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Lecture 2

Week 2.docx

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Shinji Takagaki

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Introduction to Buddhism – Week 2 January 16, 2013 - The historical Buddha ca. 5 -6 centuries o The complete biographies of Gautama‟s life were written hundreds of years after his death and include legends not found in earlier texts. - Sakyamuni: “Sage of the Sakya Clan”, Sakya were ancestors of the Buddha. - The Caste System: born into castes that you could not move out of. - Buddha was born into Kshatriyas caste system: privileged o Born in what is now Nepal o A white elephant appeared in a dream to the Buddha‟s mother before conception - Birth of Sakyamuni: mother gave birth in a garden o He could walk immediately when he was born and lotus flowers came where he walked. - The 32 primary marks and 80 secondary marks of a great man: physical marks o Long earlobes, cranial bump - The four signs o His father thought that he would either be a great secular leader or aesthetic leader o His father wants him to be a great leader/monarch, like himself o Didn‟t want his son to follow tradition of going into forest and getting aesthetic means/having to beg for food. o So he surrounds his son with luxury, got married and had a son. o Buddha goes out one day and encounters four signs: 1) An old man: had never seen an old man because he was surrounded by luxury. Had to ask the chariot man what was wrong with the man. 2) A sick man: he had never seen sickness before. 3) A corpse: chariot driver says “ultimately we all die”. Buddha realizes that his fate is to ultimately get old, sick and die. 4) An aesthetic monk, a forest sramara: Buddha decides that this is what he has to do because he is no longer happy. - Sramara/Samara (Pali): “Striver” o “strives for liberation and contentment” o Looking for moksha o Following the Indian tradition - The great Renunciation (age 29), leaving behind his wife and son. o Cuts his hair in the forest: symbol of starting aesthetic practices o Got teachers and excelled at all aesthetic practices - Emaciated Buddha: he was surviving on one grain of rice a day, controlling body o At the verge of death and he still hadn‟t found answer to the problem of life o Took food by a milk maid and came to the conclusion of The Middle Way  Realized that extremities didn‟t lead to any resolve, what‟s important if the middle way.  Resolved to achieve enlightenment  Achieved enlightenment at the age of 35  Enlightenment / “The Awakening” (age 35)  He wasn‟t going to teach (he thought that the enlightenment was too profound that people wouldn‟t understand), tradition says that the God‟s came down and told him to teach  Brahma and Indra invited the Buddha to teach  35 and continued teaching until age of 80, he contracted dysentery after his last meal (pork vs. mushroom) and falls ill and dies (lies down on his right side).  Cremated, as was the tradition of his time. He is split up into 8 urns and
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