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Religious Studies
Religious Studies 1023E
William Acres

Buddhism Where did Buddhism originate? • Bihar (northeastern India) • There is evidence that it moved northwest • There is evidence of Buddhism in Egypt and Israel The Picture of Buddha • The picture takes place in the midst of his enlightenment • He has a halo (sign of holiness) • Fat, hanging, long earlobes • He was a duff puff • He is in the Earthly Repose, meaning that his right hand is touching the ground. This means that this is a moment of all eternal holiness and enlightenment The Name “Buddha” • He is not called Buddha in India or China • 19 century Western scholars liked that name • The name Buddha emerged in 1859 • He is called something like “Fo” A Brief Introduction to Buddhism • Began in the 16 century • It is originally an Indian religion • There are more followers outside of India • It formed with Hindu culture o It is an offshoot of Hinduism • Buddhism is a way of life to improve the quality of everything living • Buddhism addresses the notion of suffering, and how to overcome suffering • You must experience suffering in order to obtain enlightenment • Their place if worship is called a “temple” • There is an organized monastic order (monks and nuns) • There is an organized priesthood (monks obedient to priesthood) • Buddhism is about practicing minute to minute through meditation Similarities and Differences to Hinduism • Has a historical founder, unlike Hinduism o It is named after its founder – Gautama Buddha • Both religions can absorb other practices and you can follow it to a lesser or higher degree • Buddhism has no god, no Brahman, and no monism 1 o Some forms of Buddhism have an idea of worship but this violates ideas of superimposing one’s projections on physical reality Who is Kamakura? • Biggest Buddha What did Alberooni hear about the Buddhists? • Although he had never seen one before, he had only heard of their goodness and hospitality What happened to many Buddhists? • They got kicked out of India and went to various lands such as Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, Egypt, and Greece etc. What happens when a baby is born in Buddhist culture? • A Pundit is called to read the baby’s body • They body is read to see if it has certain features • There are 32 specifications that a baby must pass o Mole on the left buttocks in the exact correct position • All previous Dali Lama’s fit the specifications Buddha’s childhood • He was born into the royal family of the Sakhyas • He was given the birth name “Siddhartha”, meaning the one who has accomplished his aim • Buddha was a title that was given to him • Buddha means enlightened one What happened in Buddha’s childhood that led to his enlightenment? • When Buddha was born, a sage came to the palace and told hid father that he would either by a Universal monarch or a Buddha (one of the greatest teachers of all time) • His father wanted him to be a monarch, so he protected Buddha from the outside world. • He locked him up in the palace gardens • This prevented him from never seeing anything “real” • No one ever got sick or old and when people died, new people were shipped in • Buddha got his first foresights when he and a friend broke out of the palace • There was a festival going on at the time What did Buddha see? 2 • An old person (weak and aged) • A dying sick person (taught him about physical suffering) • Dead bodies (first encounter with death) • A woman giving birth • A monk After seeing this, what happened? • He decided to run away from the palace • Great renunciation when he was 29 • Lived with a group of monks • Lived near the Nialistic school, where they do not believe in Karma • He joined a camp on the Ganges • He became a Sinyasi or “Sedarta” • He went to search for the answer to “how do we overcome suffering?” • He starved himself, eating one grain of rice each day • When he was dying of malnutrition he was given a few drops of buffalo milk and he got better over the course of a few days • He had no religious training, and had to start from scratch • He learned meditation for six years • He became enlightened after these six years of meditation When he was enduring starvation, what did he hallucinate? • There was a boat with a party on it • Buddha heard the string of a guitar go sharp and then slack • He then heard the perfect pitch • This develops his concept of balance What six steps did he perform to obtain enlightenment? • Nakedness • Extreme Cold • Extreme Heat • Deprivation • Starvation • Renunciation of Life What happened under the Bodhi Tree? • He sat underneath this tree with determination that he will not get up until he sees truth as it is, and becomes enlightened • He is visited by torment and destruction o Mara (evil) and women tempted him many times o He was not defeated by any of this • This took 49 days 3 Once he was enlightened, what did he do? • He gave his first sermon at Deer Park • He traveled on foot from place to place delivering his message • He led a missionary