Week 4 UPANIADS AND RENOUNCER TRADITIONS, BUDDHISM AND
Buddhism used to be very important in India but is not practiced much in India
Buddha was born in Ganga in the republic of Shakya people. Buddha was reborn
many times, but the Buddha that we talk about is the last Buddha.
Jataka: stories of past lives of Buddha.
Siddhartha (Buddha) thought that all actions have consequences -> karma.
Buddha achieved nirvana then came back to teach people.
Sutra text: canonical texts on the last life of Buddha.
There are many other Buddhist texts.
Four noble truths of Buddhism:
1.Suffering is inherent in life. All pleasure are temporary because verything
2.The cause of suffering is the chain of dependent causation (from ignorance,
3.Suffering can be ended.
4.8-fold path leads away from suffering. 1. Right view 2. Right intention 3.
Right speech 4. Right action 5. Right livelihood 6. Right effort 7. Right
mindfulness 8. Right concentration.
Buddhism teaches the middle way -> between the extremes.
Soteriology: salvation. Liberation from the world.
Sramana Traditions: wandering free + reject Vedic traditions. E.g. Buddhism,
Jainism was founded by Mahavira. Jains have ideas of vegetarianism and
nonviolence. According to Jains, all things are alive and have a life principle (Jiva).
Each life principle is unique. Jains do fasting, pulling out hair, self-restraint, non-
violence, non-possession, truthfulness, etc.
Vegetarianism is not Vedic.
Five vows of Jainism:
4.Celibacy (pramacharya) -> monogamy
Vedic Tradition -> go to heaven
Later -> go to heaven for while then reincarnated. Goal is liberation from the cycle
Upanisads: latest Vedic texts which talk about God. No single philosophy. Last of
the Veda. 750 – 200 BCE.
Vedanta: Indian philosophy which considers the Upanisads + Bhagavad Gita very
important. Consider the Veda a revealed text (not human made).
Sruti: no author of Veda. The poets only heard the texts then recited them.
Brahmin: universal spirit, like God. Pure, universal consciousness.
Atman: self or soul.
The early Veda focused on sacrifice. The upanisads, which is the latest version of the
Veda, focuses on ritual + asceticism. Focus on ritual becomes abstract. Upanisads
starts talking about Brahmin + atman.
Old meaning of Karma is ritual. New meaning is like bank account. Good karma ->
go to heaven -> reborn. Bad karma -> go to hell -> reborn.
Older idea in the Veda was to sacrifice to get a better luck in the next life. Newer
idea is to go good action to get good karma to get a better next life. Both of these
ideas focused on the relationship between actions and results.