE SPARK" THAT BEGINS THE PROCESS OF MOKSHA To waht do Jainas attribute their success? They were able to forge beneficial alliances. Can wheel and deal when necessary. Collaborate with Royalty / Khashiyatras (warrior class) BUDDHISM for a long time, many scholars wondered if buddhism counted as a religion, since there is no deity. - born out of india, and therefore shares a variety of things with other indian religions - similarities to hindu, but has distinct traditions and rejects key elements of hindu - SIDDHARTHA rejected authority of vedas, castes, rejected atman and brahman, and the worship of gods. THE "THREE JEWELS / GEMS" are the center of the teachings: 1. THE BUDDHA 2. THE DHARMA (buddha's teachings) 3. THE SANGHA (community) also known as the three refuge formula, buddhists go to these three for refuge. there is a diversity in buddhist traditions: THERAVADA, MAHAYANA, VAJRAYANA are the main three. - buddhism developed during a 500 year period of prosperity and peace. tensions may have been brewing though. it was almost impossible to hop from one caste to another. one important developing tension was the gap between rich and poor. the merchants who had gotten rich had lots of money and status but no land. the brahmins and the other members of the upper class already had land. they struggled with each other. the "new money" was not treated with the same status the old money were. but the most important tensions at the time were religious ones. like Mahavira, who didn't come from the brahmin class but began his own religion, lots of non-brahmin people wanted access to higher spiritual truths. they noticed contradictions between rituals and behaviours of brahmin classes in different parts of the sub-continent. this is the environment buddhism developed in. THE FIRST GEM: THE BUDDHA - buddhism considers multiple and endless cosmoses where universes cyclically rise and decline - don't believe in single god or spirits, but do believe in the BUDDHA, one buddha born for every cosmo in decline that needs to be turned around. uses their own power to become perfected with no help from any god. great powers of wisdom and insight. this perfection is achieved over hundreds of lives. the buddha's progress towards enlightenment can be seen in the JATAKA TALES. over 500 stories. the best one is the last one. only one person per era achieves this full state of enlightenment, but there are other beings who have achieved spiritual progress: EX ASCETIC HERMITS ARHATS and BODHISATTVAS: those who have set out to become a buddha. the bodhisattva vow is taken by the buddha himself. SIDDHARTHA GAUTAMA lived 2500 ya in india. he became the buddha. his life is very important. the historical person "founded" buddhism. not divine, but presented as teacher and model for people to follow. he sets an example for others to follow. 6C BCE. the upanishads are being created. the brahmins were not the only individuals endowed with religious creativity though! Buddha was one of the SHRAMANAS, wandering ascetics. one problem we encounter when looking for the historical buddha, we know very little about their actual lives. we don't know if buddha existed or not. it is centuries after he dies when things start getting written down, and are very hagiographical and embellished. it is said that Siddhartha was a Prince of the Shakya tribe in NE India (modern day Nepal). there are many narratives about his history. most scholars think his parents ruled only a tribal confederation, not some magnificent palace rulers. So Siddhartha was powerful within his own tribe. lived
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