life for 40 years until he died at age 80 • Teachings were done orally for about three centuries • Thrde is no record or exact date for when the teachings were written down (3 century) • He told people that they should not have too much riches but they should also not deprive themselves • They should find the middle way of balance with not too much or too little o The perfectly tuned string • He told people about the moment under the Bodhi Tree where he achieved a state of holiness • People asked what the torments were and how he withstood it, but he did not know Who can achieve enlightenment and how do you achieve it? • There is no such thing as caste structure • Anyone can achieve enlightenment • To achieve enlightenment, you must alleviate suffering wherever you find it • You must experience suffering, and not avoid it What did the Dali Lama say about himself? • He said that he in the incarnation of the Buddha • He does not merely look like the Buddha, he is the Buddha Interpretation of enlightenment • What Buddha said about his enlightenment, led to divergence in the Buddhist community • Not everyone follows the same interpretation of what he said about his enlightenment What is the Tripitaka? • Its literal meaning is “three baskets” • It is the main scripture for Buddhists • It is written mostly in Pali, but also in Sanskrit What is Pali? • Pali is a common language • People spoke it • It has an easier writing style than Sanskrit • It is an adapted language 4 What are the three parts of the Tripitaka? 1. Vinyana Pitaka (rules and regulations for the householders, the monk, and the nun) 2. Sutra Pitaka • The doctrine, philosophy, and religious duties • It is the most popular • Teachings are in the form of dialogue, stories, parabells • We see the divergence in opinion after the Buddha died over his nature of enlightenment 3. Adhidharma Pitaka (advanced metaphysical teachings) What does Pitaka mean? • It means remember book, collected and written down • Writing was known in Buddha’s time as a medium that was considered to be less reliable than human memory • Monks and nuns committed all the Buddha’s teachings to memory and passed it on tot each other What is the Dhammapada? • It is a part of the Sutra Pitaka • It is known as the Buddhist Bible • It is the most popular piece of Buddhist literature • It contains moral sayings Monk eating habits • They ate twice a day • Once at 5am and once at 11am What are the four basic teachings of Buddhism? 1. There is suffering. • It is physical and mental • It can be hidden and we do not realize it. • It is inbuilt in every pleasure. For example, when a friend comes to visit, you are very happy, but when they leave, your pain is hidden. • We must be aware of the pain in everything. • There is no hierarchy in suffering. 2. There is a cause of suffering • It is Dukka (craving) or Tanha (greed) • Suffering is caused by the desire and craving for things that are impermanent • Clinging to things gives us suffering 3. There can be a stopping or cessation to suffering 5 • Buddha says that if you believe that overcoming suffering is a superhuman things, you will never achieve it • To eliminate suffering, you must eliminate the cause • If we do not get attached to impermanent things, we can avoid suffering 4. Following the Eight Fold Path will help to overcome suffering and achieve Dharma What is suffering? • Any kind of pain, sorrow, dissatisfaction, misery, imperfection, emptiness • Suffering is perpetuated in the cycle for birth, death, and rebirth (Samsara) What is Dependent Origination or the Wheel of Becoming? • Everything has its origins in a previous manifestation • It will continue to re-manifest until liberation/ Nirvana is achieved • All things are born of other things and has a previous manifestation • Nothing in this world is new, but a variation on a pre-existing energy • It is new to this lifetime, but not to this world • All sects of Buddhism believe in this • This chain explains all the suffering in the world • All happen simultaneously • You can reach nirvana at any stage What are the twelve points on the Wheel of Becoming? 1. Ignorance 2. Karma formation 3. Consciousness 4. Name and form 5. Six senses (sensations) 6. Contact (with external world) 7. Sensations (what senses lead us to understand) 8. Craving (desire) 9. Attachment (clinging because of desire) 10. Becoming 11. Birth 12. Aging and death What is the Noble Eightfold Path or the Middle Way (a way between two extremes)? • The purpose of the noble eightfold path is to overcome suffering • Principles on how to get to the middle way • All sects believe in this • The Buddha taught his “Sangha”, the community who perform Dharma, to practice the noble eightfold path 6 • The path does not have a beginning or an end • Everything you are doing on this path has to do with Karma • You cannot see what you are going on this path • You do not have to be an expert; you must just do it a lot (?) • Steps are practiced simultaneously, not one at a time What
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