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Lecture

Lecture notes on Buddhism-February 5th


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay

Page:
of 2
February 5
Buddhism ± Groups:
1. Theravada ± Arhant ± enlightened person
2. Mahayana ± UPAYA (main difference) ± skillful needs/skill ± really gifted
teacher has special skill that he or she brings to the work of educating ± Buddha is
an especially gifted educator ± canon of scripture is never completely closed ± see
a much greater role for common people ± Bodhisattva ± figure who achieves the
KLJKHVWOHYHOVRINQRZOHGJHGRHVQ¶WHQWHUWKHVWDJHRIHWHUQDOKDSSLQHVVXQWLODOO
other beings are able to be awakened ± reconceptualized the figure/understanding
of the Buddha (in other traditions (Theravada) ± Buddha = historical figure that
achieved awakening) ± developed in a much more expansive way so that the
Buddha is seen as a multidimensional concept ±
- Buddha has 3 dimensions/form (3 bodies of the Buddha)
o 1. appearance body ± reference to the historical narrative associated with
the Buddha ± the physical form Buddha takes on ± physical manifestations
o 2. the body of bliss ± the idea that the Buddha manifests himself in
various ways and one way in which he does that is he creates different
heavenly worlds/realms where people can be reborn ± like physical spaces
± these different realms are much more pleasurable/easier to live in than
the world occupied by humans at the moment ± the world in which you
and I are struggling (various things that cause Dukha) ± if you achieve
DFHUWDLQOHYHO\RXFDQEHUHERUQLQWRDGLIIHUHQWVSDFHLQZKLFKZHGRQ¶W
face the same challenges (no work, caring for family, expend so much
energy and time) ± can focus on the things that really matter in our
spiritual life ± e.g. meditation, indulge in contemplation for lengthy
periods ± from this space, it is easier to achieve awakening? ± get reborn
through the Bodhisattva (compassion) - each Bodhisattva has its own
heavenly realm ± each of these are structured by Buddha/Bodhisattva
o 3. Dharma body ± the Buddha exists within all beings as µ%XGGKD
1DWXU (the potential for all beings to achieve enlightenment) ±
everyone has the potential to be enlightened
Buddha ± achieved the highest level of awakening ± gone through existence ± not reborn
Bodhisattva ± reborn voluntarily
Buddhism movement ± Sri Lanka Æ South/North Asia Æ Split
By the 11th century ± dies down
Buddhism - moves to North Asia ± mainly Mahayana
- in 1st century CE ± in China ± through merchants ± GRHVQ¶WUHDOO\WDNHRIIPDNH
an impact in china ± KDVLWVRZQQDWLYHWUDGLWLRQWKDW¶VHODERUDWHDQGZHOO
theorized ± in the 2nd impact ± 4th century CE ± Buddhism as a foreign tradition
takes hold of Northern China ± about 6th century CE ± Buddhism starts to make
an impact on the south part of China ± between the 6th and 10th Century ±
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Buddhism flourish ± about 30000 monasteries where there are many (2 ---??)
monks/nuns
Chinese Traditions:
1. Taoism
2. Confucianism
- cultural mindset Æ %XGGKLVPKDGWURXEOHVHQWHULQJFKLQDEHFDXVHLWZDVQ¶WOLNH
Taoism or Confucianism vs. Buddhism±
o 1. ?
o 2. practice of venerating elders and ancestors ± \RXRZH\RX¶UH
parents/elders etc. (because they gave you life) ± forever debt of lineage
(gratitude and reflection of values) ± INDIC WORLDVEIW: rejects
society and family ± lets go of all social connections and is in search of
individual understanding ± family and society trap individuals, therefore,
one needs to leave the constraint/restriction in order to find individual
answers
o 3. concerns of the body - T+C: nurture body; B: asceticism (shaving head
± to the Chinese, this practice was ghastly and wrong)
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