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Lecture 14

MMW 11 Lecture Notes - Lecture 14: Miraculous Births, Middle Way, Standing Army

Making of the Modern World
Course Code
MMW 11
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MMW 11 Lecture 14 Buddhism and the Mauryan Empire
Warrior-chieftains replaced by monarchs
Hereditary kings that rule large states, build out onto the plains
Republics survived near foothills of Himalayas
o Ruled by aristocratic assembly
o Still class-bound
o More trade
o Sites of different dissenting views
o Move away from rigid class stratification in caste system
o Less invested in ritual/traditions
o Speculation
Aristocratic Jain women invented alphabet
Charioteer is the singer, advisor of the warrior
Conquer own appetites
Become a warrior and a conqueror
Struggle over self
Whisks to move animals out of way
More masks to not inhale insects
No god
Moving into state of bliss by purifying self
No priests in beginning
No hymns
Monks follow rules
Couldn’t take life of any living creature
Became traitors, merchants, maritime commerce, money-lenders
The Buddha
‘The Awakened One’
Charismatic founder of religion of Buddhism
Siddhartha Gautama
Born in northeastern India
o 563 BCE? 483 BCE? Not clear what year he was born and died
o Miraculous birth
Mother rested her hand on a tree and he was born from her side
Father a chieftain of the raja class in one of the republicans
Was said he would either become a wandering monk or the emperor of all of India
o Father wanted him to be the emperor of all of India
Good education
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Married princess from nearby republic, had a son
Needed to be protected from the four sights
o Protect from knowledge of real people’s real experience
Surrounded by people who were always young
Attendants were never sick, never got older, never died
3 palaces
Never even know bad weather
Four sights
Ignorance of old age, disease, death
Calm ascetic person in a yellow robe, a wandering monk
Decides to become an ascetic wanderer, leaves family
6 years of struggle
o Tries to be an ascetic
o Goes to royal city
o Becomes disciple of two ascetics
o Practices yoga
o Tries Jainism
o Rigorous self-discipline
o Gathers 5 other ascetics around him
o Passes out, wakes up and realizes this is not working
Needs to eat and drink to sustain himself and to be able to think
Returns to life of wanderer and a beggar, survives due to kind people
Goes to grove of trees, sits at foot of great tree and starts to meditate
o Starts using reason, his mind
o Suffering due to desire
Desire which can never be satisfied
Causes yearning, pain, suffering
Has to eliminate desire/thirst
Needs to focuses on causes of desire/thirst/yearning
o Tempted by a demon with sexual pleasure
He doesn’t fall, they get angry, throw rocks at him
He thinks of the rocks as flowers
o Fully awakened
The Buddha
Escaped desire, escaped suffering, experiences ecstasy
This is what nirvana would be like
Compassion for all others in the world that are suffering, goes back to teach other
people how to achieve this escape from suffering
Sets in motion the wheel of the Dharma
Middle Way: neither a life given over to pleasure, nor a life of deprecation and
mortification and denial
At first teaches just 5, become first 5 Buddhist monks
Erasure of self
Blissful view of everything
Eternal state of neither being nor non-being
‘Snuffing out’
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