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February 26 Notes.docx

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University of Alberta
Angela Brkich

RELIGIOUS STUDIES 101B Lecture Notes February 26 TRIPITAKA three pitaka's THE FOUR NOBLE TRUTHS - noble truth of suffering - noble truth of origins (suffering comes from craving) - noble truth of cessation (once must cease craving to cease suffering) - noble truth of Eightfold Path (the eight things one must do to cease craving) picking up from last lecture THE THIRD GEM: THE SANGHA buddha experienced enlightenment under the bodhi tree. with the ordination of the five ascetics, the SANGHA was born. SANGHA - COMMUNITY. this term was incorporated to give themselves a specific identity. 2 COMPONENTS: 1. bhikshus - men 2. bhikshunies - women the first disciples were called the BHIKSU-SANGHA ('community of monks') which branch you belonged to depended on the colour of the robe ordination rituals were put in place and overtime became increasingly complex and formal, no longer simple. novices were assigned demanding teachers. the VINAYA PITAKA is the portion of the scriptures that regulates the monastic lives of monks and nuns. ritual, clothing, dealing with disputes, etc. also lists a whole ton of offences and punishments correlating. earliest texts have ambiguity to women. even buddha was originally resistent to the participation of women. he eventually admitted them but established eight additional rules. buddha's mom died not long after his birth, he was raised by his foster mother: MAHAPRAJATA'S. she approached him to join the Sangha. she approached three times, each time rejected. buddha admitted that women were equally capable of achieving nirvana. women's community began five years later. eight extra rules. HANDOUT RECIEVED WITH EIGHT ADDITIONAL RULES. consult. gender inequalities in the monastic communities is there from the very beginning. a good deal of scholars suggest that the prejudices and the "mildew" comments were added at a later date. women endorsed te Sangha as laywomen and nuns from the beginning. women joined the bhikshuni for a variety of reasons. widowed, wanted to stay unmarried, bhikshunis have been believed to have lower status and little financial support. often poor rural women or widows, very little education. some women have determined they are better capable of serving their communities by not taking the vows at all. many bhikshunis have died out of over the years but recent efforts have been made to renew this sangha. THE LAY SANGHA the wider sense of the community which includes the individuals who are not monastic. it is believed that all have a chance at liberation but some groups say you need to be ordained. CONTROVERSIES, COUNCILS, AND SECTS - as with all other religions we have examined, buddhism is NOT homogeneous. - by the 3rd Century BCE, there were 18 sects. (today only the THERAVADA remains) - each of the 18 had their own oral traditions - the lay members, the differences would hae been small or unnoticable (monks from different groups would live together) KING ASHOKA - buddhism was able to attract followers from every class, even kings. - as the monks were engaged in religious debates, the political scene was "moving fast." - at this time in history, Kings were supposed to protect every legitimate religious tradition, and buddhism was a legitimate dharma system. - 150 years after Buddha died, Alexander colonized the NW of India. Greeks remained there until driven out by a king whose grandson was ASHOKA. - ASHOKA was set on expansion and was extremely brutal and violent. - he stopped and reflected and then changed his mind. - he was forgotten about for 2000 years, but now many historians hold him as one of the most important Indian rulers of all time - during his reign, Buddhism experienced a "GOLDEN AGE" - BUDDHIST accounts say he moved from military conquest to dharmic conquest. - he put inscriptions everywhere. scholars have been able to patch together early buddhism from these. - he was a lay follower, not a monk - tried to rules according to Dharma as a righteous king - punishments had to be fair and moderate. this became the dharma model for later rulers. - recognized need for punishment, but remained committed to ahimsa - wars were justified and not against dharma if they are necessary to maintain law and order. - we see religion influencing politics and society. BUDDHISM AND THE STATE The king has been described as a "WHEEL TURNER". this means: 1. UNSTOPPABLE FORCE 2. TO EVOKE WISDOM two very different aspects when the ruler is in meditiation, he is able to see a wheel. the turning wheel represents the orderly process o
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