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Lecture 13

01:840:211 Lecture Notes - Lecture 13: Mahayana, Mahayana Sutras, Bodhisattva Vow


Department
Religion
Course Code
01:840:211
Professor
Lammerts
Lecture
13

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Religion in Asia 04/04/17
Mahayana and Tantric/ Esoteric/ Mantranaya Buddhism (Contd.)
→ Mahayana: Theravada Buddhism’s way is Selfish
: Theravada - individual obtains liberation from Samsara by Buddha’s teaching
: Mahayana - individual needs to strive to find pure Dhamma by themselves and become a
Buddha
<How to Become a Buddha>
1. You must be male (except - Mantranaya/ Vajrayana Buddhism)
2. Bodhicitta - “Awakening mind”: the arising of this awakening mind, motivated by compassion
(Karuna): the real deep wish to be compassionate to all beings without exception. Marks the
turn from self-concern to concern for others
3. Taking the Bodhisattva vow (Pranidhana) before a Buddha
4. Practice and acquisition of the six (or ten) perfections (Paramita) across ten stages over
multiple lifetimes
- Generosity
- Moral Virtue
- Patience, tolerance
- Vigor, effort
- Meditation, concentration
- Wisdom
<Bodhicitta and Tathagata-Garbha thought>
The concept of the ‘awakening mind’ (Bodhicitta) - crucial in Mahayana Buddhism -
compels an individual to enter the Bodhisattva path. B
:Bodhicitta may arise as the result of past life good Karma, ritual practice, or mental
purification (e.g. Meditation/ Dharma)
: Compassionate aspiration to save others from Samsara by becoming a Bodhisattva
(and ultimately a Buddha)
: All living beings are thought to possess this capacity to (eventually) develop
Bodhicitta.
The Inherency of Bodhicitta - look dangerously like an Atman (soul) - most Buddhist
teaching - Generally rejects: but careful to distinguish Bodhicitta as a contingent,
dynamic process (something that only arises at a particular stage of religious
development) - not as an ontological category
Mahayana Sutras - begin to identify Bodhicitta with the (somewhat later) concept of
Tathagata-Garbha (“Buddha Matrix”, “Buddha Essence”, “Buddha Embryo”)
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